[a devotional thought¹…]
“And He said to them, ‘But now…take a [purse]…likewise also a bag, and…buy [a sword]…”
Jesus said this according to Luke 22:36 (NASB)
For more use the DOOR.
What is gentle Jesus saying to us here? Is He saying something about the attitude we should take toward national self-defense? What should we say about this passage?
Let me say or suggest 6 things:
(1) A context is badly needed here to think about this.
(2) Technical understandings: (a) Ellipses (…) means some unnecessary words (according the one writing here [me]) have been omitted. (b) Brackets may be used to replace a word, often a pronoun, to give a better understanding of text. “A sword” replaces “one” in the chopped down sentence because “sword” was used a few words earlier and clearly means “one” here. (c) NASB stands for New American Standard Bible here. Other translations may vary a bit.
(3) Verses before and after this would help us understand more. With them one could see that this is clearly narrative. An account is being reported. While Jesus is telling someone (his disciples) that having a sword would a wise move in the circumstances here, it does not command me or suggest to me that I should buy a sword².
(4) In verses that follow this it’s reported that the disciples have two swords. Hearing this, Jesus says in effect, “That’s enough.”
(5) This verse, perhaps, is emphasized to contrast we Jesus’ earlier sending out 70 disciples with hardly anything.
(6) Take away from this: (a) Weapons are not ipso facto evil. In some cases, though not all or many, some weapons may be appropriate. (b) This passage does not declare that a person has a right to a weapon. (c) Context always matters in interpreting the Bible. A person should work hard not to convert the Bible into a magic book that supports personal biases. This occurs more often than we realize.
¹ This spills out after a personal morning devotional reading, so consider the source…
² Opening your Bible blindly to “And Judas went out and hanged himself,” and then “Go ye therefore and do likewise” shouldn’t be taken a command to end your days.