Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Let us therefore follow.—The best MSS. have the indicative mood, “so then we follow.” There is, however, some good support for the Received text, especially in the patristic quotations and versions; and mistakes of this kind were peculiarly liable to be made.

Edify.—The word has unfortunately lost its freshness of meaning, but we have no other single equivalent for it in English. It is the “upbuilding,” or mutual help and assistance in the spiritual life which Christians receive from their intercourse with each other.

Romans 14:19-21. Let us therefore — In consistency with these certain and momentous truths; follow after the things which make for peace — Which tend to procure, preserve, and promote peace among the faithful; and things wherewith one may edify another, may build him up in faith and holiness. Observe, reader, peace and edification are closely connected: practical divinity tends equally to peace and edification. Controversial divinity less directly tends to edification, although sometimes we, as they of old, Nehemiah 4:17, cannot build without it. For meat — For so small a matter as the eating a little meat; or, for the use of any indifferent thing, destroy not the work of God — That work which he builds in the soul by faith, and in the church by concord: do nothing toward destroying it. All things indeed are pure — All meats are, in themselves, lawful; but it, the eating what a person thinks to be prohibited, is evil, sinful, and hurtful, to that man who eateth with offence — So as to offend another thereby, or contrary to the dictates of his own conscience, and insnaring to the consciences of others, And in this view I may affirm, It is good, pleasing to God, and profitable for edification, and therefore every Christian’s duty, neither to eat flesh, &c. — Not only to abstain from what is forbidden in the law of Moses, but from every other thing which gives offence; whereby thy brother stumbleth — By imitating thee against his conscience, contrary to righteousness; or is offended at what thou dost to the loss of his peace; or is made weak, hesitating between imitation and abhorrence, to the loss of that joy in the Lord, which was his strength. Macknight interprets the clause rather differently, thus: “The first of these words, προσκοπτει, stumbleth, (which signifies to dash one’s foot against something without falling, or being much hurt,) expresses the case of a person who, being tempted to commit sin, yields a little to the temptation, but recovers himself: the second, σκανδαλιζεται, from σκαζω, to halt, (meaning to fall and be lamed by stumbling,) expresses the case of one who, through temptation, actually commits sin contrary to his knowledge and conviction: the third, ασθενει, (which signifies to be weakened in consequence of such a fall,) expresses the condition of a person who, by sinning, hath his piety so weakened, that he is in danger of apostatizing.”14:19-23 Many wish for peace, and talk loudly for it, who do not follow the things that make for peace. Meekness, humility, self-denial, and love, make for peace. We cannot edify one another, while quarrelling and contending. Many, for meat and drink, destroy the work of God in themselves; nothing more destroys the soul than pampering and pleasing the flesh, and fulfilling the lusts of it; so others are hurt, by wilful offence given. Lawful things may be done unlawfully, by giving offence to brethren. This takes in all indifferent things, whereby a brother is drawn into sin or trouble; or has his graces, his comforts, or his resolutions weakened. Hast thou faith? It is meant of knowledge and clearness as to our Christian liberty. Enjoy the comfort of it, but do not trouble others by a wrong use of it. Nor may we act against a doubting conscience. How excellent are the blessings of Christ's kingdom, which consists not in outward rites and ceremonies, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost! How preferable is the service of God to all other services! and in serving him we are not called to live and die to ourselves, but unto Christ, whose we are, and whom we ought to serve.Let us therefore follow ... - The object of this verse is to persuade the church at Rome to lay aside their causes of contention, and to live in harmony. This exhortation is founded on the considerations which the apostle had presented, and may be regarded as the conclusion to which the argument had conducted him.

The things which make for peace - The high purposes and objects of the Christian religion, and not those smaller matters which produce strife. If men aim at the great objects proposed by the Christian religion, they will live in peace. If they seek to promote their private ends, to follow their own passions and prejudices, they will be involved in strife and contention. There "are" great common objects before "all" Christians in which they can unite, and in the pursuit of which they will cultivate a spirit of peace. Let them all strive for holiness; let them seek to spread the gospel; let them engage in circulating the Bible, or in doing good in any way to others, and their smaller matters of difference will sink into comparative unimportance, and they will unite in one grand purpose of saving the world. Christians have more things in which they "agree" than in which they differ. The points in which they are agreed are of infinite importance; the points on which they differ are commonly some minor matters in which they may "agree to differ," and still cherish love for all who bear the image of Christ.

