Commandment Six – “Thou shalt not kill.” What about self-defense?

Hebrew Definition – “Kill” – raw-tsakh’ –“A primitive root; properly to dash in pieces, that is, kill (a human being), especially to murder: – put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er)” (Strongs def.).

English Definition – Murder – “1. The act of unlawfully killing a human being with premeditated malice, by a person of sound mind. To constitute murder in law, the person killing another must be of sound mind or in possession of his reason, and the act must be done with malice prepense, aforethought or premeditated; but malice may be implied, as well as express” (Noah Webster, 1828).

1.   Examples of self-defense that resulted in killing others:

  • Genesis 14:14-16
  • Esther 8:11-14, 9:1-6

2. Christians are to obey every ordinance of man that is not contrary to God’s Word – Romans 13 – Self-defense that leads to the death of the one who threatened your life is not considered murder under the laws of our land.

3.  We must be careful not to take vengeance into our own hands – vengeance that leads to the death of a person who wronged you is not self-defense:

  • I Samuel 25:21-35
  • Isaiah 34:8
  • Nahum 1:2
  • Hebrew 10:30
  • Romans 12:19

In matters of an offense we need to turn the other cheek:

  • Matthew 5:38-39

Conclusion:  Romans 14:23 “ . . . whatsoever is not of faith is sin”


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