31+ Bible Verses About War (with Explanation)

The intersection of faith and conflict is a profound theme woven throughout the pages of the Bible. From narratives of wars waged for divine judgment to passages advocating for the pursuit of peace, Scripture provides a multifaceted perspective on the nature of war and the divine call for harmony.

In this exploration, we delve into key verses that illuminate the biblical stance on war, the call for peacemaking, and the transformative power of God’s redemptive plan in a world marked by both strife and the yearning for lasting peace.

Join us on this journey as we seek to understand the timeless wisdom and guidance that the Bible imparts on the complex topic of war and the pursuit of peace.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Growth (with Explanations)

Bible Verses About War

Matthew 5:9 (ESV)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

In Matthew 5:9, Jesus extols the virtue of peacemaking, emphasizing the divine connection of those who actively pursue peace. This verse underlines the Christian commitment to resolving conflicts peacefully and promotes the idea that those who engage in fostering reconciliation reflect the image of God. The call to be peacemakers extends beyond personal relationships to include a broader perspective on the avoidance of unnecessary strife and war.

Jesus’ words challenge believers to seek alternatives to conflict and violence. The pursuit of peace becomes a sacred duty, aligning individuals with the character of God. This verse encourages Christians to be proactive in resolving disputes, promoting harmony, and working towards reconciliation, mirroring the divine intention for humanity to live in unity and love.

Romans 12:18 (NIV)

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Paul, in Romans 12:18, provides practical advice on living peacefully with others. This verse acknowledges that peace may not always be attainable due to external factors, but it emphasizes the personal responsibility to strive for peace in all circumstances.

This verse recognizes the complexity of human interactions and the external forces that may lead to conflict. Nevertheless, believers are urged to exhaust every effort in pursuing peaceful coexistence. It reflects the Christian commitment to harmony, even in the face of adversity, and encourages believers to be agents of peace in a broken world.

Isaiah 2:4 (NIV)

“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

Isaiah prophesies a future of divine intervention and ultimate peace, where nations will abandon the tools of war for instruments of cultivation.

This verse offers a vision of God’s ultimate plan for humanity—complete cessation of warfare. It underscores the divine desire for a world free from conflict and violence. Believers find hope in this promise, inspiring them to work towards a future where the instruments of destruction are transformed into tools that nurture life.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:12 reminds believers that the true battle is spiritual, not physical. It directs attention to the spiritual realm where the real conflict occurs.

This verse serves as a reminder that the ultimate source of conflict is not rooted in human disputes but in spiritual forces opposed to God. While it acknowledges the reality of earthly conflicts, it calls believers to recognize the spiritual dimensions of these struggles. By focusing on spiritual warfare, Christians are encouraged to engage in prayer, seeking divine intervention to overcome the deeper, unseen sources of discord.

Psalm 46:9 (NIV)

“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.”

Psalm 46:9 expresses the divine power to bring an end to wars and destroy the instruments of conflict.

This verse echoes the theme of God’s sovereignty over the affairs of nations. It provides comfort to believers by affirming that God has the authority to intervene in human history, putting an end to wars. It encourages trust in God’s ultimate plan for peace and serves as a source of hope, prompting believers to turn to God in times of global conflict, believing in His ability to bring about lasting peace.

Micah 4:3 (ESV)

“He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Micah 4:3 mirrors Isaiah’s prophecy, emphasizing God’s role as the ultimate judge and peacemaker among nations. The imagery of turning weapons of war into tools for cultivation signifies a profound transformation and a commitment to lasting peace.

Micah’s words reinforce the divine intention for a future where God’s justice prevails, and nations abandon the destructive cycle of war. This verse inspires believers to anticipate God’s righteous judgment and actively work towards a world where conflict is replaced by cooperation and mutual understanding.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV)

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Paul draws a distinction between the weapons of the world and the spiritual weapons provided by God. This passage emphasizes the non-physical nature of the Christian’s battle and the reliance on divine power.

