Biblical Self-Defense: What does the Bible say about self-defense? Bible study about self-defense questions: Can a Christian own a gun? What do the Scriptures say about using lethal force for self-protection?

The Biblical View of Self-Defense

Introduction

This study examines the Biblical view of self-defense. We’re looking at questions such as, Is it right to employ lethal force to protect the life of yourself and others? Is it right to take measures that might kill an attacker who is wrongfully threatening your life or the life of another?

Self-defense here is defined as “protecting oneself from injury at the hand of others.” Self-defense is not about taking vengeance. Self-defense is not about punishing criminals. Self-defense involves preserving one’s own health and life when it is threatened by the actions of others. When we speak about using potentially lethal force in self-defense, we’re talking about using weapons to protect ourselves and others, even if the weapons used could kill the attacker.

Now why in the world would we take time to look at this subject? First, as Christians, we want to know how to apply the Bible to current issues in society. We live in a country with approximately 250 million guns and approximately 300 million people. Furthermore, in our country, it is estimated that law abiding citizens defend themselves using guns approximately one million to two million times a year. Almost 200,000 people in this state alone have a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun. What does the Bible have to say about that many guns actively being used for self-protection?

We live in a time where the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, current possibilities of economic and societal collapse, and crime have people buying guns and ammunition in large quantities for self protection. What does the Bible say about that? What does the Bible say about so-called “assault weapons”?

As always, we want our hearts and minds to be ruled and informed by Scripture–not by our emotions, not by our experiences, and certainly not by the World. And because the Scriptures have much to say about this topic, it is relevant and worth examining in the Church.

The focus of this study is specific. I am not dealing with whether lethal force can legitimately be used in wartime. I am not dealing with capital punishment. I am not dealing with Biblical principles involved in the American Revolution or the War Between the States.

This study is organized in five sections. First, we will look at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. Secondly, we will look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. Thirdly, we will look at passages dealing with the application of lethal force in self-defense. Fourth, we will look at what the Bible says about possession of weapons and skill in using weapons. Finally, we look at limitations and warnings about self-defense.

The Biblical Obligation to Preserve Life

We begin by first looking at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. The Bible clearly teaches that we must preserve life–our own lives and the lives of other people. 1 Corinthians 6:19f teaches that our bodies are not our own. Rather, our bodies belong to God. Our bodies are His property and so we are not permitted to treat or destroy them as we please:

19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;  20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. (1Co 6:19-20 ASV)

Not only are we to take care of our bodies and the life contained. We have an obligation to preserve the body and life of other people. Psalm 82:4 even cites an obligation to protect those who are in danger:

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Biblical Self-Defense: What does the Bible say about self-defense? Bible study about self-defense questions: Can a Christian own a gun? What do the Scriptures say about using lethal force for self-protection?

  1. Pretty interesting comments; most likely will check back for more input. Thanks for posting. vw

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  2. Hello Brother, I have read through your post and I love that you have taken time to state your opinion on the matter, and I would just like to add to it without debating or arguing :). I know scripture can be interpreted differently, my view would disagree with your conclusion on Luke 22:52, I would say the reason Jesus asked the disciple to bring weapons was not that they would attack, but because he knew they would, giving him the opportunity possibly to change the high priests servants life by his healing miracle. I also believe that the verse Matthew 5;39 ‘But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.’ can not be ignored, right there it says that if anyone goes for you, let them. none of the disciples fought against their deaths, nor did Jesus. Jesus tells us we will face tough times, persecution. however I do wholly agree with the protection of others, I do not believe Jesus would stand and watch someone be hurt. but Psalm 15:1 says ‘A gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger’. if someone was to strike you and you hit/killed/took out the person, you would not be doing it in a loving way, and you would be breaking the words Christ says, ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’ and also ‘But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.’ I hope you read this and I look forward to reading a response to see your view on this, God bless brother

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    • Thank you for the comment, and actually I agree with what you are saying. I am truly looking for opinions on this as I am conflicted on this subject. I own guns for sport shooting only and have thought about this over and over.

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      • I don’t see anything wrong with hunting or clay pigeon ect. :) I get excited to talk to people like yourself :) we should explore what others take from the bible to find our opinion on it :)

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      • :) I agree! I often wonder how I would really react if I was in that situation. My gut tells me I would defend others in the family, but if it is just me and an intruder? Not sure :)

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      • Yea It is possible in a situation like that, you would act before thinking, but discipline would hopefully allow the right action to be the natural one

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