Does the Bible support self-defense?

by Rob Phillips

The mass shooting earlier this month at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas left 26 people dead, made a hero of a civilian who confronted and shot the murderer, and raised lots of security-related questions for Christians:

1. Should I buy a gun?

2. Does my church have a security plan?

3. Is it ok to defend myself, or my church family, when threatened?

4. How do I reconcile Jesus’ instructions to buy swords with His rebuke of Peter for using one?

5. What would Jesus have done in Sutherland Spring?

The answers to at least some of these questions are matters of Christian conscience over which followers of Jesus sincerely disagree. Others concern proper exegesis of Scripture, or simply create fodder for social media.

So, perhaps we should ask: Does the Bible say anything about self-defense?

The answer is yes.

Four biblical principles

Space does not permit an exhaustive review of Bible passages on self-defense, but it may help to highlight a few biblical principles…

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