Christians and self-defense (part 1)

16:18 Podcast –  #13 Christians and self-defense (part 2)

What does the Bible say about Christians acting in self-defense? Do Christians have permission to act in self-defense? What are the Biblical permissions of the citizen vs. the state?

Two important distinctions: Citizens and the state.


  1. A citizen does not have total permission to use the “sword.” (Romans 13:1-4)
  2. A citizen does not have permission to seek revenge. (Romans 12:19, Matthew 5:39)
  3. A citizen has permission to be armed in self-defense. (Luke 22:36, Matthew 26:52)
  4. A citizen has limited permission to attack an assailant. (Exodus 22:1-4)
  5. A citizen’s punishment for the wrongful killing of another citizen is death. (Genesis 9:6)

State (law enforcement, judicial system, military):

  1. The state is permitted to use the “sword.” (Romans 13:1-4)
  2. The state is permitted to kill during war. (Deut. 20:1-4)
  3. The state has permission to exact revenge and exercise capital punishment. (Romans 13:1-4, Numbers 35:30-31)

What does this mean for us going forward with a new understanding of self-defense?

  1. We should not seek for violence.
  2. We should always seek to save life, rather than kill.
  3. We should only use lethal force when absolutely necessary, under the restrictions given by the Bible.

Other resources:

Archived 2GAB Season 2, Episode 8 – Gun Control

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