When you think of peace, things come to mind such as separating fights, solving quarrels, peace treaties etc. Peace on a larger scope generally refers to the absence of war.
However in the Bible, though peace may refer to that, it adds something more. Peace is more than just the absence of war or conflict. It is also a presence of something better.
What Does Peace Mean?
The Hebrew word for peace in the Old testament is shalom. In the New Testament, the Greek word used for peace is eirene.
Peace Means Whole
The most basic meaning for Peace (shalom) is whole.
An example of this can be seen in the Book of Joshua. Joshua built an altar to God using the specifications God gave him. One of which was to use stones that were whole.
“An altar of whole (shalom) stones…”
This meant that the stone was to have no cracks; and no part it was to be chipped off in anyway.
A Shalom stone can also refer to a complete stone wall that has no gaps or missing parts within. It is whole in every way.
Shalom Means Completeness
Shalom also refers to a complete set with lots of complex pieces. Like a family or a completed puzzle. In this case, it generally means that nothing is missing – it is complete
An example can be found in the Book of Job, within Eliphaz’s speech. He says this:
“And you will be certain that your tent is in peace (shalom), after looking over your property and seeing that nothing is gone (missing).”
Shalom doesn’t just mean completeness or wholeness. It can be used as a verb. The verb form is the word Shalam which literally means to bring shalom. It refers to making something complete or whole.
An example can be found in the Book of 1 Kings, when Solomon finished (shalam) the temple (1 Kings 9:25)
Peace Means Well Being
Shalom can also refer to a person’s well being, whether in health, sanity, financially etc.
An example can be found in the Bible, when David was sent to visit his brothers who were soldiers at the battlefield.
“David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked (
sha’al) his brothers how they were (shalom).”
1 Samuel 17:22
The actual translation was that He asked his brothers, “shalom?” He asked of their well being.
Peace Means to Restore
The verb form of the word shalom also means to restore or make things right.
In the old Testament, according to the laws given to Moses, if a thief is caught, he must to make things right by making a double of the payment of the goods stolen.
“He shall restore (Shalam) double.”
Shalom Means to Reconcile
This goes for human relationships. To bring shalom to a broken relationship means to reconcile and heal that broken relationship.
It is not just with relationships between a man and woman or family members. When rival kingdoms make shalom, they go beyond not fighting each other. They begin to work together.
The Bible says that when a man’s ways pleases God, He makes the man’s enemies make peace with him (Proverbs 16:7). Thus God reconciles the man and his enemies.
Peace of The World
The world is full complex relationships. Though it was made beautiful, it ended up being broken.
Humans sought to put themselves first to get what they want irrespective of the needs of others and this resulted in chaos.
Relationships are being broken, nations start wars between themselves, and people parade crime in cities.
From the Bible’s perspective, creation itself is broken and not working in harmony because of these humans. People who failed their calling as God’s image bearers to rule the earth according to God’s ways of love and life. Their actions from the very beginning in Genesis broke their relationship with the Creator.
(Check out our post on: What is the Law?)
The Prince of Shalom
Ancient prophecies in the Book of Isaiah revealed the Creator’s plan to make things right with His creation.
The Book of Isaiah spoke of a long-awaited Prince of Shalom (Peace) whose kingdom would make all creation whole again by bringing a peace that would never end (Isaiah 9:5-6). He will right all wrongs and heal all that was broken.
And he arrived in the person of who? Jesus.
Jesus the Bringer of Peace
In the New Testament, Jesus’ birth was announced by the angels. They announced that Peace (eirene – Greek) has finally arrived. The long awaited Peace has arrived on the earth for the benefit of all of humanity (Luke 2:14).
He came to offer His peace to others. An example was when he told his disciples:
“My Peace I give to You all…”
As promised in the Scriptures, the apostles noted that Jesus made peace between humanity and God (Romans 5:1). This in turn brought peace to all of creation.
Jesus did that when he died and resurrected. He brought to wholeness the broken relationship between humans and their Creator. He restored and made whole the brokenness in all of creation through this act.
Jesus Our Peace
This is why the apostle Paul can gladly say that Jesus is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14-15). He was the complete human, that we were made to be but failed (that’s what sin basically means).
This Jesus has now made his life available to all who believe and follow him to
Paul noted that as His followers — all who have believed and received his life — are called as ambassadors with the ministry of reconciliation (1 Corinthians 5:18).
We have been called to be people of peace (reconciliation). Our call is to participate in the life and assignment of Jesus who reconciled all things in Heaven and on Earth into himself, making PEACE through his death and resurrection (
True peace is not just the absence of conflict. It means taking what is broken, and restoring it. Not just with relationships, but also with our bodies that can be broken with sickness (think long and hard about this one!). This is what we have been called to participate in.
Are You Ready?
Please don’t forget to share this with that person you believe would benefit from it. Thanks in advance.