What does peace mean?

Peace in the Bible

"Best of Bible" series

Can Peace Be Made With The Bible? After all, the biblical story is steeped in wars. God also appears as a warlord. It seems like this: Peace should have the last word, not war.

Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, has a much wider range of meanings than the German word. Shalom does not just mean the absence of war, but a state of general well-being and salvation, in which man and nature are well, in which security and order reign and the weak find support. This peace is also wished for one another in greetings and blessings.


People still wish for peace in many languages ​​as a greeting or farewell. As a principle that means general salvation rather than the mere absence of war, peace can also be part of blessings. The so-called Aaronic Blessing is the oldest blessing that the Bible has passed on. It is still spoken today in Jewish and Christian worship services. According to the fourth book of Moses, God communicated it to Moses and Aaron himself: “You shall say this to the Israelites when you bless them,” it says: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift his face to you and give you peace. "

Quote: "The Lord ... give you peace" (Numbers 6:26)

God gives peace

“I lie and sleep in peace; because you alone, Lord, help me that I live safely ”, one psalmist is certain and another knows: God“ creates peace for your borders and satisfies you with the best wheat. ”So it is God from whom peace proceeds . And so another praying person can sigh: "If only I could hear what the Lord God said, that he promised peace to his people and his saints, so that they would not become foolish."

Quote: “The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace ”(Psalm 29:11); further Bible passages Psalm 4,9; 85.9; 147.14.

What does not serve peace

However, people do not always behave particularly peacefully. In the Psalms there are also complaints like this: “It will be long for my soul to dwell with those who hate peace.” Another knows what often destroys peace: people who bring strife with slander and evil sayings.

Quotation: "They do not speak what is for peace and invent false accusations" (Psalm 35:20); Another passage from Psalm 120: 6

Seek peace

What can you do about troublemakers? The Bible also has a piece of advice for this: “Let go of evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it! ”In addition, it can make sense to obey God's commandments, because whoever loves God's laws will“ have great peace ”and“ if a man's ways are well pleasing to the Lord, then he also leaves his enemies at peace with him How much nicer it is when you live in peace with one another, you already knew back then: "Better a dry bite with peace than a house full of slaughtered people with quarrels."

Quote: “Seek peace and pursue it!” (Psalm 34:15); further biblical passages Psalm 119,165; Proverbs 16: 7; 17.1

Swords to plowshares

The prophet Isaiah reports of a visually powerful end-time vision of peace: All peoples will come to the mountain of the Lord, he imagines, "because from there instruction will go out". In addition, God will “judge and correct” the people. Thereupon “they will make their swords into plowshares and their skewers into sickles. For no people will lift up the sword against the other, and they will no longer learn to wage war. "

Quote: "There they will turn their swords into plowshares and they will no longer learn to wage war." (Isaiah 2,1ff)

Blessed are the peacemakers

The New Testament clearly advocates peaceful behavior. It is true that Jesus also says that he is causing unrest: “You should not think that I have come to bring peace to earth. I did not come to bring peace, but the sword ”. The saying is more about the priorities that you set in life than about a call to physical attacks. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: “Blessed are the peaceful; because they will be called God's children. "And the apostle Paul demands:" If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, have peace with all people. "

Quote: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5: 9); other Bible passages Matthew 10:34; Romans 12:18

Peace with god

The New Testament also explains: Through Jesus Christ it became possible for people to make peace with God. “I have spoken this to you so that you may have peace in me”, says Jesus in the Gospel of John, because “in the world you are afraid; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. ”In his letter to the Romans, Paul explains the foundation on which peace with God stands:“ Since we have now been righteous through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ”. .

Quote: "Now that we have been righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5: 1); Another biblical passage in John 16:33

Uwe Birnstein

For further reading:

Tom Sommer (ed.): The Book of Peace, Witten 2012