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Old and New Testament.
love of the
Amplified: LET LOVE for your fellow believers continue and be
a fixed practice with you [never let it fail].
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some
have entertained angels unawares.
NIV: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so
doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (NIV
NLT: Continue to love each other with true Christian love. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: Never let your brotherly love fail (Phillips:
Wuest: Let the brotherly affection continue. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Let brotherly love remain;
A High Priest
Heb 1:1-Heb 7:28
He 8:1-He 10:18
He 10:19,20, 21-He
Jensen's Survey of the New Testament
OF THE BRETHREN
CONTINUE: e philadelphia
(Heb 6:10,11 10:24 Jn 13:34,35 15:17 Acts 2:1,44, 45, 46 4:32 Ro
12:9,10 Gal 5:6,13,22 Eph 4:3 5:2 Php 2:1, 2, 3 1Th 4:9,10 2Th 1:3 1Pe
1:22 1Pe 2:17 3:8 4:8 2Pe 1:7 1Jn 2:9,10 3:10-18,23 4:7, 8, 9, 10,
11,20,21 1Jn 5:1 2Jn 1:5,6 Rev 2:4)
Puritan David Dickson wrote
the following comment in 1632...
Let brotherly love continue. From
the first precept, learn (1) That the first fruit of faith which God
requireth is love and constant love among His children. (2) That our
mutual love, must be sincere and kindle as if it were grounded on
bands of nature. (David
Dickson - Commentary on Hebrews 1632 - downloads 11MB Pdf)
The brief exhortation (Heb
13:22) to the Hebrews follows the pattern of most NT epistles (see
Doctrine is followed by a call to duty, what to believe
is followed by how to behave,
theology should affect transform one's ethics (Related
As I was compiling these notes
it struck me that the most difficult brethren to love often are
those who are closest to us - Husbands and wives, parents and
children, in laws (who we often treat like "outlaws"!). Beloved, I am
convicted that I need to begin in my "Jerusalem" (Acts 1:8) and
empowered by the Holy Spirit, I am to bear "witness" of the
supernatural power of a new heart (2Co 5:17) to those closest to me by
continually letting love of the brethren continue! Too often I think
of the brethren who are far removed from my sphere of influence and
find it easier to show them love. God is saying to me (and perhaps to
you), let love of the brethren continue right where I have you
situated, right in the middle of the circumstances I have
providentially ordained. That's where I (we) need to obey this command
empowered by grace and motivated by a desire and ambition to be
pleasing to Him (2Co 5:9-note),
knowing that we shall all stand before the
Judgment Seat (bema)
of Christ and be recompensed for the deeds we have done in the our
body, including how we demonstrated love to the brethren. (2Co 5:10-note)
Husbands (I'm one for some 43 years) do you hear God's call to show
love to your wives? Wives do you hear what the Spirit is saying to the
churches? Children, are you listening? May God be greatly glorified by
Spirit filled saints who seek to supernaturally love the brethren for
the sake of the One Who loved us supremely in Christ (1Jn 3:16, Ro 5:8-note).
The question for all of us who have
already expressed some degree of brotherly love (you will if you are
truly born again - see below) - As you have studied the book of
Hebrews or the Bible in general, has your love for your brothers and
sisters increased or decreased? Remember that "continue" is not a
static but a dynamic verb implying progress, advancement, growth, and
increase. Bible study was never meant to make us smarter sinners, but
to make us more like the Savior. So let me ask it again - Is your love
for the brethren growing stronger? Are you as convicted as I am
the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear,
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
A W Pink sees a link
between chapter 12 and 13 (remember chapter breaks were not inspired
and occasionally are poorly placed)...
So far from
there being a radical break between Heb. 12 and 13 the closing verses
of the former and the opening ones of the latter are closely linked
together. There the apostle had mentioned the principal duties which
believers are to perform Godwards, namely, to “hear” (Heb
12:25-note) and to “serve Him acceptably” (Heb 12:28); here, he tabulates
those duties which are to be performed manwards. He begins with
what is really the sum and substance of all the rest, brotherly love:
first, the loving of God with all our heart, and then our neighbor as
Henry well pointed out, “the spirit of Christianity is a spirit of
love.” The fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22-note).
Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6). “Everyone that loves Him that begat
loves him also that is begotten of Him” (1Jn 5:1). Love to the
brethren is both the first indication and fruit of the Christian life
(Acts 16:33) and the final aim and result of Divine grace (2Pe 1:7-note).
13:1 Brotherly Love)
The first 10 chapters of Hebrews
are almost pure doctrine and directed primarily to Jewish readers who
had heard the Good News of the Messiah but who were in need of
affirmation that the Person and Priesthood of Christ and His the New
Covenant in His blood was superior to the angels, to Moses, to the
priesthood of Aaron, to the Old Covenant and to the Levitical
sacrificial system. The ultimate aim of the writer was to speak these
truths about Christ so that their faith would be firmly anchored and
unshakeable. And that is why he encourages them with the examples from
their own history (Heb 11:1, 2ff-note),
so that they might run the race of faith with endurance (Heb 12:1-note,
pursuing peace and the sanctification without which no one will see
the Lord (Heb 12:14-note).
Now in Hebrews 13 the writer is emphasizing that true faith demands
And so it is not surprising that
this chapter ends with a number of exhortations related to a
love, Hebrews 13:1-note
Hospitality, Hebrews 13:2-note
with those in bonds, Hebrews 13:3-note
the marriage relation, Hebrews 13:4-note
Contentment, Hebrews 13:5, 6-note
to those in authority, Hebrews 13:7, 8-note
in the doctrines of religion, Hebrews 13:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 15-note
Benevolence, Hebrews 13:16-note
to those entrusted with office, Hebrews 13:17-note
prayer for him who wrote this epistle, Hebrews 13:18, 19-note
M R De Haan has an
interesting introduction to chapter 13 writing that...
AT the close of a school semester,
or upon completion of a prescribed course of study it is customary for
the teachers to subject the students to a test or examination to
determine how much the pupil has absorbed and retained of that which
was taught in the daily class sessions. The results of these finals
have an important bearing on the final grade, and may determine
whether the individual will pass or not. No matter how brilliant the
student may have been in his daily assignments, if he “flunks” his
final, it will pull his average down, for the term’s marks are
determined largely on the final examination. Some students are like a
sieve, knowledge just runs through; others are reservoirs for the
storing up of knowledge as a source of refreshing and power for the
We can apply this method to the
study of the Bible. As you read the epistles, you will notice that as
a rule several chapters are devoted to the doctrinal teaching of the
Word, and then the last chapter or chapters are devoted to a practical
application of these truths, to be translated into action. Such is the
case in the Book of Hebrews....The test is in the form of a quiz
program, where the student is presented with a set of suggested
questions and permitted to grade himself. The examination opens with a
statement. Let brotherly love continue (Heb. 13:1). (De Haan, M. R.
Studies in Hebrews. Kregel Publications)
means to remain, to abide, to last, to endure, to survive, to live,
not to perish.
Let it then remain, not die out.
And it is put first, as being the first of the fruits of faith. The
exhortations in Heb 3:12, 13.; Heb 10:24, 25.; Heb 12:12, 13, 14,
point the same way). (Hebrews 13 The New Testament for English Readers)
The writer issues this exhortation as
command signifying that this was to be their supernaturally enabled,
Spirit filled, grace strengthened habitual practice! In addition he
which signifies the subject initiates the action and participates in
the carrying out of the action or the results of the action. This
voice is reflexive and gives the sense "you yourself let it continue."
Two verses prior in Heb 12:28-note the phrase
"have gratitude" is more literally translated as "continually having
grace". It is when we are empowered by grace that we can offer to
God an acceptable service in reverence and awe. Now as those in the
New Covenant of grace, these readers can demonstrate love to the brethren because
this grace gives them a new
motivation and power (cp Ezekiel 36:26, 27, Php 2:12-note, Php
The use of the verb continue indicates that such love already exists
as recorded earlier...
For God is not unjust so as to
forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name,
in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (Heb 6:10-note)
Comment: Note that this love
to the saints was "toward His Name" and I would add therefore was for
His fame! His glory and fame are always to be the aim of our good
works initiated and energized by His Spirit.
The use of the verb meno suggests that the bond had been in
danger of being severed. (See
W E Vine writes that
is a law of the kingdom just
mentioned (Heb 12:28). It is an evidence of heavenly citizenship. The
exhortation suggests that such love had existed and needed
Love is the binding power which
holds the body of the Christian church together. -Stephen Olford
No man can love a saint, as a
saint, but a saint. - Richard Sibbes
The measure of our love for
others can largely be determined by the frequency and earnestness of
our prayers for them. - A. W. Pink
A W Pink adds that "let...continue"...
includes the idea of enduring in
the face of difficulties and temptations. That which is enjoined is
perseverance in a pure and unselfish affection toward
fellow-Christians. Brotherly love is a tender plant which requires
much attention: if it be not watched and watered, it quickly wilts. It
is an exotic, for it is not a native of the soil of fallen human
nature—“hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3) is a solemn
description of what we were in our unregenerate state. Yes, brotherly
love is a very tender plant and quickly affected by the cold air of
unkindness, easily nipped by the frost of harsh words. If it is to
thrive, it must needs be carefully protected and diligently
cultivated....Yes, a most needful exhortation is this: not only
because hatred so largely sways the world, but also because of the
state of Christendom.
