What Is Peace In The Bible?
Peace is a popular word a variety of people use in various ways. One everyday use is to represent the absence of war or conflict. For example, when warring countries sign a treaty and are at peace, or when quarreling friends makeup and are at peace with each other.
Peace also refers to rest. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet,” while the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the state of being calm or quiet.” Such as when describing a place as peaceful or saying your mind is at peace.
However, peace in the Bible is a bit different. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict or state of rest. It means completeness or wholeness, and it points to the presence of something else.
For further understanding of biblical peace, lets’ look at the original Hebrew and Greek words.
Peace in Hebrew
The word peace appears 237 times in the Old Testament with its first appearance in Genesis 15:15 “as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.”
The Hebrew word translated as peace is shalom (shaw-lome’), and according to Strong’s concordance, it means completeness, soundness, and welfare. It comes from the root word shalam (shaw-lame’) which means to make amends or to make whole or complete.
Shalam is often used in terms of making restitution. Take Exodus 22:4, for example; if a man stole an ox or a sheep from his neighbor, under the law, he was to restore or shalam what he had taken.
Therefore, to have shalom means to be in a state of wholeness or completeness, without any deficiency or lack. Shalom is frequently used in the Old Testament in reference to the wellness of others. Sometimes it is translated as well, well-being or welfare such as in Genesis 37:14, 43:27, Judges 18:15, 1 Samuel 17:18, 2 Samuel 11:7 and more.
In Jewish culture, people used shalom in greeting expressions such as shalom Aleichem which means “well-being be upon you,” or “may you be well.” Jesus and New Testament writers often greeted one another and said farewell with peace (John 20:19).
Peace in Greek
The word peace in the New Testament is from the Greek word eiréné (i-ray’-nay). According to Strong’s Concordance, eiréné means one, peace, quietness, and rest. It originates from the root word eirō, which means to join, or tie together into a whole.
Therefore, eiréné means unity; it is to bringing multiple parts together to form a whole, or set it as one again. For example, two friends who reconcile after a fight make eiréné, that is they come back together, and their relationship is whole.SEE ALSO: For to Us a Child Is Born
Eiréné first appears in the New Testament in Matthew 10:13 “And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.” It appears 91 other times in the new testament in every book except 1 John.
In some translations, Mark 4:39 says, “Peace! Be still,” but the Greek word used in that verse is not eiréné but siópaó, which means to be silent.
Fun fact, the English word serene, which means calm and peaceful, comes from eiréné.
Putting it all together
The peace of God is different from the peace of the world. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict; it is taking action to restore a broken situation. It’s more than a state of inner tranquility; it’s a state of wholeness and completeness.
Biblical peace is not something we can create on our own; it is a fruit of the Spirit. God is the source of peace, and one of His names is Yahweh Shalom (Judges 6:24), which means the LORD Is Peace. Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), and He gives us peace in three ways.
1. Peace with God
Jesus is our peace with God (Romans 5:1). Due to our sins, we were enemies of God and were separated from Him (Ephesians 2:13), but Jesus restored our relationship when He took on our sins and died our death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). He provided a path for reconciliation with God, and now we are joined to God (Romans 5:10) and can fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3).
2. Peace with others
Jesus is our peace with others. In Him, we have reconciliation with others, live at peace with them (Colossians 1:19-20), have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:9) and can live with others in unity and one accord through the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3). He empowers us by His Spirit to be peacemakers with our neighbors, friends, and foes.
3. Peace with ourselves
Jesus is our peace within. In Him, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and He is making us whole and complete like Him (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). When trials come to tear us apart, He is our peace that keeps us together (John 16:33).
Attributes of biblical peace
The Bible has a lot to say about peace; it appears 329 times in the Bible, with the highest occurrence of 30 in the book of Isaiah. Here are some its biblical attributes.SEE ALSO: What is Patience in the Bible?
1. Peace is a fruit of the spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,Galatians 5:22
2. We must seek peace and make peace
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.Psalm 34:14
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.Romans 12:18
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.Romans 14:19
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Corinthians 13:11
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.Hebrews 12:14
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.1 Peter 3:11
3. Peace brings joy
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.Proverbs 12:20
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.Matthew 5:9
4. Peace comes from God
O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.Isaiah 26:12
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.John 14:27
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.2 Thessalonians 3:16
5. God gives us peace in trouble
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Phillippians 4:6-7
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.John 16:33
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3