What does Romans 12:9 really mean?

Romans 12:9 is about genuine love and sincere affection towards others as an essential aspect of living a Christian life.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.


Setting the Scene for Romans 12:9

In Romans chapter 12, the apostle Paul is writing a letter to the Christian community in Rome, offering them guidance on how to live a life that is pleasing to God. In verse 9, Paul sets the scene for a gathering of believers who are deeply committed to each other and to living out their faith in practical ways.

Imagine a small house church in ancient Rome, with a group of diverse believers coming together for a time of fellowship and study. Among them are Lydia, a wealthy merchant who opened her home for the gathering, Priscilla and Aquila, a couple who were tentmakers and close friends of Paul, and a mix of both Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity.

The room is lit by oil lamps, casting a warm glow on the faces of those gathered. The air is filled with the aroma of bread and wine, symbols of the upcoming communion meal they will share. As they listen to Paul’s words being read aloud, there is a sense of unity and love among the believers, as they are challenged to let their love be genuine and to abhor what is evil. This scene captures the essence of a community striving to live out their faith with sincerity and devotion.

What is Romans 12:9 about?

The verse presents the concept of love as a foundational principle that should guide our actions and attitudes in life. The idea of love being “sincere” emphasizes the importance of genuine, authentic love that comes from the heart and is not superficial or insincere. It challenges us to consider if our motivations and expressions of love are pure and true.

Furthermore, the verse contrasts love with hate, urging us to actively reject evil while holding fast to goodness. This juxtaposition prompts us to reflect on the choices we make and the values we uphold. Are we actively working against evil in the world? Are we intentionally seeking out and nurturing what is good, virtuous, and uplifting? We are invited to examine our own hearts and actions as we ponder these questions. How can we cultivate a deep and sincere love that motivates us to passionately resist evil and wholeheartedly embrace goodness in all aspects of our lives? This verse encourages us to not only talk about love but to live it out authentically through our choices and behaviors, making a positive impact in the world around us.

Understanding what Romans 12:9 really means

Romans 12:9 stands as a beacon of light in the realm of Christian ethics, urging believers to embody genuine love and moral uprightness. This verse, nestled within Paul’s letter to the Romans, marks a shift from theological discourse to practical guidance on living out one’s faith authentically. The essence of “Love must be sincere” resonates deeply, underscoring the need for heartfelt and authentic love devoid of pretense or insincerity. It beckons us to cultivate relationships based on genuine care and compassion, shunning the superficiality that often plagues human interactions.

“Hate what is evil” reverberates with a resounding call to arms against all forms of wickedness. It demands an active stance against moral decay and wrongdoing, compelling believers to stand firm in their rejection of evil. Conversely, “Cling to what is good” serves as a rallying cry to embrace goodness and moral excellence fervently. It implores us to anchor ourselves in righteousness, making it an integral part of our character and conduct.

Drawing parallels with other biblical passages such as 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and 1 John 4:7-8 reinforces the enduring message of love as a divine attribute to be mirrored in our lives. The alignment of Romans 12:9 with Psalm 97:10 further underscores the intertwined nature of love for God and abhorrence of evil. In a contemporary landscape marred by shallow relationships and moral ambiguity, this verse emerges as a clarion call to return to the roots of genuine love and unwavering ethical standards.

Imagine a world where communities thrive on authentic care and unwavering moral principles, where kindness flows freely, and justice is upheld zealously. This vision encapsulates the essence of Romans 12:9, painting a picture of interconnected individuals committed to sincere love and ethical rectitude. Each person’s dedication to embodying these virtues paves the way for the creation of the harmonious and righteous society envisioned by Paul.

In conclusion, Romans 12:9 beckons believers to embody the transformative power of genuine love and moral integrity. By internalizing these principles, we can catalyze a ripple effect that transcends individual lives, permeating relationships and communities with the love and goodness of God. Let us heed this timeless call to infuse our daily interactions with sincerity and righteousness, thereby illuminating the world with the radiance of divine love.

How can we authentically love others?

Authentically loving others involves a sincere and genuine affection for them, devoid of any hypocrisy or hidden motives. It requires us to show compassion, kindness, and understanding towards others, accepting them for who they are without judgment. This kind of love seeks the well-being and happiness of others above our own desires and egos, demonstrating selflessness in our actions and words.

To authentically love others, we must be willing to empathize with their struggles, share in their joys, and support them through the highs and lows of life. This kind of love is not superficial or fleeting but enduring and steadfast, grounded in a deep respect and appreciation for the intrinsic value of each individual. It is a reflection of the love that we have received from a higher source, motivating us to extend that same love to those around us unconditionally and without reservation.


Let’s level up our love game, crushing negativity and embracing goodness in all we do. It’s time to check our hearts, stay true to what’s right, and spread sincere love in every little thing we do. Are you ready to take on this love mission and show up wholeheartedly for others every day?