Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 13

Christian love

Hebrews 13:1

Christians should love each other. God is their Father, so all Christians are really brothers and sisters in the same family (Hebrews 12:5; Hebrews 3:1). And brothers and sisters should look after each other.

In its original Greek language, there are just three words in this sentence. The author did not think that he needed to write much about Christian love. He knew that his readers really did love each other (Hebrews 6:10). So he did not need to give long explanations about love, as we read in the Book of 1 John. But the author still mentioned the subject. It is always good to encourage people who are doing the right things.

We show love not by emotions, but by practical action. The original readers of this book showed their love when they served other people (Hebrews 6:10). We can help people whom, perhaps, we do not like. Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, not just our friends (Matthew 5:43-46).

The most important command is to love God; the second is to love other people (Matthew 22:37-39). God gave that command in Leviticus chapter 19. Leviticus 19:18 says that we must love our relatives and people from our own country. Leviticus 19:34 says that we must love foreigners and strangers, too.

In the same way, the author of Hebrews uses two special but similar words for love here. In Hebrews 13:1, the word is PHILADELPHIA. That word means love for a brother. In Hebrews 13:2, the word is PHILOXENIA. That word means love for strangers. Christians should not just love other Christians; they should love all people.

Next part: Strangers and angels (Hebrews 13:2)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.