Final Greetings

I Peter 5: 12-14.

By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Silvanus: This man’s name is derived from Silas, who was a Roman citizen who often accompanied Paul in his journeys. It was common practice in Peter’s day to include greetings from others at the end of his letters. It is likely that Peter dictated part or all of this letter to Silvanus, who included his own greeting, and made sure the epistle was delivered to the believers in Asia.

I like Peter’s emphasis on his letter being about the true grace, wherein ye stand. Peter had wrestled with the idea that grace had to include obedience to Old Testament law. He therefore could speak with personal knowledge and authority about the complete, true grace of God in which we can stand with assurance.

The church at Babylon: It may be that Peter wrote from Babylon, which still existed as a city in his time. Some believe he was using Babylon symbolically, although there isn’t much evidence to support that. In any case, the clearest sense is that one church was greeting another, as is still common today.

Elected together with you: Chosen, just as all believers are chosen of God. They had the same Father.

Marcus my son: This is the same Mark who wrote the gospel. Apparently Mark and Peter had a very strong and affectionate connection. It would seem that Peter’s teaching strongly influenced Mark’s writing in content and perspective.

Kiss of charity (love): This has translated as a “holy kiss,” which is exactly what it was. The practice of a kiss of greeting and/or departure existed long before Peter’s time, and is still common in many European and Asian countries. It was not established by Peter or any other Apostle. It was simply a habit of tradition. When I went to Slovakia on a short-term mission trip, I experienced this greeting for the first time in my life. I got to where I really liked it– a warm and friendly greeting that carries no hint of anything else.

Peter’s final greeting was for the believers to experience the peace of God in their lives, in spite of looming persecution. That is an encouragement for every believer.

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