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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Brother

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Among the peoples of Bible times the word ‘brother’ had a wide meaning. Its obvious and most common meaning was to those who were children of the same parents (Genesis 25:21-26; Matthew 4:18-21). It was used also of a person who was more distantly related, such as a cousin or an uncle (Genesis 14:12-14), a fellow member of the same community or nation (Genesis 19:7; Leviticus 25:45-46; Acts 13:26; Romans 9:3), or one’s fellow human beings in general (Leviticus 19:17; Matthew 7:3). (See also NEIGHBOUR.)

Jesus used the expression ‘brother’ to indicate the closeness of the relationship between him and his followers (Matthew 12:46-50; cf. Hebrews 2:11-12). Those who become Christ’s people are therefore brothers to each other (Matthew 18:15; Matthew 18:21; Acts 9:17; Acts 9:30; Acts 15:3; Acts 15:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:25-27).

This shared brotherhood should help produce good relations between believers. They should be more tolerant of each other (Romans 14:10-15), more forgiving (1 Corinthians 6:5-8), more concerned (2 Thessalonians 3:15), more self-sacrificing (1 John 3:17) and more loving (Romans 12:10; 1 John 2:9-11). They should realize that to sin against a brother is to sin against Christ (1 Corinthians 8:11-13), and therefore should make every effort to prevent, or correct, such sin (Matthew 18:15-20; Romans 14:19-21).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Brother'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/b/brother.html. 2004.

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