A Biblical Look at Anarchy

As we head into inauguration week here in the US, one word seems to sum up everyone’s fears: anarchy. Big cities throughout America are bracing themselves for the kind of violence we’ve seen all year: molotov cocktails thrown at police, mattresses and dumpsters set on fire in the middle of streets, businesses and livelihoods destroyed, and the harassment and beating of innocent people. While this form of anarchy has become embodied by the black-clad people of Antifa, a sense of rebellion and lawlessness has become pervasive in our culture for years. I don’t delve into politics here at BigSisterKnows, but I think it’s time we discuss the biblical view of anarchy.

But first, what is anarchy, really?

Hell on Earth

The word “anarchy” comes from the Greek “anarchia” meaning lawlessness, or “anarchos” meaning lack of a leader. The first two definitions of “anarchy” in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary are “a. absence of government; and b. a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority.”

Some synonyms for anarchy include chaos, confusion, disorder, hostility, mob rule, nihilism, rebellion, reign of terror, riot, turmoil, and unrest. These words all describe negative situations in which established rights are disregarded and replaced with either a mob mentality or extreme individual rights.

Throughout history, the fall of governments and leaders has always led to fear, violence, and lack of resources until a new leadership was established. This in-between period of turmoil is what anarchy really is. And for those who live through it, it can be a hell on earth.

Anarchy can be a hell on earth.

Many consider anarchy as a necessary stepping stone to revolution. Surely, our own nation felt these growing pains as we pulled away from Britain and established our own governing body. Yet there was always a goal—to establish our own government so that we could avoid taxation without representation.

What is the goal of anarchists today? Do they want to set forth a new form of government or leader? If so, why haven’t they said so? Or are they merely tools for hire, willingly used by the media and political factions for their own purposes? Or perhaps each individual has his own goals and motives under the black banner of anarchy.


The third definition of “anarchy” in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is quite surprising: “a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government.” How did we go from believing that anarchy is hell on earth to believing it’s actually heaven on earth?

How did we go from believing that anarchy is hell on earth to believing it’s actually heaven on earth?

Merriam-Webster notes that this meaning of “anarchy” wasn’t used until the 19th century, but the idea of self-rule is as old as the Garden of Eden. It’s the lie that we’re better off ruling ourselves, that we can be our own god. As we know from the Bible, those who believe this lie are sadly mistaken.

“The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,’” (Genesis 3:4-5 NAS).

God’s Truth

Surprisingly, over the years, I’ve heard well-meaning Christians claim to be anarchists. With all due respect, I think these folks have confused anarchy with libertarianism since these terms are sometimes used interchangeably here in the States. However, libertarianism promotes the rights of individuals under the protection of limited government, while anarchy promotes chaos without any government.

The Bible shows us that God is a god of law and order, not chaos. His Creation, from the smallest atom to the human mind, is in perfect order and balance. His Law, which was handed to the Israelites, set forth clear guidelines for daily living, arbitrating differences, and repentance of sins. But it’s in the person of Jesus Christ that God’s requirement for law and order is made manifest, for He brought redemption to all people.

“[Jesus] gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14 NAS).

This Jesus is not only our Savior but our King:

“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14 NAS)

The word “anarchy” does not appear in the Bible, but we do find its synonyms “lawless” and “lawlessness.”

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4 NAS)

And what is the penalty for this lawlessness?

“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:41-43 NAS)

Rebelling against all government and authority figures flies in the face of God who established the basis for authority and discipline so that we might learn to be faithful in our service to Him.

Rebelling against all government and authority figures flies in the face of God.

So what do you do when Antifa or a similar group tries to recruit you at college? Or when your friend espouses the downfall of society as we know it?

1 – Avoid lawlessness and those who practice it

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NAS).

2 – Love God and others

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39 NAS)

You can make a positive change in this world, but it will never come from seeking anarchy.

You can make a positive change in this world, but it will never come from seeking anarchy.

I know there’s been nothing but negativity on the news for over a year, but I encourage you to take heart. Use this time to search God’s Word for yourself. Strengthen your relationship with Jesus and reach out to other Christians. Because here’s the deal: we know God wins in the end. Let’s make sure we’re on His side when that happens.

“You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; 9 for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 12:8-9 NAS)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so leave a comment below.

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See related: The One Way to Effect Real Change

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Author: Ashley L Jones

My heart's desire is to show people of all ages how the Bible applies to their lives. I use my Masters in Biblical Studies to dig into the Word, and I share what I've learned on my blog (BigSisterKnows.com). Check out the About section of my blog for more details. Thanks for stopping by!

4 thoughts

  1. Ashley, thank you for this clear look at what some people have a very mstaken idea of. My daughter says she’s an anarchist, but thinks it means small government, at the local level. She’s 33!! I can not get her to undersatnd. She also says she’s a pagan now. Which I rebuke in Jesus’ name!! Rejecting Jesus has a lot to do with her rejecting governance. She doesn’t want to submit her will. 🙁

    1. I think you said it perfectly: “Rejecting Jesus has a lot to do with her rejecting governance.” It’s amazing how the two are tied together. God knows this, which is why He teaches godly submission throughout the Bible. Praying for you and your family! May your daughter come to know the love of Jesus.

  2. The anarchy we experienced was not antifa but white racists who have been operating since the birth of the nation. Shame on the white Christian who can not deal in truth. Jesus said speak the truth in love. Jesus came in grace and truth. If you know the truth it will set you free.

    1. Lynda, this is exactly what mainstream media and certain political groups would have us believe–because it’s the most divisive statement in American history. To claim that an entire group of people is racist based on the color of their skin is the ultimate form of racism. Shame on anyone who makes such a claim! Let us do what the Bible says and judge others by the fruit they produce, not elevating ourselves to the position of God and assuming we know their inner hearts. And by all means, let’s not call other people racist in Jesus’ name.

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