There is no indication here that Paul thinks of it as anything more than a sign of greeting among people who love one another. In the context of the community’s divisions at Corinth, however, the holy kiss would necessarily serve as a powerful sign of reconciliation among people who had previously been estranged. It is easy to interpret this brief imperative (“Greet one another with a holy kiss”) as a perfunctory gesture, until we try to visualize the Corinthians actually putting it into practice in a community where conflict has prevailed. Within our divided denominations can we envision the members of opposed factions and caucuses coming together and embracing in a holy kiss? As usual, Paul’s call to love is simple, radical, and embodied.
Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, page 291