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    Fervent or Outstretched

Ekteino (the verb)
(the adverb)
Ektenes (the adjective)

Ektenos or Ektenes appear three times in the new testament all having to do with Peter, twice in 1 Peter describing how believers are to love one another and once in Acts describing how the saints prayed for Peter when he was in jail. The verb form, ekteino, appears 16 times, 15 times in the context of stretching forth a hand.


    When we are born again, our new spiritual life is evidenced by a brotherly affection (from the greek word philadelphia). This love is an elementary, or early phase, kind of love similar to the affection an infant has for its earthly family.

      We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. 1John 3:14

      Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another  1Thess.4:9


    But as a flower bud stretches out to a full flower, so the brotherly affection we have as babes In Christ is to stretch into a fuller love (the Greek word agape). And so Peter says:

      [add to] your brotherly kindness, love
              or, using the Greek words;
      add to your philadelphia, agape  2 Peter 2:7


    In 1 Peter 1:22  Peter says that the philadelphia kind of love that accompanied their salvation is a good start, but they are now to add agape love that stretches out like hands toward other believers. In 1 Peter 3:8, Peter summarizes the aspects of agape love that are missing from mere philadelphia love. The illustration below blends these two verses together:


        Peter's Outstretched Love

    Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8  [Only the outstretched love of Jesus at Calvary can cover our sins by canceling their debt and washing away the guilt. However, the ongoing outstretched love of Jesus is evident in us as we forgive one another when we are wronged. In other words, 1 Peter 4:8 tells us that our outstretched love includes forgiveness]  

    Fittingly, Jesus told Peter that his life would end with his hands stretched out;

      "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!" John 21:18-19


      Paul's Outstretched Love

    Paul also used the imagery of a love that stretches out its hands toward others:

      ...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Eph 3:17-19  [Christ's love in us is to be like outstretched arms toward one another with a breadth, height, depth and length]

      Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 3:12-14  [Paul strives with outstretched arms to lay hold of Christ in love just as Christ laid hold of Paul in love at Calvary. Paul's stretched out love for Christ is expressed in loving His Body, the saints. And although Paul falls far short of the love by which Christ loved him , he presses on in his love]



by Steve Popovich
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