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The Meaning Of Shalom In The Bible And How To Practice It

Shalom meaning in the Bible, the origin of the old Hebrew word for peace, was used to refer to wholeness, completion, soundness, health, safety, and prosperity, along with the implication of permanence. Therefore, God alone is the standard for shalom or genuine peace. Shalom refers to an internal sense of peace within the individual and an external sense of harmony between two things, such as people or nations.

Starting with the premise that there is a Creator and that He has set a standard for us, we can define peace. As a result, it is necessary to acknowledge that God has chosen to reveal Himself to man through the Bible. The sole source of true peace is God.

What Does Shalom Mean In The Bible?

The state in the Garden of Eden[1] is the earliest instance of peace in the Bible. According to the Genesis account of creation, “Adam and Eve disobeyed, and the shalom of God was lost for them.” With God and everything He made, Adam and Eve lived in harmony.

Their requirements were met. They didn’t experience any pain, illness, or hunger. They were surrounded by beauty, so they could take it in and appreciate it. They had each other and, more crucially, a close relationship with their Creator, so they weren’t alone.

Adam and Eve were the first people to ever live in harmony. Only while they followed God’s instructions was there tranquility in the garden. Sadly, because they disobeyed, they no longer experienced God’s shalom.

Old Testament References To Peace

While through Adam and Eve, we observe that peace was lost, through Abraham, we follow the polar opposite. Then God commanded Abraham to take his only son Isaac to the Moriah location. He brought his son Isaac and two servants with him, telling them to sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains. He started towards the location God had instructed him about once he had cut enough wood for the burning offering (Genesis 22:2–3).

Most people appear unable to comprehend how somebody could even attempt to follow such directions, much less do so without feeling rage, worry, or despair. Abraham, however, followed God’s instructions.

He acknowledged God’s authority to demand Isaac’s life if He so desired. Abraham maintained his peace of mind even though his natural senses must have been telling him otherwise because of his confidence and dependence on the One who created him.

Achieving Peace

Because it doesn’t originate from us, true serenity transcends the circumstances and defects of our own individual lives. It is a gift from God. The prophet Isaiah declared, “You will keep him whose mind is solid because he believes in you in complete serenity. Put your complete trust in the Lord because He is the Everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:3–4). 

red flowers and grass and shalom meaning in the bible

What Kind Of Peace Does Shalom Describe?

According to the Bible, this peace is characterized by relationships being repaired and reconciled, people enjoying prosperity, justice, abundant thriving, and God and all creation existing in perfect harmony.

Because it speaks to what is most fundamental and inherent to all of humankind, regardless of differences in race, culture, and values, this idea has lasting power and a universal voice. It is a notion that serves as the driving force and ultimate aim of what people do and think.

Human flourishing can be used to describe this concept or theme. Everything humans undertake is driven by the desire for human flourishing. When human conduct is sufficiently examined, it becomes clear that the passion for personal and collective well-being guides all actions.

The prophets of the Old Testament were aware of this concept. They felt how God intended things to be. Therefore, they knew how many ways human life had gone wrong. They anticipated the day when God would make everything right.

The Hebrew word shalom from the Old Testament captures this notion of human flourishing. Most English Bibles render the word shalom as peace, as we’ve previously explained, but this is a much too flimsy reading. According to biblical scholars, shalom can refer to various concepts, including salvation, completeness, integrity, soundness, community, connectivity, righteousness, and well-being.

When Was The Loss Of Shalom?

We are all fallen creatures with sinful natures because our first parents revolted against God, according to Genesis 3:1–19. This nature shows itself in selfishness, greed, and exploitation (Romans 3:12). The current state of affairs is not what should exist.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve rebelled against God, breaking the command He had given them and bringing sin into the world (Genesis 2:16-17). Every aspect of human life and the created order has been tainted by sin (Genesis 3:7-24). 

Shalom, the harmony and tranquility God had weaved into his universe, started falling apart. Damage was done to every aspect of the constructed order, even the environment (Romans 8:18-23). Everything was damaged, even our connection to God.

The Effects Of Shalom’s Loss

In every aspect of our life today, we still feel the impacts of the fall. We want autonomy from God and turn to other things to satiate our desires. We feel desperation, hurt, agony, sadness, anger, and envy in shattered relationships. We struggle with depression, pride, insecurity, and self-doubt. Due to the fall’s physical impacts, the earth groans under starvation, drought, floods, and other natural catastrophes.

