Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
According to the dictionary, peace is freedom from chaos and disturbance. Some synonyms include tranquility, quietness, calmness, and restfulness. The Bible associates these terms with having inward peace.
Whenever the word is used in the Old Testament, it usually refers to the absence of war. When the word is used in the New Testament, it is usually about harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, and personal welfare. That type of peace is often considered to be perfect peace.
God was so concerned with people being at peace with Him, with others and with themselves that He included the word "peace" in the Bible about 429 times.
Peace in the Old Testament
Even though the word "peace" is seen throughout the Bible, it has several different meanings in the Old and New Testaments.
In the Old Testament, most of the time peace meant completeness, soundness, and well-being of the total person that came only from God.
- Peace was the time when there was no war (1 Samuel 7:14).
- Peace was for those who followed God's laws (Psalm 119:165).
- Peace also meant safety and security (Psalm 4:8).
- Peace meant contentment when minds were stayed on God (Isaiah 26:3).
- Peace was the result of prosperity (Psalm 122:6-7).
Peace in the New Testament
In the New Testament, peace means inner tranquillity for those who follow Christ. That type of peace is a combination of inward satisfaction, hope, trust, and gentle quietness in the mind and spirit no matter what is going on externally.
Just like in the Old Testament, New Testament peace can be brought on only by God.
Peace for the Believer Today
Today, peace is more than flashing the peace sign or wearing a t-shirt with a peace symbol. Perfect peace is also more than the absence of conflict. It is the combination of completeness and wholeness as a direct result of faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Those who do not experience perfect peace act as though Jesus' redemption work was not finished on the cross.
Before Jesus left the world, He promised that He was leaving a gift of peace. He said, "I am leaving you with a gift --- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
According to John 14:27, perfect peace is accepting the gift of peace. However, it is not a physical, visible or tangible gift. It is a gift that is much better than the peace the world tends to offer. It is one that soothes the mind and heart in times of trouble and turmoil. The peace that Jesus left to His followers calms internal conflicts and things that vex the spirit. The peace of God moves into the crevices of the heart to eliminate the issues that keep people in bondage.
Those who do not experience perfect peace act as though Jesus' redemptive work was not finished on the cross.
How to Enjoy Perfect Peace
In order to experience the peace God wants you to have, you first must have peace with Him before you can have peace with others and yourself.
Jesus already left the gift of peace. When someone gives you a gift, you must accept it in order to use it for its intended purpose. That's the way it is with peace. We must accept the gift that Jesus gave us. Then we must use it.
We use the gift of peace by trusting in God no matter what. Instead of expecting turmoil, chaos, and wars within your spirit, expect harmony, tranquility and gentle quietness.
An assurance of peace is in this scripture when you do your part:
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)