Christians And Self-Defense

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

There are many people who believe that a Christian may not defend himself, his family, and the weak in the case of physical attack.

While their beliefs are in many ways admirable, they perhaps overlook one of the most intriguing teachings of Christ found in the Gospels.

Shortly before His arrest, The Lord was enjoying the Passover meal with His disciples.

Knowing that His time was near to be crucified, He instituted the Lord’s Supper with them (Luke 22:13-22).

As He began to prepare them for the coming difficult days and trials ahead, He spoke these words to them:

Luke 22:36-Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.

Of particular interest is the meaning of this particular word translated as “sword.”

In his fascinating book on difficult verses of the Bible, Ron Rhodes has written:

“Jesus advised the disciples to buy a sword (Luke 22:36). Here the sword (Greek: maxairan ) is a dagger or short sword that belonged to the Jewish traveler’s equipment as protection against robbers and wild animals. A plain reading of the passage would seem to indicate that Jesus approved of self- defense.” (Ron Rhodes, Commonly Misunderstood Bible Verses: Clear Explanations For The Difficult Passages, 200 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers)

Another excellent authority on the matter, John Haley, concurs:

“The first text may be only another way of saying, “You must henceforth use such precautions, and make such provision for your needs, as men generally do.” Wordsworth: “A proverbial expression, intimating that they would now be reduced to a condition in which the men of this world resort to such means of defence. Alford: “The saying is both a description to them of their altered situation with reference to the world without, and a declaration that self- defence and self- provision would henceforward be necessary.” Similarly Oosterzee, and many others.” (John Haley, Alleged Discrepancies Of The Bible, 5892-5903 (Kindle Edition); New Kingsington, PA; Whitaker House)

From these passages, the conclusion seems inescapable that Christ authorizes self-defense for the Christian.

While the child of God may not use arms to advance the Gospel (Matthew 5:44-45; 2 Corinthians 10:4), he may use force to defend those who are weak and in imminent danger.

Certainly, this has serious implications for every Christian, especially in our day and age.

While in this world, we must not fear those who can kill the body: rather, we must reverence the One Who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28).

The King of kings has found every sinner guilty before Him (Romans 3:23). Yet He loved us so very much that He willingly and lovingly gave His life to pay for the sins of all humanity on the Cross of Calvary (1 Timothy 2:6). He was buried, and three days later He arose (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

Why not today, as a believer, repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)?

If you are a child of God living in sin, won’t you please repent and pray to The Lord today (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?

The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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