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What does the Bible say about murder?
Recently, I had someone ask me this question. They knew the Bible was against murder but they were wondering if there are instances where killing a person/animal is permitted.
Keep reading to learn more about what the Bible says about murder and the differences between murder and killing.
What does the Bible say about murder and killing?
Some Christians use the commandment of “thou shalt not kill” as a blanket statement against killing of any sort.
However, there is a difference between murder and killing. The word used for murder in the Old Testament is ratsach. This is the same word used in the commandment of “thou shalt not kill”.
The English language has evolved which is why some renderings say “kill” rather than “murder”.
Killing is different though. Killing is permitted under certain circumstances, whereas murder is not. The two words are not synonymous.
What does the Bible say about war?
There are many passages that speak of war. Here are a few of those passages:
“A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace,” (Ecclesiastes 3:8 NIV).
“Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack,” (Joel 3:9 NIV).
“When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory,” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NIV).
These passages don’t necessarily say that we aren’t permitted to go to war and kill in this circumstance. In 1 Samuel 15, God himself tells Saul to kill the Amalekites and everything they own. War doesn’t fall under the category of “murder” but “killing”.
What does the Bible say about killing animals?
The Bible permits killing animals for food or other good use.
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything,” (Genesis 9:3 ESV).
This passage is straightforward. It’s simply saying that animals can be used as food for us.
Another passage states, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel,” (Proverbs 12:10 ESV).
Just because we’re allowed to kill animals for good use, doesn’t mean we should abuse this privilege. We shouldn’t treat animals wrongly or kill them just because.
What does the Bible say about suicide?
The Bible views suicide as murder. You’re murdering yourself. There are several people in the Bible that commit suicide – one of them being Judas.
Suicide is a sin. God is the giver and taker of life (Genesis 9, Exodus 20, Psalm 139). We are not. If you take your own life, you’re putting matters into your own hands rather than surrendering to God.
Someone who is suicidal points to a lack of hope. They might believe things won’t get better. I know this is a very sensitive topic, so if you struggle with this, please get help. There are resources out there like the Suicidal Prevention Lifeline.
What does the Bible say about self-defense?
As Christians, are we able to defend ourselves? The passage some may point to say that we shouldn’t defend ourselves is in Matthew 5 (also found in Luke 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 anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well,” (Matthew 5:38-40 NIV).
Does this mean we shouldn’t defend ourselves entirely? I don’t think that’s what this passage is saying. If you pay attention to the wording, you’ll see that it says “slaps you on the right cheek”. In order to slap someone on the right cheek, you’d have to use the back of your hand. In the cultural context, this was meant as an insult, not as a physical attack.
I don’t believe this passage is talking about defending ourselves in the event of a physical attack. There are times in which self-defense is justified, but there are also times where we shouldn’t retaliate when persecuted for our faith. In this case, we would suffer for the case of the gospel.
What does the Bible say about shedding innocent blood?
Shedding innocent blood is murder. There are a few Bible passages that shed light on this matter.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers,” (Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV).
“Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked,” (Exodus 23:7 ESV).
“Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace,” (Isaiah 59:7-8 ESV).
I know this is a controversial topic today, but abortion is the shedding of innocent blood. Think about it. The baby in the womb did nothing to deserve death, and yet, is being murdered. Most of the time, due to inconvenience on the women’s part.
What does the Bible say about capital punishment?
Capital punishment is found in the Old Testament. The Old Testament lists 36 offenses that merit capital punishment. However, we don’t follow these laws today. These laws were for Israel. Today, we follow the law of the land.
Some of these instances of capital punishment were murder, idolatry, and adultery.
Does God forgive murderers?
God forgives all sins, including murder. In fact, if you think about it, we’ve all been murderers in our hearts.
The Bible says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him,” (1 John 3:15 ESV).
God is faithful to forgive all sins – even murder. The only sin that’s unforgivable is not accepting Christ and repenting from sin.
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