Romans 14:13
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Judge this rather.—The word “judge” forms the connecting-link between what follows and what has gone before. If any judgment is to be formed at all, let it be rather as a principle to guide our own action, and not in the shape of a criticism upon others. This principle, in the case of those who are themselves liberal and large-minded, should be not to put temptation in the way of their weaker brethren.

Stumblingblock or an occasion to fall.—The same words that occur in Romans 9:33. That translated “occasion to fall,” is the origin of our word “scandal.” It is properly a trap or snare. Both the idea and the word are found in Matthew 18:6 (= Mark 9:42), where it is disguised by the translation “offend,” in the sense of “cause to stumble.” The same translation appears frequently elsewhere. One of the special characteristics of Christianity is its tenderness for the weak

Romans 14:13. Let us not therefore judge one another any more — Seeing that judgment belongs to Christ. “The apostle’s meaning is, Since we are all the servants of Christ, and are to be judged by him at the last day, we ought not to usurp his prerogative, by pronouncing one another profane, or bigoted, or wicked, merely because we differ in opinion about matters, concerning which Christ hath commanded us to judge for ourselves. Nevertheless, notorious wickedness, whether in principle or practice, whereby society is injured,” and God dishonoured, “being a matter subject to no doubt, we ought not only to judge and condemn in our own minds every instance thereof, but should rebuke those sharply who are guilty of it.” But judge this rather — Instead of judging others, let us observe this as an important rule for our conduct; that no man put a stumbling-block — Any cause of stumbling; or an occasion to fall — Into sin; in his brother’s way — Hindering him in his way to heaven: let us do nothing, how indifferent soever it may be in itself, which may tend to prejudice, discourage, or mislead any other Christian; especially let us not, by an unseasonable use of our Christian liberty, induce him to act against his conscience, or with a doubting conscience, or unnecessarily move him to hate or judge us.14:7-13 Though some are weak, and others are strong, yet all must agree not to live to themselves. No one who has given up his name to Christ, is allowedly a self-seeker; that is against true Christianity. The business of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God. That is true Christianity, which makes Christ all in all. Though Christians are of different strength, capacities, and practices in lesser things, yet they are all the Lord's; all are looking and serving, and approving themselves to Christ. He is Lord of those that are living, to rule them; of those that are dead, to revive them, and raise them up. Christians should not judge or despise one another, because both the one and the other must shortly give an account. A believing regard to the judgment of the great day, would silence rash judgings. Let every man search his own heart and life; he that is strict in judging and humbling himself, will not be apt to judge and despise his brother. We must take heed of saying or doing things which may cause others to stumble or to fall. The one signifies a lesser, the other a greater degree of offence; that which may be an occasion of grief or of guilt to our brother.Let us not therefore judge ... - Since we are to give account of ourselves at the same tribunal; since we must be there on the same "level," let us not suppose that we have a right here to sit in judgment on our fellow-Christians.

But judge this rather - If disposed to "judge," let us be employed in a better kind of judging; let us come "to a determination" not to injure the cause of Christ. This is an instance of the happy "turn" which the apostle would give to a discussion. Some people have an irresistible propensity to sit in judgment, to pronounce opinions. Let them make good use of that. It will be well to exercise it on what can do no injury, and which may turn to good account. Instead of forming a judgment about "others," let the man form a determination about his own conduct.

That no man ... - A "stumbling-block" literally means anything laid in a man's path, over which he may fall. In the Scriptures, however, the word is used commonly in a figurative sense to denote anything which shall cause him to "sin," as sin is often represented by "falling;" see the note at Matthew 5:29. And the passage means that we should resolve to act so as not "by any means" to be the occasion of leading our brethren into sin, either by our example, or by a severe and harsh judgment, provoking them to anger, or exciting jealousies, and envyings, and suspicions. No better rule than this could be given to promote peace. If every Christian, instead of judging his brethren severely, would resolve that "he" would so live as to promote peace, and so as not to lead others into sin, it would tend more, perhaps, than any other thing to advance the harmony and purity of the church of Christ.

