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Bible Commentaries
Romans 14

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

4:1 Rom 14:1. This chapter deals with two subjects an which the Lord has made no legislation as to their being right or wrong. Him that is weak in the faith does not pertain to matters that are necessary to salvation, for on that subject all Christians are commanded to be "strong in the Lord" (Eph 6:10). But it means one who is weak as to whether he should participate in the things others were doing. Receive ye denotes that we should accept him as a brother in Christ, but not with the idea of judging or condemning him on these unlegislated things on which he has some doubts.

Verse 2

4:2 Rom 14:2. Who is weak explains the weak person in verse 1. He is weak in that he thinks he should not eat any kind of food but herbs.

Verse 3

4:3 Rom 14:3. Him that eateth is the one who will eat all things in the preced-ceding verse. To despise means to belittle or look down upon one, and Paul forbids the one man thus to treat a brother who restricts himself to vegetables. Likewise, this latter man has no right to condemn the one who eats all things, for God hath received him or recognized him as an acceptable servant.

Verse 4

4:4 Rom 14:4. The relation of master and slave, a common one in the Roman Empire, is used for the purpose of illustration. If a slave deserves correction, his own master is the one to administer it. Likewise the servant of God has to answer to Him only in regard to these unlegislated matters. In the present case He will hold up for his servant because he has not disobeyed any divine law.

Verse 5

4:5 Rom 14:5. Having dealt with one subject pertaining to the individual conscience, on which the Lord has not legislated, Paul introduces another which is the observance of days. Thayer defines the original word for esteemeth, "to prefer." One man has some preference for a certain day while another has not. The Lord does not care which view a man takes, just so he is fully persuaded in his own mind, and does not try to force his views on another.

Verse 6

4:6 Rom 14:6. Regardeth is from PHRONEO which Thayer defines, "to direct one's mind to a thing," and he explains it at this place to mean, "to regard a day, observe it as sacred." Robinson's definition of the word is, "to regard, to keep." Both the lexicon definitions and the language of Paul show he is writing of men who prefer to "keep" some certain day in a religious way since he regards such a day as sacred. But that is his individual privilege, even as it is the privilege of another not to keep any day as sacred. The same privilege applies to eating or not eating certain foods.

Verse 7

7-8 Rom 14:7-8. I have combined these verses to prevent a wrong conclusion. We are not under obligation to any man with regard to this liberty described in verse 6, but we are subject to the Lord, who forbids us to press our views on another in this matter.

Verse 9

-10 Rom 14:9-10. Even if there should be anything objectionable to Christ in the exercise of this liberty, it is between the individual and Him, and he will answer at the judgment.

Verse 11

:11 Rom 14:11. Every tongue will confess, but those who wait till the judgment to do so will bestow glory on the Father only but will receive no reward (Php 2:10-11).

Verse 12

:12 Rom 14:12. The word himself is the one to be emphasized in this verse.

Verse 13

:13 Rom 14:13. The word judge is from KRINO which has several meanings, and two of them are "condemn" and "conclude." The verse means for one brother not to condemn another regarding these unlegislated matters. Rather he should conclude not to put a stumbling-block in his way by trying to force him to eat what he believes it is wrong to eat.

Verse 14

:14 Rom 14:14. I know denotes that Paul is speaking by inspiration. No kind of food is unclean in fact (1Ti 4:4), but it is unclean to the man who believes it is.

Verse 15

:15 Rom 14:15. This is the first time in this chapter that the word meat is used. Had the word "herbs" not been used in contrast to it in verse 2, we would have no reason for saying it means the flesh of animals, for the lexicon only defines it, "that which is eaten, food." Hence the principle Paul is discussing is that God does not care what kind of food one eats, as long as he has no conscientious objections to it. If a brother has such objections, another should not induce him to eat it, defiling his conscience.

Verse 16

:16 Rom 14:16. Your good means the right for the "strong" to eat meat. If he tries to force that privilege on the weak brother, he will speak evil of this strong brother.

Verse 17

:17 Rom 14:17. If salvation depended on eating or not eating certain foods, then it would be necessary to insist on one or the other. Since it does not, we should not disturb anyone on it, but give our attention to righteousness and peace.

Verse 18

-19 Rom 14:18-19. By observing this rule of respect for a weak brother's con-scscience, we not only serve God acceptably, but all good men will approve of it.

Verse 20

:20 Verse 20. For the sake of meat, do not destroy the work of the Lord. All things are pure, etc., is explained by the comments on verse 14.

Verse 21

:21 Rom 14:21. This verse is a generalization of the arguments of the chapter. We should not press our "rights" on a brother who is weak concerning these practices.

Verse 22

:22 Rom 14:22. Faith here is upon the testimony of the conscience that it is right to eat all things; he should exercise that to himself. It is wrong to press it upon a weak brother, and if he does so the Lord will condemn him, for imposing upon another that thing that is allowed for a strong brother.

Verse 23

:23 Rom 14:23. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. This is the same faith that is described in verse 22, namely, that which is produced by the testimony of one's conscience. Since the Lord has not legislated far or against the observance of days or the eating of foods, a man's conscience must be his sole guide and basis of his faith.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Romans 14". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/romans-14.html. 1952.
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