The Sanctity of Human Life

Hello, World!

Exodus 20:13

Pastor Doug Helms

  1. What is the biblical basis for the doctrine of the sanctity of human life? Name some places where it is taught in the Bible.

  2. Why is human life different in God’s eyes from animal life? Is this distinction clearly appreciated in the unbelieving world? Why or why not?

  3. Is refraining from murder the total fulfillment of the sixth commandment? Why or why not?

  4. Why is the sixth commandment such a rich source for what is means to believe in the sanctity of human life?

  5. What are some of the duties attached to the sixth commandment?

  6. What are some ways Christians can demonstrate a pro-life ethic?


Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves (n) and others (o) by resisting all thoughts and purposes, (p) subduing all passions, (q) and avoiding all occasions, (r) temptations, (s) and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; (t) by just defense thereof against violence, (u) patient bearing of the hand of God, (w) quietness of mind, (x) cheerfulness of spirit; (y) a sober use of meat, (z) drink, (a) physic, (b) sleep, (c) labor, (d) and recreations; (e) by charitable thoughts, (f) love, (g) compassion, (h) meekness, gentleness, kindness; (i) peaceable, (k) mild, and courteous speeches and behavior; (l) forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; (m) comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent. (n)´

~ The Westminster Larger Catechism

Scripture Proofs:

n. Eph. 5:28–29. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

o. 1 Kings 18:4. For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.

p. Jer. 26:15–16. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God. See Acts 23:12, 16–17, 21, 27.

q. Eph. 4:26–27. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.

r. 2 Sam. 2:22–23. And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother? Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. Deut. 22:8. When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

s. Matt. 4:6–7. And [the devil] saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Prov. 1:10–11, 15–16. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause.… My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

t. Gen. 37:21–22. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. See 1 Sam. 24:12; 26:9–11.

u. Ps. 82:4. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. Prov. 24:11–12. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? See 1 Sam. 14:45; Jer. 38:7–13.

w. James 5:10–11. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. Heb. 12:9. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? See 2 Sam. 16:10–12.

x. 1 Thess. 4:11. … and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. 1 Pet. 3:3–4. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Ps. 37:8, 11. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.… But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

y. Prov. 17:22. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

z. Prov. 23:20. Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh. Prov. 25:16, 27. Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.… It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

a. 1 Tim. 5:23. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

b. Isa. 38:21. For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.

c. Ps. 127:2. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

d. 2 Thess. 3:12. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. See Eccl. 5:12.

e. Eccl. 3:4, 11. … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance … He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Mark 6:31. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

f. 1 Sam. 19:4–5. And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: for he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause? See 1 Sam. 22:13–14.

g. Rom. 13:10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

h. Luke 10:33–34. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

i. Col. 3:12–13. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

k. James 3:17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

l. 1 Pet. 3:8–11. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 1 Cor. 4:12–13. And [we] labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. See Prov. 15:1; Judg. 8:1–3.

m. Matt. 5:24. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Eph. 4:2, 32. … with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love … And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Rom. 12:17, 20–21. Recompense to no man evil for evil.… Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

n. 1 Thess. 5:14. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. Matt. 25:35–36. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Prov. 31:8–9. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. See Job 31:19–20; Isa. 58:7.