In Hebrew, Shalom; used as a greeting between friends (Ezra 5: 7) and of the absence of hostilities between nations (1 Kgs. 5: 12). It is a gift from God when it comes (Isa. 54: 10) and if deluded prophets cry ‘Peace, peace’, when there is no prospect of it, they will be punished (Jer. 6: 14–15). Ultimate peace belongs to the Messianic age (Isa. 9: 6).

In the NT ‘peace’ means not only harmonious relations among nations (Luke 14: 32) but also the state which should exist both in the Christian communities (Rom. 14: 19) and also towards outsiders (Heb. 12: 14). The death of Christ established peace between God and humanity (Col. 1: 20) and between Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2: 14). Yet before this ultimate good is fully realized, the immediate effect of Jesus' message may have to be conflict; a disciple's own family may be estranged, and could be the price of not being alienated from Jesus (Matt. 10: 34–9).