From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [1]

Holy Scripture hath several distinct meanings for this term, and of very different significations from each other. To be of the same nature, or disposition, to be of the same town, or country, or occupation in trade, is sometimes made the cause for calling men brethren. And in Scripture to be of the same stock, or family, though not of the same parents, constitutes a brother. Thus, as in the instance of our Lord Jesus Christ after the flesh, James and Joses were called the brethren of Christ, but in fact, were not so, but only relations of that tribe to which Jesus belonged. For Mary, the mother of James and Joses, was the wife of Cleophas, and not the Virgin Mary. ( Matthew 27:56;  John 19:25) And sometimes the name of brother is used to describe men of like character, in idleness, or iniquity. Thus Solomon saith, "He that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster." ( Proverbs 18:9)

But when the reader hath carefully marked the application of the name brother to these and the like characters, there is a view of the subject perfectly foreign to every other, and above all, in which when the name of brother is considered as applied to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our relationship in him, it forms the sweetest of all thoughts. Hence the church, before Christ's open manifestation in the flesh, so passionately longed for his coming. "O (said she) that thou wert as my brother that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised." ( Song of Song of Solomon 8:1) And, indeed, Jesus in his human nature is the nearest and dearest of all brothers; and in his person is centered a comprehension of all relations. Brethren in Christ are all brethren by the Father's side, for they have all one father, "even the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." ( Ephesians 3:14-15) And they are all brethren by the mother's side, for they have all lain together in the same womb of the divine counsels and purposes of Jehovah and that from all eternity. ( Isaiah 49:1;  Titus 1:2) And they are all brethren by Jesus's side himself, for he is their elder brother, and the "first born among many brethren." ( Romans 8:29) And they are "bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh." ( Ephesians 5:20)

I must beg the reader's attention a little farther to a subject so infinitely interesting. Evident it is, that from all eternity this relationship of Jesus with our nature began, even before that nature of ours was called into being. And hence, what we read in the Old Testament Scripture of the Jewish brother, and the precepts so frequently given of regarding him, had a special reference to Jesus. We lose the whole beauty of the Scripture if Christ be not first beheld in this subject. As for example.—When the law enjoined tenderness, and the relief to the brother waxen poor, here we behold the law of JEHOVAH, and Jesus the law fulfiller blessedly obeying it among his brethren, "If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold." So again, "If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen into decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with thee." ( Leviticus 25:25-35)

Who is the brother waxen poor, having fallen into decay, and sold away some of his possession, but our poor ruined nature; ruined by the fall, and by sin, having sold away our possession? And who is the brother to whom the precept is given, and by whom it hath been fulfilled, and is fulfilling, but the Lord Jesus Christ? Who but him could redeem our mortgaged inheritance? Who but him had a right so to do, as the nearest of all kin, and the most compassionate of all relations? And do observe in those gracious precepts how blessedly provision is made, in this almighty Brother's obedience to this precept, for all the relations of Jesus, both Jew and Gentile; "Yea, (saith the command of JEHOVAH,) though he be a stranger, or a sojourner, that he may live with thee." Live with Jesus! what a precious consideration to my poor heart in the moment of writing, who am by nature a Gentile born, and at that time "an alien to the commonwealth of Israel." ( Ephesians 2:11-12) Blessed for ever be the almighty Lawgiver for enjoining those precepts! And, blessed for ever be the almighty Law fulfiller for his complete obedience to them! And blessed for ever be the almighty Author of Scripture for recording these things, and both bringing my soul acquainted with them, and causing me to believe them, to the divine glory and my soul's joy! And ought it not to be added, by way of rich consolation to every believer's heart, that Jesus our Brother is still carrying on the same blessed purposes, and fulfilling the precept even now in heaven? Jesus is still the Brother; for though his state is changed, yet not his nature. And amidst all the decays and poverty of his poor brethren on earth, Jesus is looking with the same compassion as ever on them; and they are authorized to look up for every needed relief unto him. He must redeem, yea, he hath in every individual instance of his people redeemed their lost possession. He must "open his hand wide to his poor and to his needy in the land." ( Deuteronomy 15:7-8) He must bring every one of them home to live with him; for so the precept is. All the poor brethren of Jesus form one great body, of which Jesus is the Head. And surely, the Head and members being one, ought to be, and certainly will be, eternally united.

