A Cry For Justice

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

Scriptures Describing Abuse

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 instruction 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.blog in Sept 2012. Many thanks to the anonymous reader who converted the scriptures from the KJV to the ESV.


  1. Hesed

    (16) …I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone… (17) …in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith… (18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:16-18)

    When I gave my life to Jesus in salvation and to my husband in marriage, I knew Jesus was perfect and my husband wasn’t. Over the course of 30 plus years we both made decisions that took us down a path that eventually led to physically crossing the line. My safety was at risk.
    No one needs to stay. God is revealing His truth from faith to faith. I am so grateful for the power of God for salvation… even to those experiencing an abusive marriage.
    God will reveal from Heaven ungodliness and unrighteousness. And He will deal with the one from whom it comes. Vengeance is His. But He paid a high price so we could be free. Choose life. He is worthy of your trust and confidence to take you out of whatever you are in, and find life. He binds the brokenhearted. He sets the captives free. He is worthy of our praise and adoration. Thank You Jesus, for taking me out and bringing my feet to new ground.

    • twbtc

      Hi Hesed,

      Welcome to the blog! We like to encourage new commenter’s to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

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