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IS THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS BIBLICAL?

Is the right to bearing arms for self-defense unbiblical?  May a Christian possess, carry and use weapons for defensive  purposes?

When Jesus commanded us to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39), did He mean that we must not possess and use weapons to defend our life?

Jesus' command to turn the other cheek means to allow yourself to be insulted without retaliation.  But that limitation does not negate the right of self-preservation or self-defense from physical harm.

Jesus commanded his disciples to purchase a sword and encouraged his disciples to have swords.  See Luke 22:36-38:

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. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors.' For the things concerning Me have an end." So they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It is enough."

Later, Peter, a disciple of Jesus, cut off Malchus' ear with one of the swords.  In response, Jesus rebuked of Peter for doing so (John 18:10-11).  This rebuke occurred after Jesus instructed His disciples to buy swords.  Jesus did not rebuke Peter for having a sword for defense of self or others.  Rather, the rebuke came because Peter was trying to stop Jesus from going to the cross, which God had ordained.  “So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?’” (John 18:11).  

Below is an Old Testament Biblical passage concerning self-defense:

"If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Exodus 22:2-3).

Thus, according to the above provision, one may kill an intruding thief at night (Exodus 22:2) when it is dark.  But, if it is daylight, and one realizes that the thief is not a threat to one’s life, it is a sin to kill such thief (Exodus 22:3).

In Nehemiah 4:14-18, the LORD approved use of weapons to protect the workers who were rebuilding of the wall”

“Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built…” (Nehemiah 4:17-18).

Therefore, in this authors view, the Bible is not against private use of weapons unless used for wicked purposes. 

See also Does the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution recognize a fundamental, individual's right to bear arms? and Does the Right to Bear Arms Extend Outside of the Home?

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