Sunday, September 4, 2016 am                                        Others Index


Greet One Another
Romans 16:16


We are continuing our study of the “one another” passages in the New Testament.  In thse we learn how we are to treat each other.  Today we want to address a simple idea, but one that has some important lessons attached to it. 

 I.                     The Text – Romans 16:16, etc.

a.       The expression, “Greet on another” is found in 4 NT passages
Rom. 16:16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss”.  Also 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12
1 Peter 5:14, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.”
Also see 1 Thessalonians 5:26, “Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.
With the frequency of its usage it ought to be something we give consideration to.

b.       The word for greet here is, ἀσπάζομαι (aspazomai), and means, to express greetings as you meet someone.  BDAG defines the word as, “to engage in hospitable recognition of another.”  In other words, it means more than simply saying, “hi”.  It is an expression related to one’s attitude toward another. 
The word is found some 60 times in the New Testament, most often in the English with the word “greet” in some form, though there are a few exceptions: 
Embraced – Acts 20:1 (taken leave – NASB), as Paul leaves Ephesus & Hebrews 11:13 – where those who died in faith embraced (greeted) the idea that they were strangers and pilgrims here on earth; Salute – Mark 15:18 – where soldiers of Pilate mocked and saluted Jesus saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
In these examples, as well as numerous times the word is used, typically at the conclusion of letters, shows that it more about the recognition of an individual than a specific form of greeting (though each society would have its form of greetings).  IN FACT, another Greek word resource (TDNT) notes the most common usage was “to proffer a greeting” when entering a house or meeting someone on the street and consisted of gestures including, “embracing, kissing and ‘offering the hand’”

c.        There are other greetings we find in scripture – Paul begins virtually every book with some sort of greeting (Usually, “Grace and peace” cf. Romans 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:1-3, Gal. 1:2-3, etc.) (though the term “greet” is reserved for the end of the book and personal salutations often from others – Romans 16 uses the term 13 times, etc.).

d.       The command:

                                                   i.      Greet one another – Romans 16:16 -  this is the actual command (imperative).  As Christians this is something we are expected to do toward one another.  And as we understand our relationship as a family, it should be something we gladly do.  We shouldn’t have to be compelled to greet each other. 

                                                 ii.      “Kiss” – modifies the command

1.       A “kiss” was a custom form of greeting back then.   

2.       Sources say it was men who kissed men, and women kissed women.  
It was typically not on the mouth, but rather the cheek, or hand, or even the foot. 

3.       Similar to our handshake, hug, pat on the back or “high five”, etc.   (The handshake being the more formal one).

                                                iii.      It is to be holy or of love
Holy - Be reminded that the word “holy” means to be pure and set apart for God.  We have emphasized holiness in recent studies.  1 Peter 1:15-16 calls for us to be holy seeking to imitate our heavenly Father.
In love - 1 Peter 5:14 adds to the others, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.    This is the agape love we have also discussed in great detail.  Recently we noted how we are to love one another as this is a standard by which the world can judge us (John 13:34-35).  We are to let brotherly love continue (Hebrews 13:1).  We have reminded ourselves of how much we really need each other, especially in the trying times we are facing.
These words help to qualify the greeting we extend to one another.  This greeting was one of brotherhood and that ought to develop naturally because of our spiritual bond with one another (cf. Colossians 3:14 says, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Also Ephesians 4:3, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”). 
CLEARLY implied - there was nothing sensual in it.  BUT, it ought to reflect a warm quality - let it be accompanied with a smile and a verbal greeting.

 II.                   The Concept of a Greeting

a.       Greetings are important as they can set the tone for what is to follow:

                                                   i.      A pleasant greeting can cause a visitor to return or further investigate.  It is the first tool in seeking to reach that visitor.  If you let them know that you notice them and are glad they are here, it may be the first step toward eventual conversion or identifying with us if they are Christians.

                                                 ii.      It lets those young in the faith know that they really are a part of our family and we want them with us. 

                                                iii.      It can bring joy to a brother or sister, especially someone who is struggling or perhaps has had a difficult week.

                                                iv.      It can disarm someone who is bitter or frustrated.  Sometimes people are upset or in a sullen mood.  At times, a brotherly greeting can help them forget about their troubles.

b.       Similarly, a poor greeting (harsh tone, silence, a stare, the “look”, etc.), or intentionally withholding a greeting can set a bad tone:

                                                   i.      It can cause some to think you don’t care.   Hopefully, it is not true!

                                                 ii.      It can distract one in their efforts to worship God.  We are to prepare our minds to worship God with our all.  We might come prepared as usual, and someone says something harsh or acts in an unusually negative way toward you.  You begin to wonder, “what have I done wrong?”  That can distract you throughout the worship services which is not good.

c.        Thoughts:

                                                   i.      Does this mean you have to greet everyone every time?  The command in all texts do not specify how often it is to be done.  But its frequency implies it is something that should be done regularly (Though in a smaller congregation it IS possible to greet most everyone).  
The point is, BE natural, but thoughtful! Pay attention to those visiting and those with needs (i.e. one who responds to the invitation, you hear about something going on in their life, a struggling brother or sister, or someone who is not acting as they normally do, etc.).
 Don’t go out of your way to avoid others.

                                                 ii.      Stay around and let others greet you.  Be approachable.  Seek others out and greet them.  This needs to be a priority with visitors!  Greetings require two parties.

                                                iii.      Don’t hinder others from being able to greet someone – i.e. don’t occupy someone’s time to the point that they can’t get to others or others can get to you.   (I need to work on this!)

                                                iv.      Get around!  Some gravitate to the same people all the time and avoid others all the time.  Try to not let that happen.  ALL of these things are borne out in lessons we have addressed dealing with love, fellowship and considering for one another. 

                                                  v.      Don’t jump conclusions if someone doesn’t greet the way you think they should.  They may be busy preparing for something.  They may be distracted with something going on.  OR it may be as simple as they didn’t notice you.  NOTHING sinister was intended. 

                                                vi.      Greetings can be deceitful as well – as Christians, our desire is to be genuine toward all including our brethren.  Hence the call for holiness and love. 
I think of Judas as he betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Matthew 26:48-49, Luke 22:47-48.  
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 


  III.                 Greeting one another implies:

a.       We are here!  We are reminded as always of the need to assemble – Hebrews 10:24-25 and thereby we are considering one another.  Greeting one another we are letting our brethren know we are here, where we are supposed to be!  We are letting them know that God is important to us AND that we cherish the spiritual family we are a part of.

b.       I recognize you – by greeting another they know that you know they are here.  With your greeting and smile they know you are there if they need you.  They know that they are not alone. 
Romans 15:7 says, “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Ephesians 4:27, we are members of one another.

c.        We genuinely care about each other – even with our differences, we genuinely care. We are here for each other and ready to help if needed.  Romans 12:10 – we are to be kindly affectionate to one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25, in describing the body and its parts each part is set so “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
1 Peter 3:8 speaks of us being of one mind and having compassion for one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing.”

d.       We are in fellowship with each other – while not all greetings mean this (sometimes we simply offer a greeting as a courtesy or proper etiquette) as Christians it certainly is a reason to greet one another – and ESPECIALLY the type of greeting we have been discussing in this lesson.  We have addressed fellowship and need to be warned that we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11).  2 John 9-11 warns us NOT to greet one who teaching error.  To greet him is to share in his evil deeds.


                We are living in a very impersonal world, but that doesn’t mean it is right.  That personal interaction with one another is desperately needed, even among brethren.   The Bible says so, over and over! 

As a congregation we do a pretty good job with this and are to be commended. But as always there may some room for improvement.    What about you?  How are your greetings AND your farewells?