Romans 14
Vincent's Word Studies
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Weak in the faith

Probably referring to a class of Jewish Christians with Essenic tendencies. Better, as Rev., in faith, the reference being to faith in Christ, not to christian doctrine. See on Acts 6:7.

Receive ye (προσλαμβάνεσθε)

Into fellowship. See on Matthew 16:22.

Doubtful disputations (διακρίσεις διαλογισμῶν)

Lit., judgings of thoughts. The primary meaning of διαλογισμός is a thinking-through or over. Hence of those speculations or reasonings in one's mind which take the form of scruples. See on Mark 7:21. Διάκρισις has the same sense as in the other two passages where it occurs (1 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 5:14); discerning with a view to forming a judgment. Hence the meaning is, "receive these weak brethren, but not for the purpose of passing judgment upon their scruples."

For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Believeth that he may eat (πιστεύει φαγεῖν)

The A.V. conveys the sense of having an opinion, thinking. But the point is the strength or weakness of the man's faith (see Romans 14:1) as it affects his eating. Hence Rev., correctly, hath faith to eat.

Herbs (λάχανα)

From λαχαίνω to dig. Herbs grown on land cultivated by digging: garden-herbs, vegetables. See on Mark 4:32; see on Luke 12:42.

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Despise (ἐξουθενείτω)

The verb means literally to throw out as nothing. Rev., better, set at nought.

Judge (κρινέτω)

Judgment is assigned to the weak brother, contempt to the stronger. Censoriousness is the peculiar error of the ascetic, contemptuousness of the liberal. A distinguished minister once remarked: "The weak brother is the biggest bully in the universe!" Both extremes are allied to spiritual pride.

Hath received (προσελάβετο)

The aorist points to a definite time - when he believed on Christ, though there is still a reference to his present relation to God as determined by the fact of his reception then, which may warrant the rendering by the perfect.

Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Who art thou? (σὺ τίς εἷ)

Thou, first in the Greek order and peculiarly emphatic. Addressing the weak brother, since judgest corresponds with judge in Romans 14:3.

Servant (οἰκέτην)

Strictly, household servant. See on 1 Peter 2:18. He is a servant in Christ's household. Hence not another man's, as A.V., but the servant of another, as Rev. Ἁλλότριον of another is an adjective.

He shall be holden up (σταθήσεται)

Rev., shall be made to stand; better, both because the rendering is more truthful, and because it corresponds with the kindred verb stand - he standeth, make him stand.

Is able (δυνατεῖ)

Stronger than δύναται can. The sense is, is mighty. Hence Rev., hath power.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Esteemeth every day alike (κρίνει πᾶσαν ἡμέραν)

Alike is inserted. Lit., judgeth every day; subjects every day to moral scrutiny.

Be fully persuaded (πληροφορεῖσθω)

Better, Rev., assured. See on most surely believed, Luke 1:1.

In his own mind

"As a boat may pursue its course uninjured either in a narrow canal or in a spacious lake" (Bengel).

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
He that regardeth not - doth not regard it


For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
To himself

But unto Christ. See Romans 14:8. Hence the meaning "a Christian should live for others," so often drawn from these words, is not the teaching of the passage.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Might be Lord (κυριεύση)

Lit., might Lord it over. Justifying the term Lord applied to Christ in Romans 14:6, Romans 14:8.

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Why dost thou judge (σὺ τί κρίνεις)

Thou emphatic, in contrast with the Lord. So Rev., "thou, why dost thou Judge?" Referring to the weak brother. Compare judge as in Romans 14:4. The servant of another is here called brother.

Judgment seat of Christ (τῷ βήματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ)

The best texts read Θεοῦ of God So Rev. For judgment-seat, see on to set his foot on, Acts 7:5.

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
As I live, etc.

From Isaiah 45:23. Hebrew: By myself I swear... that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Septuagint the same, except shall swear by God.

Shall confess (ἐξομολογήσεται)

Primarily, to acknowledge, confess, or profess from (ἐξ) the heart. To make a confession to one's honor; thence to praise. So Luke 10:21 (Rev., in margin, praise for thank); Romans 15:9. Here, as Rev. in margin, shall give praise. See on Matthew 11:25.

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
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.

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
I know - am persuaded (οἶδα - πέπεισμαι)

"A rare conjunction of words, but fitted here to confirm against ignorance and doubt" (Bengel). For I know, see on John 2:4. The persuasion is not the result of his own reasoning, but of his fellowship in the Lord Jesus. So Rev, for by the Lord, etc.

