I have read the questions and answers regarding Luke 14:26 and grasp how "hate" is being used.


If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple

Jesus does not use this term in the same context as it is used in modern language.

However, is there a specific word in the Greek language used for "hate"? That is, a term in Greek literature used for an adversarial emotion we recognize as "hate"?


2 Answers 2


Regarding μισέω (miseó)

Luke 14:26 uses the term μισέω ("hate" in many, perhaps all, English translations) in a context that reasonably shows its usage to be something other than "an adversarial emotion we recognize as 'hate.'" That is, it is used in a relative sense there, where Christ is comparing the fact that one ought to "detest" father, mother, wife, child, brother, sister, and their own self if any of those get in the way of being his disciple (i.e. following Him). So no person, and no person's personal priorities, are to be placed above the priority of the Person of Christ and His priorities. Hence, it is used in a relative sense in this context.

This is further confirmed because other Scripture, including Christ's own statements, make it clear that one is not absolutely to have "an adversarial emotion" toward any of these people. Parents are to be honored (e.g. Mt 15:4), oneself is to be loved and one's love for others performed at a level equal to that (e.g. Mt 19:19).

However, just because it has a comparative usage in Luke 14:26 does not mean the term fails to hold the idea of "an adversarial emotion" in other contexts, and even by Jesus. Take Luke 21:16-17 (NASB) as an example:

16 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be hated [a participle form of μισέω] by all because of My name.

This context is clearly a use where Jesus does use the term with the idea of "an adversarial emotion" similar to what "we recognize as 'hate,'" as relatives are hating so much as to bring people to death.

So context determines the meaning (as with most word usages).

There is also καταφρονέω (kataphroneó)

This term is often translated "despise," which itself has synonymous meaning to "hate" in English. It can be found in Mt 6:24, 18:10; Luke 16:13; Rom 2:4; 1 Cor 11:22; 1 Tim 4:12, 6:2; 2 Pet 2:10; Heb 12:2.

Literally, the term is a compound of κατα (kata, in this context, "against") and φρονέω (phroneó, "to think"), so "to think against" someone. This certainly contains the idea of "an adversarial emotion we recognize as 'hate'" as well.


Do not make the mistake of thinking μισέω (even used by Jesus) cannot carry the same idea as the English "hate," but to answer directly the question, there is at least one other Greek term, καταφρονέω, that carries a similar idea.

  • What about dichazō (διχάζω) Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Would this term meet the “adversarial emotion" is recognized as "hate”? In context Jesus is telling that he came to separate us from the rest of the world to include our family. However, does this fit the context discussed? One can separate themselves from the rest of world (culture) without espousing “hate.”
    – Kelsey48
    Jun 27, 2015 at 16:54
  • @Kelsey48: The word διχάζω does not carry (of itself) any emotional connotation. It simply means "to divide in two," or "to separate." Obviously, such could come about because of the "hate" of one for another, but the term itself (as best I can tell) does not carry any such idea without context adding that idea to what caused the division.
    – ScottS
    Jun 29, 2015 at 15:02
  • 1
    I recently ran across ἀποστυγέω (a hapax) in Rom 12:9: ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν (abhorring what is evil).
    – Susan
    Jul 7, 2015 at 17:31
  • @Susan: Nice find. I'll have to do a little study on that and incorporate into my answer a "third" option.
    – ScottS
    Jul 7, 2015 at 21:43
  • Detest or Hate ἀποστυγέω, (apostygeō) Roman 12.9; Abhor (KJV), the makeup of apostygeō is comprised of two root words ἀπό, στυγητός (apo, stygētos) – from + hated, detestable (English). Is this term in its full context a synonym for the “adversarial emotion” recognized as “hate?” The base stygētos is used as “hateful” in Titus 3.3.
    – Kelsey48
    Jul 8, 2015 at 22:18

"Hate" is an english word which carries a strong negative emotion. This would contradict other scripture. Ie "honour you mother and father", but the actual greek word Miseo carries different meanings, with hate being only one of them , but not is this context, according to mounce analytical greek lexicon, to regard with less affection than, love less. Thats the problem relying soley on a translation, and ignoring the context when compared with other verses. If you look up the english definition of hate in your english dictionary, it is inappropriate in this context, without creating a contradiction. That s why I have learnt greek to guard against these kinds of inaccuracies. People will tell you its hard to learn greek, but it isn't that hard at all.anyway my 2 cents worth, sorry abouts typos, 2 finger typing on a tablet.

  • Thank you for your answer and welcome to the BH site. Very interesting what you are saying. Can you please elaborate a bit more, for instance could you provide some other biblical context, where μισώ or derived terms can be translated differently, not necessarily "hate"? Aug 4, 2018 at 16:29

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