THE OBSERVANCE OF THIS TOKEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT TIMES
lb. It was a salutation or greeting among believers.All five passages convey this idea. They were read in the public assembly. So this greeting was doubtless observed at some time during the public service. This usually came after prayer, when the elder gave the signal. This was not promiscuous. Lines were sharply drawn between male and female.
Thus men with men, and women with women. History does inform us that the token was abused. So there was need for admonition for limitation in order to protect the use.
2b. It was a symbol of welcome to new converts.
This was the natural impulse on the part of Christians to new converts. In western churches the handshake is the token of welcome, although this by no means conveys the fullness of emotion demonstrated in holy kiss.
3b. It was a sign of respect for newly ordained elders.
This was carried over from the Old Testament. When Samuel anointed David as king he kissed him (1 Sam. 10:1). Elders showed this respect to those newly ordained. Today, in western churches, this is observed in the congratulatory handshake.
4b. It was a token accompanying the Lord's supper or love feast.
More frequently than upon any other occasion this token was displayed at the Love-feast. Since it was a token of love, then at the Love Feast was the proper place for its bestowal. Usually the supper was opened with this token of love. Thus its holiness and sacredness was preserved.