The idea of peace in the Hebrew Bible is šālôm whose core meaning is “to be hale, whole, complete.” In one form or another the notions of wholeness, health, and completeness inform all the variants of the word. Peace is not simply the absence of war or conflict. Peace is a positive notion, a notion with its own goal and ends. The Jewish writers tended to use the term primarily for interpersonal or social relations where it comes very close to meaning “justice” and is connected to the covenant with God. Just as the covenant is gift, so too when justice is done it is seen as God’s gift to the people, and the prosperity (šālôm) comes to the people when they live faithfully under God’s covenant.
In a world replete with self-help books for inner peace (a good thing) we are remiss if we are not also seeking a wholeness, a completeness in our relationship with God and our neighbors – one founded upon justice. Interestingly, seeking justice generally brings about conflict of some kind – but sometimes the path of peace journey’s down that road.
Admonition Fifteen: Peace
1 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
2 Those people are truly peacemakers who, regardless of what they suffer in the world, preserve peace of spirit and body out of love for our Lord Jesus Christ.