And things wherewith ... - That is, those things by which we may render "aid" to our brethren; the doctrines, exhortations, counsels, and other helps which may benefit them in their Christian life.

May edify - The word "edify" means properly to "build," as a house; then to "rebuild" or "reconstruct;" then to adorn or ornament; then to do any thing that will confer favor or advantage, or which will further an object. Applied to the church, it means to do anything by teaching, counsel, advice, etc. which will tend to promote its great object; to aid Christians, to enable them to surmount difficulties, to remove their ignorance, etc.; Acts 9:31; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 14:4. In these expressions the idea of a "building" is retained, reared on a firm, tried cornerstone, the Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 2:20; Isaiah 28:16. Compare Romans 9:33. Christians are thus regarded, according to Paul's noble idea Ephesians 2:20-22, as one great temple erected for the glory of God, having no separate interest, but as united for one object, and therefore bound to do all that is possible, that each other may be suited to their appropriate place, and perform their appropriate function in perfecting and adorning this temple of God.

19. the things, &c.—more simply, "the things of peace, and the things of mutual edification." This verse is the application of the foregoing discourse, in which you have an exhortation to the practice of two great duties. The one is peace, or peaceableness; the other is mutual edification. He had persuaded before to peace with all men, Romans 12:18; and here he speaks more especially of peace and concord amongst brethren: see 2 Corinthians 13:11 Ephesians 4:3 Colossians 3:15 1 Thessalonians 5:13 Hebrews 12:14. This peace is very necessary, and Christians should endeavour all things that will promote it, and avoid all things that will obstruct it. And they must not only live peaceably, but profitably one with another. They should build one another up in grace and knowledge. Let us therefore follow after the things, Since the kingdom of God is in part peace, and the man that serves Christ in this, as in other things, is accepted with God, and grateful to men, the apostle very pertinently exhorts to seek after such things,

which make for peace: not with God, for, for a sinful creature to make peace with God is impracticable and impossible, nor is there any exhortation to it in all the word of God; and if there was, it would be unnecessary here; since the persons here exhorted were such for whom peace with God was made by Christ, and who had a clear and comfortable sense of it in their own souls; and besides, for any to be put upon, or to attempt to make their peace with God, must highly reflect upon the methods of God's grace, in reconciling sinners to himself; and be injurious to the blood, sacrifice, and satisfaction of Christ, by which only peace is made: but the apostle means, either what makes for a man's own peace, or for the peace of others; the things which make for a man's own peace in his own conscience distressed with sin, are looking to, and dealing with the blood of Christ, which speaks peace and pardon; and the righteousness of Christ, which being apprehended by faith, a soul has peace with God through Christ; and also an embracing the Gospel, and the truths of it, which direct to Christ, which publish peace, and are the means of increasing and establishing a solid and well grounded peace, on the free grace of God and merits of Christ: attending on ordinances, and exercising a conscience void of offence towards God and men, are means of continuing and promoting a man's peace; he enjoys peace in them, though he do not derive it from them; yea, in the peace of others, is a man's own peace; and this is what is chiefly meant, a pursuing of things which make for the peace of others; of all men, and especially of saints; this is what should be eagerly followed after, closely pursued, and all ways and means should be made use of, to promote and secure it: this is the will of God; it is well pleasing to Christ, and a fruit of the Spirit; it is one part of the Gospel dispensation; church fellowship cannot be profitable and pleasant without it; it suits with the character of saints, who are sons of peace; and agrees with their privileges they enjoy, or have a right unto, as spiritual peace here, and eternal peace hereafter;

and things wherewith one may edify another. The church is often compared to a building, to a temple, a city, an house, and saints are the materials thereof; who are capable of being edified, or built up, yet more and more, both by words and by deeds; by words, by the ministry of the word, which is set up and continued among other things, for the edifying of the body of Christ; by praying with, and for each other; and by Christian conversation, about the experience of the grace of God, and doctrines of the Gospel, whereby saints may be useful in building up one another in their most holy faith; and so likewise by avoiding all filthy, frothy, and corrupt communication; all angry words and wrathful expressions, which tend not to profit, and are not for the use of edifying, but the contrary: moreover, edification is promoted by deeds, by acts of charity, or love; for charity edifies not by bare words but by loving in deed and in truth, by serving one another in love; for the spiritual body of Christ his church, makes increase unto the edifying of itself in love; and also by laying aside the use of things indifferent, when disagreeable to any of the brethren; for though all things may be lawful to be done by us, yet all things do not edify the brethren; and things which make for the edification of the body, as well as our own, are diligently to be sought after. The Vulgate Latin version, and some copies, read, "let us keep", or "observe those things wherewith one may edify another".

