A somber black and white image of a worn Bible open to a page with highlighted passages on love, forgiveness, and respect, symbolizing the Bible's stance against domestic violence.

What Does The Bible Say About Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a disturbing issue that affects millions of people globally. You may be wondering what guidance the Bible offers on this complex topic. In short, the Bible clearly condemns domestic abuse and calls for LOVE, RESPECT, and PROTECTION within marriage.

This article will provide an in-depth look at various Bible verses and passages that address domestic violence. We’ll consider God’s intent for marriage, His commands regarding treatment of spouses, and insights from Jesus and the apostles.

By understanding the Scriptural foundation on this issue, you’ll be better equipped to make wise choices in your own relationships and help others in abusive situations.

God’s Design for Marriage Calls for Mutual Love and Respect

Marriage Should Reflect Christ’s Love for the Church

The Bible teaches that marriage is meant to exemplify the love between Christ and the church. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).

This kind of sacrificial, servant leadership was modeled by Jesus, and husbands are called to follow His example. Wives submit to their husbands voluntarily, not out of compulsion, just as the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24). The goal is unity, understanding, and mutual care and respect.

Husbands Should Love Their Wives Sacrificially

Husbands are instructed to love their wives as they love their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28). They are called to nourish and cherish their wives, protecting them and caring for their needs. This rules out selfishness or violence of any kind.

Husbands should be willing to sacrifice their own interests and comfort for the good of their wives, just as Christ sacrificed Himself for the church.

Ephesians 5:29 says, “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” Therefore, a husband who truly loves his wife will care for her emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He will make her needs a priority.

Wives Should Respect Their Husbands

Wives are called to respect and submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). This does not mean blind obedience but rather an attitude of care and honor. Wives should respect their husbands’ leadership in the family.

This respect will make the husband’s job of loving his wife sacrificially easier. When both spouses fulfill their God-given roles, the marriage thrives. Mutual love, sacrifice and respect result in unity, understanding, and intimacy between husband and wife.

The Bible Condemns Abuse and Commands Care for the Vulnerable

Jesus Modeled Care and Protection for the Vulnerable

Jesus set an example of caring for and protecting vulnerable people. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus defending, empowering, and uplifting those facing injustice or mistreatment. For example, Jesus stood up for an adulterous woman who was about to be stoned (John 8:1-11), he healed lepers and outcasts who were shunned by society (Luke 17:11-19), and he welcomed and blessed little children when his disciples tried to turn them away (Mark 10:13-16).

Jesus showed compassion and advocacy for women (John 4), Gentiles (Matthew 15:21-28), and other groups considered inferior or unworthy by religious leaders of his day.

Modern research confirms that following Jesus’ example protects against domestic violence. A 2022 study by Baylor University’s Institute for Family Studies found that “practicing Christians exhibit lower levels of domestic violence than nominal or non-Christians” and that “the peacemaking effect of Christian faith specifically surfaces for men.”

The study suggests that Christian teachings on caring for others, pursuing peace, patience, and self-control may curb tendencies toward domestic abuse.

Scripture Warns Against Harming or Oppressing Others

The Bible contains strong warnings against harming, oppressing, or taking advantage of vulnerable people. For example:

  • “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.” (Exodus 22:22)
  • “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” (Deuteronomy 10:18)
  • “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

These and other verses make it clear that domestic violence goes directly against God’s commands. Scripture upholds the dignity of every human being and condemns hurting or dominating others.

Church Leaders Must Not Be Violent or Abusive

The Bible sets high moral standards for those in church leadership. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 list specific virtues and qualities required for elders and deacons. These include being self-controlled, respectable, gentle, not quick-tempered or violent.

Church leaders are called to set an example in caring for others.

Regrettably, recent studies indicate over 700 victims abused by Christian leaders yearly. Organizations like GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) advocate for abuse survivors and promote accountability in churches.

Still, leaders violating biblical standards through domestic violence or abuse must be removed from positions of spiritual authority.

There Are Resources and Hope for Victims of Abuse

The Church Should Support Abuse Victims

The church has a responsibility to care for those suffering from domestic violence. As God calls us to “defend the weak and the fatherless” (Psalm 82:3), congregations should provide counseling, support groups, and referral services.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of domestic violence in the US[1]. With faith and community support, restoration is possible.

God Can Heal and Provide Safety from Harm

For Christians suffering abuse, remembering God’s promises can bring hope. As Isaiah 61:1 states, the Lord came “to bind up the brokenhearted”. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit’s comfort, and wise counsel, victims can find solace and direction.

In extreme danger, women’s shelters and legal protections may be necessary while God guides towards long-term safety.

Resource Type Examples
Counseling Church counseling, professional Christian counseling
Support Groups Celebrate Recovery, other church groups
Shelters Non-profit and government-funded shelters for emergency housing needs

Scripture Offers Guidance for Wise Decisions

Bible verses on relationships and wisdom can aid abuse victims in making plans and choices. Proverbs teaches that “the prudent see danger and take refuge” (27:12). Seeking godly advice when seeing early warning signs is vital.

While working to save marriages, safety must come first, as stated in Proverbs 24:11 – “Rescue those being led away to death.” There are no easy answers, but reading Scripture ensures victims hear God’s voice above all.


In closing, while the Bible does not provide exhaustive specifics on responding to domestic violence, the overarching principles of LOVE, RESPECT and PROTECTION in relationships are evident. Scripture condemns abuse and oppression while upholding the sanctity of marriage.

For those currently in abusive situations, churches must provide comfort, assistance and resources. Most importantly, the God of the Bible promises to be near to the brokenhearted, to heal the wounded, and to be a strong tower for those seeking refuge.

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