Bible Study Brief 3: Resistance to Evil

These Bible Study Briefs are deliberately informal. They are structured so that they can be considered in a short twenty-minute session or become the basis for an hour-long discussion.

The studies are intended to provide you with accessible, usable, and brief Bible studies on topics that touch on the peculiar needs, problems, and dilemmas that confront Christians in the legal profession.

No formal leader is required. After reading the brief scriptural passage (perhaps with a couple of different translations available in the group to add nuances of meaning), use the questions as prods for discussion. Please add your own questions, because the concerns and interests of each study group are different.

Some discussion "Do's":

  1. Do resist the temptation to make Bible study a mere intellectual inquiry or to parade your finely tuned analytical skills.
  2. Do provoke each other into finding concrete ways to apply and incorporate scriptural insights into your lives.
  3. Do commit yourselves to encouraging each other to stick to these commitments through friendship and prayer.

We're grateful to the Christian Legal Society for sharing these Bible Study Briefs with us.


Some of the most difficult passages in the Bible are not those that are hard to interpret but those where Jesus’ meaning seems pretty clear. “Turn the other cheek” appears not to have been a mere aspirational proverb, but part of the more general command not to react against one who does evil to you. Examine the implications of Jesus’ teaching for a profession of rights, remedies, reparations, and recrimination.


Matthew 5:38-48

  1. Does Jesus mean these commands to be taken literally or is he proposing an impossible ethic just to show us how hopeless it is to be “righteous” by conduct? Which is the harder reading of the text?
  2. Verse 40 refers to a lawsuit (compare Luke 6:29-30). If someone sues you unjustly, what is the appropriate Christian response? How vigorous can a Christian be in insisting on his or her “rights”?
  3. What about the rights of others? How does this passage square with the Old Testament prophets’ denunciation of injustice to the poor, the widowed, and the oppressed? Does it square?
  4. Consider re-examining your use of the word “rights: in questions 2 and 3 above. Consider the implications for a Christian view of what “justice” is in verses 40-41, 44, 45b, and 48.
  5. When could Christian lawyers give this passage as “legal” advice to a client? Should they? Must they? Does the Code of Professional Responsibility place any limits on this? (If so, should this affect any of your other answers?)
  6. Compare Jesus’ words with those of Paul in Romans 12:17-21. Is Paul saying that love is the “best revenge”? Is this sound legal advice?

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