But to bring a sword

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"I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" is one of Jesus' most controversial statements[1] because its meaning has many interpretations. The immediate context is the entire verse of Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."[2]


At the time of the Bible the sword was a primary tool of war, as opposed to the modern day when swords are rare. A major question is the nature of the sword — whether it is a literal sword or a figurative one (a metaphor). Jesus's phrase "live by the sword, die by the sword" criticizes the use of violence and suggests that it will result in oneself facing violence. It is possible that the swords in these two passages refer to different things — in "live by the sword" to violence and in "but to bring a sword" to some other usage of the sword.


One main interpretation of this statement is that "sword" means "division". It indicates that following Jesus may not bring peace to a family, but may "split" - the sword plays as a metaphor in this regard. In other words, those who believe in Jesus will be divided or separated from those who don't. Children, or the new generation who believe in Christ, would be set against parents and they would be enemies within their own household.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cim, David. "The sword motif in Matthew 10:34". Theological Studies; Vol 56, No 1 (2000), 84-104. School of Theology, Australian Catholic University. doi:10.4102/hts.v56i1.1698. 
  2. ^ Charles Mathewes. Understanding Religious Ethics. p. 186. 
  3. ^ http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/matthew_10_34.htm

External links[edit]

But to bring a sword
Preceded by
John the Baptist Beheaded
Ministry of John the Baptist
New Testament
Succeeded by
Feeding the Multitudes
Miracles of Jesus