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Verses

Doesn’t the Bible teach against capital punishment when it says, “whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also”?

Hello O,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

In Matthew 5:39, Jesus is not addressing capital punishment but is speaking against seeking revenge for personal wrongs “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”

Concerning personal issues, the Christian should not meet violence with violence. He should “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21) and “heap coals of fire” upon the head of one who wrongs him (Prov. 25:21, 22). The believer should not fight others. He will accept pain rather than cause it.

Like Jesus, Paul also taught the same principle, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19). And in Romans 12, Paul advised the believers to exercise self-control and caution towards the hostility of others. By not repaying evil for evil, Christians show their love for their fellow human beings. In these passages, Paul was not talking about capital punishment rather, he was taking about personal revenge.

Then, Paul in Romans 13, shows how God takes vengeance. The Lord uses the civil government to administer capital punishment as one of the means for justice to protect its own citizens: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:1-4).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team