Romans 12:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 12:14, NIV: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."

Romans 12:14, ESV: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them."

Romans 12:14, KJV: "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not."

Romans 12:14, NASB: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."

Romans 12:14, NLT: "Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them."

Romans 12:14, CSB: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."

What does Romans 12:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Here, Paul begins a new set of commands detailing what life in Christ on this side of eternity is supposed to look like. Taken together, it paints a picture of the Christian life. Followers of Jesus should be seen as those who love and take care of each other, in powerful and self-sacrificing ways.

This new command, however, can also be applied to how Christians interact with unbelievers. Paul echoes the direct teaching of Jesus: Bless those who persecute you and don't curse them (Matthew 5:44). It's possible that Paul is referring to persecution for the sake of Christ, but the same principle applies to any situation where we are treated badly.

The normal human instinct, of course, is to do the opposite. We feel the natural desire to curse those who hurt us and to avoid doing good for them at all costs. Christians who follow Paul's teaching here, instead, will stand out in almost every culture. They will also be imitating both Jesus' words and His example, as He carried this principle even to the extent of praying for the well-being of His enemies (Luke 23:34).

While it's true that this makes a powerful statement to unbelievers, Christians can also practice this with each other. Sometimes other Christians don't follow Paul's teachings. We can become hurtful to each other in big and small ways. Nothing communicates sincere love back to a brother or sister who is being hurtful than doing good for them and refusing to strike back at them.