What Does the Bible Say About Self-Defense

What the Bible Says About Self-Defense

The Bible, a foundational text for Christianity, offers insights into many life topics, including self-defense. While it doesn’t present a definitive doctrine on the matter, several passages touch upon the concept. Here’s a look at what some of these scriptures suggest.

Exodus on Home Defense

In Exodus 22:2-3, the Bible touches upon the idea of home defense:

“If a thief is caught breaking in during the night and is struck and killed, the homeowner is not guilty of bloodshed. However, if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty.”

This passage can be seen as an early perspective on the right to defend one’s property.

Jesus’ Words in Luke

Luke 22:36 records Jesus telling his disciples:

“But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

Some believers interpret this as Jesus endorsing self-defense, especially in times of impending danger.

Proverbs on Righteousness

The book of Proverbs 25:26 offers wisdom about righteousness:

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.”

It suggests that the righteous should not easily succumb to evil forces.

Nehemiah and Defense

In Nehemiah 4, the story revolves around the builders of Jerusalem’s wall. Prepared to defend against potential threats, it showcases the idea of protecting community and legacy.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:39 presents a different perspective. During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

“Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

This is commonly interpreted as a call for non-resistance and turning away from violence.

Paul’s Advice in Romans

The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:17-19, advised:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil…Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath.”

This speaks to the idea of divine justice and trusting in God’s judgment rather than seeking personal vengeance.

Conclusion: The Bible offers diverse insights on self-defense, from understanding one’s rights to property defense to promoting peace and non-violence. As with all biblical interpretations, it’s essential to consider the historical and cultural contexts. For a deeper understanding, seeking guidance from theologians or pastors is recommended.

Check out some techniques for self-defense here.


With almost 20 years working in Law Enforcement and service in the United States Marine Corps, I've learned a lot about self-defense and personal protection. From hand-to-hand combat to firearms and impact devices, I've trained with them all and I'd like to share my knowledge with you.

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