A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst


Scriptures Describing Abuse

compiled by Barbara Roberts


  1. Abuse in general
  2. Abusers tend to return to their abuse
  3. Physical abuse
  4. Verbal and emotional abuse
    – withholding, countering, ‘jokes’, blocking and diverting, accusing and blaming, judging and criticising, trivialising, undermining, discounting, threatening, name-calling, forgetting, ordering, denial, abusive anger, lying, manipulation, false repentance, using privilege, narcissism and grandiose delusions, treating you like royalty
  5. The righteousness of the victim evokes fear and anger in the abuser
  6. Gifts with a sting in the tail
  7. Using the children and property as implements of abuse
  8. Stalking and other post-separation abuse
  9. Financial abuse and covetousness
  10. Sexual abuse
  11. Social and legal abuse
  12. Why abusers abuse


  • This is a list of scriptures that describe abuse.
  • This list does not include
    • scriptures that condemn abuse
    • scriptures that describe the effects of abuse
    • scriptures that tell us what to do about abuse
      (ch. 2 of my book Not Under Bondage discusses scriptural instuction on how to respond to abuse),
  • The scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
  • Some words of scripture are in bold type; I did this because the words are particularly relevant to domestic abuse.
  • I’ve added a few comments:-  short comments are in italics; long comments are in normal type but are indented.
  • The comments are my own thoughts unless they relate to Greek or Hebrew words, in which case they are taken from Strong’s Concordance, and/or from Zodhiates’ Lexical Aids (found in the back of Zodhiates’ Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible.)
  • Some verses appear under more than one heading. This is because they can have significance for more than one category of abuse, or because I wanted to make different comments on them in the different sections.
  • Spelling is British, not American.
  • Spiritual abuse is not included because the passages are too numerous to list. For a couple of major examples, see Ezekiel 34 and Matthew 23.
  • List compiled by Barbara Roberts in 2001 and published at cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com in Sept 2012. Many thanks to the anonymous reader who converted the scriptures from the KJV to the ESV.

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