“…envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”
The word “murders” means homicide, slaughter. The Bible distinguishes between killing someone and murdering him. Murder is premeditated, taking the life of a human being illegally (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). In the nation Israel in the Old Testament, the law demanded the execution of a first-degree murderer. That is capital punishment for cold-blooded, premeditated murder.
“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee” (Exodus 21:12 ).
The word “murders” does not occur in older manuscripts, so many newer translations do not include this word.
The Bible sponsors capital punishment.
The Bible sponsors the idea of capital punishment. This was a value of the Old Testament and is also a value of the New Testament.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and God appoints the authorities that exist. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (Romans 13:1-7).
God gave second-degree murders in the Old Testament provision to flee to a city of refuge. He also gave the right to someone in the victim’s family to avenge their relative’s death.
Those who agree with capital punishment should not eradicate the fact that God forgives even murderers (Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28). God forgave Paul, the author of this book, for committing murder.