The Bible and self-defense
© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com
After my plea to Americans last week to buy
firearms as a first step to fighting terrorism, a number of Christians
wrote challenging my prescription as unbiblical, unscriptural and
The Bible couldn't be clearer on the right – even
the duty – we have as believers to self-defense.
Let's start in the Old Testament.
"If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten
that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him," we are told in
Exodus 22:2. The next verse says, "If the sun be risen upon him, there
shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he
have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."
In other words, it was perfectly OK to kill a
thief breaking into your house. That's the ultimate expression of
self-defense. It doesn't matter whether the thief is threatening your
life or not. You have the right to protect your home, your family and
your property, the Bible says.
The Israelites were expected to have their own
personal weapons. Every man would be summoned to arms when the nation
confronted an enemy. They didn't send in the Marines. The people
In 1 Samuel 25:13, we read: "And David said unto
his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man
his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after
David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff."
Every man had a sword and every man picked it up
when it was required.
Judges 5:8 reminds us of what happens to a
foolish nation that chooses to disarm: "They chose new gods; then was
war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand
The answer to the rhetorical question is clear:
No. The people had rebelled against God and put away their weapons of
"Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth
my hands to war, and my fingers to fight," David writes in Psalms 144:1.
Clearly, this is not a pacifist God we serve.
It's God who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Over and
over again throughout the Old Testament, His people are commanded to
fight with the best weapons available to them at that time.
And what were those weapons? Swords.
They didn't have firearms, but they had sidearms.
In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus commanded His disciples to buy them
and strap them on. Don't believe me? Check it out.
Luke 22:36: "Then said he unto them, But now, he
that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that
hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."
I know. I know. You biblically literate skeptics
are going to cite Matthew 26:52-54 – how Jesus responded when Peter used
his sword to cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest: "Then said
Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that
take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot
now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve
legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that
thus it must be?"
Read those verses in context and they support my
position. Jesus told Peter he would be committing suicide to choose a
fight in this situation – as well as undermining God's plan to allow
Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection.
Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place –
at his side. He didn't say throw it away. After all, He had just ordered
the disciples to arm themselves. The reason for the arms was obviously
to protect the lives of the disciples, not the life of the Son of God.
What Jesus was saying was: "Peter, this is not the right time for a
In the context of America's current battle – as
we make plans to rebuild after the devastation of Sept. 11 and defend
ourselves at the same time – we should recall Nehemiah, who rebuilt the
walls of Jerusalem.
"They which builded on the wall, and they that
bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands
wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon," we're told
in Nehemiah 4:17-18. "For the builders, every one had his sword girded
by his side, and so builded."
Any more questions, skeptics?
MORE ON THE SUBJECT
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GUN CONTROL?
Larry Pratt - Executive Director of Gun Owners of America
The underlying argument for gun control seems to be that the availability of
guns causes crime. By extension, the availability of any weapon would have to be
viewed as a cause of crime. What does the Bible say about such a view? Perhaps
we should start at the beginning, or at least very close to the beginning-in
Genesis 4. In this chapter we read about the first murder. Cain had offered an
unacceptable sacrifice, and Cain was upset that God insisted that he do the
right thing. In other words, Cain was peeved that he could not do his own thing.
Cain decided to kill his brother rather than get right with God. There were
no guns available, although there may well have been a knife. Whether it was a
knife or a rock, the Bible does not say. The point is, the evil in Cain's heart
was the cause of the murder, not the availability of the murder weapon. God's
response was not to ban rocks or knives, or whatever, but to banish the
murderer. Later (see Genesis 9:5-6) God instituted capital punishment, but said
not a word about banning weapons.
Did Christ Teach Pacifism?
Many people, Christians included, assume that Christ taught pacifism. They
cite Matthew 5:38-39 for their proof. In this verse Christ said: "You have heard
not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn
the other to him also."
The Sermon on the Mount from which this passage is taken deals with righteous
personal conduct. In our passage, Christ is clearing up a confusion that had led
people to think that conduct proper for the civil government-that is, taking
vengeance-was also proper for an individual.
Even the choice of words used by Christ indicates that He was addressing a
confusion, or a distortion, that was commonplace. Several times in the rest of
the Sermon on the Mount Christ used this same "you have heard it said" figure of
speech to straighten out misunderstandings or falsehoods being taught by the
religious leaders of the times.
Contrast this to Christ's use of the phrase "it is written" when He was
appealing to the Scriptures for authority (for example, see Matthew 4 where on
three occasions during His temptation by the devil, Christ answered each one of
the devil's lies or misquotes from the Scripture with the words: "it is
To further underscore the point that Christ was correcting the religious
leaders on their teaching that "an eye for an eye" applies to private revenge,
consider that in the same Sermon, Christ strongly condemned false teaching:
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the commandments, and teaches men so, shall be
called least in the kingdom of heaven..." (Matthew 5:19). Clearly, then, Christ
was not teaching something different about self defense than is taught elsewhere
in the Bible. Otherwise, He would be contradicting Himself for He would now be
teaching men to break one of the commandments.
The Bible distinguishes clearly between the duties of the civil magistrate
(the government) and the duties of an individual. Namely, God has delegated to
the civil magistrate the administration of justice. Individuals have the
responsibility of protecting there lives from attackers. Christ was referring to
this distinction in the Matthew 5 passage. Let us now examine in some detail
what the Scriptures say about the roles of government and of individuals. Both
the Old and New Testaments teach individual self defense, even if it means
taking the assailant's life in certain circumstances.
Self Defense in the Old Testament
Exodus 22:2-3 tells us "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."
One conclusion which can be drawn from this is that a threat to our life is
to be met with lethal force. During the day, presumably because we can recognize
and later apprehend the thief if he escapes, we are not to kill him in non
Not from the Bible but it follows the same line of thinking!
by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)
Human beings only have two ways to deal
with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you
have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your
bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those
two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.
In a truly moral and civilized society,
people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid
method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the
menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with
me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way
to negate your threat or employment of force.
The gun is the only personal weapon that
puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old
retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on
equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes
the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential
attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider
the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think
that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a
firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is
only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice
or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential
marks are armed.
People who argue for the banning of arms
ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the
exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only
make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force
Then there's the argument that the gun
makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This
argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations
are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the
People who think that fists, bats, sticks,
or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take
beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun
makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the
stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.
The gun is the only weapon that's as
lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter.
It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal
and easily employable.
When I carry a gun, I don't do so because
I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at
my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because
I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the
actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of
those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation... and that's
why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
By Maj. L. C audill USM C (Ret)
So the greatest civilization is one where
all citizens are equally armed and can only be persuaded, never forced.