Romans 16:16
Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Salute one another.—As a mark of brotherly feeling among themselves, St. Paul desires those who are assembled at the reading of his Epistle to greet each other in a Christian way. It is to be their own act and not a salutation coming from him.

With an holy kiss.—A common Eastern and Jewish custom specially consecrated in Christianity. (Comp. 1Corinthians 16:20; 2Corinthians 13:12; 1Thessalonians 5:26; 1Peter 5:14.)

The churches of Christ.—The word “all” should be inserted. As being the Apostle of the Gentiles, and knowing as he did the interest which all would take in the church of the great metropolis, St. Paul feels himself fully justified in speaking for all the churches of his foundation.

Romans 16:16. Salute one another with a holy kiss — “The Jews considered the kiss as an expression of friendship. Thus Joab, pretending great friendship to Amasa, took him by the beard to kiss him, when he slew him, 2 Samuel 20:9. Our Lord says to Simon, Luke 7:45, Thou gavest me no kiss; meaning, that he had not expressed such affection to him as the woman had done who kissed his feet. Judas also kissed our Lord, pretending friendship to him, at the time he betrayed him. This manner of expressing friendship to each other the disciples of Christ adopted, and practised in their religious assemblies. So Justin Martyr informs us, in his account of the religious assemblies of the Christians, Apolog. Prayers being ended, we salute one another with a kiss, and then the bread and cup is brought to the president, &c. This was called the holy kiss, to distinguish it from the lustful kiss; and the kiss of charity, 1 Peter 5:14, to distinguish it from the treacherous kiss of Joab and Judas; being given as an expression of that sincere, chaste, and spiritual love, which Christians owed to one another. On the occasions mentioned by Justin, the men and women did not kiss each other promiscuously: the men saluted the men only, and the women kissed none but their own sex; as may be known from their manner of sitting in the public assemblies, described Apost. Constit., lib. 2. c. 57. On the other side let the laics sit, with all silence and good order; and the women, let them sit also separately, keeping silence. Then, after a long description of the worship, the author adds, Then let the men salute one another, and the women one another, giving the kiss in the Lord. Through length of time, and difference of manner, this method of sitting in public assemblies hath been changed. But that it was the ancient method cannot be doubted, being derived from the synagogue.” — Macknight.16:1-16 Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. It becomes Christians to help one another in their affairs, especially strangers; we know not what help we may need ourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many; he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the care of all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remember many persons, and send salutations to each, with particular characters of them, and express concern for them. Lest any should feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, he sends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints, though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation to them all, in the name of the churches of Christ.Salute one another - Greet one another in an affectionate mannner; that is, treat each other with kindness and love, and evince all proper marks of affection.

With an holy kiss - This mode of salutation has been practiced at all times; and particularly in eastern nations. It was even practiced by "men;" see the note at Luke 22:47-48. The use of the word "holy" here serves to denote that Paul intended it as an expression of "Christian" affection; and to guard against all improper familiarity and scandal. It was common, according to Justin Martyr (Apology), for the early Christians to practice it in their religious assemblies.

The churches of Christ - That is, the churches in the vicinity of the place where the apostle wrote this Epistle; probably the churches particularly in Achaia.

16. Salute one another with an holy kiss—So 1Co 16:20; 1Th 5:26; 1Pe 5:14. The custom prevailed among the Jews, and doubtless came from the East, where it still obtains. Its adoption into the Christian churches, as the symbol of a higher fellowship than it had ever expressed before, was probably as immediate as it was natural. In this case the apostle's desire seems to be that on receipt of his epistle, with its salutations, they should in this manner expressly testify their Christian affection. It afterwards came to have a fixed place in the church service, immediately after the celebration of the Supper, and continued long in use. In such matters, however, the state of society and the peculiarities of different places require to be studied.

The churches of Christ salute you—The true reading is, "All the churches"; the word "all" gradually falling out, as seeming probably to express more than the apostle would venture to affirm. But no more seems meant than to assure the Romans in what affectionate esteem they were held by the churches generally; all that knew he was writing to Rome having expressly asked their own salutations to be sent to them. (See Ro 16:19).

From greeting them himself, he proceeds to exhort them to greet or

salute one another: this he adviseth them to do

with an holy kiss. You have the same exhortation, in 1 Corinthians 16:20 2 Corinthians 13:12 1 Thessalonians 5:26. This the apostle Peter calls a kiss of charity, 1 Peter 5:14. Kissing is accounted a great symbol of love and concord: q.d. You have been much troubled with dissensions, about meats and days, &c.; therefore I beseech you that, forgetting all former offences, you would manifest for the future all signs of love to and peace with one another. Kissing was an old custom amongst the Hebrews; we find it used by the patriarchs, Genesis 27:26 29:11. It is still retained more or less in all countries. The primitive Christians did use it in their assemblies; so Tertullian testifieth, Lib. Dec.; and they did it especially in receiving the eucharist. So Chrysostom witnesseth, Hom. 77. in John 16. "We do well," saith he, "to kiss in the mysteries, that we may become one." This custom, for good reasons, is laid down, and the Romanists, in room of it, keep up a foolish and superstitious ceremony, which is to kiss the pax in the mass.

