The Defense of Life...
a Biblical look at self-defense
by Jon L. Gardner

Someone recently emailed me a portrait of Christ in which the Lord is depicted holding a rifle and a pistol. The idea of a gun-toting Jesus is obviously not historically accurate, and may even border on being sacreligious, yet it does beg the question: Does a Christian have any business, from a Scriptural standpoint, exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms? [Even if you do not live in the U.S.A., we Americans still hold that the right to defend oneself is a direct corollary of the inalienable right to life; thus, any government that infringes upon this right is acting in a tyrannical fashion.] What does the Bible say about self-defense? This short study outlines some of the Biblical precepts regarding human life and its defense. I pray that this information will be helpful to others, as it has been helpful to me, and that it will prompt further study on the part of the reader.

You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)

"Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate. But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death." (Exodus 21:12-14)

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. (Genesis 9:6)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."
(Matthew 5:38-45)

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:52-53)

Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"

"Nothing," they answered.

He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment."

The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."

"That is enough," he replied.
(Luke 22:35-38 NIV)

Self-defense: Exodus 21:12-14
Nehemiah 4
Defending your family: Exodus 21:22-25
Deuteronomy 19:4-13
Defending private property: Exodus 22:2-3
Defending your neighbor: Leviticus 24:19-21
Luke 10:25-37
Death penalty: Numbers 35:16-33
Deuteronomy 27:24-25
Other related verses: Matthew 26:50-54
Luke 22:35-38
Luke 22:49-51
John 18:36
Romans 12:18
2 Corinthians 10:4

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