1 Peter 5:14 “Talk Like a Christian”

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ The Redeemer Church Manhattan KS, 29 Nov 2015


v.14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you – to all those in Christ Jesus. Amen.


·         We are now at the end of our series on First Peter. What a ride it’s been! Thirty sermons starting back at the beginning of January this year. Peter has taught us so much about God’s ways!

·         In this last sermon, I want to consider HOW Peter communicated with us - and what patterns we can learn from him about how to make conversation with other Christians.

o        What topics did He cover, and how can that be a model for the topics of our conversations?

o        What kind of words did he use, and how can that be a model for our choice of words in conversation?

o        After a brief overview of the whole book, I plan to hone in on the very last verse.

·         You know, we very intentionally set aside time for fellowship after our worship services. We want you to enjoy staying and talking with each other over coffee and snacks. This is a very important part of our Christian life. In fact, this is how we minister to each other. Nothing thrills me more than to pass by some of you when you are deep in conversation talking about what God has taught you, what sins you are struggling with, and what hopes you have for the future. That’s the real ministry of the church right there when you’re all doing it!

·         But it’s a real challenge to talk like a Christian, when all you’ve heard, day-in-and-day-out, is non-Christian conversation.

o        Most of what we hear around us in the world of business and academia and the military - and in most of the entertainment media - is conversation with God carefully cut out of it.

o        Since most of our government administrations are fanatical about keeping church and state separate, and since the government controls the university and the Army, there is a systematic secularizing effect on most of the communications in our town which is stifling to Christians who are seeking to communicate in an authentically Christian way.

o        And the fact that there is a higher percentage of non-Christians in media production than there is in the population of America[1] means that when you read the news or watch movies or listen to the radio or whatever, that stream of calculatedly non-Biblical communication flows all-too-easily right into your stereo and headphones and home.

o        How can we ever learn how to talk like Christians? The most obvious way is to learn from the patterns of communication preserved for us in the pages of the Bible.

·         If we look at the epistle of First Peter as a whole:

o        We notice, as I pointed out last Sunday, that the good news of salvation by God’s grace through Jesus Christ is a central topic that Peter keeps coming back to.

§         “Christ died for all, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3)

§         Can you weave good news about Jesus into your conversation too?

§         If you could realize the magnitude of the goodness of this news, you wouldn’t be able not to talk about it!

o        There are so many other topics Peter addressed in this epistle. I can’t review them all right now, but think about authority, for instance. Peter had a lot to say about that, didn’t he?

§         Citizens, honor the king and all in civil authority.

§         Servants, obey your masters

§         Wives, submit to your husband

§         Parishioners, submit to the church elders.

§         Peter uses an interesting word in chapter 5 v.3 to describe the church congregation; he calls them “the allotment/the heritage/the trust.” In most of the Greek Bible where this word is used, it refers to the casting of lots. Here, God has precious people that He has drawn to Himself, and He had distributed them under the authority of these elders. The elders don’t own them; Jesus does. The elders didn’t even decide who they should oversee; God did by causing certain believers to live in a certain location (or perhaps the multiple elders in each church even had a random way of dividing up the members of their congregation among themselves for individual shepherding).

§         And Christ is over all “at the right hand of God after having proceeded into heaven, angels and authorities and powers having been subject­ed to Him.” (3:22, NAW)

§         But when the world talks about authority, it speaks in terms of the selfish wielding of power and encourages either a mindless kowtowing or a rebellious resistance to authority. Can we fight this by talking about our authorities respectfully, honoring them, while also holding them accountable to God’s ultimate authority?

o        Peter also talked about suffering:

§         For instance, in chapter 4, verse 13: “just as y’all have fellowship with the sufferings of Christ, keep rejoicing, in order that also in the unveiling of His glory, y’all may rejoice...” (NAW).

§         Suffering due to persecution is the main point here: such as when you don’t get a promotion due to tension between your worldview and your boss’. Or when someone you thought was a friend speads lies about you when you take a stand for righteousness. Or when it comes to people hurting you to force you to give up Christianity.

