Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

Is it all right for family members to say goodbye with a short kiss on the lips? My father's family does this, and it's always made me feel uncomfortable. My daughter-in-law’s family also has a custom of giving one another a short kiss on the lips when they say goodbye. So, my four-year-old grandson has been taught to do this. He always wants to give me a short kiss on the lips when I tell him goodbye. One day, I asked him to kiss me on my cheek instead, and it hurt his feelings. He told me he didn't love me anymore and to never touch him again. Kissing him on the lips is very uncomfortable for me, but I don't want to hurt his feelings. Plus, my daughter-in-law and her family take it as an insult that I don't want to kiss him on the lips when we say goodbye.

Dear Bill,

According to the Bible, there is no prohibition against kissing anyone on the lips. Nevertheless, we must keep the Bible definition of kissing in line with the context and culture of the time. A kiss in Bible days was much like the type of kiss that we see in the Arab world today. The one being kissed turns his/her cheek and lets the one kissing give them a "peck" on one cheek and then the other. The roles then are reversed.

This type of kissing is still uncomfortable for me, even though I have travelled extensively through the Middle East and kissed a lot of cheeks. If you are not careful, it is possible to miss the cheek and connect lips to lips. That is an awful experience.

The Bible mentions at least five types of kisses.

First, the time-honored kiss of greeting or good-by on both cheeks.

Exodus 4:27: The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him.

Second, the kiss of seduction by a prostitute in seeking her prey.

Proverbs 7:10-23: Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent…
She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:

"Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,…

little knowing it will cost him his life.

Third, the kiss on the lips between married people.

Genesis 29:11: Then, Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.

Song of Solomon 1:2: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.

Fourth, the dastardly, passionate, lovers' kiss that Judas used to betray Jesus.

Matthew 26:49: Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Judas took the normal word for "kiss" and intensified it with a Greek prefix "kata" that describes the lovers kiss between a passionate husband and wife having sex. That is why Jesus said with great sadness in Mark 14  "Did you have to betray me with a passionate lover's kiss?" The Greek word would describe a kiss on the lips.