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Tuesday, February 27th, 2024
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 14

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

1) "Him that is weak in the faith," (ton de asthenounta te pistei) "Now the one being (existing, or who is) weak in the faith," weak or unstable regarding doctrinal matters, the system of teachings of Christ, who may not even understand that salvation is by faith first and last, not by media of any kind of works, 1 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Corinthians 8:9-12; 1 Corinthians 9:22.

2) "Receive ye," (proslambanesthe) "You all receive," of your own volition or will, be willing to receive into your fellowship. The church is a place to teach and establish believers in the faith. The church is -God’s indoctrination school for young weak Christians. The "church ye", the congregation, not the preacher-ye, or a committee-ye, is to receive new members into her fellowship if they be saved, though weak in knowledge. It is true that the Lord adds to the church, but he has chosen to do it by means of voice or vote of members of each local group, Acts 2:47; Acts 10:47; Acts 11:12.

3) "But not to doubtful disputations " (me eis diokriseis dialogismon) "Not to, with reference to, judgments of thoughts"; The particular area of weakness discussed in this chapter concerns the eating of meats, herbs, and observance of certain holy days; If one is saved, professes Christ, he is to be received for baptism and into church fellowship, without regards to how much of the Bible he knows. It is the work of the church to teach her New members (the weak) to observe all things commanded of the Lord, Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 2:16; Romans 14:3; 2 Peter 3:18. Members were not to dispute over points of mere scruple or preference, not specifically regulated in the Scriptures.

Verse 2

1) "For one believeth that he may eat all things," (hos men pisteuei phagein panta) "One person believes it proper to eat all kinds (of) things"; he has confidence that he is not under the law and it is proper to eat all kinds of food, or ethical to eat all kinds of things. He has no scruples about eating whatever is set before him, Genesis 9:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:27.

2) "Another, who is weak, eateth herbs," (ho de asthenon lochara esthiei) "But the one who is weak or sickly eats herbs"; herbs to the exclusion of all meats, not merely the unclean meats as forbidden under the law. This appears to describe those especially who had been brought up under the regulations and ceremonies of the mosaic law. It appears that some were so fearful of moral pollution, of eating meat offered to idols that they became solely herbivorous, a thing not sanctioned or advocated by Paul, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13.

Verse 3

1) "Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not," (ho esthion ton me esthionta me eksoutheneito) "Let the one eating not despise or take lightly the one who does not eat"; for he may be conscientious and should not sin against his own conscience, Daniel 1:8; Acts 10:14; One is not to sneer at another or show contempt for another or disrespect for another over a matter of food.

2) "And let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth," (ho de me esthion ton esthionta me krineto) "And let not, the one not eating judge him who eats"; 1 Corinthians 8:8-13; Acts 10:34-35; Matthew 7:1 Condemns harsh judgment of another person, especially on matters of mere practical preference.

3) "For God hath received him," (ho theos gar auton proselabeto) "Because God received him"; God has received him as his child, into his family by faith, Galatians 3:26; 1 John 5:1; John 1:11-12. If God saves one in his weakness of morals, ethics, and doctrine is it not proper for his brothers and sisters in Christ to receive him into their fellowship for worship, learning, fellowship, and service? It is proper. This is why Paul instructed, "you all receive him," verse 1. The six brethren of the company from the church at Joppa did not object, but received the household of Cornelius for baptism by Peter. Acts 10:34-35; Acts 10:47; Acts 11:12-18.

CARE OF INFIRM

Weak Christians have infirmities, but infirmity supposes life; and h e must not despise them-not in heart, word, or carriage. We must rather deny ourselves than offend them. We must support them-bear them as pillars bear the house; as the shoulders a burden; as the wall the vine; as parents their children; as oak the ivy. And this because they are brethren. Are they not of the same holy? Shall the hand cut off the little finger because it is not as large as the thumb? Do men throw away their corn because it comes into their barns and chaff? They are weak. Bear with them out of pity. In a family, if one of the little ones be sick, all the larger children are ready to attend it which they need not do if it were well. It should be done, likewise, because Jesus Christ does so. "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" --the law of His command, and the law of His example. He takes special care of His lambs, will not quench the smoking flax, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

-P. Henry

Verse 4

1) "Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?" (su tis ei ho krinon allotrion oiketen) "Who are you (to judge) the one judging a servant belonging to another?" Are you not meddling, sticking your nose in another person’s business? Acting hypocritical, self-righteous? Proverbs 20:3; Proverbs 26:17; James 4:11-12; Ephesians 4:31.

