The expression "hate the sin, love the sinner" gets thrown about in both Christian and non-Christian circles, but it does not seem to be a bible verse.

What Biblical concepts support this popular cliche? And what supports it being applied to men and not just God? Some say "that's the way that Jesus lived". Are there examples of Jesus' conduct that demonstrate this one way or another?

  • possible duplicate of Does God hate Sinners like he hates Sin?
    – Ray
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 20:09
  • 2
    @Ray: I'm going to argue that this is not a duplicate because the other question does not deal with how MEN are supposed to treat MEN, which is the primary context that this cliche is used. The primary focus is on that cliche and whether it is theologically sound and appropriately used or whether it's a miss-directed cliche.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 20:49
  • See the Epistle of Jude, specifically 1:23.
    – user1679
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 18:36
  • I find the phrase functions as a very useful warning. Anyone who uses it has just alerted the world that they are going to be a judgmental pratt. But maybe that's just me.
    – TRiG
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 19:29
  • What would you think of an edit to make this a Biblical basis question? All answers would remain valid, except for one (which has zero votes, is by a deleted user, and is unclear in how it answers even the present version of the question). Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 22:33

4 Answers 4


I think "hate the sin, love the sinner" is a very Christian concept.

God hates sin, and in fact he hates sinners.

Romans 9:10-18

10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[d] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[e]

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

We see here that God chose to hate Esau before he was even born. He chose to harden Pharaoh in Egypt for his own purposes.

However, we do not know who God has elected to save and so we should treat everyone with the love and respect that he has given to us.

Matt 22:37-40 (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We are to love our neighbors (a pretty expansive group, potentially all we come into contact with) as we wish to be loved. This is a huge command. We are to love everyone in our lives as much as we love ourselves (be honest its a lot).

Loving others is our greatest command at this point

Romans 13:8 (NIV)

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

God's perfection cannot tolerate sinners. However, we are by no means perfect creatures and have little to no right to render judgement upon a creature god has created. Thus we should live as if each action we take and word we speak are towards each other and those outside of our circles are towards a brother in Christ, because we can not see who God has chosen and who he has not.


John 8:11

...“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

We'll there was the women caught in the very act of adultery. Jesus demonstrated his love to her and showed her mercy, but at the same time He commanded her to sin no longer.

There there was the time that Jesus drove out the money changers at the temple(with a whip I might add).Mark 11:15-19 So it's pretty clear he has a passion for disliking sin.

in Luke 19:1-10 Jesus shows love to Zacchaeus, who was abusing his position as tax collector, and it was because of Jesus showing love first that Zacchaeus repented, then Jesus said he came to save those who where lost.

Romans 12:9

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

That says hate evil right there.

1st John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, For love is of God And everyone who loves Is born of God and knows God.

Matthew 5:43-48 tells us to not only love our Neighbor, but love even our enemy. and then he commands us to be perfect, as God is perfect.

Hebrews 1:9

Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

In Hebrews it is commending people who love rightness, and hate sin.

John 3:14-19

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

So in other words, Jesus dosen't condemn people, people don't believe aren't condemned after the fact, they are already condemned because of their preexisting condition (just like the people in the wilderness, they didn't die from not looking at the on Moses' poll, they died from the snake bite before that(and the snakes were there because of their sin!), if they would choose to look at the snake on the poll they would have been saved), Jesus came to Save them from their preexisting condemnation IF they will choose him, If they don't choose to believe they stay as they were.

Romans 5:6-8

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So yes God does love the sinner!

Psalm 97:10

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

But Hates the Sin!


Since you haven't accepted an answer, I'm assuming you are looking for something more explicit.

Hate the sin

There is a clear call in Scripture for the people of God to hate sin:

  • The fear of the LORD is to hate evil -Proverbs 8:13

  • Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! -Amos 5:15

  • Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; ... he has ceased to be wise and to do good. ... he sets himself on a path that is not good; he does not despise evil. -Psalm 36:1-4

Love the sinner

The following passages should make it clear that we are called to love sinners:

  • You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. -Matthew 5:43-45

This is about the toughest group to love, to be sure: your enemies, and those who persecute you. Jesus uses this extreme to show that His call to love is all-encompassing. Notice also that the reasoning for this is that we will be more like our Father, who is gracious to everyone - righteous and unrighteous - as seen in His provision of sun and rain to both groups. (Of course, numerous other examples of God's grace could be given - indeed everything good that the sinner has comes from God.) Why would God provide like this? Because He is love.

  • And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” -Luke 10:25-29

The lawyer has been caught by his own words, and realizes that if the criteria for inheriting eternal life includes 'loving your neighbor', his eternal security depends heavily on the definition of 'neighbor'! In response to the lawyer's question, Jesus goes on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus ends the story by telling the lawyer that he is responsible for being a neighbor to those in need. In other words, anyone you come across is your neighbor if you are fulfilling your duty to others.

  • For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. -Romans 13:9-10

If I could pick a "most important passage in Scripture" for interpreting the Old Testament, it would be this one. All of the commandments can be summed up by saying "love your neighbor". This was God's message from the beginning. And of course, this includes sinners. (Hopefully that is clear; It would be quite a stretch to argue that it's OK to covet your neighbor's wife, as long as your neighbors aren't Christians!)


The phrase "hate the sin, love the sinner" appears to be a catchy teaching comprised of two Biblical doctrines, presented together for mutual clarification.


First we have to understand that all people are sinners according Romans 3:23. But God still loves some sinners (John 3:16) but hate other sinners (Malachi 1:2,3). So there must be something that separates one group from the other. What plays a significant role in God's view is the motive of the sinner.

For example, does a person understand that he is a sinner and repent from them? An excellent example of someone who recognized his fault is Job, who said:

Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.Job 42:6

Also we have to recognize that someone may sin, but without knowing what God requires. This person is not a sinner to the same extent as someone who recognizes God's will (1 Timothy 1:13, Luke 12:47, 48)

If someone who understands God's will and wittingly does what God forbids then "no sacrifice for sins is left"(Hebrews 10:26-31). These are people that God doesn't accept and we must see them in the same way (Psalms 139:21,22).

Insight on the scriptures comments:

This hate does not seek to inflict injury on others and is not synonymous with spite or malice. Rather, it finds expression in its utter abhorrence of what is wicked, avoiding what is bad and those intensely hating Jehovah. (Romans 12:9, 17, 19) Christians rightly hate those who are confirmed enemies of God, such as the Devil and his demons, as well as men who have deliberately and knowingly taken their stand against Jehovah.

Insight on the Scriptures vol.1, p. 1043: Hate

  • Are you saying that it is enough to please God if you mean well but still sin?
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 21:34

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