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Does the Bible have a peace message?

1. Introduction

The word peace is used many times in the Bible. It reflects God’s desire for relations in harmony between men. However, some Muslims claim that the Old Testament also contains violent actions. This claim will be studied to come to a final review about peace in the Bible.

2. Old Testament

The Old Testament is the part of the Bible that the Christians have in common with the Jews. The difference between the Jews and the Christians about the interpretation of the Old Testament is that Christians believe that the most perfect revelation is a man, Jesus Christ [1]. The Jews believe that the revelation is in the Old Testament. In the Bible, God is revealed as the Living God, the Creator who make all that exists and who was active at the beginning of human history and accompanies his people in all the events of history by his wisdom and grace [2]. In the Old Testament, the central event is the Exodus, the saving act of God with his people, who were slaves in Egypt. He brought the people out of Egypt as a symbol for later promises after the arrival of Jesus Christ on earth. Christians believe that Jesus Christ reveals the saving power of God.
In the Old Testament, peace is like life, blessing and joy a sign of fulfilled being. Peace is also an attribute of ethical behavior to maintain the world in its being [3]. Therefore the Christian view of the Old Testament is a message of peace.

3. Coherent peace message in the New Testament

The New Testament are those Scriptures which are only for Christians. In the New Testament is no place to support violence. For a Muslim, it is possible to receive inspiration for violence with Qur’an verses or the acts of Muhammad. But for a Christian such a thing is not possible with the New Testament or the example of Jesus Christ. Peace is a preview of paradise and therefore the New Testament feeds the spiritual needs to enter eternal life by promoting peace. When the guidelines in the Gospel will be practiced, there will be peace. This is a judgment against people who initiate violence. Peace will come by making preparations for peace asl described in the Gospel of Jesus Christ [4]. Peace is one of the fundamental terms by which the kingdom of God is made:

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”(Romans 14:17)

Peace on earth is the counterpart on earth of God’s glory:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14).

This order in peace was established again by the saving work of Jesus Christ:

" Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives." (John 14:27).

Other verses in the New Testament also reflect this view about peace, including Colossians 1:19-20, Ephesians 2:14, 4:1-3. Therefore the message about peace in the New Testament remains the same.

4. Conclusion

The message of the Bible is peace. Jesus Christ has the highest standard of moral values. Jesus Christ has also proven in his life to keep this perfect standard of moral values, while Muhammad failed in many ways. Moral values are needed to establish justice, harmony and to be a peacekeeper. Because the message of the Bible is Jesus Christ, the only hope for civilization on earth (Matthew 5:3-12) and the only way to Paradise (John 14:6), the Christian perspective of the Bible is a message of peace.


Notes:

1. Thomas Michel, What Muslims Should Know about Christianity, Paulines Publications Africa, Nairobi, 2003, 18.
2. Ibid, 19.
3. Peace, in: Hans Dieter Betz et al (ed), Religion Past & Present, Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, Volume IX, A-Bhu, Brill, Leiden 2011, 661.
4. M. Gopin, Between Eden and Armageddon: The future of world religions, violence, and peacemaking, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000.

Qur'an 19:33: Is Jesus peace?