DEFINITIONTo murder is to take the life of another with willful malice and forethought.


    Murder is sin.  One of the ten commandments given by God was, “You shall not murder”  (Exodus 20:13).  Murder is sin, but it is not the unpardonable sin.  You can be forgiven by God.

    Murder begins in the heart.  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”  (Matthew 15:19).  Murder is a work of the flesh–the old sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21).

    Murder is not the same as self-defense or an accidental killing.  Self-defense is permitted by the laws of most governments.  People who killed someone accidentally in Bible times were protected from penalties.

    Abortion of an unborn child is murder.  It is the termination of the life of a human being.  An unborn child is a living soul from the moment of conception (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-16).   (See the topic of “Abortion” in this database.)

    Murder affects more than the person who was killed.  The loss of a life is most tragic, of course, but the friends and family of the one murdered and the one doing the killing are also tragically affected by this sinful act.

    The New Testament definition of murder was expanded to include anyone who hates another person:   John wrote:  “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him”  (1 John 3:15).  You may not have actually murdered someone physically, but you are considered a murderer if you hate someone.  The New Testament also makes it clear that if you offend in one sin, you are guilty of all (James 2:10-11).


    Ask God for forgiveness.  Murder is sin and, as with all sin, you must confess it to God and ask forgiveness.  If you have not physically harmed someone but you hate them, you should seek forgiveness for your hatred which, in the New Testament, is equated with murder.  These things are works of the flesh–the old sinful nature–and if you continue in them without seeking forgiveness, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

    Ask friends and family for forgiveness.  Ask forgiveness of the friends and family of the one you killed.  Ask forgiveness of your own friends and family for the tragic circumstances which you put them through.

    Make restitution.  You will most likely be required to make legal restitution by serving time in prison and you may also make restitution by providing financially for the victim’s family.

    Forgive yourself.  Do not live under the shadow of shame.  Although murder is a terrible crime, your sin is forgiven and Jesus bore both your sin and the shame of it on the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

    If you are a friend or family member of a murder victim, you must forgive the one who murdered your loved one.  The biblical concept of forgiveness is not just for the minor offences in life, but also for the major tragedies that affect our lives.



    You shall not murder.  (Exodus 20:13)

    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body (Psalm 139:13-16)

    This is what the Lord says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb. (Isaiah 44:2)

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5)

    You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment…(Matthew 5:21-22)

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’   But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.  You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:38-48)

    For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  (Matthew 15:19)

    Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder…”  (Matthew 19:18)

    They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. (Romans 1:29)

    Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”   Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:19-21)

    The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Romans 13:9)

    The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:19-21)

    For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. (James 2:10-11)

    You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  (James 4:2-3)

    If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  (1 Peter 4:15)

    Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.  (1 John 3:15)

    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.  (Revelation 21:8)

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