Paul’s words challenge believers to adopt a different perspective on conflict resolution. Instead of relying on worldly methods, Christians are called to trust in the divine power that can overcome spiritual strongholds. This verse encourages believers to engage in spiritual warfare through prayer, faith, and obedience to God’s word, promoting a transformative approach to resolving conflicts.

Proverbs 20:22 (ESV)

“Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.”

Proverbs 20:22 advises against seeking vengeance and promotes patience, trusting in the Lord’s deliverance.

This proverb underscores the Christian principle of leaving justice in the hands of God. It discourages a retaliatory mindset and encourages believers to wait on the Lord for vindication. By promoting patience and trust in divine justice, this verse guides believers away from perpetuating cycles of violence and revenge.

James 4:1-2 (NIV)

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.”

James 4:1-2 addresses the root causes of conflicts, highlighting the internal desires that lead to external disputes. It encourages believers to turn to God in prayer rather than resorting to violence.

James identifies the heart as the breeding ground for conflicts and emphasizes the importance of seeking God’s intervention through prayer. By addressing the underlying motives for strife, this passage encourages believers to cultivate a spirit of contentment and reliance on God, ultimately contributing to a more peaceful and harmonious community.

Revelation 19:11 (NIV)

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice, he judges and wages war.”

In Revelation 19:11, a vision of the future depicts a war led by the rider on a white horse, known as Faithful and True, who brings justice.

This verse provides a glimpse into the final battle between good and evil. The emphasis on justice aligns with the biblical theme that God’s wars are just and necessary for the establishment of His righteous kingdom. While it differs from earthly conflicts, this vision assures believers that God’s ultimate war will result in a perfect and lasting peace. It calls Christians to remain steadfast, knowing that the war waged by the Faithful and True is one of righteousness and redemption.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul encourages believers to prioritize prayer for those in authority, highlighting its direct impact on promoting peaceful and godly living.

This passage underscores the power of prayer in influencing the actions of leaders and fostering an environment conducive to peace. By praying for those in authority, Christians actively contribute to the well-being of society, recognizing that the decisions of leaders have a profound impact on the prevalence of peace.

Matthew 26:52 (ESV)

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’”

During Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He rebukes the use of violence, emphasizing the consequences for those who rely on the sword.

Jesus’ response to Peter’s use of force underscores the Christian principle of non-retaliation and the rejection of violence as a means of defense. This verse challenges believers to trust in God’s sovereignty even in the face of adversity, promoting a reliance on divine justice rather than human strength.

John 14:27 (NIV)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

In John 14:27, Jesus imparts a unique peace to His followers, distinguishing it from the transient peace offered by the world.

Jesus’ words provide comfort and assurance, reminding believers of the supernatural peace that transcends worldly circumstances. This verse encourages Christians to anchor their trust in the enduring peace offered by Christ, fostering a sense of calmness and confidence even in the midst of global turmoil.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:3-4, draws a parallel between the commitment of a soldier and the dedication required of a follower of Christ.

While not directly addressing physical warfare, this passage emphasizes the importance of focus and allegiance. Believers are likened to soldiers, emphasizing the need to prioritize their service to Christ above worldly concerns. It encourages a disciplined and single-minded pursuit of pleasing the Lord rather than becoming entangled in conflicts unrelated to the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus challenges believers to respond to hostility with love and benevolence, even towards their enemies.

This teaching goes beyond the avoidance of physical conflict, delving into the heart of interpersonal relationships. Jesus’ words advocate for a radical form of love that transforms enemies into recipients of goodwill. By promoting love and benevolence, this verse contributes to the overall message of promoting peace through non-violent and Christ-like interactions.

Matthew 10:34-36 (NIV)

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’”

Jesus, in Matthew 10:34-36, uses metaphorical language to convey the divisive nature of His message, highlighting the potential conflicts that may arise even within families.

This passage acknowledges the challenging reality that adherence to Christ’s teachings may lead to divisions. While it may seem paradoxical in its declaration, the “sword” mentioned here is symbolic of the spiritual conflict that arises when individuals choose to follow Christ amidst opposition. It underscores the cost of discipleship and the willingness to prioritize loyalty to God above familial ties.

Romans 13:4 (ESV)

“For he is 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.”

In Romans 13:4, Paul discusses the role of governing authorities as instruments of God’s justice.

This verse recognizes the legitimate use of force by civil authorities to maintain order and administer justice. While it doesn’t directly address warfare, it establishes a biblical basis for the state’s responsibility to use force in certain circumstances. Christians, in turn, are encouraged to respect and submit to the authority instituted by God, trusting in divine justice through human authorities.

Joel 3:10 (NIV)

“Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, ‘I am strong!’”

Joel 3:10 presents a contrasting image to the familiar plowshares-to-swords transformation, depicting a call to readiness for war.

This verse, set in the context of Joel’s prophecy, illustrates the complexity of biblical teachings on war. While many passages emphasize peace and reconciliation, this verse acknowledges situations where nations may need to defend themselves. It prompts believers to recognize the multifaceted nature of biblical wisdom, acknowledging that there are times when the defense of justice and righteousness may require preparedness for conflict.

Psalm 120:7 (NIV)

“I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.”

Psalm 120:7 reflects the psalmist’s desire for peace juxtaposed with a world inclined toward conflict.

The psalmist expresses a longing for peace, revealing the frustration that arises when others embrace a disposition toward war. This verse resonates with believers who, while desiring peace, may find themselves surrounded by hostility. It serves as a prayerful acknowledgment of the tension between the individual’s pursuit of peace and the reality of a world often predisposed to conflict.

Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15 calls believers to allow the peace of Christ to govern their hearts and emphasizes gratitude in the pursuit of peace.

This verse underscores the internal dimension of peace, highlighting the importance of individual attitudes and perspectives. By allowing the peace of Christ to rule within, believers contribute to the collective harmony of the body of Christ. It encourages a disposition of gratitude, recognizing that a heart governed by Christ’s peace promotes unity and reconciliation within the Christian community.

Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV)

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

In Jeremiah 29:7, the prophet instructs the exiled Israelites to actively contribute to the well-being of the city where they find themselves.

This verse extends the call for peace beyond personal relationships and national borders. The exiles are urged to seek the prosperity of the city they inhabit, emphasizing the interconnectedness of peace and prosperity. As Christians, this verse prompts believers to be active contributors to the welfare of their communities, promoting peace through acts of kindness, justice, and prayer.

Luke 14:31-32 (ESV)

“Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”

In Luke 14:31-32, Jesus uses the analogy of a king considering the cost of war to illustrate the importance of thoughtful and strategic decision-making.

This parable emphasizes the rational approach to conflict, encouraging believers to consider the potential consequences of their actions. While not explicitly advocating for war, it underscores the importance of wisdom and prudence in dealing with conflict. Christians are encouraged to pursue peaceful resolutions whenever possible and to approach conflicts with a desire for understanding and reconciliation.

Isaiah 32:17 (NIV)

“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”

Isaiah 32:17 links righteousness and peace, depicting the positive outcomes of a life lived in alignment with God’s principles.

This verse highlights the connection between personal righteousness and the resultant peace that extends outward. It suggests that a society characterized by righteousness will naturally experience peace, quietness, and confidence. Believers are encouraged to cultivate lives of integrity and righteousness, contributing to an environment where peace can flourish.

Romans 14:19 (NIV)

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

In Romans 14:19, Paul calls for intentional efforts to pursue actions that contribute to peace and the building up of one another.

This verse emphasizes the active role that believers play in promoting peace within the community of faith. It encourages a proactive approach to conflict resolution, where individuals strive to build up and encourage one another. By prioritizing actions that lead to peace and mutual edification, Christians contribute to the overall harmony of the body of Christ.

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

Hebrews 12:14 combines the pursuit of peace with the call to holiness, linking these aspirations to the ultimate vision of seeing the Lord.

