Does God hate sinners?

What do we make of certain Biblical texts which imply or EXPRESSLY STATE that God detests the ungodly? (For example, Ps. 5:5-6, Prov. 6:16-19, Hos. 9:15). How can a God Who we are told is Love (1 John 4:8, 16) and loves (John 3:16) then hate the sinful? This is where proper Bible interpretation comes in.


The word “hate” was understood differently by its original Jewish audience than it is today. For instance, Jesus instructs all who seek to follow Him to “hate” their relatives, including their parents (Luke 14:26). Taking this literally would create a problem as the Law instructs to honour our parents (Ex. 20:12). Hence, the word “hate” must be understood WITHIN the historical-cultural context in which it was used. The word Jesus uses for “hate” actually means “to love less.” Jesus is teaching prioritizing Him above family, not hatred. So we see that the word “hate” is used as a literary device or figure of speech.


This “figure of speech” (known as anthropomorphism) ascribes human characteristics and emotions to divine beings. So in an attempt to describe God’s unhappy disposition towards the sinner’s actions which are destroying him, “hate” is used. But God does not HATE the sinner — that’s how best the Bible writers could describe what they wanted to pass across. A God who “hates” sinners would not become a Man to die for their sins!

© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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