For instance, the Bible doesn’t address technique—how one actually kisses. And it doesn’t explain how many calories one burns through kissing or how many muscles are involved. People can figure these things out themselves. (Yes, studies have been done that reveal that smooching burns between 12 and 30 calories every 15 minutes, varying according to a person’s weight, and research indicates that 146 muscles are involved in kissing.)
When it comes to kissing, the Bible records three different types: the kiss of allegiance, the kiss of friendship and the amorous kiss. Let’s briefly consider each one.
The kiss of allegiance
This type of kiss indicates one’s respect for an authority figure such as a king or ruler. After anointing Saul king of Israel, the prophet Samuel “kissed him” as a sign of respect (1 Samuel 10:1 1 Samuel 10:1Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD has anointed you to be captain over his inheritance?
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
The kiss of allegiance is also found in idolatry. Speaking of this sinful practice, Hosea wrote: “Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; all of it is the work of craftsmen. They say of them, ‘Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!’” (13:2).
God, having observed people kissing idols—for He sees everything (Job 34:21 Job 34:21For his eyes are on the ways of man, and he sees all his goings.
American King James Version×)—told Elijah (who thought he was the only one remaining who served God), “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18 1 Kings 19:18Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.
American King James Version×).
The authority figure to whom we should give our allegiance is God. Anticipating Jesus’ return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God, Psalm 2 gives the rulers of the earth some important advice: “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son [that is, the Son of God, Jesus], lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (verses 10-12).
Of all the types of kisses in the Bible, that of allegiance to God is by far the most important. In summarizing God’s instructions into two great commandments, Jesus said, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength’ ” (Mark 12:29-30 Mark 12:29-30 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.
American King James Version×).
When we give our allegiance to God, His instructions will guide the decisions we make regarding the remaining types of kisses.
The kiss of friendship
A kiss was a common way of showing friendship in the Old Testament. Parents kissed their children (Genesis 27:27 Genesis 27:27And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed:
American King James Version×), and there are numerous examples of relatives greeting each other with a kiss and kissing each other good-bye (Genesis 29:10-15 Genesis 29:10-15 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14 And Laban said to him, Surely you are my bone and my flesh. And he stayed with him the space of a month. 15 And Laban said to Jacob, Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? tell me, what shall your wages be?
American King James Version×; 31:55; 33:4; 45:15; Exodus 18:7 Exodus 18:7And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
American King James Version×; Ruth 1:9 Ruth 1:9The LORD grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
American King James Version×). This nonromantic type of kiss was offered to everyone in the extended family.
In addition to relatives kissing each other, a kiss was also common in friendships (see the example of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:41 1 Samuel 20:41And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
American King James Version×). Continuing this tradition of kissing as a sign of friendship, Paul encouraged Christian brethren in the New Testament to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16 Romans 16:16Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
American King James Version×; 1 Corinthians 16:20 1 Corinthians 16:20All the brothers greet you. Greet you one another with an holy kiss.
American King James Version×). Of course, this was more than just a tradition; it was done in fulfillment of Christ’s teaching that spiritual brethren are to love one another (John 13:34-35 John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×).
Providing explanation of this instruction to greet brethren in Christ with a “holy kiss,” the Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes: “The reminder that it is a ‘holy’ kiss guards it against erotic [sexual] associations. It was a token of the love of Christ mutually shared and of the peace and harmony he had brought into their lives.”
In our world today, each family and culture has its own customs and traditions. If your family members greet each other with hugs or handshakes or even with just a verbal hello instead of kisses, that’s fine. The key here is showing respect and goodwill. The same is true in greeting Church brethren and friends. Go with the custom of the area and the preference of the person. Don’t make anyone uncomfortable with how you show friendship.
The amorous kiss
The amorous kiss is a passionate experience that often stimulates the desire for additional intimacy. Instead of a simple peck on the cheek as one might give a friend, this kind of kiss is usually on the lips. As the lover in the Song of Solomon proclaims, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth —for your love is better than wine” (1:2).
Because this kind of kissing often leads to further sexual activity (Proverbs 7), these kisses should be reserved for marriage. As Song Of Solomon 2:7 Song Of Solomon 2:7I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that you stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
American King James Version×advises, “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” The best time for learning how to kiss this way is when you are married.
As we’ve just seen, kissing is a pretty important subject. For more good advice on having a better relationship with God, knowing how to choose friends, and learning how to best plan your love life be sure to continue reading Vertical Thought . VT