2) "To his own Master he standeth or falleth," (to idio kurio stekei e piptei) "To his own Lord he stands or falls," that is, he is accepted or not accepted --and church members are not to be lords or masters over the conscience of one another. They have a Christian obligation to witness and teach one another by word and example on moral and ethical matters, but not to be lords in practical matters, Romans 14:11-12.

3) "Yea, he shall be holden up," (de, stathesetai) "But he will be caused to stand," be held up or supported," without regards to your censure or predictions to the contrary, Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5; God will hold him up, both in life and at the Judgment Seat of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10.

4) "For God is able to make him stand," (dunatei gar ho kurios stesai auton) "Because his Lord is able to stand him up," support or uphold him, Hebrews 7:25; Philippians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Judges 1:23.

Christian liberty and personal choice of children of God in life’s conduct will not damn the soul, not should a stronger brother be rash in condemning the weak; he should rather (instead) offer to help him in time of need, but not lord it over him, Galatians 6:1; Romans 15:1.

Verse 5

1) "One man esteemeth one day above another," (hos men gar krinei hemeran par’ hemeran) "One man indeed judges (one) day above (superior to another) day", one day as more holy than another day, Leviticus 23:4-7; Colossians 2:16-17. Whether this refers to special f east days, days of fasting, or the seventh day sabbath, they, as Christians, were no longer under the legal or statutory regulation; Even the first day of the week was observed by faith, not by direct command, Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.

2) "Another esteemeth every day alike"; (hos de krinei pason hemeran) "Another man judges every day," to be alike, the same. In such matters, since the law was fulfilled, each was to consider every day as sacred, that he was a steward of time and life and should live every day and use or pass the time of each day in a manner of separated living, Ephesians 5:15-18.

3) "Let every man be fully persuaded i his own mind," (hekastos en to idio noi plerophoreistho) "Let each person be fully persuaded in his own mind"; Let each act according to his convictions, his own conscience. This recognizes the right of private judgment that entails personal accountability; Let us be certain that our own hearts do not condemn us, 1 John 3:21; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 26:9. When each makes his own choice in matters of Salvation and obedience to God in conduct of life, without coercion, he can not blame the consequence of such on any but himself at the hour of judgment; This seems to be the conclusion of Paul’s words, Romans 14:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

MEDDLESOME PEOPLE

I knew a man, in my youth, an elderly man, who was a great observer of human nature. I will not say of him, as it was said of Oliver Cromwell, that he could look through a man’s skin right to his backbone --but he had a most shrewd knowledge of mankind. A young man used to converse with him, occasionally, on this very theme of human character; and, one day, after a long conversation upon it, the young man said. "Ah! well; there are all sorts of people in the world," "Nay," said the elder man, "There is one sort wanting." "What sort is that?" asked the young man eagerly. "The people," replied the elder man, "Who mind their own business, and let other people’s business alone."

-Thomas Cooper

Verse 6

1 ) "He that regardeth the day," (ho phronon te hemeron) "He who minds or regards the day"; is contentious about the day; Whatever one does any day and every day is to be done within the will and to the glory of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 10:31; Not as merely pleasing men and extra-scriptural regulations of men, 1 Timothy 4:3.

2) "Regardeth it unto the Lord," (kurio phronei) "To the Lord he minds it"; He is conscientious, even though the law of holy days of the law be fulfilled, Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:44; Colossians 2:14-17.

3) "And he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he cloth not regard it," This clause is omitted in better manuscripts; 1 Corinthians 10:30-31.

4) "He that eateth, eateth to the Lord," (kai ho esthion kurio esthiei) "And he who eats, eats to the Lord," to the honor of the Lord, even if he is ignorant of the fact that the eating ordinance had no more jurisdiction over him, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:25.