This verse underscores the intertwined nature of peace and holiness in the Christian journey. Believers are called to actively strive for peace with everyone, recognizing the importance of harmonious relationships. The pursuit of peace is inseparable from the pursuit of holiness, emphasizing the interconnectedness of a life lived in accordance with God’s principles.

Psalm 34:14 (NIV)

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

Psalm 34:14 succinctly captures the essence of pursuing peace by emphasizing the rejection of evil and the active pursuit of goodness.

This verse calls believers to be intentional in their choices, turning away from actions that breed conflict and instead actively seeking opportunities for peace. It reflects the biblical teaching that peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the result of intentional efforts to promote goodness and righteousness.

1 Peter 3:11 (ESV)

“Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”

In 1 Peter 3:11, the apostle Peter echoes the Psalms, emphasizing the importance of actively seeking and pursuing peace.

This repetition across biblical texts underscores the significance of the message. Believers are encouraged not only to avoid evil but to actively engage in practices that contribute to peace. The pursuit of peace is portrayed as an ongoing, intentional effort that requires conscious choices and actions.

Matthew 10:16 (NIV)

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus provides guidance on navigating a world filled with challenges, advising a balance of shrewdness and innocence.

While not explicitly addressing war, this verse offers wisdom for living in a world where conflict and hostility exist. The call to be shrewd encourages believers to approach situations with discernment, while the call to be innocent emphasizes maintaining a heart of purity and non-aggression. It speaks to the Christian’s engagement with the world, advocating for a wise and peaceable disposition.

Psalm 120:6-7 (ESV)

“Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”

Psalm 120:6-7 expresses the psalmist’s distress at dwelling among those who reject peace, highlighting the challenge of living amidst conflict.

This psalm reflects the tension experienced by believers living in a world where peace is often rejected. It serves as a prayerful lament, acknowledging the difficulty of promoting peace when surrounded by hostility. Christians can resonate with this sentiment, finding solace in the recognition that their desire for peace aligns with God’s heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 (NIV)

“Live in peace with each other.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:13, Paul offers a simple yet profound directive for believers to live in peace with one another.

This concise command encapsulates the essence of Christian community living. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining harmony and unity within the body of Christ. Believers are called to prioritize peace in their interactions, fostering an environment where the love and grace of Christ are evident in their relationships.

Also Read: Good Friday Bible Verses (With Commentary)

What Does the Bible Say About War

Divine Judgment and Warfare: Deuteronomy 20:17 (ESV) “But you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded.”

In the Old Testament, God occasionally commanded the Israelites to engage in wars of conquest, viewing them as a means of executing divine judgment on nations that had become morally corrupt. This perspective emphasizes the sovereignty of God in using war as a tool for executing justice.

The Call to Defense: Exodus 15:3 (NIV) “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.”

Some passages portray God as a warrior, emphasizing His role in defending His people. In instances of defensive warfare, the Bible acknowledges the need to protect oneself and one’s community from external threats.

The Cost and Consequences of War Matthew 24:6-7 (NIV) “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”

In the New Testament, Jesus forewarns about the inevitability of wars and their connection to broader eschatological events. This highlights the fallen nature of the world and the reality of conflict as part of the human experience.

A Prayer for Peace in Times of Conflict

Heavenly Father,

In the midst of a world marked by turmoil and strife, we humbly come before You, the Author of peace. As we navigate the complexities of a world familiar with conflict, we seek Your divine guidance and intervention.

Lord, grant us the wisdom to discern the paths that lead to peace, both in our personal lives and on a global scale. We pray for leaders around the world, that they may be inspired by Your wisdom and pursue solutions rooted in justice and reconciliation.

As we face the challenges of a world seemingly at odds with Your perfect peace, strengthen us to resist the temptations of retaliation and violence. Instill in us a deep commitment to the pursuit of peace, guided by Your principles of justice and love.

We place our hope in You, the Prince of Peace, trusting that Your ultimate plan for humanity is one of reconciliation and restoration. May Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

In His name, we pray.