Skip to main content

Brother in Christ

BROTHER IN CHRIST

An appellation referring to the specifically Christian unity, of which Christ Himself is the center and criterion and to which the Synoptic tradition witnesses (Mk3.3135; 10.2930). It is by faith and the doing of the Father's will that one becomes a brother of Jesus (Mt 12.4650; 21.2832). By His death and Resurrection Jesus has become in the fullest sense "the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom 8.29; see firstborn), reconciling divided humanity in His Body on the cross (Eph2.1118). It is the risen Lord who calls His Apostles truly His "brothers" (Mt 28.10; Jn 20.17), and in them all men without exception. This Christian concept of brotherhood is found in a strongly ecclesial context in Matthew, ch. 18 (see especially v. 15, 21, 35). To live as a brother is the specifically Christian way to live as a part of the community, to share in its common life. Brothers in Christ must show one another a tender, devoted love modeled on the sacrificial love that Christ showed His own (Jn 13.1, 15, 3435; 15.1213; 1 Jn 2.1011; 3.10, 16, 17;5.16; Rom 14.10, 13, 15; 1 Cor 6.6, 8; 8.1113). Although the love of a Christian brother must take in all men without exception (1 Thes 3.12; 2 Pt 1.7), the visible community of the Christian brotherhood is the special field for that privileged form of love called philadelphia (φιλαδελφία: Rom 12.10; 1 Thes 4.9; Heb 13.1; 1 Pt1.2223; 2 Pt 1.7).

The early Christians soon adopted the term brother as their usual mode of addressing one another (30 times in Acts and 130 times in Paul), and the name remained in common use among Christians in general until late in the 3d century, when its use was gradually restricted to clerical and monastic circles.

See Also: mystical body of christ; society (in theology); unity of faith; unity of the church; excommunication

Bibliography: k. h. schelkle, "Bruder," Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, ed. t. klauser [Stuttgart 1941 (1950) ] 2:631640. j. ratzinger, Die christliche Brüderlichkeit (Munich 1960).

[f. x. lawlor]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Brother in Christ." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Brother in Christ." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/brother-christ

"Brother in Christ." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/brother-christ

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.