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Thomas Carroll
Thomas Carroll 14 Jun 2021
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Bible Problem: Are We to Love Our Enemies, but to Hate Our Families?

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Bible Problem: Are We to Love Our Enemies, but to Hate Our Families?

Problem:

In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus says:

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

And Jesus says in Luke 6:27:
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

However, in Luke 14:26 Jesus tells us:
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, but also tells us to hate our family members, and even ourselves. How could this be true? Is it acceptable to love yourself and your family if you don’t become Jesus’ disciple? Or is this a mistranslation?

Solution:

Dictionary.com gives the definition of hate in our modern age:

To dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest; to be unwilling; dislike.

The King James Bible’s translation was finished in 1611. The meaning of many words have changed since then. According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary hate means:

1. To dislike greatly; to have a great aversion to. It expresses less than abhor, detest, and abominate, unless pronounced with a peculiar emphasis.

2. In Scripture, it signifies to love less.

In the Bible when hate means "to love less" it is shown in the comparative sense. In Luke 14:26 Jesus is telling us that to be His disciples we need to love Him more than we love ourselves and our families.

Jacob was married to the sisters Leah and Rachel. He was tricked into marrying Leah by her father, but he did not hate her. Jacob loved Leah less than he loved Rachel, as this comparative verse of the word hate shows:

Genesis 29:31:
And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

Proverbs 13:24 is another example. It shows that a parent who does not discipline the children loves them less than a parent who does:
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Here is one more example from Romans 9:13
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

When hate is used comparatively in scripture it does not mean to hate in the modern sense of the word, rather it means "to love less."

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2 Comments sort Sort By


bodger52
bodger52 1 month ago

Excellent explanation . Thanks

   1    0
Thomas Carroll
Thomas Carroll 1 month ago

⁣When hate is used comparatively in scripture it does not mean to hate in the modern sense of the word, rather it means "to love less."

   3    0
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