§         There are other forms of suffering, however, to which Peter’s principles apply. When you suffer sickness (which is a natural consequence of living in a world broken by sin) – whether it be mental illness, or the decay of old age, or viral or bacterial infections, or genetic malfunctions – these can be a form of participating in the sufferings of Christ who took on human flesh and endured the brokenness of a human body in a sinful world.

§         If we can live with infirmities while in fellowship with Jesus, thinking of how He experienced some of the same brokenness because He became one of us, and realize that He knows what we’re going through and sympathizes with us, then when He cracks the sky open and rides down on His white horse, it will be the most natural thing in the world for us to run towards Him rather than away from Him in terror like everybody else does. To you there will be no fear of His judgment because you know His arrival will inaugurate closer levels of fellowship with Him than you’ve ever known before.

§         In a similar way, the sufferings of Christ came upon Him not only passively (because He was a human in a sinful world) but also actively – especially on the cross – because He was intentionally accepting punishments due to other people for their sins. I’m not saying that you can atone for sins, but the Bible does tell us to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:1), and when you shoulder someone else’s problems in order to ease their suffering, you are acting in a way like Christ.

§         I realize that sometimes it is an important part of a child’s training to let them suffer the consequences of their own sin, but when you have to stoop to the indignity of cleaning human waste off the floor because your toddler didn’t obey you and go to the potty when you told them to, you are participating in the consequences of their sin – consequences that they are powerless to clean up all by themselves. That’s often the way it is with sin; there’s a mess to clean up somewhere. Maybe not a physical mess – maybe it’s a mess made of relationships between people. And if you get stuck holding the bag, how easy it is to stew over resentment towards that person who created the problem that you’re having to clean up.

§         Instead, Peter says here that you can see it as taking fellowship in the sufferings of Christ. Say, “Jesus, You suffered far more on the cross to clean up my sin; I choose to enter into the discomfort of the consequences of this person’s sin as an intentional way to have fellowship with You.”

§         And have you noticed that every time Peter talks about suffering, He points to the glory which Jesus possesses – the glory which Christians can anticipate in the future when Jesus returns?

§         Are you willing to share openly about what you are suffering so that other believers can help you bear those burdens? And when you hear of the sufferings of others, are you ready to encourage them with the hope of glory which we also share?

§         Chapter 1 v.4 talks about our “imperishable and undefiled and unfading inheritance which has been preserved in the heavens for y’all’s disposal.” Can you talk about that?

o        And the theme of reassurance also flows throughout this epistle.

§         You are the “elect,” chosen by God.... when the prophets wrote of the glories to come, they were writing for your benefit! (1:1 and 1:12)

§         2:10 “y’all who back then were not a people but now are the people of God – the ones who had not been shown mercy yet now have been shown mercy. 11 Loved ones, I am offering encouragement...” (NAW)

§         Can you fill your words to fellow Christians with affirmations of God’s love for them and reassurance of God’s promises to them?

o        One more theme I’ve noticed is the theme of encouragement to obey God and be holy.

§         He reminds us that God said, “be holy because I am holy.”

§         So it’s important to have “a clean heart” (ch.1), “good works” (ch. 2), a “pure lifestyle” (ch.3), and to “stop sin” (ch.4).

§         We are to be “obedient children” characterized by “love,” practicing “hospitality,” “speaking God’s words,” and “serving out of the God’s strength” (ch.4)

§         All too often, though my childhood, my peers and I would encourage each other to ride the ragged edge of sin, but God calls us to create a peer pressure that is positive, that discourages sin and encourages obedience to God. Can you run that “app” on your phone?

·         This isn’t holy talk crafted by professional priests to only use on Sunday morning; this is God’s word, ready to fill your mouth any time of the day, any day of the week. Do you see what a rich treasury of conversation patterns we have in First Peter? Will you use them?

·         Having these Biblical goals and patterns of speech will literally transform what you say on your phone and type into your texts, and who knows, but maybe God will use our steps of obedience in the coming revival!

·         Now, I want to take the second half of this time to move on to the communication patterns we see in the very last verse of First Peter – chapter 5 verse 14, and apply them specifically. There are two sentences: the first is a command, and the second is a kind of prayer.