The churches of Christ salute you: he sends, besides his own, the salutations of others also to the Christians at Rome; and that, first, of whole churches, and by and by of particular persons, Romans 16:21-23. By churches, here, he principally means, the churches in Greece, where he then was, of whose good affection to the Christian Romans he was well assured. Salute one another with an holy kiss,.... Christian salutation is a wishing all temporal, spiritual, and eternal happiness, to one another; and which, as it should be mutual, should be also hearty and sincere, and this is meant by the "holy kiss"; the allusion is to a common custom in most nations, used by friends at meeting or parting, to kiss each other, in token of their hearty love, and sincere affection and friendship for each other; and is called "holy", to distinguish it from an unchaste and lascivious one; and from an hypocritical and deceitful one, such an one as Joab gave to Amasa, when, inquiring of his health, he took him by the beard to kiss him, and stabbed him under the fifth rib, 2 Samuel 20:9; and as Judas, who cried, hail master, to Christ, and kissed him, and betrayed him into the hands of his enemies, Matthew 26:49. I say, it is an allusion to this custom, for it is only an allusion; the apostle did not mean that any outward action should be made use of, only that their Christian salutations should not be mere complaisance, or expressed by bare words, and outward gestures and actions, either of the hand or mouth; but that they should spring from real love and true friendship, and be without dissimulation, hearty and sincere:

the churches of Christ salute you. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "all the churches"; that is, in Greece, or in the neighbourhood where the apostle was, and who might know of his writing to this church, and thereby send their Christian salutations to it; or if they did not know of his writing, yet as he knew their sincere affections, and hearty good will to this church, and the members of it, he in their names sent greetings to them: this shows the communion of churches, and how they ought to wish and sincerely desire each other's welfare.

Salute one another with an holy {e} kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

(e) He calls that a holy kiss which proceeds from a heart that is full of that holy love: now this is to be understood as referring to the manner used in those days.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 16:16. The series of greetings which Paul has to offer from himself is concluded. But he now desires that his readers should also exchange greetings among one another, reciprocally, and that with the loving sign of the holy kiss. The subject of this greeting is thus every member of the church himself, who kisses another (see on 1 Corinthians 16:20), not Paul, so that meo nomine should be supplied (Bengel, Koppe). This is forbidden by ἀλλήλους. Comp. 1 Cor. l.c.; 2 Corinthians 13:12; Justin, Ap. i. 65. The case is otherwise with 1 Thessalonians 5:26 (see Lünemann in loc.).

The ancient custom, especially in the East, and particularly among the Jews, of uniting a greeting with a kiss, gave birth to the Christian practice of the ἅγιον φίλημα (1 Peter 5:14 : φιλήμα ἀγάπης; Const. ap. ii. 57. 12, viii. 5. 5 : τὸ ἐν κυρίῳ φίλημα, Tertullian, de orat. 4 : osculum pacis), termed ἅγιον, because it was no profane thing, but had Christian consecration, expressing the holy Christian fellowship of love.[47]

πᾶσαι] From many churches greetings had been doubtless entrusted to the apostle for the Romans, since he had certainly not previously withheld from them his project of travelling to Rome (perhaps also, of writing thither beforehand). Concerning the rest, what Erasmus says holds good: “Quoniam cognovit omnium erga Romanos studium, omnium nomine salutat.” The universal shape of the utterance by no means justifies us in pronouncing this greeting not to be the apostle’s, and deriving it from 1 Corinthians 16:19-20 (Lucht); it rather corresponds entirely to that cordial and buoyant consciousness of fellowship, in which he did not feel himself prompted narrowly to examine his summary expression. Others arbitrarily limit πᾶσαι to the Greek churches (Grotius), or simply to the churches in Corinth and its ports (Michaelis, Olshausen, and others), or at least to those in which Paul had been (Bengel).

