What Does the Bible Say About Self-Defense?

Bible and gun

The Bible is often regarded as a book of love, peace, and spirituality, but it also allows for defensive homicide. Personal self-defense, societal protection, and national defense (or war) are three forms of self-defense. In all of these instances, God has given humans the right to take another person’s life.

This article is dedicated to “social self-defense,” which means executing violent offenders who endanger society. When individuals are called upon to defend their country from outside attack, war becomes a national defense. Any Bible student will agree that this topic is addressed in a variety of scriptures.

The Bible is clear that defense of oneself and one’s family is an important principle. In fact, in some cases, it is required. However, the Bible also allows for killing in the self-defense of society. The government exists to protect its citizens, and when criminals are a threat to society, they must be dealt with accordingly.

The biblical law has a few, but not many, rules for self-defense, but it does have numerous examples. Abram readily rescued Lot and his people when they were taken captive (Genesis 14:13-16). In Luke 22:36, Jesus advised His disciples to take swords along with their other belongings. However, David refused to harm Saul despite his attempts to kill him. Jesus also admonished Peter for using a sword against the arresting guards (John 18:10-11).

Killing in national defense (or war) is also allowed by God. As Christians, we are called to obey the governing authorities. This includes obeying the command to go to war, as long as that war is just and not for selfish gain (Romans 13:17).

But are these “biblical” arguments in defense of self-defense valid? If so, why do so many people still believe otherwise? I would argue that there are two reasons for this. First of all, we have a tendency to forget what God actually said about killing in defense when it comes down to real-life situations. Secondly, most Christians don’t even know what their own religion teaches on this subject!

What does the Bible say about self-defense?

The Bible does allow for killing in self-defense. In a sense, there are different kinds of self-defense. There is personal self-defense, self-defense of the society (“social self-defense”) and there is national self-defense, which we call “war.” In all of these cases, the taking of another human life is allowed by God. This booklet has been dedicated to “social self-defense,” the execution of criminals who are dangerous to society. War is a national defense when people are called upon to protect their nation from outside aggression, and any student of the Bible will attest to the large number of scriptures that deal with this topic.

The purpose of this booklet is to answer the question: Is killing in defense ever allowed by God? I have written a series of articles on defense, and in this article, we are going to look at defense from three different perspectives. These perspectives include personal defense (self-defense), social defense (defense against society as a whole), and national defense (war).


Personal Defense: Self-Defense

In defense of oneself and one’s family, the Bible says in Exodus 22:19 (NASB), “Anyone who has killed someone else should be put to death.”

The Bible is clear that defense of oneself and one’s family is an important principle. In fact, in some cases, it is required. As we have seen above, Exodus 22:19 commands us not to kill others if they are trying to hurt us or our loved ones. This commandment was repeated several times by God during His time on earth with Israel (Exodus 20:13; Leviticus 19:18).

The New Testament also reiterates this rule when it comes down to defense against those who would harm their neighbor (Matthew 26:52).

When it comes to personal defense, the Bible is clear that we are allowed to use whatever means necessary to protect ourselves and our loved ones. This would include using physical force (if needed), as well as any weapon available to us. In Luke 22:36, Jesus advised His disciples to take swords along with their other belongings. And in Genesis 14:13-16, Abram readily rescued Lot and his people when they were taken captive.

The word defense is simply a synonym for defense or protection. So when we talk about defense, we are talking about protecting ourselves from dangers that could come our way. This includes any kind of danger that might cause us harm including physical violence, theft, and even murder!

Social Defense: Defense Against Society

In Romans 13:17 it says, “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” Here again, we see an explicit command from God Himself telling us not only how to behave in society but also why we need to behave in such a manner. We are commanded by Him not only against killing but also against evil in general. Defense against society as a whole is the defense of the entire social structure that we live in and use to order our lives.

National Defense (war)

Romans 12:19 teaches, “Do not seek revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as yourself.” This command from God Himself instructs us on how we should act when confronted with danger from other people. We are told by Him to defend ourselves against individuals who would endanger our way of life and even kill us! But what is the link between these two things?

Is killing in self-defense a sin?

In most cases, the answer is no. Killing in self-defense is not a sin. In fact, it’s actually commanded by God Himself! The only time that killing in self-defense would be considered a sin is if we did it out of revenge or hatred. But as long as we are defending ourselves from danger, our actions are perfectly acceptable to God.

So what does this mean for us?

God has given us clear instructions on how to defend ourselves against those who would do us harm. We are allowed to kill in self-defense when faced with physical violence, theft, and even murder! As Christians, it is important that we know what our religion teaches on this subject so that we can live according to His will.

In conclusion, the Bible does allow for killing in defense. However, we must always remember to do so only as a last resort, and only when it is absolutely necessary. We should also never take revenge on others but instead, love them as ourselves. As Christians, it is our duty to know what the Bible teaches on this subject and be prepared to stand up for our beliefs no matter what the cost!

Bible Verses About Self-Defense

If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

Exodus 22:2-3 (NKJV)

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Romans 13:1-14 (NKJV)

Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.

Genesis 9:5-6 (NKJV)

Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—

Psalm 144:1 (NKJV)

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One Comment

  1. I’m a little confused about the personal self defense. You say that killing in self defense is not allowed even if you or the family is in danger, but later on you say that it is ok as long as it self defense only. So which is it? I maybe reading it wrong or something.

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