“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Rom. 12:10, NIV) The Apostle Paul specifically mentions brotherly love as one of the characteristics of a Christian. In the twelfth chapter of Romans, Paul states that we should not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of our minds. (Rom. 12:2) If we transform our mind, one of the characteristics we should develop is brotherly love. The Apostle Peter also lists brotherly love as one of the key qualities of a Christian. (2 Pet. 1:5-7) These qualities are so important, Peter writes that “if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”—2 Pet 1:10,11, NIV
What is this characteristic of brotherly love that Paul and Peter identify? It is not just familial love but the love of our brethren in Christ—the love we should have for each other as fellow believers in Jesus. As believers we share the same hopes, interests, and promises. Thus, our aims are the same, and our struggle to overcome our imperfect flesh, the world, and the devil are the same as well. Through these shared hopes and goals, we develop sympathy, love, and care for one another as each strives to do his best to serve the Heavenly Father and our Lord Christ Jesus.
How do we show this brotherly love to each other? The Scriptures give us clear admonitions to follow. Jesus says, “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12, NIV) This was the new commandment that Jesus gave his followers: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34, NIV) Jesus loved his disciples, cared for them, and watched out for their earthly and spiritual needs.
We are to do the same for our Christian brethren. Paul points out in Romans 12:10 to “honor one another above yourselves.” We should be putting our brethren’s preferences first. Paul used the Thessalonians as an example of this brotherly love. Their love was evident not only among each other but to all the brethren in Macedonia. (1 Thess. 4:9,10) Likewise, our love for our brethren should be easily visible to others.
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For additional information please see our related booklets and videos below.
Being a Friend to Your Brethren
Love One Another Fervently
Love Your Enemies
The Alabaster Vial
And to Brotherly Kindness, Love