What Does The Bible Say About Domestic Violence Or Abuse?

What Does The Bible Say About Domestic Violence Or Abuse? September 30, 2016

Does the Bible say anything about domestic violence? If so, what does it say?

The Laws of the Land

There is no room for doubt in Pauls’ assessment about the place of local, state, and government authorities in society, including those in law enforcement. He writes to the church at Rome, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom 12:1-2). Obviously this means law enforcement agencies are also part of “God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom 13:4). That doesn’t mean they themselves can break the law, but their role in society is to serve and protect citizens. That’s why “one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience” (Rom 12:5).

How God Looks at Hate

When Jesus was speaking to the crowds, He said; “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matt 5:21-22). The Apostle John wrote, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1st John 3:15), so God’s standard for us is not name-calling, but to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:44-45). Hating someone is murdering them in your own heart, even though it’s not carried out for real, and the last thing we need in this world is more hate.

For-he-is-Gods-servant (1)

Divorce and Separation

We know that marriage is intended to be for a lifetime, or “till death do you part,” but when there is ongoing adultery by one partner, and they refuse to repent of it, then they can receive a divorce that is on biblical grounds, but divorce is always a very last resort. Some theologians see the Apostle Paul’s statement that if an unbeliever leaves, the other spouse is no longer bound by marriage (1st Cor 7:15-16), but there is no general consensus on this, but when there is physical violence in the home, it is clear to everyone that the spouse who is being abused must immediately removes themselves from that home and relocate to a “safe place,” wherever that might be. But that’s not all. The abused person should also contact the authorities and report this crime, as being in submission to God’s command that we must all obey the law (Rom 12:1-4). Since it is unlawful to not report a crime, and even worse if it’s a violent crime, the abused spouse must by all means necessary report this to the local law enforcement agencies. The offending party cannot be allowed to not face the consequences. When there are children involved, even more immediate action must be taken, like having the children removed for their own protection. It takes far less force to inflict serious harm to a child than it does to an adult. Don’t worry about the marriage issue at this point; just get out of the house and report this to the authorities. Report it if it ever happens to you or to someone you know, because you can’t let this continue. Someone could get seriously hurt, or worse, be killed.

A New Heart

Those who are abusers may themselves have been abused, but this should not ever be considered as excusing it. It’s still wrong, no matter what the person’s personal history is. If their past drives them to the point of abusing someone, they should seek counseling immediately, because a lot of innocent people could get hurt. The problem may be that they have never trusted in Christ. They, like all Christians, needed a heart transplant at one time. Before we trusted in Christ, we had the same heart issue as did ancient Israel; we had hearts of stone. Ezekiel wrote, regarding Israel, but with application to us before we were saved, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (36:26). Jeremiah also wrote, “I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (24:7). It’s not so much who this was written to but the fact that the people this was written to are like us; they needed new hearts, and not hearts of stone which nothing much can penetrate them. Until the heart issue is resolved, the violence issue may never end.


If you or someone you know is living with abuse, but is afraid to tell anyone out of fear, you must report it immediately. There is no law, and there is certainly no Bible teaching that justifies domestic violence for any reason, and under any circumstances. The only violence that would be justified in the home is when someone breaks into your home and you’re trying to defend you and your family’s life, however the Bible is clear about domestic violence, and it is sin, and it is also a sin by failing to report it. Failing to do so, could prove fatal for someone.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    You must be reading the wrong buybull…

    “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” (Hosea 13:16)

    “Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman.” (Eccles. 25:13)

    “Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22:24)

    “When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

    “Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.” (Isaiah 13:15-16)


    • Layla

      “Nuff” said? You must be a serious piece of garbage to take the time to try & defend domestic violence. REALLY pathetic.

      • pud

        LOL…you christian cultists are so stupid! These are quotes about violence towards women from your BUYBULL!

      • lady_black

        I don’t think it’s being defended by the poster.

      • Satanic_Panic

        Layla – you’re so freaking stupid it hurts.

  • pud

    “He writes to the church at Rome, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. ”

    If you cared about the truth…which you obviously don’t…you would consider the following..

    Who cares what “Paul” says? Who cares what a murdering delusional psychotic says about anything? Why do you give him authority given how obviously deranged this individual was?