I cannot forego adding one sweet and interesting thought more, by way of finishing our present view of Jesus as our Brother; namely, that as Jesus hath thus condescended to become our brother, we ought to take great delight in looking up to him in this tender character. Is it said, that he is not ashamed to call us brethren; and shall we be ashamed of the relationship? Are the great ones of the earth in their carnal alliances, so proud to have their connections known, which are but for a day, and that a day of sin and vanity; and shall we, that are brethren to the Prince of the kings of the earth, and the almighty Lord of heaven, feel no joy in such an union, and which is to last for ever?

I do beg the reader to ponder well the soul-comforting subject, and to be more glad of it than of all the riches and grandeur of the world. And I mention this, the rather, because it is to be feared that some of the Lord's hidden ones are not sensible of their high birth, and relationship in Jesus; or at least, do not make that use of it which they ought. Would any man be shy of going to an earthly court if the king of that court was his brother? Nay, would he not be often going there; often telling of it to ever one around him; and delighting to have it known that he had access, at all times, to the person of the king his brother, and might have whatever he asked of him? But what are these privileges, or what great cause for taking pride and consequence in these transitory dignities, compared to that real unfading honour in a consciousness of not only coming to Jesus, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, as to a brother, but who hath made all his redeemed kings and priests to God and the Father, and "they shall reign with him for ever and ever!" ( Revelation 1:6; Rev 22:5)

Suffer me yet farther to add, that the Scriptures of our God have made this subject of Christ's brotherhood, so peculiarly endearing to the church, that the gracious design of our Lord Jesus, in the assuming of our manhood, is not answered when his church "makes no use of it. Let the reader recollect that this astonishing condescension of Christ is altogether personal. It was the Son of God alone, and not either of the other persons of the Godhead which be came our Brother. For, although, all the glorious persons of JEHOVAH took part in our redemption, yet to neither can we look up as brother but to the Lord Jesus Christ. And is not this personal love and grace of Jesus intended to excite and call up personal affections towards him? Doth he not seem thereby as if to bid us approach him, in a peculiar manner, under this sweet character? Yea, doth he not say in language similar to his illustrious type, the patriarch"Joseph, to his brethren, when under a conscious sense of their crimes in having sold him for a slave they feared to approach him; doth not our Almighty Joseph say to us, under all our tremblings, and fears, and misgivings, in having nailed him to the cross by our sins: "Come near to me I pray you, I am Jesus your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt?" ( Genesis 45:3-4) Oh! thou glorious, gracious, all-lovely, and all-loving Brother! thou art a brother indeed, born for adversity; a friend that loveth at a11 times; one that sticketh closer than a brother. Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thine hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; and all thy Father's children shall bow down before thee. ( Genesis 49:8)

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

Includes, besides sons of the same parents, cousins and near relatives, as a nephew ( Genesis 13:8;  Genesis 14:16;  Deuteronomy 25:5-6 margin). One of the same tribe ( 2 Samuel 19:12). Of the same or a kindred people ( Exodus 2:11;  Numbers 20:14). A friend ( Job 6:15). A fellow man ( Leviticus 19:17). "A brother to (i.e. a fellow on a level with) the dragons" or "jackals" ( Job 30:29). As the outer pagan world knew believers by the name "Christian," so they know one another by the name "brethren" ( Acts 11:26;  Acts 26:28;  1 Peter 4:16; compare  Matthew 25:40;  Acts 11:29). The Jews distinguished a "brother" as an Israelite by birth, and a "neighbor" a proselyte, and allowed neither title to the Gentiles. But Christ applied "brother" to all Christians, and "neighbor" to all the world ( 1 Corinthians 5:11;  Luke 10:29-30). The arguments for the "brethren" of Jesus (James, Joses, Simon, and Judas) mentioned in  Matthew 13:56 being literally His brothers, born of Joseph and Mary, are:

(1) their names are always connected with Mary, "His brethren" is the phrase found nine times in the Gospels, once in Acts ( Acts 1:14);

(2) nothing is said to imply that the phrase is not to be taken literally. But:

(1) "My brethren" is found in the wide sense ( Matthew 28:10;  John 20:17).