Here is a searching question which
each of us should honestly face: Is my love for the brethren keeping
pace with my growing (intellectual) knowledge of the Truth?
“Let brotherly love continue.” What
a solemn word is this! Is the reader startled by that adjective?—a
needful and humbling one, but scarcely a “solemn.” Ah, have we
forgotten the context? Look at the verse which immediately precedes,
and remember that when this epistle was first written there were no
chapter-breaks: Heb 12:29 and Heb 13:1 read consecutively, without any
our God is a consuming fire:
let brotherly love continue!
The fact these two verses are
placed in immediate juxtaposition strikes a most solemn note.
Love of the brethren
from phílos =
beloved, dear, friendly + adelphós = brother, from the same
womb) means "fraternal
love", brotherly love (kindness), love of the brethren. Brotherly love
normally referred to the love members of a family held for each other
(this was the way it was used in secular Greek) and would not normally
be used to describe the love between members of different families.
In secular Greek use
described love of those who were actually related by blood, but here
in Hebrews (and elsewhere in the NT) philadelphia describes the
kinship among those who are in children of God, members of the same
family (John 1:12, 13) "all from one Father" (Heb 2:11-note, Mt
23:8, 9, Compare the phrase "God our Father" in Ro 1:7 1Cor 1:3
2Cor 1:2 Gal 1:3 Eph 1:2 Php 1:2 Col 1:2 2Th 1:1 2Th 2:16 Philemon
1:3). As an aside unregenerate Jews never referred to God as their
Father (cp Jn 8:39). And so in the NT
philadelphia is describes the love that believers possess
for one to another, for even though they were members of different
natural families, they are united in Christ and were recipients of
family love originating from the Father Who had bestowed His great
love on His spiritual children (1Jn 3:1-note).
Philadelphia describes a
love which calls for an affection for one another like that one
expressed between natural family members. Wuest adds that the
related verb phileo...
speaks of human
affection, fondness, a non-ethical, though perfectly legitimate, form
This new radical relationship
between believers is hinted at in the the other root word of
philadelphia, adelphós, which describes one from the same womb.
As Kenneth Wuest explains, the fact that all believers
have their "new birth" from "the same womb" (Jn 3:3), is a truth which
the basis of their
Christian fondness and affection for each other, the source of their
And so, in the New Covenant of
grace believing Greeks and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised,
barbarians, Scythians, slaves and freemen, men and women are now all
one in their Lord (cp Gal 3:28, Col 3:11-note,
Eph 4:1, 2, 3-note).
Such a diverse cultural community would have continual need for
emphasis on continuing to love the brethren.
It should also be noted that
love of the brethren is not just a passive disposition of fondness but manifests
itself in overt acts of kindness toward the brethren, acts which are
described in subsequent passages (showing hospitality Heb 13:2,
remembering those in prison Heb 13:3, etc).
Phillip Hughes writes
our author has provided the key to
the correct theological understanding of this brotherly relationship
in an important passage (Heb 2:11ff.), where it becomes plain that the
brotherhood enjoyed among Christians derives from Christ himself,
first of all by his incarnation through which he became one with us as
a fellow human being, and second by our becoming one with him through
our experience of the redemption which he has accomplished for us.
Christian brotherhood, therefore, is essentially brotherhood in
Christ; for as he is the only Son (Heb 1:2, 5ff., etc.) so, as has
already been stressed, it is through union with him that we
participate in the grace of his sonship, and in him are accepted as
the sons of God and, as sons, brothers and fellow heirs with him who
is the heir of all things (Heb 1:2; Ro 8:14-17; Eph 1:5-7, 11-14; Jn
1:13). If our brotherhood derives from Christ, so also does our love
as brothers. His infinite love for us is the source and stimulus of
our love for each other. Hence the precept given by the Master in the
upper room: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I
have loved you" (Jn 13:34; cf. 15:12, 17; 2Jn 5; 1Jn 3:11, 14, 16-18;
J N Darby discusses the relationship of brotherly love
agape love noting that the latter...
in its root, is the nature of God Himself, the
source and perfection of every other quality that adorns Christian
life. The distinction between
and brotherly love is of deep importance; the
former is indeed the source whence the latter flows; but as this
brotherly love exists in mortal men, it may be mingled in its exercise
with sentiments that are merely human, with individual affection, with
the effect of personal attractions, or that of habit, of suitability
in natural character. Nothing is sweeter than brotherly affections;
their maintenance is of the highest importance in the assembly; but
they may degenerate, as they may grow cool; and if
agape love, if God, does not hold the
chief place, they may displace Him—set Him aside—shut Him out. Divine
agape love, which is the very nature
of God, directs, rules, and gives character to brotherly love;
otherwise it is that which pleases us—that is, our own
heart—that governs us. If divine
governs me, I love all my brethren; I love them because they
belong to Christ; there is no partiality. I shall have greater
enjoyment in a spiritual brother; but I shall occupy myself about my
weak brother with a love that rises above his weakness and has tender
consideration for it. I shall concern myself with my brother’s sin,
from love to God, in order to restore my brother, rebuking him, if
needful; nor, if divine love be in exercise, can brotherly love, or
its name, be associated with disobedience. In a word, God will have
His place in all my relationships. To exact brotherly love in such a
manner as to shut out the requirements of that which God is, and of
His claims upon us, is to shut out God in the most plausible way, in
order to gratify our own hearts. Divine
then, which acts according to the nature, character, and will
of God, is that which ought to direct and characterize our whole
Christian walk, and have authority over every movement of our hearts.
Without this, all that brotherly love can do is to substitute
man for God. Divine love is the bond of perfectness, for it is God,
who is love, working in us and making Himself the governing object of
all that passes in the heart.
S Lewis Johnson comments that...
You’ve heard people say, “I love all the saints; but some I love
better at a distance.” Well, that’s not Christian love. “I love them
all, but there are some I don’t like.” Well, that’s not Christian love
either. Those may be facts about our human experience, but they’re not
Christian expressions. It certainly is not the ideal. “Let
brotherly love continue.” In fact, we all know that the only
way in which we can love brethren is by the divine love that is in our
hearts by virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit. And so we all need to
call upon the Holy Spirit within to enable us to love our Christian
brethren and sisters. (Hebrews)
John emphasizes the
importance of love of the
brethren warning his
says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one
who does not love (agapao
= expression of divine
love) his brother whom he has seen, cannot love (agapao)
God whom he has not seen. (1Jn 4:20)
Peter echoes John's point
have in obedience (faith that obeys) to the truth purified your souls
for (faith that saves leads to brotherly love) a sincere
love of the brethren
fervently love one another from the heart for (Peter explains
why we should and how we can love one another declaring that) you have
been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that
is, through the living and abiding word of God. (1Pe 1:22,23-note)
In a word, the love of the
brethren proves that one is truly born again. John reiterates this
We know that we have passed out of death into
life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in
death. (1Jn 3:14)
Henry Morris comments: Here is another
test for knowing whether we are truly saved and have "passed from
death unto life" (Jn 5:24; 1Jn 2:3,5; 3:24; 5:2,13). John gives three
characteristics of true love for our brethren: doing righteousness
(1John 3:10); willingness to die for them (1Jn 3:16); willingness to
share our possessions with them" (1Jn 3:17).
A W Pink writes...
you may, dear reader, be afraid to affirm that
you love God, but do you not love His people? If you do, you must have
been born again, and have in you the same spiritual nature which is in
them. But do I love them? Well, do you relish their company, admire
what you see of Christ in them, wish them well, pray for them, and
seek their good? If so, you certainly love them.
But not only is the exercise of Christian love a testimony unto the
world of our Christian discipleship, and a sure evidence of our own
regeneration, but it is also that which delights God Himself. Of
course it does! It is the product of His own grace: the immediate
fruit of His Spirit. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps 133:1) is what the Lord
Olford writes that...
No one can be a true Christian without a love
for his brethren; and this, in itself, should be the ultimate
motivation for giving hospitality to all the people of God. Martin
Luther once said that we need to see ourselves as water fountains: the
love of God first flowing into us and then out of us to others.
Gromacki adds that...
At conversion all believers are immediately
implanted with a genuine love for God and for His children (1Th 4:9-note;
1Jn 3:14; 4:19). That love, however, needs to be increased by the
effort of each believer (Heb 10:24-note; 1Th 4:9; 2Pe 1:7-note).
The readers possessed true brotherly love, a sign of their
regeneration. The appeal is for its daily maintenance and proper
manifestation (Continue = present active imperative). (Stand
Bold in Grace An Exposition of Hebrews or
As Darby and Johnson allude to
in the previous discussion, the way one loves the brethren now
is not by our natural powers but is by the supernatural
enablement of and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Paul taught that
love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy
Spirit who was given to us" (Ro 5:5-note)
and "the fruit of the Spirit is (agape)
love." (Gal 5:22-note)
In view of the fact that believers now have a supernatural source
of power to love unconditionally and sacrificially,
Paul exhorts the saints in
(philostorgos from philos = beloved, dear + storge
= family love, love of parents and children) to one
give preference to one another in honor (Ro 12:10-note)
commends the saints in Thessalonica
for their love...
