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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Romans 14

Verse 1

Him that is weak (τον ασθενουντα). See on 1 Corinthians 8:7-12; 1 Corinthians 9:22; Romans 4:19.

Receive ye (προσλαμβανεσθε). Present middle imperative (indirect), "take to yourselves."

Yet not to doubtful disputations (μη εις διακρισεις διαλογισμων). "Not for decisions of opinions." Note δια (between, two or δυο) in both words. Discriminations between doubts or hesitations. For διακρισις, see 1 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 5:14 (only N.T. examples). For διαλογισμος see Luke 2:35; Luke 24:38; Philippians 2:14. The "strong" brother is not called upon to settle all the scruples of the "weak" brother. But each takes it on himself to do it.

Verse 2

One man (ος μεν). "This one," demonstrative pronoun ος with μεν.

Hath faith (πιστευε). Like εχε πιστιν (Acts 14:9).

But he that is weak (ο δε ασθενων). One would expect ος δε (but that one) in contrast with ος μεν. Hο is demonstrative with δε sometimes, but here is probably just the article with ασθενων.

Herbs (λαχανα). From λαχανω, to dig. Hence garden herbs or vegetables. Denney feels certain that Paul has in mind a party of vegetarians in Rome.

Verse 3

Set at nought (εξουθενειτω). Present active imperative of εξουθενεω, to treat as nothing and so with contempt (Luke 23:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:20).

Judge (κρινετω). Present active imperative of κρινω, criticize. One side (the meat-eaters) despises the vegetarians, while the vegetarians criticize the meat-eaters.

Received him (αυτον προσελαβετο). Aorist middle (indirect) of προσλαμβανω, same verb used in verse Romans 14:1. God took both sides into his fellowship without requiring that they be vegetarians or meat-eaters.

Verse 4

Who art thou? (συ τις ει?). Proleptic position of συ, "thou who art thou?"

The servant of another (αλλοτριον οικετην). Not another (αλλον) servant (household servant, οικετην), but "another's servant." For the adjective αλλοτριος, see Luke 16:12; 2 Corinthians 10:15.

Shall be made to stand (σταθησετα). Future passive of ιστημ. In spite of your sharp criticisms of one another.

Hath power (δυνατε). Verb found only in Paul (2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 13:3; Romans 14:4), from verbal adjective δυνατος.

Verse 5

One man (ος μεν),

another (ος δε). Regular idiom of contrasted demonstratives (this one, that one).

One day above another (ημεραν παρ' ημεραν). "Day beyond day." For this use of παρα (beside) in comparison see Romans 1:25; Luke 13:2.

Be fully assured (πληροφορεισθω). Present passive imperative of πληροφορεω, late compound verb for which see on Luke 1:1; Romans 4:21.

In his own mind (εν τω ιδιω νο). Intelligent and honest decision according to the light possessed by each.

Verse 6

Regardeth (φρονε). "Thinks of," "esteems," "observes," "puts his mind on" (from φρην, mind). The Textus Receptus has also "he that regardeth not," but it is not genuine.

Unto the Lord (κυριω). Dative case. So as to τω θεω (unto God). He eats unto the Lord, he eats not unto the Lord. Paul's principle of freedom in non-essentials is most important. The Jewish Christians still observed the Seventh day (the Sabbath). The Gentile Christians were observing the first day of the week in honour of Christ's Resurrection on that day. Paul pleads for liberty.

Verse 7

To himself (εαυτω). Dative of advantage again. But to the Lord as he shows in verse Romans 14:8. Life and death focus in the Lord.

Verse 8

Whether--or (εαν τε--εαν τε). "Both if--and if" (condition of third class with present subjunctive (ζωμεν--αποθνησκωμεν). Both living and dying are "to the Lord." Paul repeats the idiom (εαν τε--εαν τε) with the conclusion "we are the Lord's (του κυριου εσμεν). Predicate genitive, "we belong to the Lord."

Verse 9

And lived again (κα εζησεν). First ingressive aorist active indicative of ζαω, "he came to life."

Might be lord of (κυριευσε). Ingressive aorist active subjunctive of κυριευω, "become Lord of." Purpose clause with ινα (that). Old verb from κυριος, lord. See Luke 22:25; Romans 6:9.

Verse 10

But thou, why dost thou judge? (συ δε τ συ κρινεισ?). Referring to the conduct of the "weak" brother in verse Romans 14:3.

Or thou again (η κα συ). Referring to the "strong" brother.

Shall stand before (παραστησομεθα). Future middle of παριστημ and intransitive, to stand beside (παρα) with the locative case (τω βεματ, the judgment seat) as in Acts 27:24. See the same figure of God in 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Verse 11

As I live (ζω εγω). "I live." The LXX here (Isaiah 45:23) has κατ' εμαυτου ομννυω, "I swear by myself."

Shall confess to God (εξομολογησετα τω θεω). Future middle of εξομολογεω, to confess openly (εξ) with the accusative as in Matthew 3:6. With the dative as here the idea is to give praise to, to give gratitude to (Matthew 11:25).

Verse 12

Shall give account (λογον δωσε). So Aleph A C rather than αποδωσε of Textus Receptus. Common use of λογος for account (bookkeeping, ledger) as in Luke 16:2.

Verse 13

Let us not therefore judge one another any more (μηκετ ουν αλληλους κρινωμεν). Present active subjunctive (volitive). "Let us no longer have the habit of criticizing one another." A wonderfully fine text for modern Christians and in harmony with what the Master said (Matthew 7:1).

