The Question: Does 2 Chronicles 15:13 tell Christians to kill non-believers? It says: “All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death…”
This is a popular piece of scripture many people misquote and attempt to say it means that God calls Christians to kill non-believers.
Well first off it’s important to look at the whole chapter so you can see what is really being said here. 2 Chronicles 15:1-15 details how Asa, the king of Judah, and the people of Judah and Benjamin, had strayed away from the God of Israel but had now turned back to the Lord in times of great distress. It goes on further to say that in their repentance they made a covenant between themselves and God to:
“…seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death” (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)
They were not by any means saying all people who don’t believe in God should be killed, they were saying: we as individuals and as a group are committing to seek and follow God and if we don’t follow through on this covenant we make with God, we should be put to death.
Deuteronomy 17:2-5 is another passage people claim where the Bible says non-believers should be killed. In the same way this is talking about people either of the Israel/Jewish nation or living as a part of their culture, who have made a covenant to follow God. This is not saying they were to go out and kill non-believers.
Now, there are indeed other places in the Bible where God commands the destruction of entire nations, however nowhere does it state that God commands his followers to kill all non-believers. There is certainly a great deal of war and fighting in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean God is violent or bloodthirsty, that is a result of evil being in the world and our own actions.
If you actually read the Bible, you will see throughout that nothing is more prevalent than God’s love towards all peoples and his desire to have a personal and meaningful relationship with each one. That doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to ‘good’ people or that God will magically make our lives ‘perfect’ if we follow Him. We are still responsible for our actions and have to deal with the consequences of them and of living in a world dominated by evil.
God desires all to be saved and reconciled to Him (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9), and despite how people may try to twist or manipulate specific passages of Scripture to suit their point of view, all I have to do is look at other areas of scripture to gain context as to what is actually being said or to gain an understanding of God so I can know for sure what is not being said, even if I may not understand what is being said.
I know without doubt, that God does in fact not command his followers to kill non-believers. God sent his son to pay the ultimate price so that we have a chance to be reconciled with him. He did not send Jesus to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:17). He doesn’t preach a message of judgement or death, but of mercy, life and love.