Now as to the
love of the brethren
you have no need for anyone to write to you, for (Paul now explains
how philadelphia love is possible) you yourselves are taught by
God to love (agapao
= habitually, as your new way of life) one another (1Thes 4:9-note)
Study the "one anothers" -
most positive, some negative)
Now that saints have access to
God's precious and magnificent promises (2Pe 1:4-note)
and are called to be partakers of His divine nature (2Pe 1:4), we are
to be diligent to grow in Christlikeness, in our faith, increasing in
a number of attributes including "brotherly
Jesus says brotherly love is the badge of a believer
By this all men will know that you are My
disciples, if you have love for one another. (Jn 13:35).
Brotherly love is (should be)
the natural outflow of a follower of Christ. True brotherly love cannot be
self generated (as least in the sense that it brings glory to God, for
apart from His initiating and enabling the work, it is our work, the
work of a "branch" rather than of the Vine, Christ Jesus, Jn 15:5). To
be sure, His work through us can be "faked" as well as stifled. Our
goal should be to nurture this grace of letting love flow by yielding
to the Spirit when He gives us opportunities to work it out in fear
and trembling. This explanation also helps understand why believers are not told to
make it happen but to let it continue.
It's like a faucet that is turned on - we are not the source of the
water coming through the conduit and the spigot but we can cut off the
flow or we can choose to allow it to continue to flow. So let love
"flow" through you to the brethren. Because of our having been
transferred from darkness to light and into a new kingdom when we are saved,
naturally (really supernaturally) drawn toward fellowship with other believers
who are also in the kingdom of light. And remember, "be nice" to your
brethren, because we are going to spend a long, long time with them in
eternity future! The deepest fellowship is not based on blood but on
whether you are ''under the blood of Jesus'' and have a future and a
hope to share.
Remember that many of the readers of this letter had most likely been rejected by
their friends and families for having made a commitment to Jesus
Christ as their Savior (cp Jesus' clear warning of the cost of
discipleship, the cost of following Him - Mt 10:21, 22, 34, 35, 36, Mk
13:12, Lk 12:51, 52, 53, 21:16). But the deepest fellowship is not
based on race or family ties (blood is not really "thicker than water"
in the spiritual realm) but is based on the life we share in Christ.
Brotherly love an
evidence of one's regeneration...
The obvious inquiry is: Do you love
the people of God because they are the people of God? Because you
discover in them the amiableness of that religion which is altogether
lovely? Do you love them, not merely because they love you or have
bestowed favors upon you; not because they are of your party, but
because they bear the image of your heavenly Father? Do you love them
for their love of God, their self-denial, their heavenliness, their
usefulness in the world, their reproachless example, their
faithfulness and love of duty? Do you love them when they reprove you,
and when their example condemns you? And do you love them in
proportion to the measure of these excellencies which they possess? Do
you feel an interest in them and for them? Can you bear and forbear
with them? Can you forget their infirmities, or do you rejoice to
magnify them? Can you cast the mantle of charity over their sins and
pray for them, and watch over them, and pity, and love them still? And
can you feel thus and act thus toward the poorest and most despised of
the flock and that because he is a Christian? If so, here is your
encouragement “He that loves is born of God” (1Jn 4:7). (BROTHERLY
LOVE Another evidence is love to the brethren)
See multiple articles in Puritan
writings that mention "brotherly love"
sitewww.gracegems.org brotherly love - Google
Kent Hughes has an interesting comment on the command noting
The structure of the command here to “Keep on loving each other as
brothers” (literally, “Let the brotherly love remain”) suggests that
the brotherly and sisterly bonds in the little church were dangerously
frayed among some of the members. This was not the way they had begun
because initially the fresh experience of salvation in Christ had
brought with it the discovery of a shared paternity, the joyous sense
of being brothers and sisters with the same Father, and the experience
of philadelphia—the word used here, meaning “brotherly love.”
At first, this love had come to those new believers as naturally as
one’s first steps, very much like Paul’s allusion to the similar
experience of the Thessalonians: “Now about brotherly love
[philadelphia] we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have
been taught by God to love each other” (1Th 4:9). For
these new Christians, loving other believers was as easy as “falling
off a log.” They could not wait to get to church where they could drink
in the fellowship of the godly. The fellowship of their new brothers
and sisters was delectably mysterious to them, and they rejoiced in
plumbing the depth of each other’s souls. ...But it had been waning in the little house-church with the years of
stress and uncertainty. Some of the brethren had grown weary of each
other. And a few actually seemed to exchange mutual hatred. What to do? The answer given here is utterly volitional—they were to
will to practice brotherly love!
Inwardly, this requires that we will
to consider the stupendous implications of our shared generation—that
we truly are “brothers” and sisters (the terms are not merely
sentimental but are objective fact)—that though we are millions, we
share only one Father—that we will still be brothers and sisters when
the sun turns to ice—that God is pleased when brothers and sisters
dwell together in unity (cf. Psalm 133 and John 17).
Outwardly, we must will to say and do only those things that will
enhance our philadelphia. To paraphrase Will Rogers, we must so order
our lips that we would not be afraid to sell the family parrot to the
pastor—or to any other Christian friend.
R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway;
Volume 2 or
Apology of Aristides The
Philosopher (Written circa 125AD when Hadrian visited Athens - the
translation below is from the Syriac versio) recorded the following
observations concerning the first and second century followers of
But the Christians, O King, while
they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we
learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and
genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and
trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from
whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from
whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds
and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come.
Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false
witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not
theirs. They honour father and mother, and show kindness to those near
to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do
not worship idols (made) in the image of man; and whatsoever they
would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and
of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they
are pure. And their oppressors they appease (lit: comfort) and make
them their friends; they do good to their enemies; and their women, O
King, are pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest; and their
men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all
uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world.
Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or
children, through love towards them they persuade them to become
Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren
without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go
their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found
among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not
turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who
treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without
boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their
homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call
them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in
God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of
them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to
his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or
afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them
anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem
him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and
needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in
order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the
precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as
the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they
give thanks and praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them;
and for their food and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And
if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice
and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were
setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been
born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it
happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for
one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they
see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for
him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his
doom. (Read the rest of
the interesting description of the first century Christians
[see Roman Numeral XVI]
who gave quite a testimony to the supernatural Spirit filled,
Christ life and set a high and holy example for modern believers to
The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher)
Brotherly love among the early
Christians: — A striking instance of the brotherly love of the
early Christians transpired in the great plague that raged round
Alexandria, during the reign of Gallienus. At the first appearance of
the symptoms, the heathen drove the infected man from their sight;
they tore themselves from their dearest connections; they threw their
friends half-dead into the streets, and left their dead unburied. But,
in contrast with this cruel selfishness, “the Christians, in the
abundance of their brotherly love,” as their Bishop Dionysius says,
“did not spare themselves, but mutually attending each other, they
would visit the sick without fear, and ministering to each other for
the sake of Christ, cheerfully gave up their lives with them. Many
died after their care had restored others to health. Many, who took
the bodies of their Christian brethren into their hands and bosoms,
and closed their eyes, and buried them with every mark of attention,
soon followed them in death.”
Illustration - Frightened by
the clamor of thunder in the night, a little child cried out. Holding
her securely in his arms, her father explained that she needn’t fear.
God would take care of her because He loved her greatly. “I know God
will take care of me and loves me,” she replied. “But right now,
Daddy, I want someone with skin on to love me.” We are to be God’s
love, with skin on, ministering to others.
John Owen writes on the
preservation of brotherly love:
Brotherly love is very apt to be
impaired if we do not endeavor continually to preserve it. It is a
part of the wisdom of faith to consider aright the occasions of the
decay of mutual love, and the means of its preservation. Without this
we cannot comply with this caution and injunction in a due manner.
I. The CAUSES OF THE DECAY OF
THIS LOVE, whence it doth not continue as it ought, are —
2. Love of this present world.
3. Abounding of lusts in the hearts
4. Ignorance of the true nature,
both of the grace and the exercise of it, in its proper duties.
5. Principally, the loss of a
concernment in the foundation of it, which is an interest in
gratuitous adoption, and the participation of the same spirit, the
same new nature and life. Where this is not, though conviction of
truth and the profession of it may for a season make an appearance of
this brotherly love, it will not long continue.
II. THE OCCASIONS OF ITS DECAY
AND LOSS ARE —
1. Differences in opinion and
practice about things in religion.
2. Unsuitableness of natural
tempers and inclinations.
3. Readiness to receive a sense of
4. Different, and sometimes
inconsistent secular interests.
5. An abuse of spiritual gifts, by
pride on the one hand, or envy on the other.
6. Attempts for domination,
inconsistent in a fraternity; which are all to be watched against.