(2) If Joseph had been their father, they would have been some one time at least designated in the usual mode "sons of Joseph." The statement that. His "brethren did not believe in Him" ( John 7:5) may refer to His near relations generally, excepting the two apostles James (who is expressly called "the Lord's brother,"  Galatians 1:19) and Jude ( Judges 1:1). In  Acts 1:14 His "brethren," as distinct from the apostles, may refer to Simon and Joses and other near relatives. It is not likely there would be two pairs of brothers named alike, of such eminence; James and Jude. His brethren are, most probably, the writers of the epistles.

(3) It is expressly stated that Mary, wife of Cleophas and sister of the Virgin Mary ( John 19:25), had sons, of whom James and Joses are named ( Matthew 27:56;  Mark 15:40). How unlikely that two mothers of the same name, Mary the Virgin and her sister, should have sons also bearing the same names.

(4) If the Virgin had had sons of her own, Jesus would not have given her in charge to John ( John 19:26), who was not a relative.

(5) It is a fitting thing that in Jesus the line of David should have its final consummation. The naming of Jesus' brethren with His virgin mother so often may be because Jesus and she took up their abode at the home of Mary, the Virgin's sister, after Joseph's death; for that he soon died appears from his name being never mentioned after Luke 2. Hence the cousins would grow up as brothers. The very difficulty implies the absence of collusion or mythical origin in the gospel narrative.

"Firstborn son" ( Matthew 1:25) does not imply that any sons were born of the Virgin afterwards, but that none were born before Him.  Exodus 13:2 defines "the firstborn" "whatsoever openeth the womb": whether other children followed or not. "Knew her not until" does not necessarily imply he even then knew her; compare  Genesis 28:15, "I will not leave thee until I have done," not meaning He would leave Jacob even then. The main truth asserted is the virginity of Mary up to Jesus' birth. What was afterward is not dearly revealed, being of less consequence to us.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [3]

'Âch ( אָח , Strong'S #251), “brother.” This word has cognates in Ugaritic and most other Semitic languages. Biblical Hebrew attests the word about 629 times and at all periods.In its basic meaning, 'âch represents a “male sibling,” a “brother.” This is its meaning in the first biblical appearance: “And she again bare his brother Abel” (Gen. 4:2). This word represents a full brother or a half-brother: “And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren …” (Gen. 37:14).

In another nuance, 'âch can represent a “blood relative.” Abram’s nephew is termed his “brother”: “And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people” (Gen. 14:16). This passage, however, might also reflect the covenantal use of the term whereby it connotes “ally” (cf. Gen. 13:8). In Gen. 9:25, 'âch clearly signifies “relative”: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” Laban called his cousin Jacob an 'âch  : “And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought?” (Gen. 29:15). Just before this, Jacob described himself as an 'âch of Rachel’s father (Gen. 29:12).

Tribes may be called 'âchim “And [the tribe of] Judah said unto [the tribe of] Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot …” (Judg. 1:3). The word 'âch is used of a fellow tribesman: “With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine …” (Gen. 31:32). Elsewhere it describes a fellow countryman: “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens …” (Exod. 2:11).

In several passages, the word 'âch connotes “companion” or “colleague”—that is, a brother by choice. One example is found in 2 Kings 9:2: “And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber” (cf. Isa. 41:6; Num. 8:26). Somewhat along this line is the covenantal use of the word as a synonym for “ally”: “And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly” (Gen. 19:6-7). Notice this same use in Num. 20:14 and 1 Kings 9:13.

'Âch can be a term of polite address, as it appears to be in Gen. 29:4: “And Jacob said unto them [shepherds, whose identity he did not know], My brethren, whence be ye?”

