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Answering The Atheist
March 26, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 13

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Is it OK to curse people? Romans 12:14 says no, but 1 Corinthians 16:22 says yes. Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Indeed, Romans 12:14 teaches us not to curse people. Paul wrote, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." That is clear. Thus, let's turn our attention to the 1 Corithians text.

Paul wrote, "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!" The word here is anathema in the Greek, and means "a (religious) ban or (concretely) excommunicated (thing or person)" (Thayer's). If one does not love the Lord as he ought, then this one has brought a curse upon himself. Paul is not commanding Christians to "curse" the individual, he is revealing what that person has brought upon themselves.

Incidentally, the Greek word used in Romans 12:14 is an entirely different word (kataraomai), which "to execrate; by analogy, to doom: --curse" (Thayer's).

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible