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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Romans 14



Other Authors
Verse 1

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

Receive ye (προσλαμβανεστεproslambanesthe). Present middle imperative (indirect), “take to yourselves.”

Yet not to doubtful disputations (μη εις διακρισεις διαλογισμωνmē eis diakriseis dialogismōn). “Not for decisions of opinions.” Note διαdia (between, two or δυοduo) in both words. Discriminations between doubts or hesitations. For διακρισιςdiakrisis see note on 1 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 5:14 (only N.T. examples). For διαλογισμοςdialogismos see note on Luke 2:35; on Luke 24:38; and note on Philemon 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 μενhos men). “This one,” demonstrative pronoun οςhos with μενmen

Hath faith (πιστευειpisteuei). Like εχει πιστινechei pistin (Acts 14:9).

But he that is weak (ο δε αστενωνho de asthenōn). One would expect ος δεhos de (but that one) in contrast with ος μενhos men οHo is demonstrative with δεde sometimes, but here is probably just the article with αστενωνasthenōn

Herbs (λαχαναlachana). From λαχανωlachanō 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 (εχουτενειτωexoutheneitō). Present active imperative of εχουτενεωexoutheneō to treat as nothing and so with contempt (Luke 23:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:20).

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

Received him (αυτον προσελαβετοauton proselabeto). Aorist middle (indirect) of προσλαμβανωproslambanō same verb used in 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 ειsu tis ei̇). Proleptic position of συsu “thou who art thou?”

The servant of another (αλλοτριον οικετηνallotrion oiketēn). Not another (αλλονallon) servant (household servant, οικετηνoiketēn), but “another‘s servant.” For the adjective αλλοτριοςallotrios see note on Luke 16:12 and note on 2 Corinthians 10:15.

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

Hath power (δυνατειdunatei). Verb found only in Paul (2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 13:3; Romans 14:4), from verbal adjective δυνατοςdunatos f0).

Verse 5

One man (ος μενhos men), another (ος δεhos de). Regular idiom of contrasted demonstratives (this one, that one).

One day above another (ημεραν παρ ημερανhēmeran par' hēmeran). “Day beyond day.” For this use of παραpara (beside) in comparison see note on Romans 1:25 and note on Luke 13:2.

Be fully assured (πληροπορειστωplērophoreisthō). Present passive imperative of πληροπορεωplērophoreō late compound verb for which see note on Luke 1:1 and note on Romans 4:21.

In his own mind (εν τωι ιδιωι νοιen tōi idiōi noi). Intelligent and honest decision according to the light possessed by each.

Verse 6

Regardeth (προνειphronei). “Thinks of,” “esteems,” “observes,” “puts his mind on” (from πρηνphrēn mind). The Textus Receptus has also “he that regardeth not,” but it is not genuine.

Unto the Lord (κυριωιkuriōi). Dative case. So as to τωι τεωιtōi theōi (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 (εαυτωιheautōi). Dative of advantage again. But to the Lord as he shows in Romans 14:8. Life and death focus in the Lord.

Verse 8

Whether - or (εαν τεεαν τεean tė̇ean te). “Both if - and if” (condition of third class with present subjunctive (ζωμεναποτνησκωμενzōmeṅ̇apothnēskōmen). Both living and dying are “to the Lord.” Paul repeats the idiom (εαν τεεαν τεean tė̇ean te) with the conclusion “we are the Lord‘s (του κυριου εσμενtou kuriou esmen). Predicate genitive, “we belong to the Lord.”

Verse 9

And lived again (και εζησενkai ezēsen). First ingressive aorist active indicative of ζαωzaō “he came to life.”

Might be lord of (κυριευσειkurieusei). Ingressive aorist active subjunctive of κυριευωkurieuō “become Lord of.” Purpose clause with ιναhina (that). Old verb from κυριοςkurios lord. See note on Luke 22:25 and Romans 6:9.

Verse 10

But thou, why dost thou judge? (συ δε τι συ κρινεισsu de ti su krineiṡ). Referring to the conduct of the “weak” brother in Romans 14:3.

Or thou again (η και συē kai su). Referring to the “strong” brother.

Shall stand before (παραστησομεταparastēsometha). Future middle of παριστημιparistēmi and intransitive, to stand beside (παραpara) with the locative case (τωι βεματιtōi bemati 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 εγωzō egō). “I live.” The lxx here (Isa 45:23) has κατ εμαυτου ομννυωkat' emautou omnnuō “I swear by myself.”

Shall confess to God (εχομολογησεται τωι τεωιexomologēsetai tōi theōi). Future middle of εχομολογεωexomologeō to confess openly (εχex) 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 δωσειlogon dōsei). So Aleph A C rather than αποδωσειapodōsei of Textus Receptus. Common use of λογοςlogos for account (bookkeeping, ledger) as in Luke 16:2.

Verse 13

Let us not therefore judge one another any more (μηκετι ουν αλληλους κρινωμενmēketi oun allēlous krinōmen). 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 τιτεναι προσκομμα τωι αδελπωι η σκανδαλονto mē tithenai proskomma tōi adelphōi ē skandalon). Articular present active infinitive of τιτημιtithēmi in apposition with τουτοtouto accusative case after κρινατεkrinate “Judge this rather, the not putting a stumbling block (see note on Romans 9:32 for προσκομμαproskomma) or a trap (σκανδαλονskandalon Romans 9:33) for his brother” (αδελπωιadelphōi dative of disadvantage).

Verse 14

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus (οιδα και πεπεισμαι εν κυριωι Ιησουoida kai pepeismai en kuriōi Iēsou). He knows it and stands persuaded (perfect passive indicative of πειτωpeithō to persuade), but in the sphere of the Lord Jesus (cf. Romans 9:1), not by mere rational processes.

Unclean of itself (καινον δι εαυτουkainon di' heautou). 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 κοινοςKoinéos not as common to all (Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32), but unhallowed, impure, see note on Mark 7:2, note on Acts 10:14, and note on Acts 10:28. God made all things for their own uses.

Save that (ει μηei mē). The exception lies not in the nature of the food (δι εαυτουdi' heautou), but in the man‘s view of it (to him, εκεινωιekeinōi dative case).

Verse 15

Because of meat (δια βρωμαdia brōma). “Because of food.”

In love (κατα αγαπηνkata agapēn). “According to love” as the regulating principle of life. See note on 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 where Paul pleads for love in place of knowledge on this point.

Destroy not (μη απολλυεmē apollue). Present active imperative of απολλυωapolluō the very argument made in 1 Corinthians 8:10.

With thy meat (τωι βρωματι σουtōi brōmati sou). 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 αγατονhumōn to agathon). “The good thing of you” = the liberty or Christian freedom which you claim.

Be evil spoken of (βλασπημειστωblasphēmeisthō). Present passive imperative of βλασπημεωblasphēmeō for which see note on Matthew 9:3 and Romans 3:8.

Verse 17

The kingdom of God (η βασιλεια του τεουhē basileia tou theou). 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 τουτωιen toutōi). “On the principle implied by these virtues” (Sanday and Headlam).

Approved of men (δοκιμος τοις αντρωποιςdokimos tois anthrōpois). “Acceptable to men.” Stands the test for men. See note on 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 10:18; 2 Timothy 2:15.

Verse 19

So then (αρα ουνara oun). Two inferential particles, “accordingly therefore.”

Let us follow after (διωκωμενdiōkōmen). Present active subjunctive (volitive). “Let us pursue.” Some MSS. have present indicative, “we pursue.”

The things which make for peace (τα της ειρηνηςta tēs eirēnēs). “The things of peace,” literally, genitive case. So “the things of edification for one another” (τα της οικοδομης της εις αλληλουςta tēs oikodomēs tēs eis allēlous).

Verse 20

Overthrow not (μη καταλυεmē katalue). “Destroy not,” “do not loosen down” (carrying on the metaphor in οικοδομηoikodomē building).

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

But it is evil (αλλα κακονalla kakon). Paul changes from the plural κοιναKoinéa to the singular κακονkakon

With offence (δια προσκομματοςdia proskommatos). “With a stumbling-block” as in Romans 14:13. This use of διαdia (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 παγεινto mē phagein). “The not eating.” Articular infinitive (second aorist active of εστιωesthiō) and subject of καλον εστινkalon estin (copula, understood).

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

To drink (πεινpein). Shortened form for πιεινpiein (second aorist active infinitive of πινωpinō).

Whereby (εν ωιen hōi). “On which thy brother stumbleth” (προσκοπτειproskoptei).

Verse 22

Have thou to thyself before God (συκατα σεαυτον εχε ενωπιον του τεουsu̇̇kata seauton eche enōpion tou theou). Very emphatic position of συsu at the beginning of the sentence, “Thou there.” The old MSS. put ηνhēn (relative “which”) after πιστινpistin and before εχειςecheis 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 οι δοκιμαζειen hoi dokimazei). 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 διακρινομενοςho diakrinomenos). Present middle participle of διακρινωdiakrinō to judge between (διαdia), to hesitate. See notes on James 1:6. for this same picture of the double-minded man. Cf. Romans 4:20; Mark 11:23.

Is condemned (κατακεκριταιkatakekritai). Perfect passive indicative of κατακρινωkatakrinō (note καταkatȧ), “stands condemned.”

If he eat (εαν παγηιean phagēi). Third class condition, εανean 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 εστινpan ho ouk ek pisteōs hamartia estin).

Faith (πιστιςpistis) 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)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 14:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 26th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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