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Brother

Brother [N] [E] [S]

See Christians, Names of; Family Life and Relations

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan USA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.


[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Brother'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology". . 1997.

Brother [N] [B] [S]

  • In the natural and common sense ( Matthew 1:2 ; Luke 3:1 Luke 3:19 ).

  • A near relation, a cousin ( Genesis 13:8 ; 14:16 ; Matthew 12:46 ; John 7:3 ; Acts 1:14 ; Galatians 1:19 ).

  • Simply a fellow-countryman ( Matthew 5:47 ; Acts 3:22 ; Hebrews 7:5 ).

  • A disciple or follower ( Matthew 25:40 ; Hebrews 2:11 Hebrews 2:12 ).

  • One of the same faith ( Amos 1:9 ; Acts 9:30 ; 11:29 ; 1 Corinthians 5:11 ); whence the early disciples of our Lord were known to each other as brethren.

  • A colleague in office ( Ezra 3:2 ; 1 Corinthians 1:1 ; 2 co 1:1 ).

  • A fellow-man ( Genesis 9:5 ; 19:7 ; Matthew 5:22 Matthew 5:23 Matthew 5:24 ; 7:5 ; Hebrews 2:17 ).

  • One beloved or closely united with another in affection ( 2 Samuel 1:26 ; Acts 6:3 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:1 ). Brethren of Jesus ( Matthew 1:25 ; Matthew 12:46 Matthew 12:50 : Mark 3:31 Mark 3:32 ; Galatians 1:19 ; 1 Corinthians 9:5 , etc.) were probably the younger children of Joseph and Mary. Some have supposed that they may have been the children of Joseph by a former marriage, and others that they were the children of Mary, the Virgin's sister, and wife of Cleophas. The first interpretation, however, is the most natural.

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Brother". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Brother. [N] [B] [E]

    The Hebrew word is used in various senses in the Old Testament, as,

    1. Any kinsman, and not a mere brother; e.g. nephew, ( Genesis 13:8 ; 14:16 ) husband, ( Solomon 4:9 )
    2. One of the same tribe. ( 2 Samuel 19:13 )
    3. Of the same people, ( Exodus 2:11 ) or even of a cognate people. ( Numbers 20:14 )
    4. An ally. ( Amos 1:9 )
    5. Any friend, ( Job 5:15 )
    6. One of the same office. ( 1 Kings 9:13 )
    7. A fellow man. ( Leviticus 19:17 )
    8. Metaphorically of any similarity, as in ( Job 30:19 ) The word adelphos has a similar range of meanings in the New Testament.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Brother'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

    BROTHER

    bruth'-er ('ach; adelphos = kin by birth, from the same parents or parent):

    Used extensively in both Old Testament and New Testament of other relations and relationships, and expanding under Christ's teaching to include the universal brotherhood of man. Chiefly employed in the natural sense, as of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:8); of Joseph and his brethren (Genesis 42:3); of Peter and Andrew, of James and John (Matthew 10:2). Of other relationships:

    (1) Abram's nephew, Lot, is termed "brother" (Genesis 14:14);

    (2) Moses' fellow-countrymen are "brethren" (Exodus 2:11; Acts 3:22; compare Hebrews 7:5);

    (3) a member of the same tribe (2 Samuel 19:12);

    (4) an ally (Amos 1:9), or an allied or cognate people (Numbers 20:14);

    (5) used of common discipleship or the kinship of humanity (Matthew 23:8);

    (6) of moral likeness or kinship (Proverbs 18:9);

    (7) of friends (Job 6:15);

    (8) an equal in rank or office (1 Kings 9:13);

    (9) one of the same faith (Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 5:11);

    (10) a favorite oriental metaphor used to express likeness or similarity (Job 30:29, "I am a brother to jackals");

    (11) a fellow-priest or office-bearer (Ezra 3:2); Paul called Sosthenes "brother" (1 Corinthians 1:1) and Timothy his spiritual son and associate (2 Corinthians 1:1);

    (12) a brother-man, any member of the human family (Matthew 7:3-5; Hebrews 2:17; 8:11; 1 John 2:9; 4:20);

    (13) signifies spiritual kinship (Matthew 12:50);

    (14) a term adopted by the early disciples and Christians to express their fraternal love for each other in Christ, and universally adopted as the language of love and brotherhood in His kingdom in all subsequent time (2 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:7,9,15).

    The growing conception of mankind as a brotherhood is the outcome of this Christian view of believers as a household, a family (Ephesians 2:19; 3:15; compare Acts 17:26). Jesus has made "neighbor" equivalent to "brother," and the sense of fraternal affection and obligation essential to vital Christianity, and coextensive with the world. The rabbis distinguished between "brother" and "neighbor," applying "brother" to Israelites by blood, "neighbor" to proselytes, but allowing neither title to the Gentiles. Christ and the apostles gave the name "brother" to all Christians, and "neighbor" to all the world (1 Corinthians 5:11; Luke 10:29). The missionary passion and aggressiveness of the Christian church is the natural product of this Christian conception of man's true relation to man.

    See also \FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS\.

    Dwight M. Pratt


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'BROTHER'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.