Adding brotherly affection

The sixth characteristic that Peter tells his audience to add in 2 peter 1 is Brotherly affection. It, too, is one of those qualities that need to be added to our faith to obtain the results he mentions in verse 8, 1o, and 11.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2Pe 1:8,10-11)

The Greek word for brotherly affection is Philadelphia. This should not surprise anyone since Philadelphia is also known as the city of brotherly love.  Philadelphia is really two words joined together. The first word “Phileo” is usually translated “Love” and the second word “Adelphos” is the Greek word for brother.

Understanding what Phileo love is will help us in understanding brotherly affection better. So today I will offer a few verses that give us insight into the word Phileo.If you consult Strong’s Greek dictionary, you will see that Phileo is a love that is strongly associated with devotion, dedication, and emotion. Agape is the other word for love in the Bible and is more of a mental decision: I choose to love or a duty to be fulfilled. (e.g. getting up for a 2 a.m. feeding is not done as much for the emotional love as it is for the duty love).

Here are four passages that illustrate Phileo being used:

For a person:

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.  (Joh 5:20)

For praise/honor:

They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. (Mat 23:5-7 ESV)
For falsehood:
Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and…everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Rev 22:14-15 ESV)

For those who are like us:

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; John 15:19

These passages show that Phileo love, a strong affection or devotion from the heart can be felt toward a person, an object (such as praise), lying, and for those who are like us (such as those who share our values).

When we take this type of love and direct it towards our brothers in the Lord, we get the concept that we are to be devoted to them, dedicated and bound to them, developing a feeling of affection towards them that is akin to the feelings we should have toward our own siblings.

In the next post, we will look at some examples of brotherly affection.

What passages in the Bible do you know of that help illustrate this type of love?

photo by Ben Sutherland

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About Steven Sarff

If I were to offer any one piece of advice to one wishing to serve God, it would be to put Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 17:11 into action and let God guide you to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.

Posted on June 24, 2012, in Christianity, Faith, Love and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.” (Acts 28:2)

    Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” (Romans 12:10)

  1. Pingback: Three examples of Brotherly Affection we can imitate! « Lost Pines church of Christ

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