Persecution in the Bible


  • Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
  • Psalm 2:1-5 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. ...
  • Also Psalm 22:1-2,6-8,11-21; 69:1-21; 109:25; Isaiah 49:7; 50:6; 52:14; 53:2-5,7-10; Micah 5:1; Matthew 2:13; 11:19; 12:14,24; 16:1; 20:22; 22:15; 26:3-4,14-16,59,67; 27:25-30,39-44; Mark 3:6,21-22; 11:18; 12:13; 14:1,48,65; 15:14,34; 16:17; Luke 4:28-29; 6:11; 7:34; 11:15,53-54; 12:50; 13:31; 19:14,47; 20:20; 22:2-5,52-53,63-65; 23:11,23; John 5:16; 7:1,7,19-20,30,32; 8:37,40,48,52,59; 10:20,31,39; 11:57; 14:30; 15:18,20-21,24-25; 18:22-23,29-30; 19:6,15; Acts 2:23; 3:13-15; 4:27; 7:52; 13:27-29; Hebrews 12:2-3; 1 Peter 4:1.

Bible Encyclopedia for PERSECUTION.


  • Genesis 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
  • Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
  • Also Job 2:4-5; 12:4-5; Psalm 11:2; 37:32; 38:20; 42:3,10; 44:15-18,22; 56:5; 69:10,12; 74:7-8; 94:5; 119:51,61,69,78,85-87,95,110,157,161; Proverbs 29:10,27; Isaiah 26:20; 29:20-21; 51:12-13; 59:15; Jeremiah 2:30; 11:19; 15:10; 18:18; 20:7-8; 26:11-14; 50:7; Amos 5:10; Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 5:10-12,44; 10:16-18,21-23,28; 20:22-23; 23:34-35; 24:8-10; Mark 9:42; 13:9,11-13; Luke 6:22-23,26; 17:33; 21:12-19; John 12:42; 15:18-19; 16:1-2; 17:14; Acts 4:16-20; 5:29,40-42; 7:52; 8:4; 28:22; Romans 8:17,35-37; 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 13:3; 2 Corinthians 4:8-12; 6:4-5,8-10; 11:23-27; 12:10; Galatians 4:29; 6:12,17; Philippians 1:12-14,28-29; Colossians 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:2,14-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:8,12; 2:9-12; 3:2-3,12; 4:16-17; Hebrews 10:32-34; 11:25-27,33-38; 12:3-4; 13:13; James 2:6; 5:6,10; 1 Peter 3:14,16-17; 4:3-4,12-14,16,19; 1 John 3:1,13; Revelation 2:3,10,13; 6:9-11; 7:13-17; 12:11; 17:6; 20:4.


Definition of persecution

A mode of divine chastisement

  • Lamentations 1:3 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.

"Persecution" Bible Outline

Diffuses the gospel

  • Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
  • Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
  • Also Acts 11:19-21; Philippians 1:12-14.

See also McClintock and Strong Cyclopedia for Persecution.

Deliverance from

  • Psalm 124 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; 2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: ...
  • Also Psalm 129:1-2.


Of Abel

  • Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
  • Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
  • Also 1 John 3:12.

Of Lot

  • Genesis 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

Of Moses

  • Exodus 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
  • Exodus 17:4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

Of David

  • Psalm 31:13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
  • Psalm 59:1-2 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. 2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.

Of prophets martyred by Jezebel

  • 1 Kings 18:4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)

Of Gideon

  • Judges 6:28-32 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. 29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. 30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it. 31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. ...

Of Elijah

  • 1 Kings 18:10 As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.
  • 1 Kings 19 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. ...
  • Also 2 Kings 1:9; 2:23.

Of Micaiah

  • 1 Kings 22:26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;
  • 2 Chronicles 18:26 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.

Of Elisha

  • 2 Kings 6:31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.

Of Hanani

  • 2 Chronicles 16:10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

Of Zachariah

  • 2 Chronicles 24:21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.
  • Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Of Job

  • Job 13:4-13 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. 5 O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom. 6 Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips. 7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him? ...
  • Also Job 16:1-4; 17:2; 19:1-5; 30:1-10.

Of Jeremiah

  • Jeremiah 15:10 Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.
  • Jeremiah 15:15 O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.
  • Also Jeremiah 17:15-18; 18:18-23; 26; 32:2; 33:1; 36:26; 37; 38:1-6.

Of Urijah

  • Jeremiah 26:23 And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.

Of prophets

  • Matthew 21:35-36 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

Of the three Hebrew young men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego) of the captivity

  • Daniel 3:8-23 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: 11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. ...

Of Daniel

  • Daniel 6 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. ...

Of the Jews

  • Ezra 4 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; 2 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. 3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. 4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, ...
  • Also Nehemiah 4.

Of John the Baptist

  • Matthew 14:3-12 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. ...

Of James

  • Acts 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

Of Simon

  • Mark 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

Of the disciples

  • John 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
  • John 9:34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
  • Also John 20:19.

Of Lazarus

  • John 12:10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

Of the apostles

  • Acts 4:3-18 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. 5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. ...
  • Also Acts 5:18-42; 12:1-19; Revelation 1:9.

Of Stephen

  • Acts 6:9-15 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, ...
  • Also Acts 7.

Of the ekklesia (body of Christ)

  • Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
  • Acts 9:1-14 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? ...
  • Also Galatians 1:13.

Of Timothy

  • Hebrews 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

Of John

  • Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Of Antipas

  • Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Of the congregation at Smyrna

  • Revelation 2:8-10 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
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