Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

War and Violence According to the Bible
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What does the Bible say about war, revolution and violence? Some pages of the Old Testament, directly or indirectly, seem to justify the use of violence for the conquest of the Promised Land. But is this really the right interpretation? Above all, how does this square with the New Testament precept to love your enemies?

Interpreting the Bible on a topical issue should not be engaged in without caution. One must never impose on the biblical text the interpretation of a problem as we formulate it today. Instead, one must take in what the Bible itself tells us, avoiding extraneous influences. Only then will it be possible to reach conclusions that provide the answer we seek. This can be reached only after we have established what the biblical authors have to say about the questions they themselves ask, and not the questions we are asking. Otherwise, by way of example, guerrilla warfare or coups d’état could be legitimized on the authority of the Bible, contrary to various New Testament texts and the beliefs of the first Christian generations.
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