5) "For he giveth God thanks," (eucharistei gar to theo) Because he offers thanks to God"; even as Cornelius, the devout, unsaved, sincere Gentile, Acts 10:1-2; Acts 4, 6. Thanks to God consecrates every meal, no matter who gives it.

6) "And he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not," (kai ho me esthion kurio ouk esthiei) "And the one who eats not, it is to the Lord he is not eating"; and he is not worse or more sinful for neglecting or refusing to eat according to former law regulations, 1 Corinthians 8:8-9; Ec 12,13, 14.

7) "And giveth God thanks," (kai eucharistei to theo) "And gives thanks to God"; that he is not under law, but under grace, free, with a greater latitude of Christian liberty, Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25; Colossians 3:17.

Verse 7

1) "For none of us liveth to himself"; (oudeis gar hemon herito ze) "For not one of us (not even one) lives to himself;" but to the Lord, at least this is the Divine will, for we belong to Christ, Mark 9:41; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. No man can limit his own influence or make his life to begin and end with himself, Philippians 1:20-23.

2) "And no man dieth to himself," (kai oudeis heauto apothneskei) "And no one (not even one) dies to himself"; whether in life or in death man’s primary goal should be to do the will of God; For -- It, his influence, lives on, Exodus 20:5-6; Ecclesiastes 11:9; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Verse 8

1) "For whether we live," (ean te gar zomen) "Because whether we live," on the one hand; Since "we belong to him," and in him "we live and move and have our being", Mark 9:41; Acts 17:28.

2) "We live to the Lord," (to kurio zomen) "It is to the Lord we live"; This is the real purpose of life to every believer, for without him we can do nothing, John 15:5; Galatians 6:14. To live is Christ, Philippians 1:20-21.

3) "And whether we die," (ean te apothneskomen) "Or if on the other hand we die"; "to die is Gain," for every Christian, Philippians 1:21; 2 Peter 1:13-14.

4) ’’We die unto the Lord," (to kurio apothneskomen) "It is to the Lord we die"; to or toward his will and to go to him; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13.

5) "Whether we live therefore, or die," (ean te oun zomen ean te apothneskomen) "Whether therefore we either live or die," Philippians 1:21; 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

6) "We are the Lord’s," (tou kuriou esmen) "We belong to (we are) the Lord’s; 2 Corinthians 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:13-15; Galatians 2:20.

We are the Lord’s by redemption and by -the coming pledge of adoption, which we now await, Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30.

Verse 9

1 ) "For to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived," (eis touto gar Christos apethanen kai ezesen) "Because with reference to this Christ died and lived, (arose) again." It is for this purpose that he both lived and died, 2 Corinthians 5:15. They who live in him should live unto him, Acts 17:28.

2) "That he might be Lord both of the dead and living," (hina kai nekron kai zonton kurieuse) "in order that he might be Lord of both dead corpses and of the living"; He is alive forevermore with the Keys of death and hell, Revelation 1:17-18; Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Verse 10

1) "But why dost thou judge thy brother?" (su de ti krineis ton adelphon sou); "And why dost thou judge thy brother?" or condemn thy brother, Matthew 7:1. There is one Lord and Judge of all, not many, Romans 2:16; Romans 14:4; 2 Timothy 4:1; James 5:9.

2 ) "Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?" (e kai su ti eksoutheneis ton adelphon sou); "Or indeed why do you despise or take lightly your brother?" It is inconsistent with equality or brotherhood to be harsh in judging a brother, Galatians 6:1. None is too look with contempt upon any other brother, John 13:34-35.

3) "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ," (pantes gar parastesometha to bemati tou theou) "For we shall all stand before the tribunal of God," even the judgment seat of Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Acts 17:31.

Verse 11

1) "For it is written," (gegraptai gar) "Because it has been written,- recorded by previous inspiration, authenticated by Old Testament prophecy, Psalms 119:60; Isaiah 45:23.

2) "As I live saith the Lord," (zo ego, legei kurios) "I live, the Lord says"; This phrase of long ago, no new thing, was an ancient Divine decree of judgment which Isaiah uttered regarding certain coming judgment accountability to God for every person and nation, when all shall worship or bow down before him.

