"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
“But as touching brotherly love.”
“Brotherly love” in the Greek text is a familiar word in English – “philadelphia.” In Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia is purported to be the “city of brotherly love.” That may be a subject of debate among folks who have visited there, but at least we understand what the word Philadelphia means. In some secular writing in the period of the New Testament, the word meant the love of those who were related by blood.1 In the New Testament, the word is used for those who are related because of their relationship to Jesus Christ. Many believers understand their relationship with Christ and His followers to be much closer than their relationships with their own blood relatives. This is not unusual.
“Ye need not that I write unto you:”
The idea of brotherly love was not foreign to the believers in Thessalonica, nor was it to other believers. The concept of loving and caring for each other permeates all of Christianity. The love of the brotherhood of believers ought to be a tangible, visible, concrete thing, leaving no doubt of its existence to the observer.
“For ye, yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”
The Holy Spirit teaches believers their duty to love one another. We love and serve others in the body for no other reason than that they belong to Jesus Christ.
“These principles are so basic that Paul knew they were obvious to the Thessalonian Christians. The Thessalonians were taught by God about the importance of love, yet we must all be reminded”2 (Guzik).
An “unloving believer” should be an oxymoron, a term so absurd that no one could believe there is such a thing. We are not talking about some sort of sickening sweet emotion, but rather the authentic actions a believer takes to meet the needs of another believer because he loves his Lord and the brethren.
How are your actions toward your brothers and sisters in Christ?
1. See Robinson. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, the electronic version in eSword.
2. Guzik, David, David Guzik’s Enduring Word Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.