Romans 12:19



The Greek word ekdikeo appears six times in the NT writings, and means "to execute retributive justice; a determination to execute judgment for; to avenge or punish a wrong." (Note the following Scriptures --- Luke 18:7-8; Acts 7:24; I Thess. 4:6; II Thess. 1:8; Heb. 10:30; Rev. 6:10; 19:2).

The Greek word translated "wrath" is orge which appears 36 times in the NT. This should not be confused with the Greek word thumos. These two words are to be distinguished in this respect: "Thumos indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward indignation, while orge suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind, frequently with a view to taking revenge. Orge is less sudden in its rise than thumos, but more lasting in nature. Thumos expresses more the inward feeling, that quickly blazes up and quickly subsides; orge the more active, enduring emotion" (Vine's Expos. Dict., p. 55-56). --- See: John 3:36; Rom. 2:5, 8; Col. 3:6; James 1:20; Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15.

The Greek word ego adds emphasis to the phrase "I .. I will repay" = "I will repay!" The Greek word for "repay" is antapodidomi which appears only seven times in the NT writings, and can be used either positively or negatively --- see: Luke 14:14; II Thess. 1:6; Heb. 10:30. It means "to repay; to recompense."


Leviticus 19:18 Deuteronomy 32:35-36 Proverbs 20:22; 24:29 I Corinthians 6:6-8 Also, in the Apocrypha: Ecclesiasticus 19:17 --- "Admonish thy neighbour before thou threaten him, and, not being angry, give place to the law of the Most High."


"Do not take the law into your own hands, but leave God's way of retribution to work itself out. By avenging, the Apostle means a passionate redress of private wrongs at the bidding of personal resentment" (Maclaren, p. 301).

"In the Qumran community private vengeance was forbidden" (Bruce, p. 230).

"To give place to wrath, is to commit to the Lord the right of judging, which they take away from him who attempt revenge. Hence, as it is not lawful to usurp the office of God, it is not lawful to revenge" (Calvin, p. 473).

"This command is not to be understood that we may not seek for justice in a regular and proper way before civil tribunals. Religion does not require us to submit to such oppression and injury without seeking our rights in an orderly and regular manner. The command here 'not to avenge ourselves' means, that we are not to take it out of the hands of God, or the hands of the law, and to inflict it ourselves" (Barnes, p. 288).

"Paul, on several occasions, claimed the rights of a Roman citizen to shield himself from unlawful punishment; but he never prosecuted his persecutors for wrongs they inflicted on him" (Lipscomb, p. 231).

"Let the Lord's anger take the place of yours, and let him avenge you. His mind is unclouded by passion, yours never is when you are injured; he can justly judge your injurer, you can not; he can temper punishment with mercy; there is much danger that you will not" (Lard, p. 394).

"A juster hand than yours and mine rules and will, indeed, in most perfect justice mete out full due to every rascal. Not one of them will escape. Justice will be done in every case and will be done perfectly. If any of us interfered, it would be the height of presumption" (Lenski, p. 778-80).

"He who avenges himself, making himself accuser, and judge, and executioner, all in one person, runs a great hazard of injuring both himself and others, by acting improperly through the influence of passion" (MacKnight, p. 440).

"By avenging yourselves you take your cause both out of the hands of the civil magistrate and out of the hands of God" (Clarke, p. 142).

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