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1 Let brotherly love continue.


The style of this epistle changes completely in chapter 13. The last chapter of Hebrews is an epilogue containing exhortations and the writer’s personal comments. Hebrews 13 gives instructions to Christians.  

Verses 1–6 are ethical directions for Christian living. Having presented very few exhortations to Christian living in the first 12 chapters, this chapter is replete with challenges to how believers live their lives. These exhortations base their appeals on faith. Genuine faith requires adequate response. The unbelieving world takes its notion of Christianity from the experiences of Christians who walk by faith (Mt 5:16).

Chapter 13 presents three sacrifices acceptable to God:

—bearing God’s reproach, 13:13

praise to God, 13:15

sharing with other believers, 13:16

1 Let brotherly love continue.

The greatest virtue of Christianity is love (Jn 13:34, 35; 1 Co 13:13). Biblical virtue love (agape) produces “brotherly love” (philadelphia, love of the brother). This is love for fellow born-again believers.

The word “continue” indicates that the readers already had brotherly love for one another. There is something unique about connection with fellow Christians. Believers are naturally drawn to one another (Ro 5:5; 1 Pe 1:22–23). The readers of Hebrews had previously shown this love (He 6:10). However, there was a danger that “brotherly love” might diminish or even cease to exist.


Biblical love rests on relation.


Christians love because of their relation to Christ. Jesus was not ashamed to call us brothers (He 2:11). This is a spiritual bond that knits believers together. It is a spiritual connection that holds the highest interests of fellow Christians together (Jn 13:34, 35). Christians do not love as if they are brethren but because they are brothers in Christ.

Not only are Christians to love one another, but they are to continue to do so. Maintenance of this love requires diligence. Many things can destroy this love. It is vital to nurture and protect it. We must make brotherly love evident to other Christians and to the world. Jesus demonstrated undying love for His own (Jn 13:1; 15:12).

It is possible for brotherly love to devolve. Christians are to preserve, not manufacture, “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). The “bond” we have with other Christians comes from the fact that we are in the body of Christ. As well, we maintain brotherly love by nurturing it with others (Ro 12:10; 1 Th 4:9–10). There is something special about spiritual brothers and sisters (1 Jn 5:1).

Biblical love for fellow Christians is not sloppy sentimentalism. Neither is it superficial attraction. It is something generated by the Holy Spirit (Ga 5:22). Faith produces love (Ga 5:6).