[47] That Paul actually desires that the reciprocal greeting by a kiss on the part of all should take place after the reading of the epistle, ought not to have been disputed (Calvin, Philippi). A ceremony indeed he does not desire; but he summons not merely to love, but to the kiss of love.Romans 16:16. ἀλλήλους. When the epistle is read in the Church the Christians are to greet each other, and seal their mutual salutations ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ. In 1 Thessalonians 5:26 the προιστάμενοι apparently are to salute the members of the Church so. In 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, exactly the same form is used as here. The custom of combining greeting and kiss was oriental, and especially Jewish, and in this way became Christian. In 1 Peter 5:14 the kiss is called φίλημα ἀγάπης; in Apost. Const., ii., 57, 12, τὸ ἐν Κυρίῳ φίλημα; in Tert[39] de Orat., xiv., osculum pacis. By ἅγιον the kiss is distinguished from an ordinary greeting of natural affection or friendship; it belongs to God and the new society of His children; it is specifically Christian. αἱ ἐκκλησίαι πᾶσαι τοῦ Χριστοῦ: “this phrase is unique in the N.T.” (Sanday and Headlam). The ordinary form is “the Church” or “the Churches of God”: but in Matthew 16:18 Christ says “my Church”: cf. also Acts 20:28, where τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Κυρίου is found in many good authorities. For “all the Churches” cf. Romans 16:4, 1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:28. Probably Paul was commissioned by some, and he took it on him to speak for the rest. If the faith of the Romans were published in all the world (chap. Romans 1:8), the Churches everywhere would have sufficient interest in them to ratify this courtesy. “Quoniam cognovit omnium erga Romanos studium, omnium nomine salutat.”

[39]ert. Tertullian.16. Salute one another] As if to respond to the example set them in the Apostle’s loving greetings.

a holy kiss] So 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14. See also Acts 20:37.—The kiss, as a mark both of friendship and of reverence, is still almost as usual as ever in the East.—In the early offices for Baptism the kiss is given to the newly-baptized. (Bingham, Bk. 12. ch. 4.).

The churches] A better reading gives, All the churches. He assumes this universal greeting, from the fact of the universal good-report of the Roman Christians. (See Romans 1:8.) And he offers it as a seemly message to the Christians of the mighty Capital.Romans 16:16. Ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους, salute ye one another) supply: in my name.—ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ, with a holy kiss) This was the flower of faith and love. The kiss of love, 1 Peter 5:14. This was the practice after prayers. Paul mentions the holy kiss at the conclusion of the first epistle to the Thessalonians, of both his epistles to the Corinthians, and of this to the Romans. Paul wrote these epistles at the earliest period. Afterwards purity of love was in some cases extinct or abuses arose, for in writing to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, when he was in prison, he gave no charge concerning this kiss. The difference has regard to the time, not to the place, for the Philippians were in Macedonia, as well as the Thessalonians. I do not say however that the difference of time was altogether the only reason, why the holy kiss was commanded or not commanded. In the second Epistle to the Thessalonians there was no need to give directions about it so soon after the first had been received. The condition of the Galatians at that time rendered such directions unsuitable.—αἱ ἐκκλησίαι[169]) the churches) with whom I have been, ch. Romans 15:26. He had made known to them, that he was writing to Rome.

[169] The Germ. Ver. has restored the reading of πᾶσαι, although it was declared on the margin of both Ed. as not quite so certain.—E. B.

DGfg omit ἀσπαζ. ὑμ. αἱ ἐκκλ. Πᾶσαι τ. Χριστοῦ, but add these words at the end of ver. 21. ABC Vulg. have all the words, including πᾶσαι, which Rec. Text omits without any good authority.—ED.Verse 16. - Salute one another with an holy hiss. All the Churches of Christ salute you. For allusions to the kiss of peace among Christians, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14. Justin Martyr ('Apol.,' 85) speaks of it as exchanged before the Eucharist, and it is alluded to by many Fathers, directed in the 'Apostolical Constitutions,' and has its place in ancient liturgies (see Bingham, 15. 3:3). St. Paul, of course, in enjoining it here and in other Epistles, has in view the concord which it expressed. In sending salutations from "all the Churches of Christ" (πᾶσαι, omitted in the Textus Receptus, having authority decidedly in its favour), he may be understood as conveying to the Roman Christians the feeling towards them that had been expressed generally by the Churches he had visited. He may have spoken wherever he went of his intention of visiting Rome, and perhaps of meanwhile sending a letter thither; and the several Churches may have charged him with kind messages. Before authenticating these salutations with his usual autographic benediction, he feels bound to add one additional warning. The thought occurs to him, and he cannot but give expression to it. The warning is against a class of persons whose mischievous activity he had had experience of elsewhere, and attempts by some of whom to disturb the peace of the Roman Church he may possibly have heard cf. They may have been Judaists, or others who taught views contrary to the received faith, and so caused divisions and offences in the Churches. For allusions to such elsewhere, cf. Galatians 1:6, seq.; Galatians 3:1, seq.; Colossians 2:8, seq.; 2 Corinthians 11:13, seq. For proof of such having been at work afterwards at Rome, cf. Philippians 1:15, seq.; Philippians 3:2, 17, seq. Kiss

Compare 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14.

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