Romans 12:18



The first two words in this phrase (in the Greek text) are generally translated "if possible" --- See: Matthew 24:24; 26:39; Galatians 4:15. The next three words are an example of a Greek Idiom. It conveys the idea of personal responsibility in some matter. We must do our part to see that peace is cultivated. Peace may not be achieved; it may not be possible given all the circumstances; but the fault will not lie with us. We did what we could; beyond that we are not liable.

The Greek word eireneuo appears only four times in the pages of the New Testament writings --- Mark 9:50; II Corinthians 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:13 are the other three. It means "to be at ... or to cultivate or make/keep ... peace, concord, harmony; to live in a state of peace." It conveys not only the idea of a state of peace, but also the cultivation and continuation of that state.


Matthew 5:9 Hebrews 12:14 James 3:18


"Be sure that, if there is to be enmity, it is all on one side. We cannot determine whether our relations with men will be peaceful or not; we are only answerable for our part. It may not be possible to be at peace with all men; there may be some who will quarrel with you. You are not to blame for that" (Maclaren, p. 298).

"He says, if it be possible. There may come a time when the claims of courtesy have to submit to the claims of principle. Christianity is not an easy-going tolerance which will accept anything and shut its eyes to everything. There may come a time some battle has to be fought, and when that time comes the Christian will not shirk it" (Barclay, p. 184).

"Courteousness should not degenerate into compliance, so as to lead us to flatter the vices of men for the sake of preserving peace" (Calvin, p. 473).

"The impossibility allowed by Paul as a negation of this precept would lie only in the kind of a situation where truth and sacred duty would require resistance" (Coffman, p. 440).

"For the sake of peace, sacrifice everything, save truth and right" (Lipscomb, p. 231).

"There are instances in human relations when the strongest desire for concord will not avail," but "if disharmony and conflict should come, let not the responsibility be laid at your feet" (Expos. Comm., p. 134).

"In his own interest the Christian is a pacifist; for Christ he is a militarist" (Lenski, p. 777).

"Over others' conduct we have no control; but the initiative in disturbing the peace is never to lie with the Christian" (Expos. Greek, p. 694).

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