Three days ago I was reading 1 Peter 4:8 and I was confused by this verse does it mean that some sins are covered or automatically forgiven? I would greatly appreciate an answer.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”


4 Answers 4


I think this verse doesn't refer to Jesus washing away sins, but rather it encourages love among believers for the unit of the church. We as human beings often fall into sins and that's why we need His grace. Now, sometimes we sin against brethens causing them to stumble. If there is godly love, then it is possible to COVER the sins of others and take tgem as brethens, otherwise there will be no unity in the body of Christ.

Galatians 6 (KJV) ¹ Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. ² Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

What is thwe LAW OF CHRIST?

John 13 (KJV) ³⁴ A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. ³⁵ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Jesus loved us while we were sinners, He died for our sins. We are to love one another like Christ, that way filfilling the law of Christ. Covering here doesn't mean HIDING, but forgiving. If we love others we will always view them in a positive way, not judging them. That way we are ready to akways forgive them when the err against us, fulfilling the law of Christ.


While commentators generally agree that Peter was quoting from Proverbs 10:12, they also point out that the phrase had become a common saying by the time it was used in the NT (see https://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_peter/4-8.htm).

The idea that “love covers a multitude of sins” can be understood in at least one of two ways:

  1. love is a cover for our own sins
  2. love is a cover for the sins of others

Looking at verse 9 of the passage in question, Peter is using the phrase in the latter sense, which is the sense of Proverbs 10:12. He is essentially saying that when we are fervent in our love for others, we are less inclined to complain and more inclined to overlook their offenses.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. – 1 Peter 4:8-9

This phrase is significant because it sheds light on the connection between love and forgiveness. Love leads to forgiveness and mercy because it changes how we view one another. While love covers the sins of others from our eyes, hatred uncovers or makes us focus on their faults and transgressions.

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all transgressions. – Prov 10:12

If we widen our lens, we can see how this phrase also applies to our relationship with God and how his love covers our sins. The parable of the Prodigal Son beautifully illustrates this point. In that story, it is the father’s love for both his sons that redeems them each from their transgressions (Lk 15:11-31). It is our faith in God’s love for us that allows us to hope in his mercy.

If You, Lord, were to keep account of guilty deeds, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, So that You may be revered. My soul waits in hope for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Yes, more than the watchmen for the morning. Israel, wait for the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption. – Ps 130:4-7


The Greek word used in 1 Peter 4:8 is 'kalupto' and it means 'to cover'. Very simply, this verse does, indeed, say that a multitude of sins can be covered. However, it nowhere says this covering over will be automatic!

There is a proviso worked into that verse. Love can do this covering over, which is why Peter is urging Christians to "have fervent charity [love] among yourselves, for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (K.J.V.) This deals with matters within the congregation of believers, as is the earlier admonition to be sober and diligent regarding prayer, and the exhortation in verse 9 to show hospitality to one another, without any grudging.

It may we worth while examining the Hebrew counterparts to this Greek word, to grasp what "covering over" can mean. The Hebrew word 'kaphar' does not mean 'cover' but speaks of containment, and it may be that in 1 Peter 4:8 there is a sense of love 'containing' the sins of others. But that may be to go beyond the remit of the actual question here. What does seem pertinent here is that the love of God, in Christ, has certainly 'contained' all of our sin, lifting it up and away, so to speak, in the 'hand' of God. Christians who have experienced God's loving dealings with their sins should likewise have love for their brothers and sisters so that their sins will be contained through that love, so that it does not spread. It should be dealt with by love, and in love. Even a multitude of sin, as Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 18:21.


This verse is often misunderstood by most professed Christians. In church discipline, this is one of the most common objections among leaders, ministers, and members. Satan continually misrepresents the truth to deceived souls. Many souls have been destroyed by the unsanctified brethren. Love covers a multitude of sins; probably right. Matthew 22:39 is the second commandment telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This verse will connect to what 1 Peter 4:8 mean. If we really understand what love really is, then because of that love we cannot hurt someone and by not hurting someone this covers you from sinning against your neighbor. That is the love that covers sins not to tolerate or sympathized with those openly sinning that brings dishonor to God in His church as His representative.

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