Romans 10:17 (NKJV) – …faith comes by…hearing by the word of God.
The first few times I read the Bible, I did not agree with it. This is the same experience of everyone I have ever spoken to. The Bible is a book that conflicts, corrects, and challenges what we believe. In some ways, it is like an anvil on which everything gets hammered out, but it does not change shape no matter how many blows it is dealt.
Whether or not you believe that the Bible is God’s Word to us, it is integrous to at least consider what it says. When we are dealing with important matters, as a general rule, it is best to hear both sides before rendering a verdict like any judge presiding over a court. In this chapter, we will briefly examine the primary Scriptures about the unborn going in the order they appear in most English Bibles.
1. God is pro-life. God’s intent was that human beings would marry, have generations of children, and fill the entire planet with human life.
Genesis 1:28 (ESV) – God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…”
2. God is anti-death. Although God gave people the freedom to eat animals just a few verses prior (Genesis 9:3), He declares that human life is uniquely sacred and to wrongly terminate human life is a capital offense.
Genesis 9:6 (ESV) – “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
3. God sees the unborn as children. Here, twin brothers wresting in the womb are reported. Importantly, “The word for ‘children’ in this passage is the normal Old Testament word translated ‘sons’ (Gen. 5:4, 7, 10; Prov. 7:7).”(1) This Hebrew word appears over 4,900 times in the Old Testament and is translated “son”, “sons” or “children”.
Genesis 25:22 (ESV) – The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
4. God’s people are pro-life and practice civil disobedience. The godless Egyptian government commanded infanticide of the Hebrew boys, but godly pro-life women practiced civil disobedience and are honored by God for doing so (Hebrews 11:23).
Exodus 1:16–17 (ESV) – “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.
5. Murder is a sin and a crime. In the list of the 10 Commandments, God is clear that murder is both a sin against Him and a legal crime in the 6th Commandment. Some people wrongly translate the Hebrew word found here as “kill”, which would relate to the taking of any human life. However, the original Hebrew word is best translated “murder” which is the taking of an innocent human life, such as an unborn child. One Bible dictionary says, “This prohibition of murder (רָצַח, ratsach) upholds the idea that human life holds value because God created humans in His image (Gen 9:6). While the translation ‘kill’ is not technically improper, the term is better translated as ‘murder,’ since capital punishment is mandated in both the Noahic covenant, Exodus (e.g., Exod. 19:13; 21:14; 32:27), and Deuteronomy (e.g., Deut. 13:10; 17:5; 19:12; 22:21). The relation between humans and the image of God essentially equates murder with the killing of a god.” (2)
Exodus 20:13 (ESV) – “You shall not murder.”
6. A preborn child has legal rights. The first five books of the Old Testament are called the books of the Law because they provide the legal framework for God’s Old Covenant people. In this law, an unborn child is clearly seen as a full human being with full legal rights and when their life is taken, murder has been committed and capital punishment is mandated.
Exodus 21:22-25 (ESV) – “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
7. It is demonic to kill your child. In the days of the Old Testament, God’s people were surrounded by nations that sacrificed their own children to demon gods, which was abhorrent to God. Therefore, they were forbidden from terminating the life of their child.
Leviticus 18:21 (ESV) – You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
8. Physicians should not tear apart what the Great Physician has knit together. In our church I was speaking to a medical doctor who explained that he entered medical school as an atheist and exited as a Christian. He explained that studying the incredible intricacy of human life beginning in the womb brought him to believe that there is a loving and living God who created us. Today, he is a pro-life doctor who says that physicians should not tear apart in the womb what the Great Physician has knit together in the womb.
Job 10:11–12 (ESV) – You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.
9. God works in the womb. Human life comes from God who makes us in our mother’s womb. The Bible is repeatedly clear on this point without equivocation.
Job 31:15 (ESV) – Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?
10. A preborn child is known by God. In this reflection back on the wonder of life, we are told that babies are dependent upon their God from their mother’s womb, through their birth, and into their adult life.
