Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Form of salutation
(Gen. 29:13); token of allegiance (1 Sam. 10:1); pledge of Christian brotherhood (Rom. 16:16; 1 Peter 5:14).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This common mode of salutation among relatives is sanctified by its adoption in the church. Five of the Epistles close with the exhortation to greet one another with a holy kiss, or kiss of love (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). When Paul said farewell to the elders of Ephesus, they wept sore, and fell on his neck and kissed him. Permission to kiss the hand of a superior is a mark of honor. The heathen kissed their gods (1 Kings 19:18; Hos. 13:2). In the case of distant objects of worship, like the sun and moon, they kissed the hand (Job 31:26-27), hence the most usual word for worship in the New Testament is προσκυνέω, from κυνέω, to kiss. Kings and judges of the earth are exhorted to kiss the Son when He comes to reign, lest He be angry, and they perish (Psalm 2:12).

“427. Kissing an Act of Homage” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Psalm 2:12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
When Samuel anointed Saul he kissed the newly made king. This act of homage was a recognition of his royalty (1 Sam. 10:1). It is a custom still observed in India and Arabia. In this way the Psalmist desires all men to recognize the royalty of the Son. Kissing was an act of worship among idolaters. See 1 Kings 19:18; Job 31:27; Hosea 13:2. Instead of worshiping idols, God would have us worship his son Jesus Christ.
An interesting incident is given in Irby and Mangle’s Travels showing how kissing was used as a token of reconciliation. The circumstance recorded occurred near Petra.
“While we were deliberating on this subject, we saw a great cavalcade entering our camp from the southward. There were many mounted Arabs with lances, and we observed that there were some amongst the horsemen who wore richer turbans, and of more gaudy colors, than is usual amongst Bedouins or peasants. As the procession advanced, several of About Raschid’s Arabs went out and led the horses of the chiefs by the bridles into the camp. The whole procession alighted at the tent of our chief, and kissed his turban; this was the signal of pacification. Peace was immediately proclaimed throughout the camp, and notice was given that men bearing arms, who had come from a distance, many of whom had joined us that very morning, were to return to their respective homes” (Travels in Egypt, p. 122).

“765. Kissing the Feet” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Luke 7:38. Stood at his feet behind him...and kissed his feet.
This was no unusual practice among the Jews, and was also customary among the Greeks and Romans. It was a mark of affection and of reverence. It was also the practice of supplicants, and of those who had an important request to present. Kissing the feet of princes was a token of subjection and obedience. See also verse 45.

“862. The Kiss” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Romans 16:16. Salute one another with a holy kiss.
The kiss was not only used among men as a token of friendship (see note on Genesis 29:13, #53) and of homage to a superior (see note on Psa. 2:12, #427) but as one of the ceremonies connected with divine worship, and intended to express mutual love and equality. As such it is supposed to have been used in the synagogues, and thence transmitted to the Christian Church. There is nothing said in the New Testament in reference to the part of the service where the kiss was introduced, but early Christian writers state that in the apostolic age it was given after prayers and before the communion service. The minister first said, “Peace be unto you,” and the people responded. Then “a deacon goes on to proclaim solemnly that they should salute one another with a holy kiss; and so the clergy salute the bishop, and laymen their fellow-laymen, and women one another” (Bingham, Antiquities, book 15, chap. 3, § 3).
See also 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14. In the last passage it is called “a kiss of charity.”

Related Books and Articles: