Does the Bible Condone Abortion?

"The Bible Condones Abortion." Several years ago, those words greeted me when I logged on to a local online discussion board, which often focused on biblical issues. This statement intrigued me since I could not recall anything in Scripture that could remotely be taken in such a manner. So I clicked and opened the thread. In support of this claim, the person (let's call him Bob) cited the account in Exodus 21:22–25, which talks about the consequences of men who were fighting when one of them accidentally struck a pregnant woman. Before responding to this post, I decided to see if any other Christians had done a good job of refuting Bob's claim. Sadly, no one had bothered to refute the errors Bob had made. One Christian (let's call her Molly) attempted to provide an answer but made matters even worse. Molly essentially told Bob that this passage was found in the Old Testament and that Christians just follow the New Testament, which says abortion is wrong.

Although Christians have different understandings about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, that is not the issue here. Molly basically granted Bob's claims as being true. In other words, she said the Old Testament claims that abortion is not a big deal, but when Jesus came along, God changed His mind and decided it was wrong.

This discussion provides us with an opportunity to practice the "Don't Answer ... Answer" strategy outlined in Proverbs 26:4–5. The first step in this approach is to make sure we don't respond to Bob in the same manner as he set forth his claims. His tone made it clear that he wanted to provoke Christians and attack the Bible. We need to make sure our answer does not attack Scripture and force it to contradict itself as Molly had unwittingly done. Nor should we attack Bob. Paul instructed the Corinthian believers to be "casting down arguments" and "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). While carefully refuting the arguments made by the enemies of the truth, we must also speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

What Does the Bible State?

Molly should have challenged Bob's presupposition that the Bible actually states what he claimed it does. I decided to look this passage up, and I found some interesting details. Bob had quoted from the New Revised Standard Version, which states:

When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman's husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22–25, NRSV)

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