Self-Defense vs. Christianity

We started this topic last year(read here) and I am finally ready to delve into the next chapter.

When I first talked to my Dad about writing this series he was all for it. He noticed a lack of practical tips and discussion on self-defense for women by women. And especially a lack of representation from a Christian woman’s perspective. I am super thankful for his support and his ongoing help in gathering material. My father has been in some form of protection related work for over two decades. With experience as an MP for the Army, an executive protection officer(a bodyguard) in Chicago and a security supervisor/trainer for a hospital; he is like an endless well of information.

But let’s get going here with our primary focus for today: what does the Bible say about personal defense? Can Christians fight back? Or do we just turn the other cheek?

In answering these questions I turned to my Pastor and he pointed me to two different articles: Self-Defense And The Christian by Rodney J. Decker and Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning Wayne Grudem. Both were super informative and worth a read if ya get the chance. In this post we are just gonna cover the bullet points.

The Old Testament…

So what does the Bible say? Is personal defense something a Christian should invest in? My main focus(as should be anyone’s focus) is avoiding situations were a physical confrontation is required. Obviously however you can’t always avoid someone who is trying to do you harm in a surprise attack. At which point having a planned, practiced and realistic response is critical.

The below passage from Deuteronomy has to do deal with helping or defending someone from an attack:

But if in the open country a man meets a young woman who is betrothed, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no offense punishable by death … because he met her in the open country, and though the betrothed young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her. (Deut. 22:25–27)

Obviously it’s implied that if someone were to have heard the woman cry it is their responsibility to help. There are numerous other passages were it talks about a thief breaking in at night(Exodus 22:2-3) and how you are responsible to protect your family(it is given from a male perspective). Or examples of David fleeing from the attacks of King Saul(avoiding those physical confrontations) or the Israelites given the right by law to defend themselves against any Persian aggressors in Esther.

The New Testament

And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away. (Luke 4:29–30)

The above passage has to deal with Christ fleeing/avoiding the physical harm from others. There’s also the passage in Luke 22 where Jesus makes sure the disciples have swords. This passage is used to argue for and against owning a weapon(namely a gun)

He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:36–38)

In an earlier passage when Christ sent out the apostles(in groups of two) to be witnesses He told them to take swords. But shouldn’t a Christian expect persecution? I think we can all agree that there is a difference for suffering for Christ and being personal attacked. (The below passage is all about suffering for Christ and the Gospel)

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Pet. 2:23)

Another passage I would point to is the tale of the Good Samaritan. It’s like the above Deut. passage about defending the helpless woman. Of course the Samaritan doesn’t show up until after the attack and yet would it be a stretch to consider that if he had arrived during the attack he would have stood by and done nothing?

Closing thought…

Self-Defense And The Christian
Rodney J. Decker

Ultimately the idea of personal defense and/or owning a weapon is a decision you need to think through Biblical(go to the Scriptures guys I am in no way an authority on this) and prayerfully consider.

If you have any questions I will be happy to try and answer. Our next chapter will deal with Hollywood’s view of self-defense vs. reality, because shocker they’re not the same.

Lots of love,


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