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What does the Bible say about peace?

Ahead of International Day of Peace* on 21 September, we look at some of Tearfund’s peacebuilding work in Pakistan.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 15 Sep 2023

A man in Pakistan reads his Bible. Ahead of International Day of Peace on 21 September, we consider what the Bible says about peace and take a look at some of Tearfund’s peacebuilding work in Pakistan.

Ahead of International Day of Peace on 21 September, we’re thinking about what the Bible says about peace and taking a look at some of Tearfund’s peacebuilding work in Pakistan. Credit: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund

Among the many references to peace in the Bible, a theme emerges – a blessing almost, three words bringing relief and opening pathways and doorways. Bringing freedom to move, to continue on, to proceed safely with life.


‘Go in peace.’

‘Go on your way without fear of harm,’ the exhortation of peace says. ‘Continue in what you need to do to go about your life without worry of attack,’ it reassures us. ‘You have no need of constantly glancing over your shoulder or having ready a defence. You are safe here.’

‘My peace I give you,’ said Jesus, comforting his disciples as they hid behind locked doors – afraid of persecution for their affiliation with him. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (From John 14:27)

Peace is the profound gift of living free from fear.

Of course, the peace that Jesus spoke of was far greater and more all-encompassing than physical flesh-and-bones worry, but in our world, every one of us has the power to be a part of bringing peace – starting from within our own homes and communities.

108.4 million people displaced because of conflict

Right now, around the world, over a hundred million people are living away from their homes after having been forced to flee in search of safety from violent conflicts. Millions more live in daily fear of attack because of ethnic, religious, political or socio-economic divides or persecution.

Peacebuilding in Pakistan

In Pakistan, for example, where violence across religious divides has left people living in fear for the safety of their lives and their belongings, Tearfund has been working to help build peace.

Through a programme called Flourishing Together, young people are being brought together from across religious divides to learn about each other and their differences (and surprising similarities) – to discover and build respect and understanding for each other’s beliefs, and find ways to build solutions for the issues that often cause disharmony.

‘The day we start recognising diversity – that’s the first step to love. There is no love which does not include peace.’
Jonathan Johnson, Tearfund's Country Director for Pakistan

As they are trained to find resolutions within their multi-faith communities, they become ambassadors for peace – carrying a practical message of hope through encouraging new ways of seeing each other.

Common threads between faiths

Speaking to participants in the Flourishing Together programme, community leader Prof Dr Sarah Safdan drew attention to the fact that all four of the religions represented – Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity – shared some core values. ‘The representatives of each faith who came here today, said that their religion speaks about unity, joy and happiness.’

As part of expressing that joy and helping to promote respect and understanding between the religions, those attending that gathering also had the opportunity to enjoy celebrating a festival from each of the religions.

One participant spoke candidly of finding relating to people of other faith communities as ‘challenging’ but added that understanding more helped make it much easier, whilst Humphrey Safraz Peters, Rt Rev Bishop of the Diocese of Peshawar, described the existence of different religions as an opportunity for people to learn patience, acceptance and harmony through loving one another.

‘The representatives of each faith who came here today, said that their religion speaks about unity, joy and happiness.’
Prof Dr Sarah Safdan, faith community leader, Pakistan

Peace and the environment

Peace in communities can help make other practical things better too. As people are able to work together in harmony with each other, it is easier to make sustainable changes that are better for the physical environment.

As part of raising awareness, Flourishing Together facilitators organised an art exhibition entitled Peace and the Environment in churches and madrassas (muslim schools). Through colour and drawing, participants were able to creatively express the connection between peace and a love for the earth.

They also learnt how to manage solid waste well in a way that protects people and the environment, and looked at the crucial role of faith communities in creating awareness about issues like this and in bringing about long-lasting change that benefits the whole community.

Entrepreneurship and theology of Creation care

Other activities run through the Flourishing Together programme have included an awareness-raising Walk for the Environment and input for 250 church leaders on the Biblical responsibility we have to care for Creation as well as how to build environmentally-friendly and economically sustainable communities.

To help with this, multi-faith community members were given training in entrepreneurship skills and support to start small businesses.

Diversity and inclusion really means loving one another

‘The day we start recognising diversity – that’s the first step to love,’ says Jonathan Johnson, who heads up Tearfund’s work in Pakistan. ‘There is no love which does not include peace.’

‘Peace is the profound gift of living free from fear.’

*What is the International Day of Peace?

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September.

The theme of this year’s International Day of Peace is Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals. The UN website describes it as ‘a call to action that recognizes our individual and collective responsibility to foster peace. Fostering peace contributes to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will create a culture of peace for all.’

What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the UN with the combined aim of fighting inequality, driving action on climate change, and promoting and protecting human rights. They are:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and economies
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnership for the goal

Pray for peace

    • Pray for the church around the world – that it will bring salt, light and peace in communities everywhere.
    • Ask God for peace where there is conflict and that people will learn to value and respect each other across traditional ethnic, religious, political and other divides.
    • Lift up the work of peacebuilders everywhere. Pray that they will be safe and that their work will have significant impact and transform lives and communities, bringing with it opportunities for people to live free from fear and to thrive.

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Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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