Psalm 71:6 (ESV) – Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.
11. Children are a blessing. Life is a blessing, and having new life added through birth is a blessing from God, who is the Living God and source of life. Life is so cherished by God’s people that barrenness brings deep grief and is common throughout the patriarchs including Sarai (Genesis 11:30, 16:1-2), Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), and Rachel (Genesis 29:31) though God eventually answered each of their prayers and enabled them to conceive, which brought them joy. In the New Testament, Elizabeth refers to her many years of barrenness before birthing John the Baptizer as “disgrace”, “reproach”, “humiliation” or “shame” in various English translations of Luke 1:25. The thought of a Hebrew woman ending the life of her child was simply inconceivable because the baby was God’s blessing. A theological journal says, “For both sexes, the only known form of immortality was through producing offspring. Procreation raised the social status of both parents, especially of the mother. The barren woman was regarded with reproach (Gen 30:23; I Sam 1:6; Tobit 3:7–9; and Luke 1:25). There being no old-age pensions or homes for the aged, a large number of children was insurance against destitution after a person became too ill or too old to work. Given such a mentality and social organization, no person in the cultural milieu of the Old Testament would ever seek an abortion.” (3)
Psalm 127:3–5 (ESV) – Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
12. God knows us from the womb. Long before ultrasound allowed us to peer into the mystery of life in the womb, God who sees and knows all reports that He knew us and knit us from our mother’s womb with a body and soul made wonderfully by Him.
Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV) – For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
13. To hate life is to hate the Living God. God is the Father of life, and Satan is the father of murder Jesus’ says (John 8:44). All who love God love life, and all those who hate God love death.
Proverbs 8:36 – “…all who hate me love death.”
14. A preborn child has a soul. There is admittedly a debate as to when a physical body receives a spiritual soul. Since the soul is unseen, it is not surprising that the answer to this question is a mystery. This is precisely what this section of Scripture says, as God alone knows, but one thing is sure – we are told that a baby in the womb has a soul in their body.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 (ESV) – As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
15. God calls us from the womb. From the womb, God sees us as a person who is known by Him, set aside for a destiny in our life, and expected to be born to fulfill His will for our lives. God is clear that He knows us long before we know Him, and His relationship with us starts in our mother’s womb.
Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
16. Killing children is not from the mind of God. Theologians are fond to speak of God’s omniscience, which means that God alone is all-knowing. Here, God tells His people that taking the innocent lives of their own children is not an idea that they received from Him as it is literally a godless thing to even think let alone do.
Jeremiah 7:31–32 (ESV) – …they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.
17. When sex is a demonic religion, children are the sacrifice. What God creates Satan counterfeits. In Christianity, Jesus Christ the Son of God comes to earth to die for our sins. In demonic counterfeit religions that worship sex, the worshippers sacrifice their own sons and daughters to demons.
Ezekiel 16:20–21 (ESV) – …you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?
18. Evil governments take the life of children. In the days when Jesus was born, the godless government ruled by a demonic dictator wanted to kill Jesus and so he sent out a decree to terminate the lives of Hebrew baby boys. God’s people have always been pro-life, and demonic governments have always been pro-death, especially of God’s people. The governments change from age to age, but the demons do not and today these same demons are pushing the same agenda through new governments.
Matthew 2:16 (ESV) – …Herod… became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region…
19. Jesus so loves children that He associates with their suffering. Throughout His ministry, children gathered around Jesus because He loved them, blessed them, and was safe for them. Of course, Jesus can and does save us from any and every sin, but for those who reject Jesus and harm children there is judgment and justice from Jesus.
Matthew 18:5–6 (ESV) – “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
20. What you really think about Jesus is revealed in how you treat children. The way we think about Jesus is reflected in how we treat children, according to His own words. Jesus so identifies with children that to reject them is to reject Him. Any Christian who is not pro-life is not pro-Jesus.
