"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another."
“Be kindly affectioned one to another”
“Kindly affectioned” is not a term we hear every day. In fact, this is the only place in the New Testament that this term is used. What does it mean, are we to be kind and show affection? Interestingly, it is made up of two Greek words for love1 and paints a clear picture of our calling and how to treat each of our Christian brothers and sisters. Our obligation is to love them as members of the family. It is not the “love of desire,” but the “natural love of family”2 that is intended here.
“With brotherly love;”
The picture grows with the addition of “brotherly love,” that we combine with our “family love” for other believers. Yes, this is the “philadelphia” love of brothers that believers are familiar with. To love other Christians is our joy and our responsibility.
“But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye, yourselves are taught of God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9).
“Let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1).
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous…” (1 Peter 3:8).
The scriptures are not talking about empty sentiment here, some sort of gooey feeling we have for others, it is calling us to down-to-earth, concrete, practical, loving actions toward each other. The way this is to play out in real life is,
“In honor preferring one another.”
We see here honor and preference for one another, but what does this mean? Simply, we are to show respect and honor to each other, never looking for recognition for ourselves. This reminds us that genuine love is never self-seeking. But note, the Greek word for “prefer” means “to take the lead.”3 Or, to “show an example.” We, believers, are to lead the way in giving the honor that is due to our fellow believers.
“In brotherly love be affectionate one to another; in [giving, or showing] honor, outdoing each other.”4
Bible examples of the principle…
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Believers, let’s work hard at “loving the brethren!”
1. The Greek words are philos, and storgē, see Robertson.
2. See Vincent.
3. Jamison, Fausset, and Brown. Jamison-Fausset-Brown’s Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.
4. JFB, ibid.