13. Let us not therefore judge—"assume the office of judge over"

one another; but judge this rather, &c.—a beautiful sort of play upon the word "judge," meaning, "But let this be your judgment, not to put a stumbling-block," &c.

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: q.d. Seeing all must be judged by Christ, let us no more judge one another, but mend this fault for time to come.

But judge this rather: hitherto his counsel was more general, respecting both the strong and the weak. Here he begins, in a more particular manner, to apply himself to the more strong and knowing Christians; counselling them to take heed, lest, by the abuse of their Christian liberty, they should be an offence to them that were weak and more ignorant. He entereth upon this with an elegant transition, making use of the same word in a different sense; for he doth not speak contraries, when he says, judge not, but judge; for the word in the former part of the verse signifies, to condemn and censure; but here, in the following part, to deliberate or consider: q.d. Instead of judging others, let us look upon this as a rule for ourselves, and our own deportment, that we put no stumblingblock, &c.

That no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way: q.d. Take heed of offending your brethren in any kind; do not, by an unseasonable use of your liberty, either drive them from their Christian profession, or provoke them to imitate you, and so to sin against their consciences. You have a parallel text, 1 Corinthians 8:9. There he speaks only of a stumblingblock; here he adds an occasion of falling, or, as it is in the original, a scandal. Though these two words do differ in their etymologies, yet they have one and the same signification. The latter word, as Stephanus observes, is peculiar to Holy Scripture, and seldom, if ever, used in any common author: it signifieth, properly, the bridge in a trap, which, by its falling down, catcheth a creature in a snare, and so occasions its ruin; and from thence it is used to denote any thing which is an occasion to others of stumbling or falling; any thing whereby we so offend another, as that he is hindered from good, drawn into or confirmed in evil. Scandal, or offence, is either passive or active. Passive scandal is, when that which is good is, by reason of man’s corruption, an occasion of fillling to him. So Christ himself, and his doctrine, was a scandal to the Jews: see 1 Corinthians 1:23 1 Peter 2:8. Active scandal is, when any thing is done or said which gives occasion of offence to others, when it is an occasion of grief, or of sin to them, Romans 14:15,21. This occasion may be administered, either by evil counsel, Matthew 16:23 Revelation 2:14; or by evil example, Isaiah 9:16 Matthew 15:14; or by the abuse of Christian liberty in things indifferent, 1 Corinthians 8:9. Let us not therefore judge one another more,.... With respect to the observance or non-observance of the laws relating to meats and drinks, and days, and times; the apostle means, that they should not judge rashly, nor anything before the time; they should not censure and judge each other's characters and states, on account of these things, but leave all to the decisive day, to Christ the Judge, and to his bar, before which all must stand:

but judge this rather; or reckon this to be the most proper, fit, and advisable:

that no man put a stumblingblock or occasion to fall in his brother's way; as in the former part of the advice the apostle seems to have respect more especially to the weak brethren, who were ready to judge and condemn such as neglected the observance of the laws about meats and days, as transgressors, and as wicked persons, that ought not to be in the communion of the church; so in this he seems more principally to have regard to the stronger brethren; who, through their imprudent use of their Christian liberty, offended weaker minds, and were the occasion of their stumbling and falling, which it became them to be careful to prevent; and rather than be a means of anything of this nature, it was much better, as he afterwards observes, neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, and entirely drop or forego the use of their liberty.

{12} Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge {m} this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

(12) After he has concluded what is not to be done, he shows what is to be done: that is, we must take heed that we do not utterly abuse our liberty and cast down our brother who is not yet strong.

(m) He rebukes along the way these malicious judgers of others who occupy their heads about nothing, but to find fault with their brethren's life, whereas they should rather focus their minds upon this, that they do not with disdainfulness either cast their brethren completely down, or give them any offence.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 14:13. Μηκέτι (no more, as hitherto) ἀλλήλους κρίνωμεν is deduced (οὖν) from ἕκαστος ἡμῶν κ.τ.λ.; but κρίνωμεν here refers, as ἀλλήλ. shows, to both parties.

κρίνατε] antanaclasis: the same word, in order to make the contrast striking (for to the κρίνειν which is against one’s duty that which is in accordance with duty is opposed), is repeated, but with the modification of reference and of sense, that it addresses the freer Christians (for it was they who gave the offence), and means in general: let this be your judgment, your moral maxim in this point. On the infinitive with the article after a preparatory demonstrative, comp. 2 Corinthians 2:1; Xen. de Rep. Lac. 9. 1, and see Haase in loc.; Breitenbach, ad Xen. Oec. 14. 10.

πρόσκομμα and σκάνδαλον: both quite synonymous in the metaphorical sense: moral stumbling-block, an occasion for acting contrary to conscience. But τιθέναι refers to the original proper sense of the two words. Comp. on Romans 9:32-33, Romans 11:9; LXX. Leviticus 19:14; Jdt 5:1. The twofold designation is an earnest and exhaustive expression of the idea; hence to attempt a real distinction between the synonyms, which differ only figuratively (stone … trap), is arbitrary.

Romans 14:13-23. Christians ought not, therefore, mutually to condemn one another, but rather to have the principle of giving no offence, Romans 14:13. Further elucidation of this principle, and exhortations to compliance with it.Romans 14:13-23. The Apostle now proceeds to argue the question of Christian conduct in things indifferent from another point of view—that of the influence which our conduct may have on others, and of the consideration which is due to them. μηκέτι οὖν ἀλλήλους κρίνωμεν: thus much follows from what has been said already, and κρίνωμεν therefore forbids both the censorious and the contemptuous estimate of others. ἀλλὰ τοῦτο κρίνατε μᾶλλον: be this your judgment rather. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 7:37. τὸ μὴ τιθέναι πρόσκομμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ: this is of course addressed to the liberal party. For πρόσκομμα see 1 Corinthians 8:9. The word does not occur in the Gospels, but it is a remarkable fact that in most of our Lord’s express teaching about sin, it is sin in the character of σκάνδαλον, a snare or stumbling-block to others, with which He deals. Paul develops his ideas quite freely from his conception of faith, but in all probability he was familiar with what Jesus taught (Matthew 18).13. judge this rather] The verb “to judge” is used elsewhere (e.g. Acts 20:16,) in the sense of “to decide, to determine.” Here, of course, it is so used with epigrammatic emphasis just after the use of it in the ordinary sense.

that no man put, &c.] Wonderfully does this passage shew the harmony of true Christian independence with Christian unselfishness. The Gospel teaches that man has not merely a right to his opinion; a truth which, taken alone, leads to little save mutual repulsion or indifference. It teaches that he is responsible for his opinion to the Lord; and this leads his Christian neighbour to thoughtful watchfulness lest his own example should lead another astray in this deep matter of forming the opinions for which account must be given.—See 1 Corinthians 8 throughout for illustrations.Romans 14:13. Κρίνατε, judge ye) A beautiful Mimesis[149] in relation to that which precedes, [If we are to judge, be this our judgment] let us no longer judge. [This matter requires diligent attention.—V. g.]—πρόσκομμα, a stumbling-block) if a brother be compelled by one to do the same thing [as one’s self], Romans 14:20.—σκάνδαλον, an offence) if he, the same, abhors you, for what you have done.

[149] See Appendix. An allusion to some word or thing previous which had been the subject of refutation; as here, judging.Stumbling-block (πρόσκομμα)

Compare Romans 9:32, Romans 9:33; Romans 14:20. Σκάνδαλον occasion of falling is also rendered stumbling-block in other passages. Some regard the two as synonymous, others as related to different results in the case of the injured brother. So Godet, who refers stumbling-block to that which results in a wound, and cause of stumbling to that which causes a fall or sin.

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