During my senior year of high school I took a Bible Literature course. While I was in another one of my classes, two other students (one of whom was in my Bible class) made a couple of comments about the Bible that I have never forgotten. One student, who was in my Bible class, noted that the Bible has a lot of killing in it. The girl sitting next to him then said, “Killing in the Bible? I thought the Bible was holy?”
I believed at that time (and still do) that there is a very easy and logical answer to the question of “why is there so much killing in the Bible?” Most people think that the Bible is just a book of dos and don’ts. It is clear that these people have either never read the Bible, or simply do not understand it. Scripture is much more than a list of good and bad things that you should or shouldn’t do. A good way to look at God’s Word is that it is a theological history. It is a record of God’s dealings with mankind.
The Bible is a record of why we live in a sinful world, and God doing something to change that through Jesus. Since the Bible is a theological history, it is inevitable that it is going to record people killing each other. Humans are sinful and want to make up their own rules. As a result many people have been killed.
When the Bible records people killing each other it is not condoning it. It is simply recording what happened. Killing is a sad reality in a world that rejects God and where humans want to be gods themselves (Genesis 3:5).
Some may point out that God condoned the Israelites killing the Canaanites (see the book of Joshua). However, God allowed this because he was punishing the Canaanites for all the evil that they had committed (this is not the place for me to go into depth on this topic. For those readers who want more on this see this article). Others may also point out that God condoned killing in self-defense (see Exodus 22:2 for example). However, self-defense is also a product of a sinful world. In a perfect world there would be no need for self-defense since no one would ever harm another person. All forms of killing (whether murder, self-defense, or God using it for punishment of sin) are a result of living in a world in rebellion against our Creator.
What do you think? Is the way that I explained killing in the Bible the way you have thought about the issue. Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment below and visit us on Facebook.