Kiss Your Christian Brothers and Sisters

cheek kiss

telegraph.co.uk

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.

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.

Greek Words:

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.

Conclusion

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.

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9 thoughts on “Kiss Your Christian Brothers and Sisters

  1. “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.”

    – Clearly u’ve never been to Africa 🙂
    You’d beta be prepared to marry
    them…lol. What lots of Africans
    (in villages) do is hugs…lots of body
    contacts ..but no kissing…

    Lets file that 1 away as
    Jewish related cultural habits.
    But the spiritual ‘heart’ of Koinonia
    is universal.

  2. Hello Wale.

    Yes, I was very careful to say western culture ;), because I know that other cultures are much more comfortable with touch such as the one you just mentioned. It sounds like it’d be nice to go to a country in Africa.

    With regards to your stating, “let’s file that 1 away as Jewish related cultural habits”, what leads you to conclude to just leaving it at that? From commentaries I’ve looked at I’m aware from the information I read that this habit appeared to begin with Jewish culture, but most of the commentaries I read said it carried on into Christian culture. I think also the fact that Apostle Paul is stating this practice to non Jewish Christians in Rome, would perhaps suggest that this is just as much something that’s a part of Christian culture as it was a part of Jewish Culture.

    I have questions that I’d be curious to hear your answers on. Do you think it’s possible because of one’s own cultural upbringing of not kissing people in churches, or being a raised on a view of kissing being reserved for familial and romantic contexts, that that particular background possibly influences one to make this conclusion, because of a cultural upbringing that taught this type of behavior outside of a romantic or familial context should bring one discomfort? Another question I would ask, is if one is going to conclude this practice is a part of a former culture that should be left behind, then what leads one from not going down the road of picking and choosing whichever part of scripture one wants to follow because a lot of things stated in scripture had some kind of original cultural context to it? It’s a difficult question to answer and something I’ve grappled with myself as well on other issues such as the topic of women’s hair not being braided or women not wearing gold jewelry.

    Beyond all of those questions, to add further to my post, I personally wouldn’t tell someone if they choose not to kiss their brothers and sisters in Christ in a church assembly they’re committing sin. I’ll leave that up to anyone’s own conclusion about whether all statements of thought and practice encouraged in scripture that should be taken as things to be obeyed. But I find myself inclined to think it’s a practice that the Apostles hoped that Christians would continue given the amount of times and the number of churches they commanded this practice in their different letters. Just something to think about. As always, Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  3. Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Clearly you spend a great deal of time studying scripture! I applaud your desire to find and present truth. In regard to this post, and some of your other ones, it’s interesting to me how various cultures and denominations take specific details and focus on them to create a lifestyle. I think overall, you present the heart of each matter you bring up for discussion. And you’ve done a great job of inviting discussion. May God bless you!

    • Hi Laura. You’re welcome. I liked the theme you have of giving people hope. We can all certainly use that in these interesting times. Yes, it’s quite fascinating what different people emphasize as important in the Christian faith. I try my best to objectively present what all of scripture seems to present as important, but of course I can be just as guilty of having my own personal biases as anyone else in not realizing I might be only focusing on specific details.

      I’m so appreciative of all the people that are compelled to speak up and share their perspectives. It creates such healthy thought provoking edifying discussions that really challenges me in my thinking and understanding, as well as others who may scroll through these comments. I appreciate your compliment of my writing presenting the heart of these matters. Thank you for your comment and checking out my blog.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

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