|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:23-28 The apostle prays that they might be sanctified more perfectly, for the best are sanctified but in part while in this world; therefore we should pray for, and press toward, complete holiness. And as we must fall, if God did not carry on his good work in the soul, we should pray to God to perfect his work, till we are presented faultless before the throne of his glory. We should pray for one another; and brethren should thus express brotherly love. This epistle was to be read to all the brethren. Not only are the common people allowed to read the Scriptures, but it is their duty, and what they should be persuaded to do. The word of God should not be kept in an unknown tongue, but transplanted, that as all men are concerned to know the Scriptures, so they all may be able to read them. The Scriptures should be read in all public congregations, for the benefit of the unlearned especially. We need no more to make us happy, than to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is an ever-flowing and an over-flowing fountain of grace to supply all our wants.
Verse 26. - Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. That certain persons were enjoined to salute the other members of the Church is a proof that the Epistle was given into the hands of the presbyters. The reference is to the mode of salutation in the East. The kiss is called "holy" because it was the symbol of Christian affection. The same exhortation is made in other Epistles (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. In opposition, to an unchaste and hypocritical one. His meaning is, that they would salute the members of the church in his name, and give his Christian love and affections to them. And his view is to recommend to them brotherly love to each other, and to stir them up to the mutual exercise of it more and more.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. Hence it appears this Epistle was first handed to the elders, who communicated it to "the brethren."
holy kiss—pure and chaste. "A kiss of charity" (1Pe 5:14). A token of Christian fellowship in those days (compare Lu 7:45; Ac 20:37), as it is a common mode of salutation in many countries. The custom hence arose in the early Church of passing the kiss through the congregation at the holy communion [Justin Martyr, Apology, 1.65; Apostolic Constitutions, 2.57], the men kissing the men, and the women the women, in the Lord. So in the Syrian Church each takes his neighbor's right hand and gives the salutation, "Peace."
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