When was the last time you gave a kiss to one of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? Not a Christian that was a member of your family or a significant other, but a Christian in your fellow assembling of the Body of Christ. Believe it or not, it was quite a common thing that Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter encouraged Christians to be doing with each other. It’s funny that today, primarily in western culture, a majority of Christians generally view kissing as a very intimate act reserved for those closest to them. Some might view it more casually, but that’s another story. A lot of us might not even kiss our own family members, reserving kisses for only those we’re romantically involved with. But let’s take a look at these kiss verses.
Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
1 Corinthians 16:20 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.
1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.
So we see here in four different letters, Apostle Paul encourages the Christians in the different churches to greet each other with a holy kiss. We see in Peter’s letter that he encourages the churches he’s writing to to greet each other with a kiss of love. So both of the two prominent Apostles in the New Testament instruct to do this, yet today most churches choose to ignore doing this. You’ll have your churches that say, greet the person next to you and what not, but it’s only a handshake, a wave, or side hug at best. But perhaps through the holy kiss the church was meant to have a greater sense of closeness with one another in this way. Think about it. Peter calls it a kiss of love.
Jesus appreciated kissing
Looking to the Gospels in the Gospel of Luke there was a woman that kissed the feet of Jesus. It’s perhaps another instance of the meaningfulness that sharing a kiss with one another is as a means of love to one another and as a means of pleasing God with our reflection of love outwardly. Luke 7:45 states, “You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.” We see here Jesus appreciated kisses, and the only time in any context was it ever negative in the New Testament is when Judas betrayed him. Let’s take a look at the meaning of the word holy and kiss in the Greek.
Holy (hágios) – sacred
Kiss (phílēma) – a kiss
A sacred kiss
So it’s a sacred kiss, and it was intended as such without any thought of it being inappropriate. Justin Martyr, who was an early church father, stated of the kiss “Prayers being ended, we salute one another with a kiss, and then the bread and cup is brought to the president. This was called the holy kiss, to distinguish it from the lustful kiss; ” You might be interested in reading further details of early church fathers describing the pureness of this act in verse commentaries such as this one (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/romans/16-16.htm). Blueletterbible.org further details of the usage of the word kiss in scripture stating, “the kiss with which, as a sign of fraternal affection, Christians were accustomed to welcome or dismiss their companions in the faith” As far as where they kissed each other, I would assume given it’s meant to be pure and not have any appearance of being lustful, that it was perhaps most likely the cheek.
Am I saying immediately go to your church and start kissing the people there? No, because I don’t want you to get in trouble. But I’ll leave you with this anecdote. Years ago I once attended an Orthodox Church service that did this very practice. As I look about on that, it’s beautiful to recall the closeness of love those congregants had for each other and the reverence that they had for God. Perhaps maybe you can ask your church to think about what the scripture states on greeting one another with a holy kiss, or if you feel the need, you can find a church that actually continues this holy act today as was done in the churches found in scripture.Who knows, maybe you and your Christian friends might consider greeting each other with holy kisses more often.
As always any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a response below, and if you connected with this post in anyway I’d appreciate if you shared it across your social media. Peace to all those who are in Christ.