III. THE MEANS OF ITS
CONTINUANCE OR PRESERVATION ARE —
1. An endeavour to grow and thrive
in the principle of it, or the power of adopting grace.
2. A due sense of the weight or
moment of this duty, from the especial institution and command of
3. Of the trial which is committed
thereunto, of the sincerity of our grace, and the truth of our
sanctification. For “by this we know that we are passed from death
4. A due consideration of the use,
yea, necessity of this duty to the glory of God, and edification of
the Church; and —
5. Of that breach of union, loss of
peace, disorder and confusion, which must and will ensue on the
neglect of it.
6. Constant watchfulness against
all those vicious habits of mind, in selflove, or love of the world,
which are apt to impair it.
7. Diligent heed that it be not
insensibly impaired in its vital acts; such as are patience,
forbearance, readiness to forgive, unaptness to believe evil, without
which no other duties of it will be long continued.
8. Fervent prayer for supplies of
grace enabling us thereunto, with sundry others of a like nature. And
if we judge not this duty of such importance as to be constant in the
use of these means for the maintenance of it, it will not continue.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Related Resource: See A W
Pink's discussion of the hindrances to and aids or helps to the
furtherance of brotherly love -
Hebrews 13:1-3 Brotherly Love
The Pulpit Commentary adds
that the writer of Hebrews begins his charge to practice Christian
by enjoining the
of brotherly love.
OF BROTHERLY LOVE. “Let
brotherly love continue.”
1. That this affection existed
That it had been exercised in
former times is clear from Heb 10:32, 33, 34. That it was existent and
active at the time when this Epistle was written appears from Heb
2. That this affection was
imperiled is also implied.
There are several things which may
check the growth and extinguish the life of brotherly love.
(1) Diversity of opinion. We are
each gifted with individuality; we sometimes look at things from
different standpoints; we arrive at different conclusions. This is the
case in the interpretation of the sacred Scriptures, and in other
matters. Differences of opinion sometimes lead to differences of
feeling, to coldness and estrangement.
(2) Diversity of gifts. The great
Master gives to one man five talents, to another two, and to another
one. There is danger that pride in those of superior gifts, or envy in
those who are less gifted, may crush this holy affection.
(3) Misunderstandings may arise
amongst Christian brethren and blight their love of each other.
3. That this affection should be
“Let brotherly love continue.” Let
it remain. Guard against those things which endanger its existence.
Cherish it. This love of the brethren is not to be limited to those
who belong to the same ecclesiastical community, or to those who hold
the same views of Christian doctrine; it should embrace all the
disciples of the Lord Jesus. “Grace be with all them that love our
Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness.” The importance of maintaining
this affection is manifest from many Divine utterances (Jn 13:34, 35;
15:12, 17; 1 John 3:11, 14–18; 4:7, 8, 11, 20, 21).
OF BROTHERLY LOVE.
Two forms in which this affection
should be expressed are adduced in our text.
1. Hospitality towards
2. Sympathy towards sufferers.
pulpit commentary - Homily - Personal Exhortation)
Brotherly love (Homily)
I. Especially necessary at the
It was a time of trial from
outside. Brothers needed to be brotherly, helping one another. We
cannot expect anything from strangers, and must be ready even for
their hostility. But we must do everything to guard against alienation
amongst friends at a time when the closest union will be serviceable.
II. The counsel necessary
because self-regard is such a subtle sin.
Carnal views of the kingdom of
heaven, such as seem to have been prevalent among these Hebrew
Christians, inevitably led to each one of them thinking what in the
expected glorious state of things he would get for himself. So it was
among the disciples of Jesus. They disputed who should be greatest.
There was even intrigue to get a promise of the principal places.
Christians need to be ever on their guard lest any feeling get
dominion in their hearts hostile to the good of the whole body.
III. We are reminded of abiding
things that depend on our own disposition.
The writer has just been referring
to things that can be shaken and removed, and things that cannot be
shaken. These are things that God deals with by his power. But the
continuance of some things depends on whether we will have them
continue. Whether brotherliness shall be a deep and abiding thing
depends on the state of our hearts.
IV. Continual remembrance of the
real relation of every Christian to every other Christian.
By the same Spirit we are all born
again, and therefore members of the same Divine family. Each of us,
therefore, is under certain obligations; each of us may prefer certain
claims. But there can be no proper treatment either of the obligations
or the claims unless there be real affection underneath. It is in the
spiritual sphere as in the natural; the mere relation may only
irritate unless there be the feelings that properly belong to the
pulpit commentary - Homily - Brotherly Love)
This book “to the Hebrews” begins
like a doctrinal treatise; but it ends like a letter.
Hebrews 13 is written quite in the
epistolary form; and concludes with some personal notices—the only
such that are to be found in the book. The verses before us contain
counsels suited to the individual Christian life. Here the apostle
says in effect to his readers—
Be not selfish (Heb 13:1, 2, 3);
Be not sensual (Heb 13:4);
Be not sordid (Heb 13:5, 6).
I. An exhortation to brotherly
love. (Hebrews 13:1, 2, 3.)
In the New Testament, love of the
brethren means love of the spiritual brotherhood of believers. The
natural affection which subsists between brothers and sisters,
although very sacred and beautiful, is not in itself Christian
brotherly love. No more is patriotism, or love of country, a
distinctively Christian sentiment. The brotherly love which the gospel
inspires forgets all differences merely of kindred and nation. It is a
spiritual bond, and unites the saint to all his fellow-believers
everywhere. This love is not one of the things “that can be shaken”
(Heb12:27); it “never faileth” (1Cor. 13:8, 13). So, the apostle
exhorts the Hebrews to make sure that it shall “remain” among
themselves, and be as actively exercised in the future as in the past
(Heb 6:10). For, the spirit which rejoices to recognize
fellow-believers—taking pleasure in their society, laboring to promote
their welfare, and throwing the veil of charity over their failings—is
one of the richest and ripest fruits of the Christian life. Love of
the brethren is the cement of a congregation. And only the man who
cherishes it is, in the proper meaning of the word, a gentleman. In
Heb 13:2, 3, the apostle specifies two modes by which it is essential
that brotherly love should be manifested; those, viz. of hospitality
and sympathy. It is to be shown towards:
1. Brethren who are strangers.
(Heb 13:2.) The Christian Hebrews were to account it a sacred duty
hospitably to entertain fellow-believers from other lands or
districts, who might be travelling either on business, or in the
service of the Church, or because driven from home by persecution. And
not only a sacred duty, but a blessed privilege. For as Abraham and
Lot (Gen. 18, 19) “entertained angels unawares,” so the stranger whom
the Christian receives may turn out to be a messenger from God to his
soul—one whose presence may fill his house with the atmosphere of
heaven. Should the stranger be a man whose mind is stored with the
treasures of spiritual truth, and whose affections are devout and
pure, his visit may prove a means of direct quickening to the
religious life of the household. Samuel Rutherford experienced this
privilege, when one Saturday evening he received a stranger into his
pleasant manse at Anworth; for after being impressed at the family
catechizing with the guest’s answer that the number of the
commandments was eleven, the “new commandment” (John 13:34) being
cited as proof, he discovered by-and-by that his visitor was
Archbishop Usher, the learned and devout primate of the Church of
Ireland. But another and a still sweeter thought is not remote from
the motive to hospitality contained in this verse, viz. that in
entertaining Christ’s servants we are receiving the Master himself: “I
was a Stranger, and ye took me in” (Matt. 25:35).
2. Brethren who are sufferers.
(Heb 13:3.) The Hebrews were to “remember” the saints who might be
in prison. They were to do so “as bound with them;”–a beautiful
expression, breathing the aroma of true Christian sympathy. They were
to pray earnestly for them, if possible visit them, minister to their
wants, and strive to secure their liberation. Brotherly kindness would
lead them to conceive of themselves as occupying the position of the
sufferers. It would cause them to realize the “bonds” of their
brethren as an affliction personal to themselves, just as the elder
Brother’s love does (Acts 9:4). But, since imprisonment is not the
only calamity to which believers are exposed, the apostle proceeds to
bespeak sympathy for all who in any way “are evil entreated” for
Jesus’ sake. We ourselves are liable to the same adversities which our
brethren endure. Let us, therefore, identify ourselves with them. It
is not enough that we contribute to public charities. Neither do we
discharge all our duty when we employ some person as our proxy to care
for the sufferers. True Christian sympathy requires that we bring
ourselves into personal contact with them. Strength is often received
from the glance of a sympathizing eye, or the grasp of a loving hand,
or the utterance of a tender word of holy comfort. (The
William Gouge sums up the
motives that should encourage us to pursue brotherly love...
1. Brotherly love is a grace
absolutely necessary. It is the foundation whereon all duties that
have relation to the brethren are erected.
2. Brotherly love is one of the
fairest and most glorious flowers in the Christian garden. It makes
men amiable before God and man. It sends forth a sweet fragrant savor
wherever it is.
3. Such is the life and vigor of
brotherly love, as it puts on them in whom it is unto all duties. A
stronger incitation and enforcement thereunto cannot be given.