The word 'âch sometimes represents someone or something that simply exists alongside a given person or thing: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of … every man’s brother will I require the life of man” (Gen. 9:5-6).

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

Among the peoples of Bible times the word ‘brother’ had a wide meaning. Its obvious and most common meaning was to those who were children of the same parents ( Genesis 25:21-26;  Matthew 4:18-21). It was used also of a person who was more distantly related, such as a cousin or an uncle ( Genesis 14:12-14), a fellow member of the same community or nation ( Genesis 19:7;  Leviticus 25:45-46;  Acts 13:26;  Romans 9:3), or one’s fellow human beings in general ( Leviticus 19:17;  Matthew 7:3). (See also Neighbour .)

Jesus used the expression ‘brother’ to indicate the closeness of the relationship between him and his followers ( Matthew 12:46-50; cf.  Hebrews 2:11-12). Those who become Christ’s people are therefore brothers to each other ( Matthew 18:15;  Matthew 18:21;  Acts 9:17;  Acts 9:30;  Acts 15:3;  Acts 15:22;  1 Thessalonians 5:25-27).

This shared brotherhood should help produce good relations between believers. They should be more tolerant of each other ( Romans 14:10-15), more forgiving ( 1 Corinthians 6:5-8), more concerned ( 2 Thessalonians 3:15), more self-sacrificing ( 1 John 3:17) and more loving ( Romans 12:10;  1 John 2:9-11). They should realize that to sin against a brother is to sin against Christ ( 1 Corinthians 8:11-13), and therefore should make every effort to prevent, or correct, such sin ( Matthew 18:15-20;  Romans 14:19-21).

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [5]

 1 Kings 20:33 (b) The ungodly enemy king took the place of being a relative of Ahab, the King of Samaria. Ahab accepted the suggestion. He therefore linked himself with one who was a bitter enemy of GOD and whom GOD had ordained for destruction. Christians are not brothers of the unsaved. Christians are children of GOD, while the unsaved are children of Satan. GOD cursed Ahab for his action in this matter.

 Job 30:29 (a) Job felt so disgraced, so discouraged, and so wretched that he claimed kin with animals. He felt that he was not worthy to be called even a human being.

 Psalm 49:7 (b) The word is used to describe any friend or relative who shows a helpful interest in time of distress. The passage particularly refers to the false teachings of Romanism, with its masses for the dead, and Mormonism with its baptism for the dead. No human being can do anything whatever to help the souls of those who have died.

 Proverbs 17:17 (c) This title refers to any person who loves, cares and shares with one who is in adversity, trouble or sorrow. GOD always provides someone who will help in time of sorrow.

 Matthew 5:22 (b) The teaching evidently is that if any person should mock at or scoff at a Christian who is seeking to live a separated life, and thereby fulfill GOD's will, that person is in danger of eternal punishment because he sides in with Satan and takes sides against GOD.

 Matthew 7:3 (a) This name is applied to any person with whom one is in close association and fellowship.

 Matthew 12:50 (a) This person is a true believer in the Lord Jesus who has received the gift of eternal life, and thereby has entered the family of GOD. It also describes the very close and precious relationship which JESUS maintains toward those who love Him and obey the Father.

 Romans 14:10 (a) In this passage the word refers to any believer or even one who claims to be a believer against whom another Christian may show a hostile attitude.

 1 John 2:9 (b) This title is given to any real believer, a true Christian, one who has been born again, and is really a child of GOD.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

Signifies in Scripture the son of the same parent or parents,  Matthew 1:2   Luke 6:14; a cousin or near kinsman,  Genesis 13:8   14:16   John 7:3   Acts 1:14; one of the same stock or country,  Matthew 5:47   Acts 3:22   Hebrews 7:5; a fellow-man, and equal,  Matthew 5:23   7:3; one beloved,  2 Samuel 1:26; Christians, as sons of God,  Acts 9:30   11:29 . In  Matthew 12:46-50   13:55,56   Mark 3:31-35 , the brothers of Christ are so mentioned, in connection with his mother and sisters, as almost to require us to believe they were children of Joseph and Mary, younger than Jesus. Yet this is not quite certain, as it may be that the James, Joses, and Judas in  Matthew 13:55 , are the nephews of Christ alluded to in  Matthew 27:56   Luke 6:15,16   John 19:25; Cleophas and Alphaeus being probably the same.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [7]