Mark 9:36–37 (ESV) – And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
21. Children are a blessing to be blessed. Children are a blessing that God gives us to bless. The opposite of blessing is cursing. To harm or kill a child in the womb is to curse the blessing that God has given us and to curse God.
Mark 10:16 (ESV) – And he [Jesus] took them [children] in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
22. Children can be born again before they are born. John the Baptizer had a name, calling, destiny, and the Holy Spirit from His mother’s womb. This is an incredibly clear and undeniable proof that life begins in the womb.
Luke 1:15 (ESV) – …he [John the Baptizer] will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
23. Jesus Christ is Mary’s son from her womb. Mary was chosen to be the earthly mother of Jesus Christ because she was “favored” by God to have a “son” named Jesus who would be a person from the time she was set to “conceive” in her “womb”. Mary accepted this ministry mission of motherhood as a sacred and blessed calling from God to be a mom.
Luke 1:26-38 (ESV) – …the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin…[whose] name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” …And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
24. John the Baptizer is Elizabeth’s son from her womb. Elizabeth is overjoyed that, after a lifetime of barrenness, she is given the blessing of becoming the mother of John the Baptizer. Even though John is not yet born, he has been “conceived” and God declares her unborn child her “son” through the angel Gabriel.
Luke 1:36-37 (ESV) – [the angel Gabriel said to Mary], “And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
25. Children can worship from the womb. When Mary and Elizabeth came together, the boys in their bellies were Jesus Christ and John the Baptizer. When John came near the presence of Jesus Christ even from his mom’s tummy he recognized and responded to the presence of God and worshipped. This may indicate that sometimes when a baby is active in their mother’s womb, they may be worshipping God as well.
Luke 1:41,44 (ESV) – …when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb…the baby in my [Elizabeth] womb leaped for joy.
26. God came to the earth through Mary’s womb. When Jesus Christ entered human history, He could have shown up at any age. Jesus chose to come as an unborn baby, to begin his life on earth in Mary’s womb, and to be birthed as we all are. Nothing could more honor the sacred gift of life from the womb than the coming of Jesus Christ in this very way.
Luke 2:12,16 (ESV) – …you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger…they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
27. Children in and out of the womb are the same to God. The medical doctor, Luke, writes more of the New Testament than anyone. The Holy Spirit, who knows life in the womb, says the following through Dr. Luke who uses the same Greek word in every verse below:
- Luke 1:41 (ESV) – …when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby [John the Baptizer] leaped in her womb.
- Luke 1:44 (ESV) – …the baby [John the Baptizer] in my [Elizabeth’s] womb leaped for joy.
- Luke 2:12 (ESV) – …you will find a baby [Jesus] wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
- Luke 2:16 (ESV) – …they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby [Jesus] lying in a manger.
- Luke 18:15 (ESV) – Now they were bringing even infants to him [Jesus] that he might touch them.
- Acts 7:9 (ESV) – He [Pharoah] dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive.
Scripture uses the same word (brephos) for Elizabeth’s unborn child (John the Baptizer), newborn baby Jesus, and also for the children brought to Jesus, along with kids killed in the Old Testament. Simply, in the divinely inspired pages of Scripture, God reveals to us that a child in the womb and a child singing and dancing around Jesus in worship are equally human beings, who bear the image of God. Not to extend legal protections to preborn children because of age, size, or phase of development is a grievous discrimination and injustice akin to racism, sexism, and ageism. God values all human life, including the unborn, which you will see as you study the earthly life of our God and Savior Jesus Christ from His mother’s womb with an emphasis on the writings of the early church historian and medical doctor, Luke.
- Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms (Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International, 2002), 5.
- Matthew S. Beal, “Ten Commandments,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
- David W T Brattston, “Abortion in the Bible,” The Churchman 108, no. 1–4 (1994): 354.
Which of these verses or sections of Scripture do you think are the most convincing?
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