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The Real Meaning Of Peace In The Bible

One of the richest words in the Bible is the short and simple word “peace”. But there is nothing simple about the true meaning of peace and the definition is many-faceted. Let’s explore this mysterious word that contains the answer to many problems and that multitudes spend their lives seeking. 

What the Bible Says About Peace

A few ways we might think of peace are: being in a tranquil state of mind;  a sense of relational harmony; or the absence of hostility. These are all correct, yet there are many more aspects of the word that often come to mind. In my mind, I picture peace as an easy-flowing stream bubbling and sparkling in the sunlight. 

Peace seems to be something to be found or sought after. We may easily know when we don’t have it, but how do we know when we have found peace? Let’s take a look at the real meaning of peace in the Bible.

Biblical Peace – Wholeness Of Life

There are many, many meanings of peace in the Bible, as well as in everyday life. My Concordance of the Bible, which examines the words in the Bible according to their meanings in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages of the Bible, gives at least fourteen different words used to signify peace throughout the Bible. 

In the Old Testament, the most common meanings of peace were freedom from war, well-being, wholeness of life, and success. In several places, it carries a meaning of inner peace, such as quietness and rest. 

In the New Testament, Christ brought spiritual peace, to those who would accept it, by His ultimate sacrifice, relieving believers’ hearts of guilt, and creating an inner peace and harmony that is meant to be shared and spread. In some instances, the Greek word means restoration of peace, or making whole again. We cannot have true peace without this wholeness, or being put back together, which comes only through our Savior, Jesus. 

One of the many names of God, given by the Israelites, was Yahweh Shalom, meaning “The Lord Is Peace”.  The Hebrew word Shalom has deep meaning and is used as a greeting that signifies the question “Do you have peace?”. This word, Shalom, is found throughout the Old Testament. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives the meaning of Shalom as  “a basic meaning of totality or completeness including fulfillment, maturity, soundness, and wholeness.”

There is much debate about what the opposite of peace may be. Some say it is war, others anxiety, and still others say the antonym of peace is sin since a sinful world can’t have peace without the cure of salvation in Jesus Christ. 

In Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-25, we read about the fruit of the Spirit, that is the fruit born by those having the Holy Spirit in them. But we often fail to read the passages just before this one, where Paul contrasts the acts of the sinful nature with the things we do that are at opposites with bearing Holy Spirit-inspired fruit. 

These acts of the flesh are the exact opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. He warns us about these wrongs that the sinful nature promotes: “being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, worshiping gods [other than the one and only God – my note], doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these”. (quoted from the New Century Version)

The Perfect Peace Of God

Perfect peace not only comes from God but this kind of peace is with God. In our natural human sinful state, we would be at odds with God. But He had a plan for accomplishing peace, a plan that He put in motion at Creation and brought to fruition in our Lord Jesus Christ. His plan and Christ’s obedience demonstrate just how very much God wanted us! He wanted us to be His, to live at peace with Him rather than living with His face against us because of our depravity. 

Christ’s work on the cross brought us into peace with the Father. You see, Jesus did for us what the world was and is always unable to do. He overcame the problem of sin that separated us from the Father and made us acceptable in God’s sight, ultimately bringing us that peace that passes all understanding – perfect peace with the God of peace.  

 Ephesians 2 describes the joining together of God’s chosen people with the rest of the unchosen world – called the Gentiles in the Bible (also referred to as heathens, nations, and idolaters). Paul says, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” 

Since the Gentiles have been grafted into the branch, or adopted by God, all people everywhere have the same chance now – believe or die an eternal death. We do not create our own peace, but Christ Jesus IS our peace. 

The peace that we so crave, we have already been offered in Him, as a free gift from God. Peace. The Good News of peace, spiritual peace, the peace of God, eternal peace. Such peace cannot be obtained in any way but through our Lord Jesus Christ, the giver of peace. 

Bearing Peace – The Fruit Of The Spirit 

As one of the nine parts that make up the fruit of the Spirit, peace may be the most sought-after and the most unattainable by worldly measures. It’s nearly impossible to fake peace. We either have it or we don’t. 

We will all go through times of questioning and hardship. It is in these times that we crave peace, search for peace, and pray for peace. 

Here are 12 Bible verses focusing on the concept of peace that will help to define and lead us toward the Spirit’s fruit of peace:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1
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
Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 
1 Peter 3:11
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2
FREE The Path To Peace Bible Reading Plan

As we go through life, we will be faced with trials, uncertainties, and times when peace eludes us, Yet, the Bible assures us that true peace is found in Christ alone. It’s a peace that surpasses human understanding, guards our hearts, and offers peace of mind even in the most tumultuous times. 

By allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, we can experience this peace that isn’t dependent on our circumstances but is rooted in our right relationship with Jesus.

Let’s make it a daily practice to seek this Biblical peace through prayer, Bible study, meditation on God’s Word, and trusting in God’s promises. Remember, the fruit of the Spirit is a gift of grace that grows within us as we remain connected to the vine—Christ Jesus. 

May we all let His peace rule in our hearts, guiding our actions and relationships, and reflecting His love to those around us. Through Him, we can find the calm and assurance we need to face each day, knowing that His peace is always with us.

A few thoughtful questions to help apply these principles in life:

  • Reflect on a recent situation where you felt anxious or troubled. How might trusting in God’s promises have brought you peace in that moment?
  • In what ways can you cultivate a deeper connection with Jesus to allow the fruit of the Spirit, including peace, to grow in your life?
  • Consider a time when you experienced God’s peace in a difficult situation. How did that impact your faith and trust in Him?
  • How can you incorporate more prayer and meditation on God’s Word into your daily routine to help maintain a sense of peace?
  • What steps can you take this week to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, guiding your actions and decisions?

Remember: Look to the Lord when you need peace because Jesus doesn’t just give us peace – He IS our peace!

Other articles in this Fruit Of The Spirit series:

What Does Bearing Good Fruit Mean In the Bible?

Fulfilling God’s Law Of Love In the Bible

Bible Verses On Living With The Joy Of The Lord

What the Bible Says About Peace

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