Hebrews 13:1, Brotherly Love

Let brotherly love continue.

//One of the distinguishing marks of early Christianity was its propensity for treating one another as “brethren,” greatly beloved. Rome thought those early Christians a strange lot–“they love one another as though their precious Jesus were still with them.”

Let’s break today’s verse down. “Brotherly,” in the original Greek, is disturbingly literal. It might be more correctly interpreted, “from  the same womb.” How are we to understand this? As Nicodemus says, “Can a man enter into the womb and be born again?” I can imagine Jesus smiling as he explains: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

“Love” in this verse is the Greek word philia; …that is, a fondness, a close companionship.

And “continue” means just what it sounds like; a plea to make sure love endures. Let’s put it all together again in a wordy retranslation:

Let there be a deep and enduring fondness between all who have been reborn of the Spirit.

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