Pray for Those Who Persecute You: What Does Matthew 5:44 Mean?


Matthew 5:44 reads, “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.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationMatthew 5:44
ESVBut I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
NASBBut I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
NIVBut I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
NLTBut I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Also see Cast Your Cares On Him to learn more.

Pray for Those Who Persecute You: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

5:43-48 The Jewish teachers by neighbour understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them.

While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect.

It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1Pe 1:15,16.

Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves his children.

Also see Those That Wait On the Lord to learn more.

Matthew 5:44 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies—The word here used denotes moral love, as distinguished from the other word, which expresses personal affection. Usually, the former denotes “complacency in the character” of the person loved; but here it denotes the benignant, compassionate outgoings of desire for another’s good.

bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you—The best commentary on these matchless counsels is the bright example of Him who gave them. (See 1Pe 2:21-24; and compare Ro 12:20, 21; 1Co 4:12; 1Pe 3:9).

But though such precepts were never before expressed—perhaps not even conceived—with such breadth, precision, and sharpness as here, our Lord is here only the incomparable Interpreter of the law in force from the beginning; and this is the only satisfactory view of the entire strain of this discourse.

Also see Death and Life Are in the Power of the Tongue to learn more.

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