Capital Punishment: Is it biblical?


The sixth commandment states, “thou shall not murder” (Exod 20:14). This commandment forbids the malicious taking of a life, not accidental killing or killing in wartime. Man is created in the image of God (Gen 1:27).  Therefore, when a person kills someone, they are desecrating the image of God. Capital punishment does not constitute murder, and therefore does not violate the Bible.

God said that whoever sheds man’s blood would have his blood shed (Gen 9:6). The Old Testament outlined the death penalty for many crimes including murder, bestiality, kidnapping and false prophecy (Exod 21:12; Exod 22:19; Exod 21:16; Deut 13:5). In the New Testament, Jesus let the woman caught in adultery free (John 8:7). This verse should not be applied to say that Jesus rejected the capital punishment in all circumstances.

The New Testament does not speak directly to the issue of capital punishment. Jesus and Paul reject the concept of outright revenge for a transgression (Luke 9:54-55). Ultimately, Christians should practice prudence in their view on capital punishment. If one believes someone to deserve capital punishment, there should be irrefutable evidence that the person is guilty of the crime. The utmost caution must be employed to ensure that someone is not punished unjustly. The Bible affirms a society where the capital punishment is appropriate, but rare.

The New Testament upholds a governments right to institute capital punishment (Rom 13:1-7). A Christian must remember that governments must be subject to God’s authority. The Bible includes instances of capital punishment, and therefore it is a legitimate practice. Jesus showed that society should be careful about the implementation of the death penalty and not rush to judgment. One would be amiss to say that God is against capital punishment. The thoughtful and jurisprudent implementation of the death penalty is biblically appropriate.


2 thoughts on “Capital Punishment: Is it biblical?

  1. I have heard that many of the church fathers after the Apostle John’s death did not believe in Capital Punishment. Have you read Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Disache to see what they have to say about Capital Punishment? I believe your statement to be true, but I haven’t read these founding fathers thoughts well enough yet to come to a certian conclusion.


  2. Do you know what the principles of Karma are? That is what we take with us, after death, for determining our next life. Karma. Capital Punishment. Is society’s way of getting rid of unwanted elements.

    God does not live in the Bible or any other book. God does not live in boxes or buildings either. God lives in each person’s heart and soul. That is where any transgressions against society will fester. Heaven and hell are states of mind, not places. Mind is a good servant but a lousy master.

    If anybody offends society here on Earth? With crimes like murder or genocide. They should be allowed to go free. Placed on the next shuttle leaving the planet. Then doors opened and set free, off planet.


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