The better part: hospitality

marthamarybyheqichinaGreek: philoxenia. The practice of receiving a guest or stranger graciously was common to all cultures in the period of both the Old and New Testament. The word most often associated with hospitality in the LXX and the NT is xenos, which literally means foreigner, stranger, or even enemy. In its derived sense, however, the term comes to denote both guest and host alike. Typically, the verb used to describe the extending of hospitality is xenizein (Sir 29:25; 1 Macc 9:6; Acts 10:23; Heb 13:2). In the NT one who receives visitors is said to be philoxenos, i.e., a “lover of strangers,” or to be practicing the virtue of philoxenia (1 Tim 3:2; 1 Pet 4:9; Rom 12:13; Heb 13:2). Continue reading