5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

from Holy Bible (KJV) – Matthew 5 on Rap Genius

Meaning

And if ye salute — Show respect, love, gratitude and support to. For one to ‘salute’ another, it is often a sign of a tight friendship.

Your brethren only — The word brethren can refer to numerous types of people. However in a Biblical context it is clear that a brethren is someone (particularly a friend) who holds similar Christian beliefs. Other interpretations and translations of this verse replace the word ‘brethren’ with ‘friend’, without being Christian specific. Either way the verse still has similar meaning.

What do ye more than others? — What, as followers of God, are we doing more than the secular people around us? If we are isolating ourselves from the people we are not compassionate to, the people who do not share similar beliefs and people we are biased towards — How are we showing God’s love? A rhetorical question.

Do not even publicans so? — Publicans aka Tax collectors. Generally speaking the publicans were not very nice people, hence our actions are being compared to theirs to show the big problem with isolating ourselves from others.

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