4. So violent and irresistible is
the power of love, as it will pass through all difficulties, and
overthrow all obstacles. It will not be hindered from doing the good
it should do.
5. Love is as salt, which infuses a
savory and wholesome taste into such things as would otherwise be
fresh and flashy. It is therefore joined with sundry other duties for
this very purpose, even to season them. The apostle so far commends
love in this kind, as he makes all things unsavory and unprofitable
without it (1Co 13:1-3). He therefore gives this general advice,
“Let-all your things be done in love” (1Co 16:14).
6. Love has a strong operation on
others. It is a fire which heats the things that are near it. As
apprehension of God’s love to us works love in us to God (1Jn 4:19),
so others’ apprehension of our love to them will make them love us.
And as love puts us on to all kindness unto them, so their love of us
will put them on to do all kindness unto us. David and Jonathan.
7. Love is one of the most
comfortable graces that a man can have. It gives evidence to others,
and brings assurance to a man’s own soul of the love of God to him, of
his right to Jesus Christ, of the Spirit’s abode in him, and of his
right to the heavenly inheritance.
8. Love is an especial means of
strengthening and establishing the kingdom of Christ. It unites the
subjects and members of that kingdom in one, which is a means of great
9. The nearest union that is
between any in this world is between professors of the faith, and that
in their mutual relation one to another, and in the joint relation
that they all have to Christ. Resemblances of the nearest relation
that be, are used to set this forth, as of a foundation and edifice
(Ep 2:20, 21) of a vine and branches (John 15:5), of a husband and
wife (Eph 5:32; 2Co 11:2), of a head and body (Eph 1:22, 23). This
near union should stir us up to brotherly love; for therein we love
that body which is styled Christ (1Co 12:12).
10. This world s hatred of saints
should the more stir us up to love them. Christ enforces this duty
upon this ground (Jn 15:17, 18, 19). The world most hates saints, and
that, in this very respect, because they are saints. But brotherly
love is a sovereign antidote against the poison of the world’s hatred,
and a precious cordial to revive and support the saint’s spirits. (W.
neglect to show
tines xenisantes (AAPMPN)
Amplified: Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend
hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial,
and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part
generously], for through it some have entertained angels without
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Be not
forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained
NIV: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so
doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
NLT: Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who
have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Phillips: nor refuse to extend your hospitality to strangers -
sometimes men have entertained angels unawares. (Phillips:
Wuest: Let the brotherly affection continue. Of
hospitality do not continue to be forgetful, for through this [namely,
hospitality] some have shown hospitality to angels unawares. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: of the hospitality be not forgetful, for
through this unawares certain did entertain messengers;
DO NOT NEGLECT TO SHOW HOSPITALITY
TO STRANGERS: tes philoxenias me epilanthanesthe:
not neglect: Lev 19:34 De 10:18,19 1Ki 17:10-16 2Ki 4:8 Job
31:19,32 Isa 58:7 Mt 25:35,43 Ac 16:15 Ro 12:13 16:23 1Ti 3:2 5:10 Tit
1:8 1Pe 4:9)
Dictionary Articles on Hospitality
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of
Do not neglect
to show hospitality - The Greek reads more literally "of the
hospitality be not forgetful". NASB adds "to show" but
this is not present in the Greek. NET Bible is more accurate
"Do not neglect hospitality."
hospitality in the Pentateuch (penta = 5 > The Torah = first
five books of Bible), Moses recording that...
The stranger who resides with you
shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as
yourself; for (always be alert for
terms of explanation
- here "for" explains why Israel
was to to love strangers) you were aliens in the land of Egypt (surely
their memory as foreigners in a strange land would serve as motivation
to show hospitality to strangers): I am
the LORD your God. (Lev 19:34)
He (The LORD your God) executes
justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien
by giving him food and clothing. So (term
with the 5W/H'S)
show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of
Egypt. (Dt 10:18, 19)
Job was a man who was "blameless,
upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1) and
thus it is not surprising that he gives us his example (to imitate) by
practicing hospitality even before hospitality had been
commanded by God (most authorities feel that Job pre-dates Moses)...
The alien (Hebrew = ger = someone
who did not enjoy rights usually possessed by residents) has not
lodged outside, for I have opened my doors to the traveler. (Job
When Jesus returns in His
glory (Mt 25:31, 32, cp Zech 14:5, Mt 24:30, 31, Mk 13:26, 27, Lk
21:27) as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 1:7-note,
to sit on His throne in Jerusalem (Isa 2:2, 3, 4-note)
Millennial Reign of Christ),
He will have a time of judgment often referred to as the "judgment of
the sheep and the goats" (Judgment of the Gentiles - "nations" in Mt
25:32 = ethnos - often translated "Gentiles" = Gentiles who survive
the horrible time of the
Great Tribulation). What
is fascinating is that the main criteria on which He will judge the
Gentiles is whether or not they have exhibited hospitality!
Matthew records the somber scene, the
was hungry, and you gave
Me something to eat;
was thirsty, and you gave
was a stranger, and you invited
in; naked, and you clothed
was sick, and you visited
was in prison, and you came to
"Then the righteous (not by their works which He is judging, but
justified or declared righteous at a moment in time when by grace they
exercised personal faith in the Messiah - Ro 3:24-note,
will answer Him,
when did we see You
hungry, and feed You,
or thirsty, and give You
drink? 'And when did we see
You a stranger, and
in, or naked, and clothe You? 'And when did we see
sick, or in prison, and come to
"And the King
will answer and say to them, 'Truly
say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of
even the least of them, you did it to
of time =
after He has rewarded the righteous!) He will also say to those on His
from Me (cp Mt 7:23-note,
Lk 13:24, 25, 26, 27-note
in both Matthew and Luke Jesus is quoting from Ps 6:8a-note),
accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the
devil and his angels (Note that hell was not originally prepared for
men! cp 2Th 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 10) (Mt 25:35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41)
GOD OPENED HER HEART
SHE OPENED HER HOUSE!
In Acts after Lydia's
heart was opened to receive the Word of Truth (The
Gospel) implanted which
was able to save her soul (Jas 1:21-note,
one of the first responses from her new heart and new spirit
(Ezek 36:26, Ezek 36:27 - explains "how" one can live supernaturally.
Note that one of God's "ordinances" we are to obey is to show
hospitality!) was to offer Paul and his companions hospitality!
And a certain woman named Lydia,
from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of
God, was listening; and the Lord opened (Gk = dianoigo = means to
divide, open thoroughly that which had been closed! cp another
spiritual use in Lk 24:45 which we need to keep in mind every time we
open the Bible praying Ps 119:18-note)
of her heart (God's sovereignty) to respond (Human responsibility!
Note the juxtaposition of God's sovereignty in salvation and man's
responsibility = a divine mystery which should evoke not arguing [as
is all too often the case] but praise and adoration to our only wise
God Ro 16:27-note)
to the things spoken by Paul (cp 1Co 1:18, 23, 2:2). And when she and
her household had been
baptized, she urged us, saying, "If
you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house
(Gk = meno in
= same verb and tense used in Heb 13:1 calling for love of the
Brethren to continue or "stay")." And she prevailed upon (Gk =
parabiazomai = originally meant to use force and so figuratively Lydia
urged Paul and his associates strongly, constrained them by
entreaties, compelled) us. (Acts 16:14, 15)
Paul uses the related word
his description of qualities desirable in elders (overseers) and godly
An overseer, then, must be above
reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable,
able to teach (1Ti 3:2)
For the overseer must be above
reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not
addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but
loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled (Titus
Pastor Steven Cole Comments:
The Greek word (philoxenos) means, literally, “a
lover of strangers.” Again, this is a quality that every Christian
must strive for (Ro 12:13; 1Pe 4:9), but it is especially incumbent on
elders. If elders are not friendly and warm towards others, the entire
church will reflect that indifference and selfishness. Hospitality
means taking a genuine interest in others and making them feel
welcomed and at ease. It should be begin here when the church gathers.