·         So, are you ready for Peter’s parting imperative? What is the last thing Peter wants to underscore to be sure that we do?

“Greet one another with a kiss of love.”

·         James Strong’s Greek Lexicon points out that the Greek word for “greet” is an alpha-privative form of a verb meaning “to remove,” So it could be translated hyper-literalistically “un-remove one another.” But that’s just to give an idea of the meaning. Greetings are intended to draw people together, to include them in our circle of concern.

·         In my sermons 5 ½ years ago on Paul’s greetings at the end of 1 Corinthians 16, I noted that we have patterns for greetings throughout the Bible:

o        Boaz greeted his employees by saying, “the Lord be with you” (Ruth 2:4)

o        In Judges 6:12, the angel of the Lord greeted Gideon by saying, “The LORD is with you, mighty man of valor!”

o        I like Jay Greene’s translation of Hannah’s greeting to Eli, “May your soul live” (1 Sam 1).

o        And there’s David’s greeting to Nabal in 1 Sam. 25, “Peace to you, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have.”

o        This is much like the way Jesus greeted His disciples in the upper room after His resurrection, “Peace be to you.” (John 20:19, NASB)

o        In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel said to Mary: “Rejoice, favored one, the Lord is with you!”

o        And later on Elizabeth greeted Mary by saying, “You are blessed among women.”

o        Then there’s the Apostle Paul, who greeted the church in Thessalonica saying, “the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thess. 3:16)

o        And Paul’s greeting to Timothy, 2 Tim. 4:22, “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”

o        As I said earlier, these are not pious platitudes fit only for church cathedrals; this is everyday speech patterned for us in the Bible, and we adults need to teach our children how to greet each other in a meaningful way, because it doesn’t come naturally!

·         But greet with a kiss??? Are you serious???

·         That’s what it says. In fact, this is not an isolated command – it occurs throughout the N.T.:

o        1 Cor. 16:20b “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

o        2 Cor. 13:12 “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

o        Rom. 16:16a “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

o        1 Thess. 5:26 “Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.” (NKJV)

o        If God delivered this command to us five times in the NT, shouldn’t we consider it important to obey it?

·         The Greek word for “kiss” is based on the Greek verb philew, expressing brotherly love, and it is modified by the word for agape-love, which is characterized in the Bible as denying self to seek the best interest of one you care about.

·         In only one of the nine times this word occurs in the Greek Bible does it refer to marital intimacy (Song 1:2); all the rest refer to friendly greetings among fellow believers[2].

o       When the elders of the church in Ephesus received a return visit from Paul, they kissed him (Acts 20:37).

o       In Luke 7:45, Jesus makes it clear that it was normal for a host to kiss his dinner guests.

o       Then there is the kiss of Judas, which must have been what he customarily did – kissed his teacher on the cheek (Luke 22:47).

·         What was the early church’s practice concerning this?

o       Justin Martyr described his goodbyes after a first-century church service, “after prayers we embrace each other with a kiss.”

o       Around 200 AD – Tertullian wrote in his Apostolical Constitutions, “Let the men apart and the women apart greet each other with a kiss in the Lord.”

o        In the 300’s, Ambrosiaster wrote in his commentary on 1 Corinthians that this kiss is a “sign of peace to do away with discord.”

o       Chrysostom likewise wrote around 400 AD in his homilies that “the kiss is a means of unity to produce one body.” He compared it to communion as an outward action that signifies the unity of the church. He went on to say, “There is no sin but is extinguished and cast out by love.”

o       One Roman emperor made a law against the Christian kiss of greeting, indicating that it must have been practiced in the Roman church.

o       I’ve seen kisses still used today in greetings when I visited churches in Europe and Asia and South America and Africa. I’ve also seen it practiced in some churches in the United States.

·         1 Corinthians 16 calls it a “holy kiss,” which gives us more context for Peter’s “kiss of love.” A “holy” kiss is not deceitful (like Judas’ kiss), nor is it common or sensual; it is holy.

·         A kiss indicates intimacy. It necessitates allowing another person to get close to you, into your personal space.

o       What if you are approached by someone to whom you don’t really want to get any closer?

o       Consider how God treated you – you in your filthy rags of sin that you thought were such good deeds, and how, like the father in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, God embraced you and took you in to fellowship with Himself.

o        If God has welcomed you and brought you close, you can do the same for others.