That no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way or an occasion of falling (το μη τιθενα προσκομμα τω αδελφω η σκανδαλον). Articular present active infinitive of τιθημ in apposition with τουτο, accusative case after κρινατε: "Judge this rather, the not putting a stumbling block (see Romans 9:32 for προσκομμα) or a trap (σκανδαλον, Romans 9:33) for his brother" (αδελφω, dative of disadvantage).

Verse 14

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus (οιδα κα πεπεισμα εν κυριω Ιησου). He knows it and stands persuaded (perfect passive indicative of πειθω, to persuade), but in the sphere of the Lord Jesus (cf. Romans 9:1), not by mere rational processes.

Unclean of itself (καινον δι' εαυτου). So Paul takes his stand with the "strong" as in 1 Corinthians 8:4, but he is not a libertine. Paul's liberty as to food is regulated by his life in the Lord. For this use of κοινος, not as common to all (Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32), but unhallowed, impure, see on Mark 7:2; Mark 7:5; Acts 10:14; Acts 10:28. God made all things for their own uses.

Save that (ε μη). The exception lies not in the nature of the food (δι' εαυτου), but in the man's view of it (to him, εκεινω, dative case).

Verse 15

Because of meat (δια βρωμα). "Because of food."

In love (κατα αγαπην). "According to love" as the regulating principle of life. See Romans 14:1 where Paul pleads for love in place of knowledge on this point.

Destroy not (μη απολλυε). Present active imperative of απολλυω, the very argument made in 1 Corinthians 8:10.

With thy meat (τω βρωματ σου). Instrumental case, "with thy food." It is too great a price to pay for personal liberty as to food.

Verse 16

Your good (υμων το αγαθον). "The good thing of you" = the liberty or Christian freedom which you claim.

Be evil spoken of (βλασφημεισθω). Present passive imperative of βλασφημεω for which see Matthew 9:3; Romans 3:8.

Verse 17

The kingdom of God (η βασιλεια του θεου). Not the future kingdom of eschatology, but the present spiritual kingdom, the reign of God in the heart, of which Jesus spoke so often. See 1 Corinthians 4:21. Paul scores heavily here, for it is not found in externals like food and drink, but in spiritual qualities and graces.

Verse 18

Herein (εν τουτω). "On the principle implied by these virtues" (Sanday and Headlam).

Approved of men (δοκιμος τοις ανθρωποις). "Acceptable to men." Stands the test for men. See 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 10:18; 2 Timothy 2:15.

Verse 19

So then (αρα ουν). Two inferential particles, "accordingly therefore."

Let us follow after (διωκωμεν). Present active subjunctive (volitive). "Let us pursue." Some MSS. have present indicative, "we pursue."

The things which make for peace (τα της ειρηνης). "The things of peace," literally, genitive case. So "the things of edification for one another" (τα της οικοδομης της εις αλληλους).

Verse 20

Overthrow not (μη καταλυε). "Destroy not," "do not loosen down" (carrying on the metaphor in οικοδομη, building).

The work of God (το εργον του θεου). The brother for whom Christ died, verse Romans 14:15. Perhaps with a side-glance at Esau and his mess of pottage.

But it is evil (αλλα κακον). Paul changes from the plural κοινα to the singular κακον.

With offence (δια προσκομματος). "With a stumbling-block" as in verse Romans 14:13. This use of δια (accompaniment) is common. So then it is addressed to the "strong" brother not to cause a stumbling-block by the way he eats and exercises his freedom.

Verse 21

Not to eat (το μη φαγειν). "The not eating." Articular infinitive (second aorist active of εσθιω) and subject of καλον εστιν (copula, understood).

Flesh (κρεας). Old word, in N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 8:13.

To drink (πειν). Shortened form for πιειν (second aorist active infinitive of πινω).

Whereby (εν ω). "On which thy brother stumbleth" (προσκοπτε).

Verse 22

Have thou to thyself before God (συ--κατα σεαυτον εχε ενωπιον του θεου). Very emphatic position of συ at the beginning of the sentence, "Thou there." The old MSS. put ην (relative "which") after πιστιν and before εχεις. This principle applies to both the "strong" and the "weak." He is within his rights to act "according to thyself," but it must be "before God" and with due regard to the rights of the other brethren.

In that which he approveth (εν ο δοκιμαζε). This beatitude cuts both ways. After testing and then approving (Romans 1:28; Romans 2:18) one takes his stand which very act may condemn himself by what he says or does. "It is a rare felicity to have a conscience untroubled by scruples" (Denney).

Verse 23

He that doubteth (ο διακρινομενος). Present middle participle of διακρινω, to judge between (δια), to hesitate. See James 1:6 for this same picture of the double-minded man. Cf. Romans 4:20; Mark 11:23.

Is condemned (κατακεκριτα). Perfect passive indicative of κατακρινω (note κατα-), "stands condemned."

If he eat (εαν φαγη). Third class condition, εαν and second aorist active subjunctive. If in spite of his doubt, he eat.

Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (παν ο ουκ εκ πιστεως αμαρτια εστιν).

Faith (πιστις) here is subjective, one's strong conviction in the light of his relation to Christ and his enlightened conscience. To go against this combination is sin beyond a doubt. Some MSS. (A L etc.) put the doxology here which most place in Romans 16:25-27. But they all give chapters 15 and 16. Some have supposed that the Epistle originally ended here, but that is pure speculation. Some even suggest two editions of the Epistle. But chapter 15 goes right on with the topic discussed in chapter 14.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 14". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/romans-14.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.