    Secondly…If you took the time to study the evolution of human civilization you would KNOW that the concept of divinely ordained dictators, kings and emperors is as old as civilization itself. When human tribes began to come together due to agriculture the typical family order changed. Different tribes could not exist under traditional family structure so the natural outcome was a non family leader. What better way to con the masses into accepting a ruler than for him to declare that a “god” appointed him? This is historical FACT jack. Another MAN MADE convention that you willfully ignorant gullible fools swallow wholesale

  • lady_black

    While I absolutely agree that a victim of abuse should get out of the house, and as far away as possible, it’s neither a crime nor a sin not to report it to the police. It might even be a fatal mistake to involve oneself any further with the abuser.
    That’s something every survivor has to decide for themselves. I dealt with domestic violence by removing myself and our child 1000 miles from the abuser, and divorcing him. I didn’t bother reporting it to the police. It wouldn’t have been taken seriously, and would have been counter-productive, only resulting in putting me in further contact.

    • Isn’t it horrifying that anyone would even have to ask if we should remove people from domestic abuse and report the crime to the police?

      • lady_black

        The victim should leave. Reporting it to the police might make things worse. But the bruises and other injuries should be documented.

        • I meant that both things have to happen in that order. First you get them out of the house and to a safe location and then report it to the police. You are right that just reporting just puts the abuse victim in greater danger. How horrible that we even have to talk about this, but it’s reality for way too many people. I met a woman who ran a shelter. She said that many of the women (and their children) go back to the abuser only to wind up back at the shelter a short time later. Domestic abuse victims often have no where to go and no money.

          • lady_black

            It puts her in danger even if she does get away. It exposes her further to the abuser. The best thing a survivor can do is put as many miles in the rear view mirror as possible, and FORGET about the damn police. They won’t help. Except after she’s dead, they’ll attend the autopsy!

      • Brad Feaker

        That Mr. Wellman felt the need to even write this is pretty disturbing. And I like Mr. Wellman – we have had several very civil exchanges.

        • Denny

          Brainless senile old fggot.

          • Brad Feaker

            Excuse me? Mindless insults are counter productive – whether that comment was aimed at me or Mr. Wellman.

  • pud

    Millions of simple minded dolts, centuries of abject lunacy….


  • pud

    Centuries of insanity continuing to this day…


  • kzarley

    I pretty much agree with what you’re saying here, Jack. I think domestic violence should be reported if it endangers a person’s health. You need to fix the source of your quotation, since it is in Romans 13, not 12. (Your image has it right.) How do you reconcile this text with the history of the USA or the Nazis ruling Germany, to mention two of many examples that could be cited? As we Americans all know, we became a nation because the colonists revolted against the king of England’s highly unfair taxation without their representation in Parliament, which they had before, resulting in the American Revolution. Some Christian colonists opposed that revolution, citing this text. One was Benjamin Franklin’s son, a lawyer. They had such a rupture in the relationship about it that he left the colonies, moved to England, and lived there the rest of his life.

    Paul goes on to say specifically in Romans 13.6-7, “pay taxes,… Pay to all what is due to them–taxes to whom taxes are due,… honor to whom honor is due.” The American colonists revolted against the king of England and thus did not pay the taxes he required and did not honor him. If you apply what Paul says here to the American Revolution, then the colonists disobeyed what Paul says and therefore they disobeyed God if Paul wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, as I believe he did. And I surely don’t need to say anymore about Hitler and his Nazis.

    In Romans 13.1-7, Paul was writing of his own time and situation as a Roman citizen and thus living in the Roman Empire. He wrote this letter to the church at Rome, which was the empirical capital. I think Bible readers should always be careful in applying its texts to themselves in their situations. Sometimes it is an error to do that. Paul was not writing this for us all in following generations to apply to our times and situations, though most of the time it would be correct to do so. But there are many situations in history in which I think Paul would say he did not mean for people to apply what he says in Romans 13.1-7 to themselves.

    As for Pud here in Comments, he is a troll.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you kzarley. I still believe that Christians should be the most law-abiding of all citizens and pay our taxes, whether in Rom 2,000 years ago or in the U.S, today.

      • kzarley

        I agree with you on that, Jack. But what about the example I mentioned that concerns our American heritage as U.S. citizens? The colonists refused to pay their taxes to the king of England, and it resulted in the American Revolution? I think for us Americans, this is an important question when we read Romans 13.1-7. If they followed what Paul says here, they should have paid their taxes and not revolted. What then? Most American Christians in the history of the U.S. have believed God was involved in the founding of this nation and therefore that the American Revolution was necessary. What do you think?