·         But for a kiss to express brotherly love and closeness in a meaningful way, it must be mutually understood to mean that. Here is where the practice breaks down in our current situation.

o       It does not express love or inclusiveness to freak somebody else out with an action that they consider culturally inappropriate. Only when it is mutually agreeable is it meaningful and good.

o       It’s a safe bet that there are few people in our congregation who would be comfortable with a kiss of greeting, so with most of us, we need to start further back on the scale of intimacy and take a step forward in expressing greeting that may be short of kissing, but still something that shows relational closeness, such as:

§         giving a hug or a pat on the shoulder,

§         taking time to really find out what’s going on in their life and share what’s going on in yours rather than just saying, “Fine, how are you.”

§         giving a gift,

§         writing a thoughtful note during the week,

§         or doing something to serve the person you are greeting – like carrying something for them or opening the door for them.

·         These are your brothers and sisters that you are going to spend eternity with! Go ahead and learn how to express love to them!

·         That’s Peter’s last command, and it is an important part of how Christians should communicate with each other.

·         The last phrase of 1 Peter 5:14 gives us one more example of how Christians should communicate with each other, and that is with blessings. Peter wrote...

“Peace be to you – to all those in Christ Jesus.”

·         What does it mean to wish “Peace”?

·         One aspect of peace is my relationship with you. When I say I am at peace with you, that means I am not offended; I am not mad at you. Our relationship is good. When we get anxious about how we stand with others, it just takes a load off our shoulders when a brother or sister in Christ greets us with a sign that our relationship with them is at peace.

·         That statement of peace also extends as a prayer that you will be at peace with other people – may God will bless you with peace in all your other relationships. Now, we can’t control whether or not everyone will like us, and we know that God uses interpersonal conflict for good, but we know God is in control of all that, and we know what a relief it is when strife goes away and we get a season of peace, so, out of our love for each other, we can offer a benediction for God to calm troubles for our brothers and sisters and bless them with peace.

·         The third and most important relationship that needs to be at peace is your relationship with God. We humans are not naturally at peace with God. We have all broken His laws and made it necessary for Him, as the impartial judge, to punish us. The only way back to peace with God – to get out from under His just wrath – is through Jesus suffering the punishment for our sin on behalf of us – by suffering hell and dying on the cross – and then offering peace between us and God. This is the gospel. Those who trust in Jesus to make them right with God are indeed at peace with God. That’s why Peter qualifies[3] his benediction: “Peace... to all those who are in Christ Jesus.” You who are in Christ have peace indeed. Can you remind your fellow-believers of the peace they have with God?


·         Do you see how these patterns that Peter used in his epistle inform us how to talk to one another?

o        Let’s talk about God’s Salvation,

o        Let’s talk about honoring Jesus’ authority and the human authorities He places over us,

o        Let’s talk about suffering and point to glory in the future,

o        Let us remind each other of God’s love and affirm each other’s faith,

o        Let’s encourage each other to be holy and obedient to God,

o        Let us express Christian love for one another in tangible ways,

o        And let us be people who pray the blessing of peace on one another!

·         Communication is an art, and with any art form, it takes some trial and error and practice to find what fits your style and expresses these things most effectively, but let’s all work with these patterns God has given us! As we do so, I believe our church will be a joy to be around and a delight to God Himself!


Comparison[4] of Bible Translations of 1 Peter 5:12-14

Patristic GNT







12 Διὰ Σιλουανοῦ ὑμῖν τοῦ πιστοῦ ἀδελφοῦ, ὡς λογίζομαιPNI-1S, δι᾿ ὀλίγων ἔγραψαAAI-1S, παρακαλῶνPAP-NSM καὶ ἐπιμαρτυρῶν ταύτηνASF εἶναιPAN ἀληθῆASF χάρινASF τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς ἣνASF ἐστήκατεIAI-2P[5].

