The Meaning of Matthew 5:44 Explained

Matthew 5:44

KJV: 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;

YLT: but I -- I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those accusing you falsely, and persecuting you,

Darby: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you,

ASV: but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you;

What does Matthew 5:44 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 5:38-48 - Brotherly Relationship
In mentioning the second mile, our Lord refers to a well-known Eastern custom of forwarding messages by relays of forced labor. We leave our homes on a given morning, anticipating no evil. Suddenly and unexpectedly there are sounds of horses' hoofs and a great demand is thrust upon us. We are sent off in a direction we never contemplated and are compelled to go one mile. It is the second that tests character; and your actions with respect to it will determine whether you have entered into the spirit of Christ and are willing to serve others for love's sake and at cost of peril and inconvenience to yourself.
Love to one's neighbor appears in many passages in the Old Testament. See Exodus 23:4-5. But we have to love enemies and resemble God's sun and rain, Matthew 5:45. You say that it is impossible! Remember those sweet old words: "I taught Ephraim to go," Hosea 11:1-4. Ask your Heavenly Father to teach you to love. Remember Galatians 5:22. Dare to believe that He will perfect what concerneth you. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 5

1  Jesus' sermon on the mount:
3  The Beattitudes;
13  the salt of the earth;
14  the light of the world
17  He came to fulfill the law
21  What it is to kill;
27  to commit adultery;
33  to swear
38  He exhorts to forgive wrong,
43  to love our enemies;
48  and to labor after perfection

What do the individual words in Matthew 5:44 mean?

I however say to you love the enemies of you and pray for those persecuting you bless those cursing good do to those persecuting hating you
ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς ⧼εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς ἐπηρεαζόντων μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς⧽

δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
λέγω  say 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: λέγω 
Sense: to say, to speak.
ὑμῖν  to  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
ἀγαπᾶτε  love 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἀγαπάω  
Sense: of persons.
ἐχθροὺς  enemies 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ἐχθρός  
Sense: hated, odious, hateful.
ὑμῶν  of  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
προσεύχεσθε  pray 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Middle or Passive, 2nd Person Plural
Root: προσεύχομαι  
Sense: to offer prayers, to pray.
τῶν  those 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
διωκόντων  persecuting 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: διώκω  
Sense: to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away.
⧼εὐλογεῖτε  bless 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: εὐλογέω 
Sense: to praise, celebrate with praises.
τοὺς  those 
Parse: Article, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
καταρωμένους  cursing 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: καταράομαι  
Sense: to curse, doom, imprecate evil upon.
καλῶς  good 
Parse: Adverb
Root: καλῶς  
Sense: beautifully, finely, excellently, well.
τοῖς  to  those 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἐπηρεαζόντων  persecuting 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἐπηρεάζω  
Sense: to insult.
μισοῦσιν  hating 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: μισέω  
Sense: to hate, pursue with hatred, detest.