29 Jan What Does the Bible Say About Police Officers?
Understanding What the Bible Says About Police Officers
Perhaps one of the biggest topics of debate in today’s political and social environment is that of law enforcement. While there are certainly problems with the way our law enforcement system works in America, we are to draw our beliefs from Scripture, not from popular thought. As Christians, we must seek to develop a Biblical understanding of how to view and respond to police officers in our current society.
What does the Bible say about police officers? While the Bible does not directly address the topic of police officers as we know them today, we can learn countless applicable lessons. Throughout the Bible, we learn that God establishes laws and guidelines for their enforcement. We also know that God calls His people to value justice and be subject to authority. These lessons apply to the way we view our law enforcement system.
With so many emotionally-charged debates and ideologies surrounding law enforcement in America, it can be hard to define how we should respond to those in roles of authority. In this post, we will take a look at what the Bible says regarding law enforcement. Keep reading to learn more about how to view police officers through the lens of Scripture.
Establishing a Biblical View of Law Enforcement
As society continues to advance, it may seem as if the Bible does not have much to say on hot topic items of our times. However, this could not be further from the truth. While the Bible does not specifically address the topic of police officers, we can learn several valuable lessons about law enforcement.
Christians in America must continue to stand firm against popular thought and emotion, choosing instead to establish a Biblical view on topics such as law enforcement.
God Established Laws & Guidelines for Enforcement
As far back as the book of Genesis, God began to give His people laws. The Ten Commandments, part of the Mosaic Law, were given to the nation of Israel to define sin, establish boundaries, and set guidelines for how those laws would be enforced.
A law without a penalty for those who break the law is meaningless. While the people of Israel did not have police officers as we know them today, they did have individuals who were appointed to promote justice in their society.
Ezekiel 44:24 says, “In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy.”
The judges were in a position of enforcing justice and ensuring that the laws and statutes that God has laid out in the Mosaic Law were followed.
Ezekiel 33:6 reads as follows, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
The watchmen, along with the judges, of Israel were responsible for protecting the nation. In this way, they were serving as an early form of law enforcement. Read more about what the Bible says about obeying the law here.
God Calls His People to Value Justice
Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” One of the key attributes of God’s character is justice. God is a God of Justice and calls His people to value and uphold justice.
Deuteronomy 16:20, “Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” In order to follow justice as we are so clearly called to do in Scripture, we must have a form of law enforcement in place.
While our ultimate authority and determinant of justice is God, He has given man the responsibility of enforcing the law since the very beginning. We find what is perhaps the clearest call to upholding justice in Psalm 82:3-4.
This well-known verse reads as follows, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” At its very core, this is the call of our justice system and in turn, our police officers.
You can learn more about what the Bible says about justice here.
God Commands Christians to Be Subject to Authority
As Christians, we are commanded to subject ourselves to government authorities. We are to do so with the understanding that they have been hand-selected by God. Romans 13 clearly outlines this calling while providing us with important insight regarding the purpose of law enforcement.
Romans 13:3-4 reads, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
In our current society, our law enforcement and police officers are established as an extension of government authorities to enforce justice. As Christians, we should view police officers as God’s servants who are enforcing justice on our behalf. Without this important aspect of our society, laws would be essentially meaningless as there would be no way to uphold them.
How to Respond When Police Officers Act Unfairly or Unjustly
Unfortunately, not all police officers seem to act justly and act in the interest of the powerless. There are far too many instances of police officers and law enforcement behaving in a way that does not uphold their calling. It is impossible to overlook these instances as they have created great disruption in our society.
However, we must remember that all men are sinful and in need of a Savior. Whether due to sinful bias or a simple mistake, our law enforcement is bound to fail in the eyes of the public. It is important to note that these men and women have one of the most stressful jobs. Unless you have served in law enforcement, it is nearly impossible to imagine the challenges they face daily when they arrive at work.
As Christians, we understand the need for grace. We are called to extend this grace to everyone around us while promoting and pursuing justice. We are certainly called to support and encourage our police force. However, we must also work to ensure justice for all people, regardless of race, gender, or other distinctions.
Additionally, we must remember and respect the thousands of police officers who uphold justice and act nobly throughout their careers in law enforcement. There are certainly too many bad examples that have been made public. However, there are even more instances of heroic men and women risking their lives to defend justice in our society.
Encouraging Bible Verses for Police Officers
Especially in today’s social and political society, we must encourage police officers and those in law enforcement. As Christians, this is one of the best ways to extend grace and the love of God to those who work to defend justice and liberty in our country.
Here are a few encouraging Bible verses for police officers in your life:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
“…learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
If you have a police officer in your life, take some time to encourage them today with one of these verses and thank them for the way they protect and preserve justice in our nation.
As Christians in our current society, it can be challenging to stand firm to our beliefs amidst the political and social unrest. There is much debate surrounding police officers and the law enforcement system. However, we must pursue a Biblical point of view on the topic.
We know that God is a God of justice, He calls us to pursue and promote justice. We have a clear calling to respect the authorities that are placed above us by God Himself. One example of this type of authority is our law enforcement. It may be discouraging to hear of the shortcomings of various police officers. However, we must remember that these examples represent only a fraction of the brave men and women who promote justice in our society.
There are many Christians who have answered the call to serve our country as law enforcement officials and police officers. We must go out of our way to encourage and support these men and women as they perform a challenging job.
Police officers and law enforcement have been established as an important part of our society. They act as God’s servants, protecting our communities and promoting equality, liberty, and justice for all.