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Holman Bible Dictionary
Matthew 11:12 is one of the most difficult texts in the New Testament. Does the kingdom of heaven suffer violence (KJV, NAS, REB, NRSV), or does the kingdom come “forcefully” (NIV)? The violence which John the Baptist ( Matthew 14:3-10 ) and believers (Matthew 5:10-11; Matthew 10:17; Matthew 23:34 ) suffer argues for the former. Other “violent” images of the kingdom's coming (Matthew 10:34-36; Luke 14:26-27 ) support the latter. Likewise, do violent men lay siege to the kingdom, or do “forceful men lay hold of it” (NIV)? Though the NIV interpretation fits well with Luke's parallel (Luke 16:16 ), it appears too much like an effort to tone down the real harshness of Matthew's language. Candidates for church leadership should be nonviolent persons (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7 ).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Violence'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/v/violence.html. 1991.