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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Peace, Spiritual

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Sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence.

Old Testament The concept of spiritual peace is most often represented by the Hebrew root slm and its derivatives, the most familiar being by the noun shalom . Its basic meaning is “wholeness” or “well-being.” (See, for example, Genesis 28:20-22; Judges 6:23; Judges 18:6; 1 Kings 2:33 .) The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Old Testament each bear testimony that such peace is the gift of God, for God alone can give peace in all its fullness (Leviticus 26:6; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 1 Chronicles 22:9; 1 Kings 2:33; Isaiah 26:12; Isaiah 52:7; Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 37:26; Zechariah 6:13; Malachi 2:5-6; Job 22:21; Job 25:2; Psalm 4:8; Psalm 29:11; Psalm 37:37; Psalm 85:8; Psalm 122:6-8; Psalm 147:14; Proverbs 3:17 ). Spiritual peace may be equated with salvation (Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15 ). Its absence may be equated with judgment (Jeremiah 12:12; Jeremiah 14:19; Jeremiah 16:5; Jeremiah 25:37; Lamentations 3:17; Ezekiel 7:15 ). It is available to all who trust in God (Isaiah 26:3 ) and love His law (Psalm 119:165 —note that in Psalm 119:166-168 this love is clearly understood to mean obedience!) This peace is clearly identified with a righteous life apart from which no one is able to find true peace ( Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 48:22; Isaiah 57:1-2 ). Thus peace and righteousness are often linked in the Old Testament (Psalm 72:7; Psalm 85:10; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 60:17 ), as are peace and justice (Isaiah 59:8 ). To be at peace is to be upright (Malachi 2:6 ), to be faithful (2 Samuel 20:19 ), to be an upholder of the truth (Esther 9:30; Zechariah 8:19 ), and to practice justice (Isaiah 59:8; Zechariah 8:16 ). Throughout the Old Testament spiritual peace is realized in relationship. It is realized when people are rightly related to each other and to God.

New Testament The Greek word eirene corresponds to the Hebrew shalom expressing the idea of peace, well-being, restoration, reconciliation with God, and salvation in the fullest sense. God is “the God of peace” ( Romans 15:33; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20 ). The Gospel is “the good news of peace” (Ephesians 6:15; Acts 10:36 ) because it announces the reconciliation of believers to God and to one another (Ephesians 2:12-18 ). God has made this peace a reality in Jesus Christ, who is “our peace.” We are justified through Him (Romans 5:1 ), reconciled through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20 ), and made one in Him (Ephesians 2:14 ). In Him we discover that ultimate peace which only God can give (John 14:27 ). This peace is experienced as an inner spiritual peace by the individual believer (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15; Romans 15:13 ). It is associated with receptiveness to God's salvation (Matthew 10:13 ), freedom from distress and fear (John 14:27; John 16:33 ), security (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 ), mercy (Galatians 6:16; 1 Timothy 1:2 ), joy (Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13 ), grace (Philippians 1:2; Revelation 1:4 ), love (2 Corinthians 13:11; Jude 1:2 ), life (Romans 8:6 ), and righteousness (Romans 14:17; Hebrews 12:11; James 3:18 ). Such peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 ) that forms part of the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11 ,Ephesians 6:11,6:13 ), enabling the Christian to withstand the attacks of the forces of evil. Thus, the New Testament gives more attention to the understanding of spiritual peace as an inner experience of the individual believer than does the Old Testament. In both the Old and the New Testament, spiritual peace is realized in being rightly related—rightly related to God and rightly related to one another.

Hulitt Gloer

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Peace, Spiritual'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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