Is God warlike or peaceful?


Exodus 15:3

The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.

1 Samuel 15:18

And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.'

Matthew 10:34

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Luke 22:36

He said to them, "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."

Matthew 5:39

But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 26:52

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

Romans 15:33 (also 1 Corinthians 14:33)

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.


There is a time for war and a time for peace (Ecc 3:8). God wages war when it is necessary, though he prefers peace to war, just as he punishes the wicked because justice demands it, though he would rather that the wicked repented (Ezek 33:11). Sometimes, particularly in the OT, God uses war to punish wicked civilizations. Exodus 15:3 refers to the destruction of Pharaoh and his army, who had repeatedly rejected God despite seeing his power through the Plagues and hearing his warnings. In 1 Samuel 15, God tells the Israelites to make war on the Amalekites because the Amalekites first attacked Israel without provocation and killed the weakest people in their population (Deut 25:17-18).

The passages from Matthew and Luke are addressed in Was Jesus a pacifist? Finally, "peace" in the NT passages is generally interpreted as referring to peace between oneself and God.


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