Paul’s Teachings on Self Defense
The apostle Paul teaches some very harsh, politically incorrect doctrines throughout the scriptures which are difficult for some Christians to accept and obey. In fact, many Christians are willing to concede to the authority of Christ up to the point that they have to personally sacrifice something. The name for this type of disciple is a “Fair Weather Christian.” Paul’s teachings are not for the Fair Weather Christian. Paul demands that Jesus’ disciples sacrifice many things. A short list includes the following: personal relationships (1 Cor. 5), the right to speak in worship (1 Tim. 2), cursing, swearing, fornication, anger (Col. 3), money (1 Cor. 16), and the list could go on. Perhaps the most difficult of all things to give up is the use of lethal force in defense of oneself and family. Paul speaks to self-defense in 1 Cor. 7.
Open the Bible and read 1 Cor. 7:25-33. Read the passage again, and when finished, read it a third time. Now, stop and take 5 minutes to process this new information. Five minutes have passed. Next, consider the following definition of terms within the passage. When Paul mentions the virgin, he is referring to anyone that is unmarried. In modern terms, Paul is talking about bachelors or bachelorettes. Paul is thus discussing throughout the passage the dilemma of whether a bachelor should marry or remain single. This passage may be mistaken for the first century version of “Dating for Dummies.” Contrary to this carnal and sad misconception, Paul is not trying to be a dating doctor. The apostle discusses this topic because of a daunting and terrifying time about to face the first century Christian. He calls this approaching peril “the present distress,” (vs. 26).
The “present distress” has been misinterpreted as an impending famine and even the second advent of Christ by some. These interpretations are made by Fair Weather Christians who do not want to face the hard and clear facts of Paul’s message. The present distress was something that would require a Christian to choose between wife or Christ, personal possessions or Christ, peace and tranquility or Christ. Read again vs. 29-30, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess.” Paul then makes the statement, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord-how he may please the Lord,” (vs. 32).
There would be a Roman Caesar named Nero rise to power who would put Paul and many other Christians to death, only because they bore the name of Christ. Other emperors like Domitian would arise who would follow suite with Nero. It is very likely that Paul looks forward to such disciples of Satan as the present (impending) distress that would cast the great burden of choice upon Christians. The choice: will the Christian deny the name of Christ in order to save the life of his wife or perhaps his expensive possessions, or will the Christian refuse to deny Christ and act as if he did not have a wife, own possessions, or have reason to weep? The conclusion is obvious. Paul gave no room for self-defense.
Set aside emotions for once and seriously contemplate this emotionally disturbing command given by the apostle. Ask with sincerity, did Paul give the option of shooting the perpetrator? Think on these things while waiting on upcoming discussions regarding self-defense and the Bible.