The Book of Romans-Chapter 14

(1) Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for passing judgment on his opinions (this chapter will deal with two groups of people, the “weak and the strong.” The “weak” are not those who still follow the Torah, and the “strong” are not those who stopped following the Torah, as many interpreters teach. Gentiles were coming into the faith of Yeshua and attending Jewish synagogues. The behavior of the Gentiles is the focus of this chapter. Acts 15 established certain basic requirements for their participation, even among Jewish people who had not accepted Yeshua yet. These Gentiles needed to adjust their behavior accordingly. They did not have to become Jews, but they were to go to the synagogues, especially on the Sabbath, to learn the Torah-Acts 15.21. Paul again tells the Gentiles to adjust their behavior as they attended the congregation in Rome. Now, keep in mind that there were two groups that Paul deals with here, synagogue Jews who don’t believe in Yeshua and Gentile believers in Yeshua. Paul’s concern was how they related to the non-believing Jews in the synagogue and that the Gentiles were not to act arrogant towards the Jewish non-believer. The idea that someone who followed the Torah was weak is not correct and it goes against what Paul believed and taught-Rom 3.31. What makes someone “strong” is their faith in Yeshua, and what makes someone “weak” is their non-acceptance of Yeshua as Messiah when you understand the Hebraic sense because the meaning has to do with being “unable to do something,” and in this case, believe that Yeshua was the Messiah. It has nothing to do with Torah observance. This is critical to understanding the writings of Paul. Paul considers the faith of those who still don’t believe that Yeshua is Messiah as valid. What they observe in the Torah was given by God and the “strong” should not pass judgment on the “weak”. If Paul believed that believers in Yeshua were no longer to follow the Torah, then he would have counseled the “weak” to change their behavior, but he doesn’t). (2) One man has faith that he may eat all things (permitted by God), but he who is weak eats vegetables (this verse is talking about Jews and their behavior. When Jews did associate with Gentiles, it was common for Jews to not eat the same things because there was a fear among the Jews that the food may have been sacrificed to idols, so they would not eat the meat, but only vegetables, for instance. There is nothing in this verse to give us the impression that this talking about kosher versus unkosher foods). (3) Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him (notice that the actions of the “weak” are accepted by God and they are not told to change their opinion about what they consider proper to eat. The weak are instructed not to judge the strong for their opinions about food also. The rest of the instruction in this section is directed towards the strong). (4) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand (the Lord can make the stumbling, weak one to stand and the strong are to help). (5) One man regards one day above another, another regards everyday. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind (there is nothing here that indicates this is talking about a biblical holy day, like the Sabbath. These were other days that the weak deemed important in that synagogue. Today, for example, if some people in a congregation wanted to celebrate July 4th, there may be some others who don’t. It’s acceptable before God either way). (6) He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to the Lord. (7) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; (8) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (9) For to this end Messiah died and lived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. (10) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do regard your brother with contempt? For we all shall stand before the judgment seat of God (on Rosh ha Shannah, a Yom ha Din). (11) For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall give praise to God.” (12) So then each one of us shall give an account of himself to God (so don’t judge another on how they serve the Lord-1 Cor 8.13). (13) Therefore (for this reason) let us not judge one another any more (he continues to talk to the strong), but rather determine this-not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way (stumbling is associated with being weak. In the Book of Romans, it concerns not only the fact that Yeshua is the Messiah, but that Gentiles have a place in the world to come through him. This was hard for non-believing Jews to understand and some “stumbled” over it). (14) I know and am convinced in the Lord Yeshua that nothing is unclean (“koinos=common) in itself (a camel or a rabbit is not unclean because it is a camel or a rabbit, it is unclean because God said it was); but to him who thinks anything to be unclean (common) to him it is unclean. (15) For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food (and your freedom in Messiah) him for whom Messiah died (Paul is not telling the Gentiles to act as Jews, but he is instructing them to understand the halachah they follow and to place the valid practices the non-believing Jews follow above any “freedom” they think they (the Gentile believer) has. The issues here are not Sabbath or kosher laws, but the halachah (how to walk, live) of the synagogue Jews who do not believe in Yeshua yet and how the believing Gentiles should honor them. There was never any issue among both groups as to whether a camel could be eaten or what day the Sabbath was because those things are clearly seen in the Torah). Therefore, do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil (“blasphemy” in Greek); (17) for the kingdom of God (the life of one following the Lord) is not eating and drinking (external rituals), but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (18) For he who in this way serves Messiah is acceptable to God and approved by men (the non-believing Jews were watching their behavior, so Paul tells them to live a life that the non-believing Jews would approve of as righteous Gentiles who follow the God of Israel). (19) So then let us pursue the things that make for peace and the building up of one another. (20) Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean (common food, Paul is talking about foods that are already clean, unclean foods was not even in this discussion and did not even come up because they didn’t eat them anyway. The context of food here is clean, permitted food. Many use this verse to prove that the food laws are done away with, but remember this verse is talking about synagogue Jews and believing Gentiles who did not eat those things anyway, so it wasn’t an issue here), but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. (21) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine (some Jews did not drink the wine from a Gentile for the same reasons) or do anything by which your brother stumbles (Paul considered his non-believing Jewish person and believing Gentiles as his brother). (22) The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves (Paul is saying that these Gentiles cannot do as they please because that would be sin. True freedom comes from being a hearer and a doer of the Torah, because that is truth. Saying that they are “free from the law” is error. If truth sets free, than error binds. People who are in the Messiah are to be obedient to the Torah). (23) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats (common meat), because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin (faith is knowing what the Scriptures say and doing it. Unbelief and doubting is knowing what the Scriptures say and not doing it, which is sin).

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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