  • One beloved or closely united with another in affection ( 2 Samuel 1:26;  Acts 6:3;  1 Thessalonians 5:1 ). Brethren of Jesus ( Matthew 1:25;  12:46,50 :  Mark 3:31,32;  Galatians 1:19;  1 Corinthians 9:5 , etc.) were probably the younger children of Joseph and Mary. Some have supposed that they may have been the children of Joseph by a former marriage, and others that they were the children of Mary, the Virgin's sister, and wife of Cleophas. The first interpretation, however, is the most natural.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Brother'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • King James Dictionary [8]

    BROTHER, n. plu. brothers or brethren. L. frater.

    1. A human male born of the same father and mother. A male by one of the parents only is called a half-brother, or brother of the half blood. 2. Any one closely united an associate as a band of brothers. 3. One that resembles another in manners.

    He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.  Proverbs 18 .

    In scripture, the term brother is applied to a kinsman by blood more remote that a son of the same parents as in the case of Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban. Persons of the same profession call each other brother, as judges, clergymen, professors of religion, members of societies united in a common cause, monks and the like.

    Kings give to each other the title of brother.address their congregations by the title of brethren. In a more general sense, brother or brethren is used for man in general all men being children of the same primitive ancestors, and forming one race of beings.

    Brother-german is a brother by the father's and mother's side, in contradistinction to a uterine brother, or by the mother only.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

    Brother. The Hebrew word is used in various senses in the Old Testament, as,

    1. Any kinsman, and not a mere brother; that is, nephew,  Genesis 13:8;  Genesis 14:16, husband,  Song of Solomon 4:9.

    2. One of the same tribe.  2 Samuel 19:13.

    3. Of the same people,  Exodus 2:11, or even, of a cognate people.  Numbers 20:14.

    4. An ally.  Amos 1:9.

    5. Any friend,  Job 5:15.

    6. One of the same office.  1 Kings 9:13.

    7. A fellow man.  Leviticus 19:17.

    Metaphorically, of any similarity, as in  Job 30:19. The Greek word, adelphos , has a similar range of meanings, in the New Testament.

    Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [10]

    1. A brother by the same mother, a uterine brother,  Matthew 4:21;  Matthew 20:20 . 2. A brother, though not by the same mother,  Matthew 1:2 . 3. A near kinsman, a cousin,  Matthew 13:55;  Mark 6:3 . Observe, that in  Matthew 13:55 , James, and Joses, and Judas, are called the αδελφοι , brethren, of Christ, but were most probably only his cousins by his mother's side; for James and Joses were the sons of Mary,   Matthew 27:56; and James and Judas, the sons of Alpheus,  Luke 6:15-16; which Alpheus is therefore probably the same with Cleopas, the husband of Mary, sister to our Lord's mother,  John 19:25 .

    Webster's Dictionary [11]

    (1): (n.) One related or closely united to another by some common tie or interest, as of rank, profession, membership in a society, toil, suffering, etc.; - used among judges, clergymen, monks, physicians, lawyers, professors of religion, etc.

    (2): (n.) A male person who has the same father and mother with another person, or who has one of them only. In the latter case he is more definitely called a half brother, or brother of the half blood.

    (3): (n.) One who, or that which, resembles another in distinctive qualities or traits of character.

    (4): (v. t.) To make a brother of; to call or treat as a brother; to admit to a brotherhood.

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [12]

    Besides the ordinary use of the word in its literal sense, it is applied to cousins and nephews,  Genesis 14:14;  Leviticus 10:4; and to kinsmen generally.  Exodus 2:11;  2 Kings 10:13;  2 Chronicles 22:8 . Also employed where there is a moral likeness.  Job 30:29;  Proverbs 18:9 . See BRETHREN.

    Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [13]

    See Names Of Christians; Family Life And Relations

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [14]

    BROTHER . See Family, and Brethren of the Lord.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [15]

    See Family.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

    (Heb. אָח [see AcH-]; Gr. Ἀδελφός ), a term so variously and extensively applied in Scripture that it becomes important carefully to distinguish the different acceptations in which it is used.

    1. It denotes a brother in the natural sense, whether the offspring of the same father only ( Genesis 42:15;  Genesis 43:3;  Judges 9:21;  Matthew 1:2;  Luke 3:1;  Luke 3:19), or of the same mother only ( Judges 8:19), or of the same father and mother ( Genesis 42:4;  Genesis 44:20;  Luke 6:14, etc.)

    2. A near relative or kinsman by blood, e.g. a nephew ( Genesis 14:16;  Genesis 13:8;  Genesis 24:12;  Genesis 24:15), or in general a cousin ( Matthew 12:46;  John 7:3;  Acts 1:14;  Galatians 1:19), or even a husband ( Song of Solomon 4:9).

    3. One of the same tribe ( 2 Samuel 10:13), e.g. a fellow Levite ( Numbers 8:26;  Numbers 16:10;  Nehemiah 3:1).

    4. One born in the same country, descended from the same stock, a fellow- countryman ( Judges 14:3; Ezekiel 2:11; 4:18;  Matthew 5:47;  Acts 3:22;  Hebrews 7:5), or even of a cognate people ( Genesis 9:25;  Genesis 16:12;  Genesis 25:18;  Numbers 20:14).

    5. One of equal rank and dignity ( Proverbs 18:9;  Matthew 23:8).

    6. Disciples, followers, etc. ( Matthew 25:40;  Hebrews 2:11-12).

    7. One of the same faith ( Isaiah 66:10;  Acts 9:30;  Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 5, 11); from which and other texts it appears that the first converts to the faith of Jesus were known to each other by the title of brethren, till the name of Christians was given to them at Antioch ( Acts 11:26).

    8. An associate, colleague in office or dignity, etc. ( Ezra 2:2;  1 Corinthians 1:1;  2 Corinthians 1:1,-etc.).

    9. One of the same nature, a fellow-man ( Genesis 13:8;  Genesis 26:31;  Matthew 5:22-24;  Matthew 7:5;  Hebrews 2:17;  Hebrews 8:11).

    10. One beloved, i.e. as a brother, in a direct address ( Acts 2:29;  Acts 6:3;  1 Thessalonians 5:1).

    11. An ally of a confederate nation ( Amos 1:9).

    12. A friend or associate ( Job 6:15; comp.  Job 19:13;  1 Kings 19:13;  Nehemiah 5:10;  Nehemiah 5:14).

    13 . It is a very favorite Oriental metaphor, as in  Job 30:29, "I am become a brother to the jackals."

    14. It is even applied (in the Heb.) to inanimate things in the phrase " one another" (lit. A Man His Brother), -e.g. of the cherubim ( Exodus 25:20;  Exodus 37:9). The term is still used in the East with the same latitude (Hackett's Illustra. of Script. p. 118). The Jewish schools, however, distinguish between "brother" and "neighbor;" "brother" meant an Israelite by blood, "neighbor" a proselyte. They allowed neither title to the Gentiles; but Christ and the apostles extended the name "brother" to all Christians, and "neighbor" to all the world,  1 Corinthians 5:11;  Luke 10:29-30 (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. Ad Matthew v, 22).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [17]