Our brokenness primarily causes these damaged relationships. We reject the reality that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and is thus worthy of all honor, glory, and acclaim. Instead, we put other things—especially ourselves—before God.

We put more faith, trust, and love in ourselves than in God. We adhere to lies and reject God’s truth. All relationships suffer as a result of the way we choose to live, which elevates “me.” Our interactions are tainted by our wildly erroneous understanding of what is authentic and valuable—our sin.

Where Was Shalom Mentioned In The Bible?

The word shalom refers to an entire or completely fulfilled condition and is derived from the word “shalem,” which means “whole.” It may be political or universal, such as peace for the land or the nation, but it may also be personal, such as a person’s well-being or safety. God claims to be the one who “forms light and creates darkness, causes shalom and creates tragedy” in Isaiah 45:7.

In a broader or political sense, God promises and would bless Israel in Leviticus 26:6 that if the people obey His commands, He will provide peace to the land, and no sword shall pass through your land. God will bless His people with shalom, according to Psalm 29:11, and there are military instructions in Deuteronomy 20:10 on how to offer an adversary city terms of shalom. Numerous additional places in the Bible use the phrase as a term for political peace.

In the Bible, an angel uses the word “shalom” as both a greeting and a welcome for the first time. In 1 Samuel 16:4-5, when Samuel arrives in Bethlehem to anoint David as king, the elders approach him nervously and ask, “Do you come in shalom? “we can see how the word “peace” came to be welcome. To which Samuel responds, “Shalom (Peace).”

When David questions Uriah the Hittite about the war in 2 Samuel 11:7, shalom in the meaning of “state of well-being” almost seems ludicrous and contradictory. “When Uriah came to him, David questioned concerning the shalom of Joab and the shalom of the people and the shalom of the fight,” it says.

Why Is God Called The “God Of Shalom”?

In the Old Testament, shalom refers to perfect peace. It is a far more complex word than “peace” in English, which denotes a condition of tranquility and quiet without conflict or antagonism. The concept of completion and fulfillment, as well as achieving wholeness and harmony and repairing relationships, lies at the core of religion. 

While the word shalom in the Bible can be translated as the absence of conflict, its true meaning is more accurately described as “completeness, harmony, and fulfillment, with the idea of unhampered relationships with others and fulfillment in one’s endeavors implicit in the word.” By the blood of an eternal covenant, the God of shalom raised our Lord, the great Shepherd of the flock (Hebrews 13:20).

The final word of the priesthood benediction, which can be found in the earliest known biblical text fragment, is shalom. May the Lord bless and keep you. You will experience the kindness and glory of the Lord. The Lord lift His countenance toward you; thus, you will experience world peace (Numbers 6:24–26).

The New Testament has the same kind of comprehensive, multifaceted meaning. Paul often begins his letters by wishing his readers grace and peace. The standard greeting among Greek speakers was “grace.” The traditional greeting among Hebrew speakers has been and continues to be “Peace” (or “Shalom”).

How Do We Practice Shalom?

When God speaks, miracles occur, mountains shift, seas divide, and men’s hearts are permanently altered. His words deliver unshakeable calm, deep forgiveness, unending grace, everlasting salvation, and unfailing love. God’s Shalom is a benefit. To His offspring, it is freely given. We only need to extend our hands and accept it.

1. Extend mercy and appreciation. Choose blessings above browbeating. Be kind to those who are in your sphere of influence. A melodic phrase nourishes the soul. Live as a notice rather than a critic. Express gratitude to those you interact with daily for their ongoing efforts. Simple words of appreciation can ease a worn-out spirit.

The presence of shalom in our life is a sign or fruit of the Holy Spirit. We can obey and surrender by keeping our attention focused on God and His Word. In our journey of faith, prayer and action work well together.

2. Highlight virtues and promote development. Dress as a supporter rather than a critic. Confirm the integrity of those who are traveling with you. Support their inclinations and talents by standing by them. Decide to encourage rather than harm. Salute those brave enough to face their fears and follow their callings. Celebrate the excellent work of redemption shown in lives raised from the dead.

grass and a lake and shalom meaning in the bible

Conclusion

Based on our basic definition, peace is the absence of disturbance. Words in modern Hebrew have much more profound implications than our translations can convey. Shalom, which means “peace,” defies our conceptions of peace. True Shalom is not primarily about peace 

Let us trust in Jesus, the Victor, who is more powerful than our sins. Let’s accept that Jesus died in our place, absolving us of punishment. Let us live in response to Jesus’ love by following Him, who has shown us grace.

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