Definition: Two by two, in this context, refers to the need for teaming up with at least one more person to do the Lord’s work.
1. God did not intend for man to be alone.
* Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
* Ecclesiastes 4:7,8 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. 8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
2. Two by two is one of the basic principles by which Jesus and His disciples operated from the very beginning.
* Mark 6:7 And He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits.
* Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come.
* Acts 13:2,3 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
* Acts 15:35-40 [Paul and Barnabas, who were traveling two by two, split up because of differences, yet each of them chose another partner rather than go alone:] Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord, with many others also. 36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the Word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. [See also 13:13.] 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
* 2 Corinthians 13:1 [Both in the Old and New Testaments, it was a legal obligation to have two or more witnesses:] In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. [See Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; Titus 5:19.]
3. Some of the good fruit of working two by two:
* Psalm 119:63 [Helps keep us in the fear of the Lord and obedient to His Word:] I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.
* Proverbs 13:20 [Enables us to learn from one another:] He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.
* Ecclesiastes 4:9 [Helps us accomplish more:] Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
* Ecclesiastes 4:10 [Provides safety and aid:] For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
* Ecclesiastes 4:12 [Provides greater strength:] And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
* Matthew 18:19,20 [Increases our prayer power:] Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.
* John 13:35 [It’s part of our witness:] By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.
4. A few examples of what happened when the Lord’s servants didn’t go two by two:
* Genesis 3:1-6 [Satan tempted Eve while she was alone, away from Adam:] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and [then went and] gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. [See also verses 13 and 14.]
* Exodus 2:11,12 [In an unguarded moment while alone, Moses slew an Egyptian:] And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
* 1 Kings 19:1-5 [Discouragement struck Elijah when he was without the strength and companionship of his servant, but an angel came to his rescue:] And [King] Ahab told [Queen] Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets [of Baal] with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
* 2 Samuel 11:1-5 [David yielded to temptation while alone:] And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite [one of David’s mighty men who had gone away to battle]? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
* Luke 22:54-57 [Peter denied the Lord when he was following afar off, alone:] Then took they Him, and led Him, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with Him. 57 And he denied Him, saying, Woman, I know Him not. [See also verses 58-62.]
5. There are occasions when circumstances prevent us from having a companion with us. At those times, the Lord and His angels or ministering spirits are still with us:
* Daniel 6:22 [Daniel testifies to King Darius of how the Lord was with him while alone in the lions den:] My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
* 2 Timothy 4:16-17 [The Lord is with us even if others forsake us:] At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
* Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. 3a … The Tempter came to Him. … 11 [After contending with the Devil by quoting Scriptures:] Then the Devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him. [See also Mark 4:12-13.]
* John 16:32 [Jesus said of his arrest:] Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
* Acts 12:1-10 [Peter had no companion in jail until the Lord’s angel came and delivered him:] And because he [Herod] saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison. … 5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him. 6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
6. Sometimes we must commune with God alone:
* Exodus 24:12-18 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. … 15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
* Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
* Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7. Several examples of teams of two which were mightily used of the Lord:
* Exodus 4:10,14b,16 [Moses and Aaron:] And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. … 14 And He said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. … 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. [See verses 10-16.]
* Genesis 19:1-25 [God sent a team of two angels to judge Sodom.] And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. …
* 1 Samuel 14:6,7,13,14 [Jonathan, son of King Saul, and his armorbearer win a great victory over their enemies, who greatly outnumbered them:] And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few. 7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. … 13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. 14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.
* 2 Kings 2:6 [Elijah and Elisha, the two prophets:] And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he [Elisha] said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. [See 1 Kings 19:19-21, which shows that Elisha first became Elijah’s servant, ministering to him, and later became a prophet himself, continuing Elijah’s ministry, and performing twice as many miracles as Elijah did!]
* Matthew 17:1-3 [God sent Moses and Elijah as a team to counsel with Jesus:] And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John His brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.
* Revelation 11:3-12 [The two witnesses and martyrs of Revelation are mightily used of God during the Great Tribulation:] And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. …
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