{18} Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

(18) A general conclusion: the use of this liberty, indeed, and our whole life, ought to be concerned with the edifying of one another, insomuch that we consider that thing unlawful, by reason of the offence of our brother, which is of itself pure and lawful.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 14:19. Exhortation, inferred from the doctrinal proposition, Romans 14:17; not a question (Buttmann).

τὰ τῆς εἰρ.] what belongs to peace, composes the substance of peace, not different in matter of fact from τὴν εἰρήνην. See Bernhardy, p. 325 f.; Kühner, II. 1, p. 230.

τῆς οἰκοδομῆς] figurative designation of perfecting (here active) in the Christian life. Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Corinthians 13:10; 1 Corinthians 14:4. According to the context in each case, the individual, as here, or the church, or the whole Christian body, is a building of God (of which Christ is the foundation, 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20-21), on which the work of building is to proceed until the Parousia.

εἰς ἀλλήλ.] οἰκοδομεῖτε εἰς τὸν ἕνα, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.Romans 14:19. ἄρα οὖν: see Romans 14:12. τὰ τῆς εἰρήνης is not materially different from τὴν εἰρήνην: all that belongs to, makes for, peace: we cannot argue from its use here that the word must have exactly the same shade of meaning in Romans 14:17. διώκωμεν: the indicative διώκομεν is very strongly supported, and would indicate the actual pursuit of all true Christians: “Our aim is peace,” and τὰ τῆς οἰκοδομῆς τῆς εἰς ἀλλήλους = mutual upbuilding. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 14:26. The practical rule implied here is that, when anything is morally indifferent to me, before I act on that conviction, I must ask how such action will affect the peace of the Church, and the Christian growth of others.19. the things which make for peace] Lit. the things of peace. So below, the things of mutual edification.—For remarks on the harmony between St Paul’s eirenicon here and his stern warnings (e.g. in Galatians 1) against foundation-error, see long note on Romans 14:1 above.

edify] Cp. Romans 15:2.—The metaphor here has its usual (but not invariable) reference to the state and growth not of the individual but of the community.Romans 14:19. Εἰρήνης, οἰκοδομῆς, of peace, of edification) These two things are very closely connected. Theology is in itself a peace-maker and is designed for edification. Controversy is not so directly useful for edification, although it should sometimes be added.—Comp. Nehem. Romans 4:17.Verses 19-21. - Let us therefore follow after the things that make for (literally, the things of) peace, and the things wherewith one may edify another (literally, the things of the edification of one another). For meat's sake destroy not the work of God. "Destroy," or rather, overthrow - the word is κατάλυε, not ἀππόλλυε as in ver. 15 - is connected in thought with the edification, or building up (οἰκοδομήν) before spoken cf. "The work of God" is that of his grace in the weak Christian's soul, growing, it may be, to full assurance of faith (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9," ye are God's building"). Upset not the rising structure, which is God's own, as ye may do by putting a stumbling-block in the weak brother's way. All things indeed are pure (i.e. in themselves all God's gifts given for man's service are so); but it is evil to that man who eateth with offence (i.e. if the eating be to himself a stumbling-block. The idea is the same as in ver. 14). It is good (καλὸν, not of indispensable obligation, but a right and noble thing to do) neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. The concluding words in italics are of doubtful authority: they are not required for the sense. For St. Paul's expression of his own readiness to deny himself lawful things, if he might so avoid offence to weak brethren, cf. 1 Corinthians 8:13. Things which make for peace (τὰ τῆς εἰρήνης)

Lit. the things of peace. So the next clause, things of edification. See on build you up, Acts 20:32. Edification is upbuilding.

One another (τῆς εἰς ἀλλήλους)

The Greek phrase has a defining force which is lost in the translations. Lit., things of edification, that, namely, which is with reference to one another. The definite article thus points Paul's reference to individuals rather than to the Church as a whole.

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