If you’re talking with someone you know and see a visitor all alone,
don’t keep talking to each other. Go to the visitor and make him feel
welcome! (Ed: Are you as
convicted as I am? I never thought of conversation with strangers as a
way of showing "hospitality"!) (Read
the full sermon)
Let a widow be put on the list only
if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one
man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up
children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers (All one
word in Greek = xenodocheo from
= strangers +
= receive favorably >
"put out the welcome mat" for strangers!), if she has washed
the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she
has devoted herself to every good work. (1Ti 5:9, 10)
Do not neglect
from epí = in or upon - intensifies meaning of following verb +
lantháno = lie hidden or concealed) conveys 2 basic nuances in
the NT, to forget (not recall information concerning something)
or to neglect (give little attention to, to omit by
carelessness or design). The epi- preposition intensifies the
meaning as noted and thus the idea is not just forgetting but "completely
with a negative means to stop an attitude or action in
progress. In other words stop (completely) forgetting to show affection to strangers
because it is an "acceptable service in reverence and awe" (Heb 12:28).
do not forget although you have
been spoiled of your goods (eg Heb 10:34, 35). It is easy to forget
such a duty....(Re: Angels) So an unknown guest is often more
worthy than he appears, and has angels for his attendants, although
they are not seen. Actions are estimated according to what a man does,
not merely according to what he thinks he does. Mt 25:40, 45. (Hebrews 13 The Critical English Testament)
Olford comments that
do not neglect or do not forget conveys the idea of
This very idea of thoughtfulness is
repeated in the next verse where the writer says, “Remember the
prisoners” (Heb 13:3). It takes no mental effort to think of those who
are near and dear to us. We have no problem in exercising the spirit
of consideration toward those who are our friends and colleagues, but
this does not constitute the essence of thoughtfulness. The regulation
here commands us to “entertain strangers” and to “remember the
prisoners” (Heb 13:2, 3). The test of thoughtfulness has to do with
our interest and concern for those who are strangers to us—those
suffering adversity. In a world that has lost the dimension of
personal involvement in the concerns of others, how refreshing to find
individuals who specialize in thoughtfulness toward others. God make
us sensitive to the needs of people who require encouragement and
love. May our daily prayer be:
Give me a heart sympathetic and
Jesus, like Thine, Jesus, like Thine;
Touched by the needs that are surging around me,
And filled with compassion divine.
Gromacki adds that...
Most people are naturally
suspicious of strangers, especially those who knock on the front door
of a private residence. Many houses are guarded by high fences, strong
gates, watch dogs, and security systems. The doors have multiple locks
on them. Such apprehension increases in the time of political and
religious persecution. The Jewish-Roman tension doubtless created the
background for the second command: “Be not forgetful to entertain
strangers.” The imperative (Present imperative
with a negative) implies that the readers had stopped many acts
of social benevolence. The author wanted them to resume and to
maintain their hospitality. (Stand
Bold in Grace An Exposition of Hebrews or
How does obey this command?
Just as one is enabled to obey all God's commands -- A personal choice
of our will which is enabled and empowered by grace (Heb 12:28), which
is God's supernatural power to transforms naturally selfish
individuals into to the supernaturally
empowered giving individuals who think more of others than they do of
themselves! Such transformed hearts begin to reach out to others who are not necessarily in
group." And to motivate this supernatural behavior the writer says you might even
encounter an angel
See similar OT teaching in Lev 19:34, Dt 10:18,19, Job 31:19,32, Isa
(philonexia - see philoxenos below) is literally love for
strangers or foreigners and thus conveys the meaning of hospitality or
kindness to strangers.
TDNT writes that...
Strangeness produces mutual tension
between natives and foreigners, but hospitality overcomes the tension
and makes of the alien a friend. Historically foreigners are primarily
enemies or outlaws who should be killed. It is then found, however,
that hospitality is a better way to deal with strangers, and they thus
become the wards of law and religion.
The related word
= love, friend +
stranger, one unknown, alien, guest)
literally means "stranger loving" or a friend of strangers, showing
them care and kindness. Practically
means fond of guests and so hospitable or given to (lover of)
hospitality. It describes one who is given to a generous, welcoming
and cordial reception of visitors, guests or strangers. It means to
give practical help to anyone who is in need (friend or stranger,
believer or unbeliever) Hospitality was a highly valued Greek and
Jewish virtue. It was absolutely necessary for the expansion of the
gospel and necessary for the maintenance of the fellowship within the
church as well as the image of the church from without.
is from Medieval Latin hospitāre = to receive as a guest which in
turn is from Latin hospes = guest.
hospitable man gives practical help to anyone who is in need,
friend or stranger, believer or unbeliever, freely offers his time,
his resources, and his encouragement to meet the needs of others.
spoke on hospitality, saying to
the one who had invited Him, "When
you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your
brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite
you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a
reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you
will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for
you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
(Lk 14:12, 13, 14)
Jesus warned against showing hospitality only to those who would
return the favor.
Paul wrote that believers should be
contributing to the needs of the
saints, (present tense = continually) practicing (literally
"pursuing") hospitality. (Ro 12:13-note)
This was a necessary injunction
when so many Christians were banished and persecuted. "Pursuing"
indicates not only that hospitality is to be furnished when
sought, but that Christians were (and are still) to seek opportunities
of exercising it!
links loving one another with showing hospitality
Above all, keep fervent (ektenes
= pictures one stretching himself out, straining intensely!) in
your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaint (goggusmos
= murmuring, grumbling) . (1Pe 4:8, 9-note)
Be hospitable is not an
imperative (as NASB suggests), but an adjectival phrase defining the
love just commanded. This "love" that stretches out and that covers is
demonstrated in hospitality! Note that the Greek text has no verb (no
"be" before hospitable) in verse 9. The prohibition to show no
grumbling unfortunately has a sharp twang of realism about it for
then, as now, guests could overstay or otherwise abuse their host's
welcome. This prohibition emphasizes that the one showing hospitality
needs to rely on the transforming "manifold grace of God" (1Pe 4:10-note)
to carry out what could turn out to be an exasperating chore that
might result in grumbling.
Amplified translates it
"Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of
faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly
affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all
others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each
instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without
complaining but as representing Him)."
Olford is right to remind us that...
it requires no great exercise of
love to show ourselves friendly to those we like, but it does call
upon all the grace of God within us to go out of our way to show
compassion to those who are complete strangers to us. Yet this is the
essence of hospitality. Study the New Testament, observing the
emphasis that the Holy Spirit puts upon Christian hospitality; then
measure how far you have gone in the exercise of this holy duty.
Rather disconcerting, isn’t it?...In biblical times this involved
washing the feet of guests, anointing their head with oil, giving them
a change of clothing, and providing food and sleeping accommodations.
Whether or not there was a gratuity for this or it was provided free
of charge, all hospitality was judged by the measure in which these
services were effectively rendered. (Institutes of Biblical preaching:
says that philoxenos describes
one who is fond of offering
hospitality. But the hospitality referred to here is not of the kind
which says, “Come over for dinner and let us have a good time. Some
day you will return the favor and I will enjoy your hospitality.” The
hospitality spoken of here found its occasion in the fact that in the
days of the great Roman persecutions, Christians were banished and
persecuted, and rendered homeless. Or, in the case of traveling
preachers and teachers, ministering from church to church, these
servants of God were to be received and cared for by the bishop. Or,
because in the early centuries, the local churches had no church
edifice in which to worship, the church met in the home of an
individual. The bishop should be glad to thus open his home for this
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
The New Manners and Customs
of Bible Times...
In New Testament times, refusal to
give hospitality amounted to rejection (Mt 10:14), and it was
therefore essential for Christians to give hospitality (Gal 6:10; 1Pe
4:9). Although such a practice gave moral protection in view of the
character of many inns (see p. 234) and in view of the fact that many
Christians had to leave their own homes because of persecution, it was
more than this: “hospitality” is philoxenia, a “love for
others.” It was particularly important for preachers of the time who
had given up their livelihood so that they could preach the gospel
(3Jn 1:5, 6, 7, 8). They were to be given hospitality for several
days, and then encouraged to move on to another place (e.g. Acts 9:43;
16:15; Ro 16:2). One could not be recognized as a leader in the church
unless one was hospitable (1Ti 3:2; Titus 1:8). (Gower, R., & Wright,
F. The new manners and customs of Bible times. Chicago: Moody Press)
in the ancient world there were
always many who were on the move. Inns were notoriously expensive,
dirty and immoral; and it was essential that the wayfaring Christian
should find an open door within the Christian community. To this day
no one needs Christian fellowship more than the stranger in a strange
place." Hospitality was essential in NT times because of absence of
hotels or motels and the fact that the inns were notoriously evil,
often in fact functioning as brothels and as places where travelers
were robbed or beaten.
(Barclay describes the ancient inn
as) notoriously bad. In one of Aristophane’s plays Heracles asks his
companion where they will lodge for the night; and the answer is:
“Where the fleas are fewest.” Plato speaks of the innkeeper being
like a pirate who holds his guests to ransom. Inns tended to be dirty
and expensive and, above all, immoral.
The ancient world had a system of
what were called Guest Friendships. Over generations families had
arrangements to give each other accommodations and hospitality. Often
the members of the families came in the end to be unknown to each
other by sight and identified themselves by means of what were called
tallies. The stranger seeking accommodation would produce one half of
some object; the host would possess the other half of the tally; and
when the two halves fitted each other the host knew that he had found
his guest, and the guest knew that the host was indeed the ancestral
friend of his household.
In the Christian church there were
wandering teachers and preachers who needed hospitality. There were
also many slaves with no homes of their own to whom it was a great
privilege to have the right of entry to a Christian home. It was of
the greatest blessing that Christians should have Christian homes ever
open to them in which they could meet people like-minded to
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The
Westminster Press or
The New Daily Study Bible New Testament - Logos)
Our high tech world leads to low
touch with other people, which in turn leads to the rise in a sense of
loneliness. If you are lonely then let this passage guide you to look
for someone in need of help and you will alleviate the loneliness for
both of you!
If you are
feeling all alone,
Reach out to someone who's bereaved;
You both will find encouragement
And loneliness will be relieved.