        • Jack Wellman

          The Americans were paying taxes and it wasn’t over being taxed but being more taxed than the Brit’s themselves but also not having representation, so the issue of not having representation without taxation was what started this war (among other things). They didn’t refuse to pay the British taxes…but not to pay more taxes than they felt was fair, so they didn’t break Romans 13 in that sense.

          • kzarley

            Yes, I just didn’t fully explain that the issue was that England raised the colonists taxes, and thus they screamed “taxation without representations.” Jack, this patheos interchange between us is good. It has caused me to make a post about this at my Kermit Zarley Blog here on patheos Evangelical Channel. Cheers.

  • Mark Tyrrell

    Does Jack Wellman believe in haunted houses?

    I have been a condominium owner in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada for nearly twenty years, and it seems to me and my neighbours that the unit directly beneath mine must be jinxed. For some fifteen years we endured one set of dysfunctional people after another in the unit, and intimate partner violence has been an ongoing issue.

    The first time it was a clear cut case of male violence against a woman.

    After that, it was a violent woman who beat up her boyfriend.

    They were followed by two couples who were mutually violent. The violence was equally split between the man and the woman. I can state authoritatively that violent men and violent women both sound exactly alike.

    Early last year, at dark-thirty one morning, we were awakened to the sound of violent conflict. Police were called, and people had their doors open as they listened to the man curse and swear loudly at the police. Indeed, once the door was opened, the couple’s frightened cat came racing upstairs to seek refuge with me.

    Furthermore, one could see right from day one that there were going to be problems. All four couples were living together common law.

    Statistics-Canada says that common-law relationships are four to five times more likely to experience intimate partner violence than traditional marriage.

    Spousal murder, Statistics-Canada says, is seven to eight times more likely to happen in a common law union than in a traditional marriage.

    Furthermore, (I have seen this one for myself) when the woman conceives and becomes pregnant in that common law union, Statistics-Canada says that there is a fifty per cent greater chance that the man will leave her. Folks, here we are talking about the abandonment of women, the abandonment of children, child poverty, and the feminization of poverty.

    It seems to me that if we are to make a very significant dent in this problem, we must first emphasize the down side of common law unions and put it to people that a major step forward in the right direction for everyone, both men and women, would be to shun common law unions.

    Then there is the question of the violent man. Are we talking about potentially everyman here, or is the batterer an aberration among men?

    Feminist scholar Christina Hoff-Sommers in her book, ‘Who Stole Feminism?’ addresses this issue head-on. She cites what happened when the state of Massachusetts computerized her civil restraining order files and cross-referenced them with the state’s criminal records data base, it was found that some eighty percent of the male recipients of restraining orders had prior criminal records. Many of them were for drug and impaired driving offenses, but nearly one half had convictions for violence against men and women.

    Furthermore, in 1995, the Toronto Star newspaper ran a series on domestic violence. For one week they recorded every case where the police made an arrest for domestic assault, and then followed each case through the courts. Forty-four percent of the men arrested had prior criminal records.

    This is very good preliminary evidence to suggest that the violent man is the exception, not the rule. He is violent against men, no less than against women. This experiment definitely needs to be continued.

    Scripture says that in the last days there will be a falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and in this is certainly the case concerning the American and Canadian churches and the matter of intimate partner violence. Feminist scholar Elizabeth Pleck points to the Massachusetts Bay colony, where, as early as 1655, wife assault was punishable by law. Her research documents just how severely wife batterers were punished. An 1882 Maryland statute mandated a maximum penalty of forty lashes at the whipping post. In Delaware, the number was thirty. New Mexico imposed fines ranging from $255.00 to $1,000.00 as well as prison sentences of between one and five years.

    She points out, too, that churches, especially the Quakers, Baptists, and Methodists considered wife assault a sin, on the same level as adultery. Offenders were punished, shunned, and excommunicated. Male relatives, such as brothers, fathers, cousins, and also neighbours took action against batterers, who were sometimes abducted and whipped by vigilante gangs.

    How have we gone from this very positive state of affairs of yesteryear, to today, where too many Christian (sic) leaders think that the battered woman must remain in the marriage and submit to her husband? Surely, both the American and Canadian churches have gone seriously wrong in this regard.

    • Jack Wellman

      Anyone that batters another person, male or female, should be reported to the police and then remove themselves from that situatin. I don’t think they should remain in that house at all.