3) "Every knee shall bow to me," (hoti emoi kampsei pan gonu) "That to me every knee wiII bend;" Philippians 2:10-11; Revelation 5:13. If children of God and nations shall bow down in confession and adoration before God and his Son-King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the coming kingdom age, how much more should sinful men see the need of preparation for such an hour now! Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 7:10-11.

4) "And every tongue shall confess to God," (kai pasa glossa ekshomologesetai to theo) "And every tongue will confess of its own volition, will, or accord, to or toward God;" Degrees of judgment punishment or retribution will be given in hell because of willful sins in the flesh, to every responsible person, Matthew 11:20-25; Romans 2:1-8; Romans 3:10; Proverbs 1:23-30; Proverbs 29:1.

When God says "son remember", the memorex system, the conscience, the monitor of the soul will lead the wicked to confess guilty, "I lied to you, myself, and others"; another cries, "I was covetous, greedy, I stole! I stole! I stole!,” while yet another cries out in confession, I murdered, I murdered, I murdered," for men must "confess to God," and do it now, or do it later, when it is too late for mercy, as was the state of the rich man in hell, Luke 16:19-31; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Revelation 14:11.

Even children of God must appear at the judgment seat of Christ to give account for deeds done in the body to determine degrees of rewards for lives lived and deeds done in the body, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-12; 2 John 1:8.

Verse 12

1 ) "So then every one of us," (are oun hekastos hemon) "So therefore each one of us"; This is the conclusion of the matter, as members of the Lord’s church, as his identified, committed people of worship and service. Tho we be not under the law of Moses, we are not free to do wrong without suffering consequence of wrong, if the wrong be by sin of omission or commission, James 4:17.

2) "Shall give account of himself to God," (peri heautou logon dosei to theo) "Concerning himself, will give an account (a dossier) to God;" a record or ledger of life is before God, on each person’s conduct of life. Each must acknowledge its accuracy one day, Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

This "shall give account of himself", to God, is a future absolute for every man; Blessed is that person who has an Advocate to stand for his defence in that hour, even Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 7:25.

See also Matthew 12:36; 1 Peter 4:5; Ecclesiastes 11:9.

Verse 13

1) "Let us not therefore judge one another any more," (meketi oun allelous krinomen) "Let us not at all (any longer) judge one another"; in the sense of harsh condemnation or accusation, without a full knowledge of facts and circumstances, without having "walked in their shoes," or "lived in their tent"; For if we judge and condemn one another unjustly we both do them and ourselves hurt and injustice and must give account to God for it, Matthew 7:11; Romans 2:1-2.

2) "But judge this rather," (alla touto krinate mallon) "But in strong contrast do this kind of judging instead," pass this kind of judgment, Matthew 5:15-16. Even if a brother be overtaken in moral or ethical wrong the stronger is called to help him, encourage him to rise from his fall; Do it in the spirit of "neither do I condemn thee, go, sin no more, or avoid it hereafter," Galatians 6:1; John 8:11.

3) "That no man put a stumblingblock," (to me tithenai proskomma) "Not to put, place, or set a stumbling-block or a tripping-stick," or an occasion of offence, 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Corinthians 8:13. Neither condemn so harshly another nor do anything yourself, the seemingly harmless, in word or deed that might cause a weaker brother to be hurt, Revelation 2:14.

4) "Or an occasion to fall in his brothers way," (to adelpho a skandalon) "Or an occasion of scandal, offence, or obstruction in the path or way of a brother," 1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

Verse 14

1) “I know, and am persuaded of the Lord Jesus," (oida kai pepeismai en kurio desou) I perceive and have been persuaded in the Lord Jesus," for reason from what he taught teaches it, Matthew 5:17-18; Galatians 1:12.

2) That there is nothing unclean of itself," (hoti ouden koinon di heautou) "That there is not even one thing common through or by itself," Romans 14:2; Romans 14:20. Nothing formerly regulated by the law exists as unclean in itself alone, Acts 10:28; Titus 1:15.