12 Through Silas the faithful brother as I reckon [him][6], I have written [these] few things to y’all, exhorting and testifying this is the true grace of God in which y’all have been standing.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying [that] this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

12 By Silvanus, [our] faithful brother as I consider [him], I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying [that] this is the true grace of God in which you stand.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard [him], I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring [that] this is the true grace of God. Stand [firm] in it.

12 Through Silvan­us, [our] faithful brother ([for] so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying [that] this is the true grace of God. Stand [firm] in it!

12 With [the help of] Silas, [whom] I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging [you] and testifying [that] this is the true grace of God. Stand [fast] in it.

13 ᾿ΑσπάζεταιPNI-3S ὑμᾶς ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτὴNSF καὶ Μᾶρκος ὁ υἱός μου.

13 The co-elect X in Babylon[7] and [also] my son Mark greetX y’all.

13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

13 She [who is] in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.

13 She [who is] at Babylon, [who is] likewise chosen, sends you greet­ings, and [so does] Mark, my son.

13 She [who is] in Babylon, chosen together with [you], sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.

13 She [who is] in Babylon, chosen together with [you], sends you her greetings, and [so does] my son Mark.

14 ἀσπάσασθεADM-2P ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης. Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐν Χριστῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ[8]· ἀμήν.

14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you – to all those in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.


[1] “That such a gulf in orthodoxies exists between filmmakers and their audiences was shown in a 1998 University of Texas survey of a representative sample of Hollywood writers, actors, producers, and executives in that only 2 to 3 percent attended religious services weekly compared to about 41 percent of the public at that time.” http://www.catholicleague.org/hollywood%e2%80%99s-portrayal-of-religion/ 

[2] Proverbs 27:6; Luke 7:45; 22:48; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26. The expanded form of this word, kataphilew, which appears 20 times, often shows family affection, but is never used in a romantic context.

[3] cf. similar qualification in Gal. 6:16

[4] Where the traditional Patriarchal edition of the Greek Bible is challenged by the Textus Receptus or by the modern critical editions, I note that. When an English translation adds words not in the Greek text, but does not indicate it has done so by the use of italics (or greyed-out text), I put the added words in [square brackets]. When one English version chooses a wording which is different from all the other translations, I underline it. When a version chooses a translation which, in my opinion, either departs too far from the root meaning of the Greek word or departs too far from the grammar form of the original Greek word, I use strikeout. And when an English version omits a word which is in the Greek text, I insert an X. (Sometimes I will place the X at the end of a word if the Greek word is plural but the English translation is singular.) I have also tried to use colors to help the reader see correlations between the Greek original and the various translations when there are more than two different translations of a Greek word.

[5] This Imperfect Indicative spelling (“y’all have been standing”) is found in the majority of the known Greek manuscripts of first Peter and of the Textus Receptus edition of the Greek New Testament, thus the KJV. However, contemporary critical editions of the Greek New Testament like Nestle-Aland and UBS spell this word στητε, which is Aorist and either Subjunctive or Imperative (NIV, NASB, and ESV interpret it Imperative “Stand fast/firm in it.”), and this is because all of the known Greek manuscripts which are older than the 9th Century read thus. Curiously, there are manuscripts with entirely different verbs (“you are” and “you requested”), and the ancient translations are all over the map so they don’t help settle the matter, although some of the oldest-known Latin manuscripts side with the KJV, and the Indicative would match the sense of the parallel passage in 1:25 “this is the word which was preached to you.”

[6] The placement of this Greek phrase “As I logic” is in-between “faithful brother” and “few things” so it could refer to either.

[7] The Sinaiticus , the Syriac Peshitta, and some Latin Vulgate manuscripts interpret this as “the church” – and the KJV follows this tradition. There is some debate as to whether “Babylon” is a code name for “Rome” as it is in the book of Revelation, or whether this is the literal Babylon in Iraq.

[8] Since the Vaticanus and Alexandrinus don’t have the name “Jesus” or the final “Amen,” and since the ancient versions are split over whether or not to include it, contemporary critical editions of the GNT do not include these last two words. However, these two words are in the Sinaiticus and in many of the oldest versions and are in the majority of Greek manuscripts, and they do not change the meaning, so I think they should be kept.