Today America is experiencing one shooting after another. It used to be just gang shootings and an occasional domestic dispute, but now we have killers entering public places and shooting indiscriminately. And every time we have one of these high profile shootings, the advocates of gun control step up to the plate and speak their minds. But in the midst of all the debate we must ask ourselves, what does the Bible say about this topic?
Let’s go back to the first murder. (Gen 4:8) Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Now it doesn’t say what he used to kill his brother. Perhaps it was a big enough rock that was there as he was creeping up on his brother. Man has always had a weapon to use because the Bible says violence begins in the heart. (James 4:1) Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? (See also Mat 5:21-22) The Bible says this regarding the core of our sinful hearts: (Jer 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? So it’s really not the weapon, but the sinful heart that generates hatred and crime.
One of these days the world will be peaceful under Messiah’s reign. (Isa 2:4) He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But right now we live in a world riddled with violence and that needs to be kept in check: (Joel 3:10) Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears . . . In other words, a nation needs to “keep its powder dry” because there are rogue nations and despots still bullying the world. And just as a nation is to defend itself, so the individual has the right to defend himself on a personal level.
The pacifist produces Bible verses such as this: (Mat 26:52) But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. But what they fail to notice is that Jesus previously said: (Luke 22:36) . . . he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one . . . (Luke 22:38) So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Jesus endorsed their personal protection in the threatening days ahead, but during His arrest they were not to resist because He had come to die for the sins of humanity.
A man is to provide for and protect his family whether he believes in having a gun or not. (Exo 22:2) If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. (See also 1 Tim 5:8) If one chooses to have a gun then it is also important to learn to use it properly and to keep it locked up from children. God protects us, but we are not to tempt the Lord by not using sensible and appropriate means to restrain violence when it is called for. (Luke 4:12)