Romans 12:21



The Greek word nikao, which means "to be conquering, overcoming, vanquishing," appears 28 times in the pages of the New Testament writings. It is used 24 of those times by the apostle John (17 of which appear in Revelation). Both times that Paul uses it in this verse it appears in the Present Tense and the Imperative Mood. This means this is issued as a command which is to be carried out continuously.


I Samuel 24:17 --- When Saul realized that David had spared his life, after Saul had pursued David to kill him, Saul said, "You have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil" (RSV).


"To stoop to vengeance is to be ourselves conquered by evil. Evil can never be conquered by evil. If hatred is met with more hatred then hatred is only increased; but if hatred is met with love then an antidote for the poison is found. As Booker Washington said: 'I will not allow any man to make me lower myself by hating him'" (Barclay, p. 184).

"He who attempts to overcome evil with evil, may perhaps surpass his enemy in doing injury, but it is to his own ruin; for by acting thus he carries on war for the devil" (Calvin, p. 477).

"If the child of God should retaliate in kind for all acts of enmity against himself, he would shortly find himself engaging in all kinds of shameful and wicked conduct" (Coffman, p. 443).

"Be not vanquished or subdued by injury received from others. Do not suffer your temper to be excited; your Christian principles to be abandoned; your mild, amiable, kind, and benevolent temper to be ruffled by any opposition or injury which you may experience. Maintain your Christian principles amidst all opposition, and thus show the power of the gospel. They are overcome by evil who suffer their temper to be excited, who become enraged and revengeful, and who engage in contention with those who injure them, Prov. 16:22" (Barnes, p. 290).

"Do not let evil done to you so overcome you as to lead you to do evil in return. If you suffer yourself to be provoked to revenge, you will be yielding to the enemy -- overcome by that which is evil" (Lipscomb, p. 232).

"Do not allow yourself to be overcome by the wickedness of your adversary; as would be the case, if you suffered yourself to be exasperated by him to personal revenge" (Shedd, p. 374).

"Be not conquered by the evil conduct of your enemy towards you, which you will be, whenever you allow it to lead you to attempt either to avenge yourself on him, or to repay him with evil. In that event, you are conquered by evil" (Lard, p. 395).

"Wrong is not defeated but doubly victorious when it is repelled with its own weapons" (Expos. Greek, p. 695).

"Do not, by giving place to evil, become precisely the same character which thou condemnest in another. As soon as a man begins to avenge himself, he places himself on a par with the unprincipled man whose conduct he has so much reason to blame, and whose spirit he has so much cause to abominate. He who avenges himself receives into his own heart all the evil and disgraceful passions by which his enemy is rendered both wretched and contemptible. There is the voice of eternal reason in 'Avenge not yourselves -- overcome evil with good'" (Clarke, p. 143).

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