Kissing in Church

The church in Corinth was encouraged to kiss.  There was nothing sexual about it, just an outward sign of friendship.  In France people still greet each other in this way, but the use of kissing in church is culturally weighted.  In Japan Christians might bow to each other;  In England we would shake hands; In some parts a hand may be raised in greeting.  The principles are those of warm feeling and community.  The church that I attend has a time in the service where we turn and greet those around us. It felt awkward to me at first to have this included in the service (better than kissing all those around me , though).  Do you think that a time of greeting should be within the structure of a church service?

1 Corinthians 16: 13-24

13Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.

 15You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, 16to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. 17I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

 19The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla[a] greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

 21I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.

 22If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord[b]!

 23The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

 24My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.


  1. Stephanas and Fortunatus may have been freed slaves.  How were they to be greeted?
  2. How should Corinthian Christians greet one another?
  3. How does verse 22 fit within Paul’s theology?
  4. Are you waiting expectantly for the Lord’s coming?
  5. How do you reach out to greet others in your church?  What will you do this Sunday?

Going Deeper

Having read the whole of the book of 1 Corinthians in this series, go back and read the first 8 chapters in one sitting.  Make a note of your impressions upon reading it.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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