Why does the New Testament use the expression
‘the God of peace’ and what is the meaning of this phrase? In the Old Testament, the God of
Israel is often connected with peace, but he is never called ‘the God of peace’. Not until the
Hellenistic period is this expression sporadically found in Judaism (once in the Testaments of
the Twelve Patriarchs and once in Philo). As for the biblical Umwelt, the gods of the ancient Near
East were not very peace-loving, and in the perception of Greco-Roman culture the god of
war, Arès/Mars, as one of the twelve Olympians was much more prominent than Eirènè/Pax.
However, the expression ‘the God of peace’ is found several times in the Corpus Paulinum
and once in the letter to the Hebrews. This article investigates all New Testament texts that
have this formula, suggesting that the apostle Paul could be responsible for the wording.
In conclusion, Paul states that the God of Israel desires to establish a definitive peace in his
creation through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by finally defeating all
powers of evil. This apostolic message further indicates that Christians are supposed to be
bearers of peace, promoting a peaceful atmosphere in their environment and in the world.