1 Thessalonians 5:26
Greet all the brothers with an holy kiss.
I. THE PRACTICE ITSELF. It was an ordinary mode of salutation, and had been practised at all times in eastern countries, sometimes even by men, and that, too, for opposite purposes. Hence Judas, when he wished to betray his Master, he did so with a kiss, testifying his apparent friendship on the one hand, and his abominable treachery on the other. A kiss was the sign of affection; and so by that slight artifice Judas thought to conceal his base purpose. Jesus, with severity, reproached him justly for it: "Betrayest thou," He said, "the Son of Man with a kiss?" As if He had said, Dost thou violate all thy obligations of fidelity to thy Master, and thus deliver Him up to death? The kiss is the outward token of inward affection, but thou dost employ it basely and wickedly, intending to add deceit, disguise, and the prostitution of a mark of esteem to the crime of treason. Every word of Christ's reproach must surely have gone to the heart of Judas. The same artifice, however, was frequently resorted to for a like purpose. Take, as proof, that between Joab and Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).
II. THE SANCTITY OF THIS PRACTICE. St. Paul speaks of "a holy kiss," to denote that he intended it to be an expression of Christian affection, and so to guard it against all improper familiarity and scandal. Thus he sends a friendly salutation from himself, and Silvanus, and Timotheus; and he would have them signify their mutual love and affection to one another by "the kiss of charity." So far this was well; but there are other ways of showing attachment to Christian brethren of a less suspicious and more certain character, such as rejoicing with them when they rejoice, and weeping with them when they weep, bearing their burdens and relieving their wants. This is indeed good and acceptable in the sight of God.
(A. Barnes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.