A Biblical Response to Domestic Violence

Happy Columbus Day,

This past weekend I attended my 40th High School reunion. I can hardly believe I am this old to have graduated 40 years ago. I loved seeing everyone again, finding old friends, making new ones. We danced the night away but I forgot I’m not 18 anymore. I strained my ankle trying to twist and shout on high heels and the next day my ankle was swollen and my knees clearly reminded me that I am not a teenager anymore! The weather couldn’t have been lovelier, summer heat, fall foliage. Breathtaking.

I hope I get to meet many of you on Saturday morning, October 16th where I’ll be speaking on The Emotionally Destructive Relationship at Calvary Temple in Allentown. It’s not too late to sign up. If you’d like to register call 610 866-5715 or go to www.truthfulwomen.org

Good relationships are so crucial for our emotional and mental health. An old Jewish proverb wisely states, “Sticks in a bundle are not easily broken, sticks alone can be broken by a child.” We all need loving connection, but for many individuals instead of love and safety, they experience abuse.

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. This week I’m going to repeat a blog I did last year on A Biblical Response to Domestic Violence. We need to be more proactive on this devastating issue. Jesus always cared for the oppressed and abused. One way you can be an advocate for the victims of Domestic Violence is forward this blog to your pastor and/or print it and share it with church leaders.

A Biblical Response to Domestic Violence

Every week I receive frantic calls and e-mails from Christian women who feel scared, trapped, hopeless, and helpless because their most intimate relationship is abusive; verbally, physically, sexually or all three.

Church leaders often lack the skills necessary to address the problem in a wise and competent manner. So how do we look at domestic violence biblically?

1. It is always sin. Malachi 2:16-17; Psalm 11:5; Colossians 3:19 Abusive speech is never an acceptable way to communicate (Colossians 3:8).

2. Violence is never an appropriate response to being provoked. People provoke us all the time but we are still responsible for our response (Ephesians 4:26; Luke 6:45).

3. Biblical headship does not grant a husband unlimited power over his wife, the right to remove her choices from her, or the right to have his own way all the time (Mark 10:42-45; Ephesians 5:1,2; Eph. 6:21-29).

4. God's purpose is to deliver the abused. (Psalm 5,7,10, 140, Acts 14:5)

So how does a Christian respond? The apostle Paul encountered some spiritually abusive leaders in 2 Corinthians and he tells us not to put up with it (2 Cor. 11:20). He also encourages us in Romans 12:21 to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.

Below are some biblical guidelines that will help you respond to the evil of domestic violence with good toward the victim and perpetrator.

1. It is good to protect yourself from violent people. (Proverbs 27:12; Prov. 11:9) David fled King Saul when he was violent toward him. The angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee with Egypt with Jesus because Herod was trying to kill him. Paul escaped from those who sought to stone him.

2. It is good to expose the abuser. (Eph 5:11) Bringing the deeds of darkness into the light is the only way to get help for both the victim and the abuser.

3. It is good to speak the truth in love (Matthew 18:15-17) When someone grievously sins against us and will not listen, it is good to bring the matter before the church for additional support and authority.

4. It is good to allow the violent person to experience the consequences of his/her sinful behavior. One of life's greatest teachers is consequences. God says what we sow, we reap (Gal. 6:7) A person uses violence at home because he gets away with it. Don't let that happen. (Prov. 19:19). God has put civil authorities in place to protect victims of abuse. The apostle Paul appealed to the Roman government when he was being mistreated (Acts 22:24-29). We should do likewise.

Churches can do much to combat domestic violence. They can:

1. Educate teens on healthy dating relationships

2. Teach the proper relationship between husbands and wives and the misuse of authority.

3. Create a healing environment in the church.

4. Have a zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.

5. Become familiar with community resources to help women and families in crisis.


  1. Tiffany on August 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for this…i was recently attacked by my ex husband and im still so on edge with my nerves and emotions…its causing me to want to drink, fornicate, and smoke cigarettes as a outlet or a form of releasing this stress. And tension

    • Zee on September 3, 2016 at 5:39 am

      Well Tiffany…u don’t have to go down another destructive pathway…I am so sorry you have had to endure the pain and hurt…May God’s love shower you all the days of your life…You Matter!!!!