3) "But to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean," (ei me to logizomeno ti koinon einai) "Except to the one reckoning, calculating, or considering in his judgment, it to be common," or unclean. The idea is that if one is persuaded to act against his conscience, it weakens his conscience and is wrong. All matters of moral decisions by responsible people should be on the basis of conviction from enlightened conscience, based on a knowledge of God’s Word on all matters of action, Romans 14:5; Romans 14:22-23.

Verse 15

1 ) "But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat," (ei gar dia broma ho adelphos sou lupeitai) "For if thy brother is grieved, because of thy food," food which you eat, is offended by it, doesn’t understand as you do about it, 1 Corinthians 8:11. One must respect the scruples of a weaker brother though he does not share them.

2) "Now walkest thou not charitably," (ouketi kata agapen peripateis) "You walk not at all according to love," before him, in harmony with the principle of love, 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5; 1 Corinthians 13:7.

3) "Destroy not him with thy meat," (me to Bromati sou ekeinon apollue) "Do not destroy that one by the kind of food you eat," or by your food; It was inclusive of such that Paul asserted that he kept his body, passions, desires etc. under subjection to the will of Christ, lest his testimony were injured, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27. Even so should every Christian. One is not to tamper with the conscience of a weaker brother.

4) "For whom Christ died," (huper hou Christos apethanen) "On behalf of whom Christ died," no child of God has a moral or ethical right to do anything that might injure another personally or cause him to injure himself. If Christ died to save the weak brother’s soul, should not you and I, stronger brethren, do something sacrificially to save his life of useful service and influence for Christ? Romans 15:1-3.

CHARITABLE JUDGMENT

Those of us who have read classic history may remember an incident in the history of the Macedonian emperor. A painter was commanded to sketch the monarch. In one of his great battles, he had been struck with a sword upon the forehead, and a very large scar had been left on the right temple. The painter, who was a master-hand in his art, sketched him leaning on his elbow, with his finger covering the scar on his forehead; and so the likeness of the king was taken, but without the scar. Let us put the finger of charity upon the scar of the Christian as we look at him, whatever it may be, - the finger of a tender and forbearing charity, and see, in spite of it and under it, the image of Christ notwithstanding.

-Cumming

Verse 16

1) "Let not then your good," (oun humon to agathon) "(Let) not the moral and ethical good of you"; The liberty which you have in grace, the release you have from obligation to the law of Moses, Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13.

2) "Be evil spoken of," (me blasphemeistho) "Let it not be blasphemed," or spoken against in an hurtful manner, through your exercising your freedom or license of liberty, Galatians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 8:20-21. The freedom of conscience will get a bad name, a bad reputation if it be exercised in an uncharitable, inconsiderate, or loveless manner. Such may cause even good to be blasphemed, 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Timothy 6:11; Titus 2:5.

Verse 17

1) "For the kingdom of God is not," (ou gar estin he basileia tou -theou) "Because the kingdom of God (is) does not exist of," or consist of, is not made up of -- The true reign of God over his children is by nature first spiritual, then material, Matthew 6:33. To be right with God in life and doctrine is the way to be and stay right with ones brother.

2) "Meat and drink," (Bromis kai posis) "Eating and drinking," mere entertainment, satisfaction for the belly or physical things --things over which there had been controversy among Christians in Rome, Corinth, and Galatia, Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:20-23; Colossians 3:1-2. Neither receiving nor rejecting meat and drink constitutes the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 8:8; Hebrews 13:9.

3) "But" - "but in contrast",

a) "Righteousness," (dikaiosune) "It is by nature righteousness," right principles, morals, and ethical behavior or conduct before God and men.

b) "And peace," (kai eirene) "And it is by nature peace," in contrast with confusion, conflict, and disorder. It means peace with God and ones fellowman, especially in the church, Romans 5:12; Matthew 5:9; Philippians 4:7.

c) "And joy " (kai chara) "And it is by nature joy," a fruit of regeneration, the new spiritual nature, found in Jesus Christ who saves the believer, Luke 2:10; John 15:11; Galatians 5:22; John 16:24; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 4:13; 2 John 1:12.

