Violence and the Bible

I once read about a person who stole Bibles, placed by the Gideons, out of Hotel rooms because he was offended by the violence they contained. With all the concern surrounding the violence on T.V. and its impact on people, perhaps we should consider the violence portrayed in Holy Writ. Certainly we find violence in the Bible and we find that sometimes the violence is glorified. Just consider the Song about David killing his ten thousands. (1 Sam 18:17. In fact the whole chapter is fairly violent).

How should one respond to this purported concern for the moral well-being of Bible readers?

Permit me to offer a few thoughts. They certainly won’t answer all your concerns but they will open up some ideas for further reflection.

1. We should distinguish between what the Bible records and what it proffers. The Bible contains violence because it is accurately portraying the world it narrates. If nothing else the Bible is brutally honest.

2. Perhaps we need to consider the idea that the use of force, even violent force is not, in and of itself, necessarily evil. (If you say violence is evil then you will have to figure out what God does when He judges the Earth see the book of Revelation). The Bible contains many stories about how God raised up heroes to deliver Israel from her oppressors. Just as a medical doctor must perform violence against a cancer to save the life of the patient, so likewise governments must employ violence to protect society from those who wish it harm.

3. Biblical violence is of a different kind than Biblical violence. T.V. violence often pits a lesser evil against a greater evil. Consider James Bond. Yes he is very popular here in the United States. But he is really a wicked man who fights even greater wickedness. Yet he is still portrayed as a hero. The Bible portrays the flaws of its heros to make us hope for the great hero called the Messiah.

4. Conflict forces people to choose sides. Many of these moral concerns about violence arise from the comfortable chairs of Western thinkers.

Finally, Biblical violence usually occurs in the setting of country against country not like the gangland/vigillante violence of today. The realism of Biblical violence reminds people that physical force is limited in its effectiveness. Proverbs reminds people over and over again about the dangers of anger and strife. Jenny proposed essay writing service… Awesome writing service.

In conclusion, it is important for me to end on a more positive note. In the new Covenant, Christ made it clear that He does not want His followers involved in spreading the Gospel by force because His kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36). It doesn’t have a political boundary which needs defending. What was a physical struggle against evil in the Old Testament is now a spiritual one in the New (Eph 6:12). Note, however, that just because the Christian’s struggle is spiritual and not physical doesn’t make the conflict any less real. Just ask the martyrs around the world who have died for simply proclaiming that Jesus is the way of salvation. Nevertheless, there is no place for a Christian to take up arms to spread the Gospel period. The role of a Christian in fighting for his country or protecting his property and family are issues for another post. But in terms of the proclamation of the Gospel, leave the sword at home.

  1. When talking to someone who is opposed to violence it is necessary to first come alongside them and find the root cause for their feelings.Two people may be in agreement against violence for totally different reasons. So the right answers will be totally differnt for each person.

    I remember at a parents school evening a young teacher tactfully trying to tell me my son was very able but disruptive in class. My reply was, “don’t give him an inch, any trouble come down on him like a ton of bricks.” He looked at me like I was some monster but I loved my son and knew what was best for him. Now my son looks in shock as he sees the grandchildren cheek me, “dad we’ld never get away with that!”

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