Why Is the Old Testament So Violent?

Why Is the Old Testament So Violent?

June 4, 2019

As Christians, what are we to think about Old Testament passages that seem violent and ruthless? How do we answer those who think the Old Testament is inconsistent with the love of Jesus shown in the New Testament?

Dr. Dan DeWitt, Associate Professor of Applied Theology and Apologetics at Cedarville University, examines these questions and offers 5 points we should consider when thinking through the divine war that we find in the Old Testament.

  1. We can’t separate God’s promise to deliver the Israelites to the Promised Land from His promise to drive out the nations who stood in their way.
  2. Careful study is needed when working through these passages; language may actually suggest a decisive victory, not total annihilation.
  3. Commands to destroy people are limited to locations that were military centers, not civilian populations.
  4. Divine war was for a limited time and for a specific purpose; God was patient and loving and gave ample opportunities for people to repent.
  5. Commands for divine war in the Old Testament were not intended to wipe out entire people groups; it was about God’s judgment on false religions.

Above all, we must remember that God led His people to the Promised Land, driving out the people before them, so that He could establish His people through whom the Messiah would be born to bring salvation to all nations. As you interact with others on this often concerning issue, point them to a holy, loving God who desires all mankind to be a part of His redemptive plan.

Watch the video to learn more from Dr. Dewitt.

Cedarville University's Master of Divinity degree and online Master of Ministry degree are equipping men and women who desire to serve God in vocational ministry. With multiple accelerated options to choose from, Cedarville’s M.Div. provides a comprehensive program that is committed to biblical authority, the Great Commission, and equipping the next generation of leaders in the local church.

Posted in Apologetics MMin