Question: "What does the Bible say about being an overcomer?"
Answer: The Bible has a lot to say about being an overcomer. The term overcomer is especially prominent in the book of Revelation, where Jesus encourages His people to remain steadfast through trials (Revelation 2:26; 3:21; 21:7). First John 5:4–5 says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Overcomers are followers of Christ who successfully resist the power and temptation of the world’s system. An overcomer is not sinless, but holds fast to faith in Christ until the end. He does not turn away when times get difficult or become an apostate. Overcoming requires complete dependence upon God for direction, purpose, fulfillment, and strength to follow His plan for our lives (Proverbs 3:5–6; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Greek word most often translated “overcomer” stems from the word nike which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means “to carry off the victory. The verb implies a battle.” The Bible teaches Christians to recognize that the world is a battleground, not a playground. God does not leave us defenseless. Ephesians 6:11–17 describes the armor of the Lord available to all believers. Scattered throughout this narrative is the admonition to “stand firm.” Sometimes all it takes to overcome temptation is to stand firm and refuse be dragged into it. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” An overcomer is one who resists sin no matter what lures Satan uses.
The apostle Paul wrote eloquently of overcoming in Romans 8:35–39. He summarizes the power believers have through the Holy Spirit to overcome any attacks of the enemy. Verse 37 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Overcoming is often equated with enduring. Jesus encouraged those who followed Him to “endure to the end” (Matthew 24:13). A true disciple of Christ is one who endures through trials by the power of the Holy Spirit. An overcomer clings to Christ, no matter how high the cost of discipleship. Hebrews 3:14 says, “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”
In the book of Revelation, Jesus promised great reward to those who overcome. Overcomers are promised that they will eat from the Tree of Life (2:7), be unharmed by the second death (2:11), eat from hidden manna and be given a new name (2:17), have authority over the nations (2:26), be clothed in white garments (3:5), be made a permanent pillar in the house of God (3:12), and sit with Jesus on His throne (3:21). Jesus warned that holding fast to Him would not be easy, but it would be well worth it. In Mark 13:13 He says, “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (ESV). We have the guarantee of Jesus that, if we are His, we will be able to endure to the end and His rewards will make it all worthwhile.