Unclean (κοινὸν)

Lit., common. In the Levitical sense, as opposed to holy or pure. Compare Mark 7:2, "With defiled (κοιναῖς common), that is to say, with unwashen hands." See Acts 10:14.

But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Be grieved (λυπεῖται)

The close connection with destroy indicates that the meaning falls short of be destroyed, but is stronger than made to feel pain. It is a hurt to conscience, which, while not necessarily fatal, may lead to violation or hardening of conscience, and finally to fall. Compare 1 Corinthians 8:9-12.

Meat (βρῶμα)

A general term for food.

Charitably (κατὰ ἀγάπην)

Lit., according to love. Rev. in love. See on 2 Peter 1:6.

Him (ἐκεῖνον)

The pronoun has a strongly defining force, explained by the following phrase.

Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Your good (ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν)

Referring, most probably, to the liberty of the strong. Others think that the whole Church is addressed, in which case good would refer to the gospel doctrine.

Be evil spoken of (βλασφημείσθω)

See on blasphemy, Mark 7:22. In 1 Corinthians 10:30, it is used of evil-speaking by members of the Church, which favors the reference of good to the strong.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
The kingdom of God

See on Luke 6:20, and compare Matthew 3:2. "The heavenly sphere of life in which God's word and Spirit govern, and whose organ on earth is the Church" (Lange). Not the future, messianic kingdom.

Meat and drink (βρῶσις καὶ πόσις)

Rev., eating and drinking. Both words, however, occur frequently in the sense of A.V. Meat (βρῶμα), that which is eaten, occurs in Romans 14:15. The corresponding word for that which is drunk (πῶμα) is not found in the New Testament, though πόμα drink occurs 1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 9:10, and both in classical and New-Testament Greek, πόσις the act of drinking is used also for that which is drunk. See John 6:55. A somewhat similar interchange of meaning appears in the popular expression, such a thing is good eating; also in the use of living for that by which one lives.

Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη)

On its practical, ethical side, as shown in moral rectitude toward men.

Peace (εἰρήνη)

Not peace with God, reconciliation, as Romans 5:1, but mutual concord among Christians.

Joy (χαρὰ)

Common joy, arising out of the prevalence of rectitude and concord in the Church. The whole chapter is concerned with the mutual relations of Christians, rather than with their relations to God

In the Holy Ghost

Most commentators construe this with joy only. Meyer says it forms one phrase. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:6 While this may be correct, I see no objection to construing the words with all these terms. So Godet: "It is this divine guest who, by His presence, produces them in the Church."

For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
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.

For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Destroy (κατάλυε)

A different word from that In Romans 14:15. It means to loosen down, and is used of the destruction of buildings. Hence according with edification in Romans 14:19. See on Mark 13:2; see on Acts 5:38.

Work of God

The christian brother, whose christian personality is God's work. See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; James 1:18.

With offense (διὰ προσκόμματος)

Against his own conscientious scruple. Lit., through or amidst offense.

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
To eat flesh - drink wine

The two points of the weak brother's special scruple. Omit or is offended or is made weak.

Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Hast thou faith (σὺ πίστιν ἔχεις)

The best texts insert ἣν which. "The faith which thou hast have thou to thyself," etc. So Rev.

Condemneth not himself (κρίνων)

Rev., better, judgeth. Who, in settled conviction of the rightness of his action, subjects himself to no self-judgment after it.

Alloweth (δοκιμάζει)

Rev., approveth. See on 1 Peter 1:7. "Christian practice ought to be out of the sphere of morbid introspection."

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

In Christ. "So far as it brings with it the moral confidence as to what in general and under given circumstances is the right christian mode of action" (Meyer).

Some authorities insert here the doxology at Romans 16:25-27. According to some, the Epistle to the Romans closed with this chapter. Chapter 16 was a list of disciples resident at different points on the route, who were to be greeted. Phoebe is first named because Cenchreae would be the first stage.

Ephesus would be the next stage, where Aquila and Priscilla would be found. Chapter 15 was a sort of private missive to be communicated to all whom the messengers should visit on the way. The question seems to be almost wholly due to the mention of Aquila and Priscilla in ch. 16, and to the fact that there is no account of their migration from Ephesus to Rome, and of an after-migration again to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19). But see on Romans 16:14.

Others claim that chs. 1-11, 16. were the original epistle; that Phoebe's journey was delayed, and that, in the interval, news from Rome led Paul to add 12-15.

Others again, that ch. 16 was written from Rome to Ephesus.

Against these theories is the stubborn fact that of the known extant MSS. of Paul (about three hundred) all the MSS. hitherto collated, including all the most important, give these chapters in the received connection and order, with the exception of the doxology. See on the doxology, ch. 16.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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