4) "In the Holy Ghost," (en pneumati hagio) "In the Holy Spirit;" Both peace and joy are fruits of the holy spirit in the believer, reflecting the imputed righteousness of God that is reflected in the new, Divine nature of the believer, Romans 15:13.

Verse 18

1 ) "For he that in these things serveth Christ," (ho gar en touto douleuon to Christo) "For the one who serves Christ in this manner," or in these things a) In righteousness, Romans 12:1-2; and b) In peace, 1 Thessalonians 5:13 and c) In joy of the Holy Ghost, Psalms 16:11; reflecting union with Christ, thru the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-25.

2) "Is acceptable to God," (euarestos to thee) "is well-pleasing to God," has Divine sanction in service he renders to God and his fellowman, 2 Corinthians 5:9; Romans 12:1. He is accepted whatever his views or scruples may be on eating meats etc.; John 12:26; Colossians 3:24; Ephesians 1:6.

3) "And approved of men," (kai dokimos tois anthropois) "And approved by the masses, by men" at least by those who have discernment of what constitutes the spirit and principle of the kingdom of God. Sound Christian character, void of wrangling contention, receives even the world’s approval, 2 Timothy 2:15; John 13:34-35.

JEWISH APOLOGUE OF CHARITY

When Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied an old man, stooping, and leaning on his staff, weary with age and travel, coming towards him, who was a hundred years of age. He received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, caused him to sit down; but observing that the old man ate and prayed not, nor begged for a blessing on his meat’ ask him why he did not worship the God of heaven? The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only and, and acknowledged no other god; at which answer, Abraham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called to him, and ask him where the stranger was. He replied, "I thrust him away because he did not worship Thee." God answered, "I have suffered him these hundred years, though he dishonored Me; and couldest thou not endure him for one night, when he gave thee no trouble?" Upon this, saith the story, Abraham fetched him back again, and gave him hospitable entertainment and wise instruction. Go thou and do likewise, and thy charity will be rewarded by the God of Abraham.

-Stanley

Verse 19

1) "Let us therefore," (ara oun) "So therefore," in the light of this; our main purposes or objective in life should be to the pursuit of peace and joy and holiness of life, 1 Corinthians 14:26, to edify or build our brethren up.

2) "Follow after the things which make for peace," (ta tes eirenes diokomen) "let us pursue the kind of things that tend toward peace;" Let us follow, pursue, and keep on pursuing peace and holiness, without which no man shall see God, Hebrews 12:14; Psalms 34:14. Such conduct and practice should fill the life of every believer to the help of others; 1 Corinthians 14:12.

3) "And things wherewith one may edify another," (kai ta tes oikodomes tes eis allelous) "And the kind of things of the upbuilding or edifying with reference to one another," let us pursue them, Romans 15:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Verse 20

1) "For meat destroy not the work of God," (me heneken Bromatos katalue to ergon tou theou) "Do not, for the sake of meat, undo or tear down the work of God;" to do so is like the fable of the man who decreed no rat should ever be found in his field of corn --when he found one, he chased the rat while riding his horse until he killed the rat, but he had by then destroyed an acre of corn, 1 Corinthians 9:22-23.

2) "All things indeed are pure," (panta men kathara) "All manner of things (are) indeed clean," as they relate to the fulfilled law, as regards eating and drinking. To take this phrase, in isolation, and apply it to dress codes or sex relations between believers, whether married or unmarried is to pervert the Scriptures, Isaiah 8:20; Titus 1:15.

3) "But it is evil for that man," (alla kakon to anthropa) "But they are morally and ethically bad, wrong, or evil, to the man," It is wrong, a thing a person should not do if he doubts it is right or believes it to be wrong for him to eat the meat; It is bad-wrong to do anything against ones own conscience.

4) "Who eateth with offence," (to dia proskommatos esthionti) "To the man eating through a stumblingblock," or with, associated with offence, if he believes it to be wrong, yet goes on eating it, he weakens his own conscience and character, Romans 14:23; Acts 24:16; 1 Corinthians 10:32; 2 Corinthians 6:3.

