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I have been struggling with the idea of defending yourself as a Christian. This is something I do not know much about. Most Christians are raised with the notion that under all circumstances we should “turn the other cheek”.

After finding much information supporting both the “passive Christian” stance and the “I believe I can defend myself” stance, I am certain now that the later is in order. I will keep praying and studying this subject however I have included for you the response I received from This is a web service that specializes in Biblically answering questions for people. So …. I asked them. Their response was EXEMPLARY. I tip my hat to the responder. I had my question answered very astutely within less than one hour. AMAZING.
Here is their response:

Question 130739: What is the Bible`s position on the taking up of arms in defense of your family?

Answered by: DK

Answer: Without close study, the Bible can seem to give conflicting instructions on self-defense. There are numerous passages that speak of Christians being pacifistic (Proverbs 25:21,22; Matthew 5:39; Romans 12:17). And yet there are many passages that talk about war and violence that God approves of, such as David slaying Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Not to mention the fact that God commanded the Israelites to completely destroy everyone and everything in the Promised Land! So what is the conclusion? Is God for violence or not? Under what circumstances is self-defense appropriate?

As with many questions in our lives, self-defense has to do with wisdom, understanding, and tact. For instance, in the Luke 22 passage stated above, Jesus does tell his disciples to get a sword. Jesus knew that now was the time when Jesus would be threatened (and later killed) and his followers would be threatened as well. Jesus was giving approval of the fact that one has the right to self-defense. Now just a few verses later we see Jesus being arrested and Peter takes a sword and cuts off someone’s ear. Jesus rebukes him for that act. Why? Peter was trying to stop something that Jesus had been telling His disciples was in fact going to happen. In other words, Peter was acting unwisely in the situation. He was trying to stop something that was not supposed to be stopped. We must be wise as to when to fight and when not to.

As far as self-defense when one’s life or property is threatened, there is not a whole lot in the Bible concerning this. Exodus 22 does show quite a bit about God’s attitude towards self-defense. “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed. A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft” (Exodus 22:2-3). Obviously here we see that when a thief breaks into someone’s house at night and that person defends his home and slays the thief, God does not hold that death over the defender’s head. However, God does not wish for anyone to take law into his or her own hands. This is why it is said that if a thief is struck down during the daylight the defender is guilty of bloodshed. Now this is speaking of thievery, not an attack. So if the thief were to attack the defender even during the day, self-defense would be justified.

The proper use of self-defense has to do with wisdom, understanding, and tact. In many karate classes, one of the principles is: “Restrain your physical abilities by spiritual attainment.” This is a fancy way of saying that since one has the ability to bring great harm doesn’t mean he or she needs to use it. Just because we can break someone’s arm, doesn’t mean we need to use that ability. Just because we have a gun doesn’t mean we need to fire on someone who breaks into the home.

Author: admin


  1. I am impressed!
    Along the same lines I have been thinking about lying.
    If a government official askes if I have a gun. No
    Are you a christian? Yes
    My faith I won't lie about. just about anything else I will.
    Because if someone is asking those kinds of questions, I will soon need a way of escape.
    In the fiery furnace and in the lions den their escape came because they stood firm in their faith.

  2. DS, I agree.
    All bets are OFF.
    This is the Tribulation.
    The UNDERGROUND survivors of this will be Christians as they were often Jews in WWII (see the movie Defiance)
    We need to be "Wise as Serpents, Gentle as Doves" as the book says.
    But we are not to be stupid. Shrewd is what we need to be.

    When Christ was asked a question that he wanted to plead the 5th on, he spoke in parables.
    That's how I would answer the [defense] question, but hopefully the Holy Spirit will have my tongue as Christ promised he would (wish I knew the verse).

    God Bless and Damn Glad to Have you On-Board

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