Many people are lonely
because they build walls instead of bridges.
Stephen Olford writes
The idea of hospitality is one that
finds its source in the very heart of God. Indeed, heaven is described
as the Father’s house with many abiding places. The purpose of God,
from eternity past, has been to make the world a place of hospitality
and friendliness. The Bible has much to say about hospitality. From
the earliest records we have we read of God’s laws concerning
hospitality to strangers and the poor (see Lev. 19:33–34; Deut. 15:7).
People like Abraham, Lot, Reuel, and Manoah were given to hospitality;
and Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, who had compassion on
an injured traveler, took him to a local inn, and paid for his care
(see Luke 10:2-5,37). The Epistles command us to show hospitality;
indeed, it is a qualification for leadership (see Ro 12:13; 1Ti
5:10; Titus 1:8; 1Pe 4:9).“Let brotherly love continue” (Heb 13:1).
Hospitality that does not find its motivation from the love of God may
be commercial, but it is certainly not Christian.
FOR BY THIS
SOME HAVE ENTERTAINED ANGELS WITHOUT KNOWING
IT: dia tautes gar elathon (AAI) tines xenisantes (AAPMPN) aggelous:
(some have entertained angels: Ge 18:2-10 19:1, 2,
3 Jdg 13:15-25 Mt 25:40)
For by this (See
term of explanation)
explains why they should not forget to show hospitality to strangers
and also serves as a motivation to do so.
Bleek remarks that the notices
found in the writings of the enemies of Christianity show how much
this virtue was practised among the early believers
= a stranger, foreigner) means to
receive as a guest, to demonstrate hospitality and so to lodge or to
entertain ("play the host" Sirach 29:25). To lodge with or be entertained by (Acts 10:6). When used
intransitively, xenizo refers to something strange and so means
to astonish (Acts 17:20) or to be surprised by the strangeness and
novelty of something (1Pe 4:12, 2Macc 9:6).
Xenizo - 10x in 10v in
NAS - Acts 10:6, 18, 23, 32; 17:20; 21:16; 28:7; Heb 13:2; 1Pe
NAS = entertained (2), gave...lodging (1), lodge (1), staying
(3), strange things (1), surprised (2).
Once in non-apocryphal
Septuagint - Esther 3:13.
(aggelos) is strictly speaking one who brings a message, a
messenger. A person who makes an announcement (of a prophet = Hag
1:13, of a priest = Mal 2:7, of John the Baptist = Mt 11:10, Mk 1:2,
Lk 7:27). Aggelos is a supernatural entity that attends upon or
serves as a messenger of God (Mt 1:20; 2:13, 19; Lk 1:11; 2:9; Ac
5:19; 12:7, 23). In Ex 23:20 in context aggelos is most likely
a reference to the
Angel of the LORD.
See related resources:
Angel in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
NETBible dictionaries - Angel
Thayer notes that
in regard to the supernatural messenger, in both testaments aggelos
one of that host of heavenly
spirits that, according alike to Jewish and Christian opinion, wait
upon the monarch of the universe, and are sent by him to earth, now to
execute his purposes (Mt. 4:6, 11; 28:2; Mk. 1:13; Lk. 16:22; 22:43
[L br. WH reject the pass.]; Acts 7:35; 12:23; Gal. 3:19, cf. Heb.
1:14), now to make them known to men (Lk 1:11, 26, 2:9; Acts
10:3; 27:23; Mt. 1:20; 2:13; 28:5; Jn. 20:12); hence the frequent
expressions (angel, messenger of Godְ)
Aggelos - 175x in 171v in
NAS - In the Gospels - Mt 1:20, 24; 2:13, 19; 4:6, 11; 11:10;
13:39, 41, 49; 16:27; 18:10; 22:30; 24:31, 36; 25:31, 41; 26:53; 28:2,
5; Mk 1:2, 13; 8:38; 12:25; 13:27, 32; Lk 1:11, 13, 18f, 26, 30,
34 35, 38; 2:9, 10, 13, 15, 21; 4:10; 7:24, 27; 9:26, 52; 12:8, 9; 15:10;
16:22; 22:43; 24:23; Jn 1:51; 12:29; 20:12; Acts 5:19; 6:15; 7:30, 35, 38,
53; 8:26; 10:3, 7, 22; 11:13; 12:7, 8, 9, 15, 23; 23:8 9; 27:23; Ro
8:38; 1Co 4:9; 6:3; 11:10; 13:1; 2Co 11:14; 12:7; Gal 1:8; 3:19; 4:14;
Col 2:18; 2Th 1:7; 1Ti 3:16; 5:21; Heb 1:4, 5, 6, 7, 13; 2:2, 5, 7, 9,
16; 12:22; 13:2; Jas 2:25; 1Pe 1:12; 3:22; 2Pe 2:4, 11; Jude 1:6; Rev
1:1, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 5, 7, 14; 5:2, 11; 7:1, 2, 11; 8:2, 3, 4,
8, 10, 12, 13; 9:1, 11, 13, 14, 15; 10:1, 5, 7, 8, 9; 11:15; 12:7, 9;
14:6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 17, 18, 19; 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1, 5; 17:1, 7; 18:1,
21; 19:17; 20:1; 21:9, 12, 17; 22:6, 8, 16. NAS = angel(86),
angel's(2), angelic(1), angels(80), messenger(4), messengers(3).
Without knowing (2990)
(lanthano) means to escape notice (Mk 7:24, Lk 8:47, Lev 4:13;
5:3.4:15; Nm 5,13), to not know, to be unaware, to be ignorant
of (Heb 13:2), to fail to remain aware of something (2Pe 3:5)
Vine notes that...
lanthano, “to escape
notice,” is used with the aorist participle of xenizo, “to entertain,”
signifying “entertained…unawares” (an idiomatic usage common in
NET Bible notes that...
This is a vague allusion to people
described in scripture and extra-biblical literature and may include
Abraham and Sarah (Ge 18:2-15), Lot (Ge 19:1-14), Gideon (Jdg
6:11-18), Manoah (Jdg 13:3-22), and possibly Tobit (Tobit 12:1-20). (Hebrews 13 Notes)
This verse brings to mind the angels who ate with
Abraham and later with Lot (Ge 18:2; 19:1-3).
In the OT we see that not only
might one entertain angels but one might entertain a prophet
Now there came a day when Elisha
passed over to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman, and she
persuaded him to eat food. And so it was, as often as he passed by, he
turned in there to eat food. (2Ki 4:8)
The early church met in homes,
ministers traveled (3Jn 1:5, 6, 7, 8), persecutions drove many
believers from homes (Hebrews 10:34 "accepted joyfully the seizure of
your property"), they were poor and could not afford inns. Hospitality was a highly valued
Greek and Jewish virtue. It was absolutely necessary for the expansion
of the gospel and necessary for the maintenance of the fellowship
within the church as well as the image of the church from without.
To this day
no one needs Christian fellowship more than the stranger in a strange
A person who is hospitable gives practical help to anyone who is in
need, friend or stranger, believer or unbeliever. He freely offers his
time, his resources, and his encouragement to meet the needs of
others. Jesus elevated hospitality in (Lk 14:12,13,14). The Lord was
not, of course, saying that we are never to invite friends and
relatives over for a meal. He was pointing out that the true test of
godly, self-giving hospitality is not what we do for those that we
like to be around or who are likely to repay us in some way, but is
what we do for others solely out of sincere concern for their welfare.
We may not entertain
angels in a literal sense (though it is possible) but any
stranger could turn out to be God's messenger for the Greek
word “angel” simply means “messenger.” Indeed, most believers have had
guests (eg, missionaries on furlough, Bible speakers from out of town)
in our home who have turned out to be messengers of unspeakable
blessings to our family.
Illustration - Gordon M. Ferguson tells of meeting a Filipino
Methodist bishop on a European-bound ship. The bishop told of his
experience when he came to North America as a student years before.
The first Sunday his roommate appeared in the doorway, an umbrella
under each arm. He offered to show him the way to his place of worship
and then planned to go on to his own church. As they started down the
street he thought, “If this man has this kind of faith and interest in
my spiritual life, surely I should find out what his faith is like.”
He asked his friend to take him to his church and he attended it all
four years. As a result he entered Drew Theological Seminary, and
years later became a bishop in the Methodist church. (Sermons
hospitality these things are required:
1. That we do it frequently. One
swallow makes not a spring. The receiving
of a stranger once makes not a hospitable man. We must make a daily
and occupation of it. It was the continual practice of Lot and
may appear by their behaviour.2. It must be willingly. We must not tarry till strangers offer
We must pull them in, as Abraham and Lot did. We must constrain them,
as Lydia did St. Paul and Silas.
3. Cheerfully without grudging (1Peter 4:9), we must not
repine at it,
speak hardly of them when they be gone.