Verse 21

1) "It is good neither to eat flesh," (kalon to me phagein krea) "it is ideal (or the proper thing) not to eat flesh," if the eating offend a weak brother --Paul would not, 1 Corinthians 8:13; 1 Corinthians 10:33.

2) "Nor to drink wine, nor anything," (mede piein onion mede) "Not even to drink wine, nor (not) one thing"; 2 Corinthians 6:3; one under Christian liberty is to avoid doing any thing that may cause a weaker brother in Christ to fall, to do wrong, or to develop a weak compromising conscience, 1 Corinthians 8:9-13.

3) "Whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak," (en ho adelphos sou proskoptei) "By which your brother stumbles," or is obstructed in following Christ, or may cause the one eating or drinking, because he has the law and liberty to do so, to have a guilty, or accusing conscience, 1 John 3:21; Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13; Galatians 6:1-2.

Verse 22

1) "Hast thou faith?" (su pistin hen echeis) "You who have, hold, or possess faith"; The verse is still addressed to those who are the stronger in the church, regarding their weaker brethren "in the faith", Romans 14:1 Christian freedom must be balanced by restraint or by responsible actions, Galatians 5:13.

2) "Have it to thyself before God," (kata seauton eche enopion tou theou) "Have it by thyself before the face of God;" hold your faith with an untroubled conscience before God in joy, at the same time be compassionate with self-restraint in judging a weaker brother who holds scruples on practical matters. Do not parade the exercise of your faith before a weaker brother who thinks what you do is wrong, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

3) "Happy is he that condemneth not himself," (makarios ho me krinon heauton) "Blessed is the one who is not judging (condemning) himself;" Let none injure or cause harm to another in merely maintaining his own "right of way"; to do so is to stand, walk, sit, or associate with people of ill repute bad reputation and character may hurt ones influence and a weaker brother, Psalms 1:1-3.

4) "In that thing which he alloweth," (en ho dokimazei) "in what he sanctions or approves"; Do not subject yourself to criticism in doing things that would not personally injure or hurt you but might hurt your influence with a weaker Christian or with the unsaved. This is why a Christian’s lingering presence at a pool hall, dance hall, or even movies or any place with a bad moral reputation might cause a weaker brother to stumble and should be shunned, avoided, 1 Thessalonians 5:22, the ideal is presented in the previous verse, Romans 14:21.

Verse 23

1) "And he that doubteth," (ho de diakrinomens) "Yet he who doubts or the one continually doubting, uncertain," 1 Corinthians 11:31-32. Self-control, restraint, and abstinence in doubtful or questionable matters is always a commendable Christian virtue, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

2) "Is damned if he eat," (ean phage katakekritai) "Has been condemned if he eats;" is condemned if he eats as in Romans 14:22, he is subject to punishment of a guilty conscience if he eats or does something he doubts to be right or believes that it is wrong.

3) "Because he eateth not of faith," (hoti ouk ek pisteos) "Because it is not out of faith," that he eats. He has no persuasion or belief that what he is doing is lawful, 1 Corinthians 10:23-24; 1 Corinthians 10:32.

4) "For whatsoever is not of faith, is sin", (hamartia estin pan de he ouk ek pisteos hamartia estin) "And all which is (exists) not out of faith is sin, exists as sin"; Though it be what would otherwise be lawful and right, Hebrews 11:6; Titus 1:15.

The central thought of this chapter is that all who are "in the faith", though weak, are to be received into the membership of the church by the congregation, Romans 14:1. Thereafter they are to be taught the word of truth as babes with weak consciences; those who are stronger in faith and knowledge should restrain themselves, even in doing right, from anything that might be an offence to or cause a weaker Christian to stumble, fall, quit or go back into his own ways of sinful indulgence.

BETTER BE SURE THAN SORRY

"Better be sure than sorry!" said a garden-worker, when his employer expressed a doubt whether it was necessary to cover a certain vegetation to protect it from frost. A man who is not sure is very likely to be sorry. It would be a terrible thing to be mistaken in the final day; it is better to be sure here than to be sorry at the judgment-seat of Christ.

-Christian Journal

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Romans 14". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/romans-14.html. 1985.
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