“All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
This seems like a strange command in our day. What could it mean to us? Should we translate it, “Greet one another with a holy handshake?” Let’s look and see.
Let’s look at the context. Read 1 Corinthians 16:13-24.
In Greco-Roman culture, people who were socially equal kissed on the mouth, non-equals but socially close kissed on the cheek, and social inferiors kissed the feet of others (Johnson 2004, 320).
See Biblical examples in Luke 7:36-48 (two examples in this passage); Luke 22:47-48.
This cultural inequality is permeating the church at Corinth. Recall Paul’s rebuke from last week (1 Cor 11:17-18).
Paul is looking for ways to bring love and equality to this fractured body of believers.
Look through verses 13-24 and point out how the things mentioned by Paul would help build unity within the church at Corinth. (cover as many or few of these as time permits)
1. be on your guard
2. stand firm in the faith
3. be men (women) of courage; be strong
4. Do everything in love
5. be devoted to the service of the saints
6. submit to those who labor at God’s work
7. supply the needs of the saints
8. refresh one another’s spirit
9. give recognition where and when deserved.
10. send warm greetings
11. love the LORD
Is there anything in this list that our church would benefit from? Give at least one example.
Paul directed the use of the holy kiss as a rebuke to the cliques that had formed within the body. He intended for the same type of kiss to be used regardless of the social status of the parties involved. No more discrimination allowed.
Ambrosiaster stated, “The holy kiss is a sign of peace, doing away with discord.”
What sign of peace should we be using? A handshake (not only with the pastor, but with others), perhaps a hug, what is the best way to show equality and acceptance in the body of Christ at our church? Maybe just taking the time to talk with someone new or with a regular attendee whom you don’t usually talk to would be a good sign of peace.
Do all feel welcome when they enter our doors? Do all feel like returning after exiting our doors?
We are showing progress in our growth in the Lord, but we must continually strive to grow deeper. It is tempting to reach a point and rest, but that is when we can become plateaued and stagnant. That’s not for us.