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On yesterday’s Bible study we read this verse from John 12:25:

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

There was some uneasiness on account of the word “hate”. Our minister said that the Bible might be the most dangerous weapon in the history of the world because of words like this one (= over-ascetism, excessive martyrdom etc.), but we refuse to believe that it was intented that way. So what does it mean?

The meaning of the greek word misew (used as miseo in the text above) is according to BDAG (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, The University of Chicago Press):

  • to have a strong aversion to, hate, detest
  • to be disinclined to, disfavor, disregard
  • in contrast to preferential treatment

Further reading (here and there) gives me the impression that the greek word miseo does not include the emotional aspect that we think into the word hate. It has nothing to do with anger.

After some thought-exchange back and forth I suggested that it may not have to do with not liking/appreciating your life, or being happy or having fun (which was suggested and was the cause of the uneasiness). Perhaps we should not put emphasis on the word “hate”, but rather on the word “world”. So to hate this world rather means to not get stuck in it. For “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) and being materialistic makes us trapped here in this world.

asceticism

Connected to the part about life in this text, my suggestion was that if we live our lives loving this world we will lose everything when we die. Nothing will be left. “The shroud has no pockets”, as our minister put it. But if we already in this life live with Jesus we will, so to say, not even notice that we die. For our life will just continue after death in the same spiritual way, in the same kingdom of God (but in an different environment off course).

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