4. Meekly; not receive them after a stately and lord-like manner; but
meek manner, as if we were rather beholden to them, than they to us.
be the brethren of Christ, the sons of God; we are not worthy of such
5. Abundantly; according to that ability wherewith God hath blessed
we have but a little, let them have a little, as the widow of Sarepta
with Elias. If we have a great portion of God’s blessings, let them
6. We must do it perseveringly: be
not weary of well doing. Hospitality is a good thing, be not weary of
it. Let thy house be open to good men all the days of thy life. But
alas, this is a hard doctrine, who can abide it; we are too much
wedded to the world: yea, they that make a great show of Christianity,
are ready to say with Nabal,” Shall I take my bread and my water, and
my flesh, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be? “Oh
forget not this duty. Here he means such strangers especially as are
compelled to forsake their country for the gospel’s sake; but it is to
be extended to all.
It is an excellent duty, and we
have many spurs to prick us to it.
1. God requires it (Isaiah 58:7).
2. We have many examples for it.
3. We ourselves may be strangers,
therefore do as ye would be done to.
4. The want of it hath been
grievously punished, it was the overthrow of the whole tribe (Jdg
5. In receiving men that are
strangers, we may receive angels. Preachers which be God’s angels,
nay, Christ Himself (Matthew 25:6).
6. It is gainful for this life, and
that which is to come. (W. Jones, D. D.)
A genius for kindness: —
“There is a man,” said his neighbor, speaking of a village carpenter,
“who has done more good, I really believe, in this community than any
other person who ever lived in it. He cannot talk very well in
prayer-meetings, and he doesn’t very often try. He isn’t worth two
thousand dollars, and it’s very little that he can put down on
subscription papers for any good object. But a new family never moves
into the village that he does not find them out, to give them a
neighborly welcome and offer any little service he can render. He is
usually on the lookout to give strangers a seat in his pew at church.
He is always ready to watch with a sick neighbor, and look after his
affairs for him; and I’ve sometimes thought he and his wife keep house
plants in winter just for the sake of being able to send little
bouquets to invalids. He finds time for a pleasant word for every
child he meets, and you’ll always see them climbing into his one-horse
wagon when he has no other load. He really seems to have a genius for
helping folks in all sorts of common ways, and it does me good every
day just to meet him on the streets.” (Baxendale’s Anecdotes.)
SPARE BEDS - In 2004, Casey
Fenton co-founded a nonprofit service that helps travelers find a
“friendlier alternative” to unfriendly hotels. They find homeowners
who are willing to offer their spare beds and couches to others.
The group boasts almost a quarter of a million friendships that have
been formed from their service. “The more we network,” said Fenton,
“the better chance we have of this world being a better place.”
That service sounds a lot like biblical hospitality. In the final
pages of his letter to the Hebrews, the writer instructed believers to
practice their faith in Jesus Christ through hospitality (Heb 13:2). That
was defined by the early Christ-followers as acts of generosity toward
In the first century, hospitality often included housing a guest. This
was hardest to do during a time of persecution. These believers would
not know whether the person was a spy or a fellow believer being
pursued. But by entertaining strangers, the writer said, they could
indeed be inviting a blessing into their homes.
As God’s people, we are called to be hospitable to others as part of
our gratitude for the salvation we have received from God.— by Marvin
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, grant me a loving heart,
A will to give and share,
A whispered prayer upon my lips
To show I really care.
People with a heart for God have a heart for people.
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS -
While I was taking a flight to Surabaya, Indonesia, for a Bible
conference, the flight attendants brought meal service. I had just
eaten in the Singapore airport, so I declined, asking only for a soft
drink. The Indonesian man next to me, a stranger, was visibly
The man asked if I felt okay, and I assured him I was fine. He then
asked if perhaps the meal didn’t appeal to me. I responded that I just
wasn’t hungry. He then surprised me by offering his own meal to me,
thinking that if I tried it I might actually enjoy it. It was done in
such a gentle and genuine way that it was obviously an expression of
his concern for my welfare.
In a self-centered world where we are conditioned to look out for our
own interests above and beyond all else, such kindness was unexpected.
The man’s simple gesture showed a different kind of heart and a
different set of values. As followers of Christ, we are called to
model a similar counter-cultural attitude toward life (Phil. 2:1-8).
In Hebrews 13:2 we read, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by
so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” What better way to
represent Christ than with kindness—even to strangers. — by Bill
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Try to bring God’s love and
Into someone’s life today;
Even just the gift of caring
Will the Savior’s love display.
Kindness is one gift anyone can give.
THE HOSPITALITY MANGER -
Victoria’s family refers to her as the “hospitality manager” of their
home. She lives in Singapore with her daughter and son-in-law. He is
the RBC Ministries international director, and they often have
visitors. Victoria stays busy as a volunteer in the RBC office on that
island nation, but her primary ministry is the gift of caring and
hospitality. She makes their visitors feel welcome, loved, and cared
for in their home.
The word hospitality means “love of strangers,” and this is precisely
what the apostle Paul was calling us to in Romans 12. In the midst of
the practical challenges to believers about our relationship with God
and one another, Paul said that we are to be “distributing to the
needs of the saints, given to hospitality” (v.13). This may call us
outside our comfort zone to show love and care to those the Lord
brings across our path. Hebrews 13:2 adds this intriguing thought
about hospitality: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so
doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
Often overlooked and sometimes unappreciated, the ministry of the
“hospitality manager” is a great gift, and it brings with it the added
possibility of surprising blessings along the way! — by Bill
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
My heart is filled, dear Lord, with
So let it show in words and deeds;
And help me share, in all my ways,
The overflow for others’ needs.
To stretch your soul, reach out with Jesus’ love.
GOD'S LOVE ON A PLATE -
During His life on earth, Jesus chose to identify with poor and
destitute people. He lived as one who had no place to call home (Mt.
8:20), and His ministry was marked by compassion for the needy.
In her book Hidden Art, Edith Schaeffer of L’Abri Fellowship tells of
feeding the occasional vagrant who would stop at her back door and
ask, “May I have a cup of coffee, ma’am, and maybe some bread?”
Edith would invite him to sit down, then go in to prepare a tray of
food fit for a king: steaming soup and thick sandwiches, cut and
arranged artfully on a plate with garnishes. The children would make a
tiny bouquet, and if it was dusk, add a candle.
In amazement the man would gasp, “For me?” “Yes,” Edith would answer,
“and coffee will be ready in a minute. This Gospel of John is for you
too. Take it with you. It really is very important.”
In my kitchen hangs this saying: “Food is God’s love made edible.”
Certainly those vagrants at Edith’s door experienced God’s love
through her and her family.
How about serving up God’s love to someone? Through your generosity
you will be serving Christ—and perhaps, you may be serving an angel in
disguise (Heb. 13:2). - Joanie Yoder
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Love is giving for the world's
Love is sharing as the Spirit leads,
Love is caring when the world cries,
Love is compassion with Christlike eyes.
Food is God's love made edible.
THE BEST ROOM - During a
January research trip to Germany, I was dismayed to learn that we
would be staying at a monastery. I pictured an austere place with no
heat, cold stone floors, and hard beds. Instead, I found a warm,
welcoming, comfortable room. My colleague said, “The monks believe in
treating their guests as they would treat Christ.” Though they don’t
live in such comfort themselves, they are content.
Robert Herrick, a 17th-century
English poet, wrote:
Christ, He requires still,
wheresoe’er He comes,
To feed, or lodge, to have the best of rooms:
Give Him the choice; grant Him the nobler part
Of all the house: the best of all’s the heart.
It may seem easier to welcome
Christ into our heart than to open our life to others. Whether it’s a
room in our home or time in our schedule, too often we treat people as
intruders rather than guests.
The apostle Peter wrote: “Above all things have fervent love for one
another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to
one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9).
We honor Christ by giving Him the best room, our hearts, and by
offering willing hospitality to others. — by David C. McCasland
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
I am Yours, Lord, yet teach me all
All it involves of love and loyalty,
Holy service, full and glad surrender,
And unreserved obedience unto Thee!
To know love, open your heart to Jesus.
To show love, open your heart to others.
WHO'S ON MY GUEST LIST? - I
love hosting festive dinners. Sometimes I’ll say: “Tonia, we haven’t
had anyone over for dinner in a while. Who do you think we should
invite?” We go through our proposed guest list and suggest friends we
have never invited or have not invited in a while. And it seems like
this list is normally comprised of people who look and sound and live
like we do, and who can reciprocate. But if we were to ask Jesus whom
we should have over for dinner, He would give us a totally different
One day a prominent Pharisee invited Jesus into his home, probably for
table fellowship, but possibly to watch Him closely so he could trap
Him. While there, Jesus healed a man and taught the host a significant
lesson: When making out your guest list for a dinner party, you should
not be exclusive—inviting friends, relatives, rich neighbors, and
those who can pay you back. Instead, you should be inclusive—inviting
the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Although such people
would not be able to pay the host back, Jesus assured him that he
would be blessed and that God would reward him (Luke 14:12-14).
Just as Jesus loves the less fortunate, He invites us to love them by
opening up our hearts and homes. — by Marvin Williams
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The poor and needy everywhere
Are objects of God’s love and care,
But they will always know despair
Unless His love with them we share.
—D. De Haan
Opening our hearts and homes
blesses both us and others.
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including the excellent, literal translation, the English Standard Version
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