Romans 14

Chapter 14

The Weak and the Strong in the Community.[a] 1 Welcome anyone whose faith is weak, but do not get into arguments about doubts. 2 One person may have the faith to eat any kind of food, whereas a weak person may eat only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not look contemptuously on the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed both. 4 What right do you have to pass judgment on someone else’s servant? The master will determine whether that servant will stand or fall. But the servant will be upheld, for the Lord has the power to enable him to stand.

5 One person may consider one day to be more sacred than another, while another may judge all days to be alike. Let everyone be convinced in his own beliefs. 6 Whoever observes the day observes it for the Lord. Also, the one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and thereby also gives thanks to God.

7 None of us lives for himself, and none of us dies for himself. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 It was for this reason that Christ died and came to life again: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why then do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? All of us will have to stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord,
every knee shall bow before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

12 Consideration for the Weak Conscience. So, then, each one of us will have to give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore, let us cease passing judgment on one another, but rather judge never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know, and am convinced in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. However, it is unclean for someone who believes it to be unclean.

15 If your brother is seriously offended by what you eat, then you are no longer being guided by love. Do not allow the food that you eat to destroy anyone for whom Christ died. 16 Do not let what you think is good to become what others say is evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 The one who serves Christ in such things is pleasing to God and respected by others.

19 Let us[b] then pursue the ways that lead to peace and mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to cause others to fall by what you eat. 21 It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes your brother to stumble.

22 Whatever faith you have, keep it between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to condemn himself because of what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not act from faith. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.


  1. Romans 14:1 Two groups or tendencies are already manifested in the early Christian communities. Some cling, though not without some scruples, to the religious practices in which they have been reared: refusal of sacrificed meats or abstentions from foods on certain days—and these may be termed “the weak.” Others, in the same freedom of the Gospel, criticize the former—and these may be termed “the strong.” The text evokes a situation like that in Corinth (1 Cor 8:4-13).
    Paul has always been categorically opposed to confusing grace with the Law; he has refused to impose either Jewish or Gentile practices on new converts and has declared that all ancient religious practices are excluded as a way to gain justification. He is undoubtedly also aware of the teaching of Jesus concerning what is clean and unclean (Mk 7:1-23). Moreover, he has never refused to allow Christians of Jewish origin to esteem attachment to their religious tradition. He has put clamps on the new freedom only when such freedom turns into provocative pretense and an attitude of superiority.
    Freedom is not given to enable someone to criticize others; it does not consist in remonstrating with others about theory or comportment. No principle of freedom can lead to an attitude of scorn or incomprehension. Christians maintain a desire for the salvation of all, and regard everyone as a brother or sister for whom Christ died. They are open to safeguard the relations and exchanges of a varied and pluralist community. Profound respect for the conscience of each person is required, as is the refusal to judge one another. Most important, all must have the freedom to act according to their consciences before God (see Acts 15).
  2. Romans 14:19 Let us: some manuscripts and Fathers of the Church have: “We.”

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