(Rom 14:1 NASB) Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
Rom 14:1: This chapter is one of the most misused and most misquoted passages in Scripture. The Romans are dealing with problems that are not explicitly mentioned in Torah. Paul is helping them deal with those things in this section of his letter.
Paul is not giving broad statements concerning all conduct. In this chapter, Paul is only addressing disputable issues, gray areas, or people’s opinions. He makes that abundantly clear in his first verse. Even a man like J. Vernon McGee agrees that this chapter is about things that are up for dispute and that are doubtful.
Paul tells the people to accept those who are weak in faithfulness. But don’t accept them merely to pass judgment upon their opinions. Paul spends some time addressing the opinions of those weak in faithfulness.
(Rom 14:2 NASB) One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
(Rom 14:3 NASB) Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.
Rom 14:3: What does Paul mean when he refers to those who are “weak in the faith(fulness)?” This has been a highly discussed area in which few people reach a conclusion. Is he saying that vegetarians are “weak in their faithfulness?” That sure seems peculiar at least.
The answer is in 1 Cor. 8 where Paul defines what he is referring to here. Paul is saying that those who consider eating meat as the same thing as idolatry as being “weak in the faith.”
The life of many in that day was steeped in idolatry. We cannot despise them for their weaknesses. Also, those who are weak in a certain area are not to despise those who are not. Paul tells us to accept those weak in faithfulness, but don’t use acceptance as an excuse to pass judgment on their opinions.
Keep in mind that we are talking about NON-Scriptural issues (“opinions”)(v. 1). We are not speaking of things plainly described as sin such as adultery or eating unclean creatures.
Paul clearly states that those who feel they must not eat meat are going by their own opinion, which is weak in faithfulness.
(Rom 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
(Rom 14:5 NASB) One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.
Rom 14:5: We cannot judge one another when it comes to issues that are non-Scriptural. We are accountable to Elohim on these issues. We are not to judge one another on them. Some people think it is wrong to celebrate birthdays and national holidays such as Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. They don’t have to do that if they don’t wish to.
One day is no different from another (outside of Yahweh’s designated days). But we should be convinced in our own minds concerning “opinions” or “doubtful things” (v.1).
(Rom 14:6 NASB) He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
Rom 14:6: Whether we want to observe birthdays the Fourth of July, or whether we eat food, we are to do it to Elohim’s glory.
(Rom 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;
(Rom 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
(Rom 14:9 NASB) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Rom 14:9: We are not an island that we should live for ourselves. We should live for Messiah and live for one another. This simply fits the Torah of Elohim that says “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).
(Rom 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.
(Rom 14:11 NASB) For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”
(Rom 14:12 NASB) So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Rom 14:12: We will give our own account to Elohim. Paul is quoting Isaiah (Isa. 45:22-25). We will not be giving account for what we think was our brothers faults or opinions.
If we have differing opinions on differing issues, so be it. If one of us believes the dye of the material was made from sea snails and someone else thinks it was made of plant material, so be it. If someone thinks Ham may have done nothing more than see Noah nekkid as a jaybird in his tent while someone else says he might have done naughty things with his mother, then that’s okay. We do not have to agree on opinions or doubtful things. Paul says it’s not necessary.
(Rom 14:13 NASB) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this– not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.
(Rom 14:14 NASB) I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
(Rom 14:15 NASB) For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:15: Once again, this is particularly speaking of those who equated eating meat with idolatry. We are not to do anything that destroys a mans relationship with Elohim.
To further show that this has nothing to do with allowing people to eat poison, the Greek word used for food in this passage is broma:
G1033. broma, bro’-mah; from the base of G977; food (lit. or fig.), espec. (cer.) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law:–meat, victuals.
This word specifically means “food” according to the Law, not poisonous trash such as mice, rats, pig flesh and vulture.
(Rom 14:16 NASB) Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;
(Rom 14:17 NASB) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 14:18 NASB) For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
(Rom 14:19 NASB) So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Rom 14:19: Once again, this is another version of one of Elohim’s Laws (Lev. 19:18).
(Rom 14:20 NASB) Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.
(Rom 14:21 NASB) It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.
(Rom 14:22 NASB) The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
Rom 14:22: Paul throws in drinking wine with this also. Wine sacrifices were also part of the idolatrous ceremonies. So if anything seriously offends our neighbors faithfulness in Elohim, then we should not do it.
Does this mean we should not drink alcohol in public because someone might be in attendance that is offended by the consumption of alcohol? Does this mean you should not eat meat in a public restaurant because there might be a vegetarian present that might be offended at you devouring one of Elohim’s creatures? No.
Paul is speaking of people’s opinions in known disputes. If we know for certain that someone’s relationship would be damaged by a certain thing, then we should not engage in that activity. But Paul is not saying we should live our normal lives in fear of unknown offense against strangers opinions.
He says that the faithfulness we have, we have as our own conviction before Elohim. If one is not comfortable doing something thinking that it could condemn him before Elohim, he should not do it. We should live by our convictions before the Father what we should or should not do.
It is by following Torah that we know of what our liberty consists.
(Rom 14:23 NASB) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
Rom 14:23: This passage is not concerning items of legitimate sinful behavior. It is addressing issues where people have legitimate arguments. Whatever is not from faithfulness is sin.
Once again, Paul is speaking of trying to live a Torah observant lifestyle in a non-believing world that is in rebellion against Elohim.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas