A. The word “evil” can be really broad. A study of the English word will take you through over 600 verses throughout the entire Bible (KJV). The first time we read that English word is in Genesis 2:9.
- The Hebrew word “רַע” as it appears in Genesis 2:9 is defined as: “bad or (as noun) evil (natural or moral): — adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease(-ure), distress, evil((-favouredness), man, thing), + exceedingly, x great, grief(-vous), harm, heavy, hurt(-ful), ill (favoured), + mark, mischief(-vous), misery, naught(-ty), noisome, + not please, sad(-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked(-ly, -ness, one), worse(-st), wretchedness, wrong. (Incl. feminine raaah; as adjective or noun.). Bad, evil, bad, disagreeable, malignant, bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)…” (Strong’s # 7451). According to the dictionary it is translated throughout the O.T. evil (442 times), wickedness (59 times), wicked (25 times), mischief (21 times), (hurt 20 times), (bad 13 times), (trouble 10 times), and more than once as sore, affliction, ill, adversity, favoured, harm, naught, noisome, grievous, sad, etc. As well as 34 other miscellaneous terms.
- In the New Testament you will find the English word “evil” about 132 times with various meanings similar to that above from the Hebrew. The first is in Matthew 5:11 and the last in Revelation 2:2.
- Evil is a matter of the heart - the source of our actions (Genesis 6:5, II Chronicles 12:13-14, Ecclesiastes 8:11, Jeremiah 3:17, Jeremiah 18:12, Matthew 12:35, Matthew 15:19, Hebrews 3:12, and Hebrews 10:22).
- As a matter of the heart, think about what evil within us keeps us from being able to do (Jeremiah 29:13 and Romans 6:17).
II. Body: “…Let him eschew evil, and do good…” (I Peter 3:10-11; cf. Job 1:1; 1:8).
A. Let’s talk about the word translated “eschew” which means to: “to deviate, i.e. (absolutely) to shun (literally or figuratively), or (relatively) to decline (from piety): — avoid, eschew, go out of the way” (Strong’s # 1578). Appears two other times in the N.T. (Romans 3:12 [out of the way] and Romans 16:17 [avoid]).
- Sometimes avoiding evil is about literally staying away from people who do such (Proverbs 4:14-17).
- Sometimes avoiding evil is about finding a lawful way to handle what might lead one to evil (I Corinthians 7:2).
- Sometimes we have to avoid something because it is a useless endeavor or may create problems (II Timothy 2:16; 2:23 and Titus 3:9).
- Holding off from something to our benefit (I Peter 2:11).
- First, we learn and understand God’s feeling towards evil (Psalms 5:4-5).
- Then we have to understand (Psalms 119:104) what God instructs of His followers (Amos 5:14-15).
- Then we think about the relationship [think of a marriage relationship (Ephesians 5:22-33)]. Our relationship with God requires departure from evil (Proverbs 3:7, II Corinthians 6:14-7:1, II Timothy 2:19, I John 1:3-7, and II John 1:9-11).
- Do good (Psalms 37:27, Galatians 6:10, Titus 2:11-14, Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14, Hebrews 13:16, and James 4:17).
- Seek peace (Proverbs 12:20, Romans 12:17-21, II Corinthians 13:11, Colossians 3:14-15, and Hebrews 12:14).
- Remembering the conversion process includes turning from evil to good (Isaiah 1:10-17, Acts 3:19, Acts 26:18, and Romans 6:1-23).
III. Conclusion: We are to follow after good rather than evil (III John 1:11).
© 1999-2022 Brian A. Yeager