  2. Amanda on September 9, 2016 at 6:24 am

    If I say the least wrong thing to my husband, he beats me for hours. He is very aggressive toward me. I am so scared of him. We have been together for 11 years. He has always been mean and physically abusive but here lately, it’s almost everyday. I can not take it any longer. I am to scared to leave him. We have children together and he says he will take them I don’t know what to do….

    • Leslie Vernick on September 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Amanda, contact the domestic violence shelter in your area or call 1 800 799 SAFE to develop a safety plan to get out of there.


  4. Janie on September 14, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Im hurting so much because i never expected my husband to be so verbally and physically abusive when he gets really angry. He’s usually very calm and very patient but I guess over the yrs I provoked him. Just now i questioned him for the money he sent to his sibling as its more compare to what he usually gives for bdays. I asked nicely but he blew up as im trying to explain my side. We had cut back on myside of the family however he seemed to have increased on his side. He got really angry and shoved the money in my mouth and slap me on the head.He started packing up his things to leave but I tried to talk to him and stopped him from leaving. This is not the first time he has done this when he blows up over an issue he feels strongly about. I guess its my fault but somehow i never expected my usually joker and calm of a husband to hurt me like this. We have children so its hard to be in this situation.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Janie, no husband should treat his wife the way your husband did. You have every right to ask for clarification on the amount of money spent for relatives and for gifts. His actions were intimidating, confusing, and abusive. They were meant to communicate to you loud and clear, “NEVER challenge me again or something worse will happen.” You did not do anything wrong from what you report, you just asked a question. You are allowed. However, in your marriage and with your husband its sounds as if you are not safe.

      • Emily on December 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

        My husband and I have had problems with arguing over the 5 years and it got to where it was verbally abusive and both of us were not happy. Eventually I cheated but the hitting has happened maybe two or three times. However, he said he hit me because I wouldn’t let him see my phone and because I said I would call the cops. I feel like i have some part of fault in why he put his hands on me and he says he wants to work things out.

  5. Tammy on October 11, 2016 at 11:39 am

    My husband and I have been married for 8 years. In the first 2 years of marriage we got into a physical altercation that left me with 2 black eyes and a knot above my brow. About a year later, he pinned me between a bed and a wall. Then two days ago, we got into another altercation and I now have a darkened eye. His response was that he didnt punch me and is confused as to why my eye is discolored. This last time he had been drinking. I think it is also important to note that he has yet to aplogize amd one of the first things he said to me after I told him the police had been called, was “Well, there goes my job.” What am I to do with this? I am still on the fence as to how I should be reacting to all of this. There is so much more to say but I am there is not enough space to put it here. I am experiencing a whirlwind of emotions right now and have only resolved to remain quiet until the Lord guides my tongue and directs my path.

    • Pusey on June 7, 2021 at 11:16 pm


      I would like to describe my situation and I would like an answer with Biblical arguments, please.
      What decision should I make, that is right before God and fair for my children (one is an adult and the other is a teenager) and myself, in the case of a verbally and physically aggressive husband.
      I would like to mention that this started many years ago and left me with phyisical effects that went away in time (months).
      Please give me step-by-step advice because I do not know what I need to do and who to talk to.

      • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2021 at 9:34 am

        This is serious and you do need step by step help. I’d encourage you to contact your local domestic abuse shelter for specific help. My book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage can give you specific steps to think through your decision but God cares more about you and your children’s safety and sanity than he does about staying in an abusive marriage. That does not honor God to continue to enable your husband to sin against you and your children without consequences.

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