    bruth´ẽr ( אח , 'āḥ  ; ἀδελφός , adelphós = kin by birth, from the same parents or parent): Used extensively in both Old Testament and New Testament of other relations and relationships, and expanding under Christ's teaching to include the universal brotherhood of man. Chiefly employed in the natural sense, as of Cain and Abel ( Genesis 4:8 ); of Joseph and his brethren ( Genesis 42:3 ); of Peter and Andrew, of James and John ( Matthew 10:2 ). Of other relationships: (1) Abram's nephew, Lot, is termed "brother" ( Genesis 14:14 ); (2) Moses' fellow-countrymen are "brethren" ( Exodus 2:11;  Acts 3:22; compare  Hebrews 7:5 ); (3) a member of the same tribe ( 2 Samuel 19:12 ); (4) an ally ( Amos 1:9 ), or an allied or cognate people ( Numbers 20:14 ); (5) used of common discipleship or the kinship of humanity ( Matthew 23:8 ); (6) of moral likeness or kinship ( Proverbs 18:9 ); (7) of friends ( Job 6:15 ); (8) an equal in rank or office ( 1 Kings 9:13 ); (9) one of the same faith ( Acts 11:29;  1 Corinthians 5:11 ); (10) a favorite oriental metaphor used to express likeness or similarity ( Job 30:29 , "I am a brother to jackals"); (11) a fellow-priest or office-bearer ( Ezra 3:2 ); Paul called Sosthenes "brother" ( 1 Corinthians 1:1 ) and Timothy his spiritual son and associate ( 2 Corinthians 1:1 ); (12) a brother-man, any member of the human family ( Matthew 7:3-5;  Hebrews 2:17;  Hebrews 8:11;  1 John 2:9;  1 John 4:20 ); (13) signifies spiritual kinship ( Matthew 12:50 ); (14) a term adopted by the early disciples and Christians to express their fraternal love for each other in Christ, and universally adopted as the language of love and brotherhood in His kingdom in all subsequent time ( 2 Peter 3:15;  Colossians 4:7 ,  Colossians 4:9 ,  Colossians 4:15 ). The growing conception of mankind as a brotherhood is the outcome of this Christian view of believers as a household, a family ( Ephesians 2:19;  Ephesians 3:15; compare  Acts 17:26 ). Jesus has made "neighbor" equivalent to "brother," and the sense of fraternal affection and obligation essential to vital Christianity, and coextensive with the world. The rabbis distinguished between "brother" and "neighbor," applying "brother" to Israelites by blood, "neighbor" to proselytes, but allowing neither title to the Gentiles. Christ and the apostles gave the name "brother" to all Christians, and "neighbor" to all the world ( 1 Corinthians 5:11;  Luke 10:29 ). The missionary passion and aggressiveness of the Christian church is the natural product of this Christian conception of man's true relation to man. See also Family Relationships .

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [18]

    This term is so variously and extensively applied in Scripture, that it becomes important carefully to distinguish the different acceptations in which it is used.

    It denotes a brother in the natural sense, whether the offspring of the same father only ( Matthew 1:2;  Luke 3:1;  Luke 3:19), or of the same father and mother ( Luke 6:14, etc.).

    A near relative or kinsman by blood, cousin ( Genesis 13:8;  Genesis 14:16;  Matthew 12:46;  John 7:3;  Acts 1:14;  Galatians 1:19).

    One who is connected with another by any tie of intimacy or fellowship: hence—

    One born in the same country, descended from the same stock, a fellow countryman ( Matthew 5:47;  Acts 3:22;  Hebrews 7:5;  Exodus 2:11;  Exodus 4:18).

    One of equal rank and dignity ( Job 30:29;  Proverbs 18:9;  Matthew 23:8).

    Disciples, followers, etc. ( Matthew 25:40;  Hebrews 2:11-12).

    One of the same faith ( Amos 1:9;  Acts 9:30;  Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Corinthians 11); from which and other texts it appears that the first converts to the faith of Jesus were known to each other by the title of Brethren, till the name of Christians was given to them at Antioch ( Acts 11:26).

    An associate, colleague in office or dignity, etc. ( Ezra 3:2;  1 Corinthians 1:1;  2 Corinthians 1:1; etc.).

    One of the same nature, a fellow man ( Genesis 13:8;  Genesis 26:31;  Matthew 5:22-24;  Matthew 7:5;  Hebrews 2:17;  Hebrews 8:11).

    One beloved, i.e. as a brother, in a direct address ( Acts 2:29;  Acts 6:3;  1 Thessalonians 5:1).