The Great Gun Debate And God's Word?

The following is written by contributing author, Matthew Richard, and is taken from the new book, Words of Strength and Promise: Devotions for Youth (CPH)


A hot topic in America is guns. Everyone seems to have an opinion about them. 

Considering this, I have felt pressure as a pastor to weigh in on the great gun debate. Now, while I am sure I could offer some neat insights, I believe it is more important for the church and pastors to speak to the debate from God’s Word. 

But does God’s Word have anything to say about AR-15s or 9mm handguns? The Bible does not mention modern guns of course, but it has a message that needs to be heard – a message that is being overlooked. 

What is that message? It is not a message similar to the Second Amendment or proposed gun legislation, instead it is a message about what is behind gun violence in America. It is a message that speaks to the human condition – the human heart. 

You see, a gun operated by a soldier can protect a person from evil, or a gun operated by a terrorist can end the gift of life. We see this with other things too. For example, money can bless a family in purchasing Christmas gifts or it can desecrate a family through foolishness at a casino. Prescription drugs can heal an ailment, or they can abuse the body. A knife in the hands of a surgeon can remove a cancerous tumor or, in the hands of an abortionist, can destroy precious babies in the womb. Sex can be a blessed union of a husband and wife that procreates children, or it can be a rapist’s violation that ruins a person’s innocence. That which is meant for good can also be used for evil. 

Now the variable in all these circumstances is not the various items mentioned above (guns, money, drugs, etc.); it is the human heart. In other words, out of the same heart comes praise and cursing, love and hate, good and evil. What this means is that evil is not present in knives, prescription drugs, sex, guns, and so forth. Rather, evil comes from within, from the human heart. (See Mark 7:21.) 

So God’s Word speaks to our society, but not about legislation. It goes much further by showing that the human condition is so lost, so evil that only a radical confrontation of the sinful heart is sufficient. This means that death must happen—death to the sinful nature in Christ-crucified. 

It is not enough to simply limit or remove items that provide this nature of destruction with ways to destroy. This could only have surface results, a mere managing of sinful outbursts. Rather, the root of the problem is much, much deeper, and it needs to be dug out. It is only through the perpetual death of the sinful nature – returning to Baptism in repentance and faith, that there is any hope for reasonable peace, love, and service amongst mankind. This is much bigger than a gun issue; it is a sin issue. 

And so, as the debate over guns continues in our society, steadfast churches armed with God’s Word will continue to point out the problem of the sinful heart – the root of all sin. And the Church will continue to call all people to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

To order Words of Strength and Promise: Devotions for Youth, go to Concordia Publishing House.

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