The New Testament, in 1st Corinthians 16:20, teaches us to “greet one another.” (Do not fail to speak or be kind and friendly to each other.)
In what appears to be a parallel passage, Romans 16:16, we are told to “salute one another.”
And in both cases (“greet” and “salute”) the Greek verbs are identical.
Spelled “aspazomai,” the word means “to draw to oneself!” To keep “close” by one’s side! It is thought by scholars that “aspazomai” is derived from “spao,” a root verb often meaning “to draw (one’s sword).” A sword which is always “by one’s side,” if you’re a soldier anyway. And we are … “Onward Christian soldiers!”
The word might thus carry the idea of “hugging” one another, “kissing” (on the cheek) one another, which was a prevalent custom in Paul’s day. In our time this would be equivalent to something like “shaking hands” with one another.
So, several of Paul’s Epistles close with the admonition … “All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.”
In other words …
We should let our common bond in Christ overrule any petty little “personal differences” we might have between each other. ALL THE BELIEVERS SALUTE YOU!
Neither should we ever feel “superior” to another Christian, refusing to associate with him or her. (“Speaking” to him is the “least” one can do, in terms of Christian love.)
And since the verb in today’s Text is an imperative … this Christian “friendliness, civility, comradery” is more important than we might initially think! After all, it is one of the stark commands of the Bible!
This “one another” activity we can all “practice” next Lord’s Day!
Go to Church … and speak to everyone.
Begin with that person who is sometimes neglected, too!
And the one with whom you last “disagreed” on some minor issue, greet him or her first!
And never leave out the Preacher, of course.
Jesus adds this. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, IF YE HAVE LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER.” John 13:35, surely “love” at least leads to “greeting” one another!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell