Potentially helpful texts

I have tried to emphasize in the O.T. and N.T. overview sections that the central themes of the biblical text are helpful for people who have been abused. It is also true that there are some specific texts that many people have found to be helpful. Here are just a few:


Texts emphasizing that God is not like abusive parents

Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
Psalm 27:10

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
Isaiah 49:15-16


Feminine Images of God in the Bible

like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.
Deuteronomy 32:11

You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deuteronomy 32:18

For a long time I have kept silent,
I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
I cry out, I gasp and pant.
Isaiah 42:14

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
Isaiah 49:15

“Do I bring to the moment of birth
and not give delivery?” says the LORD.
“Do I close up the womb
when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.
For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
For this is what the LORD says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 66:9-13

Like a bear robbed of her cubs,
I will attack them and rip them open.
Like a lion I will devour them;
a wild animal will tear them apart.
Hosea 13:8

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:8-10


The Old Testament On Domestic Violence

“If a man hits a manservant or a maidservant in the eye and destroys it, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye. And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.”
(Exodus 21:26-27)

“‘I hate a man’s covering his wife with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty”
Malachi 2:16. NIV Alternate translation.

“Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. . . Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
Isaiah 58:4,6

God’s Intentions Towards the Abused

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”
Psalm 10:17-18

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17


Jesus On The Abuse of Children

“In that hour, the disciples came to Jesus saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unlesss you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his nectk and to be drowned in the depths of the sea'”
Matthew 18:1-6

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”
Mark 9:42


God’s People to Defend the Oppressed

[The rightous king] “will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. . . He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.”
Psalm 72:4,14

“‘Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 22:15-16.

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:30-37


Jesus on Verbal Abuse

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] 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. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Matthew 5:21-22

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:34-37

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”
Matthew 15:18-20


Paul on Sexual Abuse

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:9-14


Paul on Verbal Abuse as Sin

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:10-18


The Epistles on Verbal Abuse

“We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. . . Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. . . Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”
James 3: 2-3, 5-6, 10

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen
Ephesians 4:29


Batterers in Church Leadership

“Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to much wine, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”
1 Timothy 3: 2-3

“Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to much wine, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.”
Titus 1:7


On What Violence Does to the Batterer

“The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”
Psalm 7:16

“The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.”
Proverbs 21:7


On Peace Making

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Psalm 34:14

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
Hebrews 12:14

“Stand firm then,. . .with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
Ephesians 6:15

“Live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11


God’s Responsiveness to those who are abused

from violent men you rescued me
2 Samuel 22:49, Psalms 18:48

You hear, O LORD , the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Psalm 10:17-18

The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence
his soul hates.
Psalm 11:5


The Obligation of God’s People to Deliver the Opprressed

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
He will [a] judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
The mountains will bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
He will defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
he will crush the oppressor.
Psalm 72:1-4

This is what the LORD says:
Do what is just and right.
Rescue from the hand of his oppressor
the one who has been robbed.
Do no wrong or violence to the alien,
the fatherless or the widow,
and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Jeremiah 22:3

Does it make you a king
to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.
He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the LORD .
Jeremiah 22:15-16


Paul on Hope for Abusers

“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”
1 Corinthians 6:10-11


On The Kind of Authority that Fits Christian Relationships

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
Matthew 20:25

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:21


On the Differences Between Males and Females

“There is neither. . . male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28

See also [pdf] Some Biblical Thoughts on Physical, Sexual, and Verbal Abuse by Catherine Kroeger

And also the daily mediation on a biblical text for people in recovery at the National Association for Christian Recovery.