“To godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love”
to godliness, brotherly kindness
The first five foundational elements for building character relate to God, the last two relate to others.
We add “brotherly kindness” to our faith. We take the name “Philadelphia” from the Greek word meaning “brotherly love”–philadelphos. Philadelphia is formed from two Greek words meaning: brother and rapport love. The idea is that we are to have a rapport with our brothers in Christ. Friendship is the idea.
The New Testament never uses “brotherly kindness” as a command to love God. When commanded to love God, the next word in our verse for love (agape) is the term of use (Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 8:3; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 4:21).
“Brotherly kindness” means genuine love and without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:5; James 3:17; 1 Peter 1:22). Hence, this person lacks pretense or show. There is no prejudice in this love. It is free from bias.
The Bible does not require us to have rapport love for every believer. The opposite is true in some instances. We are to separate ourselves from those who walk in the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Christians are to be careful of those who walk in the flesh (Galatians 6:1).
“Brotherly kindness” seeks the highest good for others (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-11). This is the love of affection. When Jesus confronted His enemies, He expressed agape love towards them. This is a broader term than the word in this verse (philadelphia). Jesus did not like what they did, nor did He sanction what they did. He did not embrace them as friends. He could not call them “friends” [our word]. “Friends” is overt love. This is love that considers others and is gracious to them.
Rapport love or friendship love is of value to God.
Some of us believe that we can pick and choose who we like and who we do not. It is us if we say, “These are my kind of people, but those are not.” You may not like the way others say things. You may not like the way they do things. You may not like the fact that they are lazy or ignorant. However, we should seek rapport with them despite our opinion of them.
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
We may not like the way people comb their hair or wear their clothes. That is incidental.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10).
“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9).
“Let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1).
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).