ROMANS 14:1-15:7

(Class Questions and Answers)

by:  Joe R. Price


Outline of Romans 14:1-15:7:






Romans 14 was written to help Christians achieve unity among themselves in the area of liberty, i.e., matters which in and of themselves are indifferent before God. The old adage, in matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, charity" appropriately applies to the context of Romans 14.


Unfortunately, some are not content to apply Romans 14 only to matters of opinion or liberty. They insist that Romans 14 should be appealed to as a basis for unity in doctrinal matters. Toleration for the use of instrumental music in worship, institutionalism, denominationalism, homosexuality, adultery, divorce and remarriage, fellowship with false teachers and much more has been advocated using Romans 14 (some brethren are now pressing this sort of use of Romans 14) . Unity in diversity - the belief and practice that we can differ in doctrine and still be united in Christ - has lifted Romans 14 out of its proper context and application to make God's word say something never intended by the Holy Spirit.


Our task will be to understand what Romans 14:1-15:7 teaches and how it applies today. In addition to these questions we are providing an article on Romans 14 entitled "Faith and Opinion: A Study of Romans 14" by Roy H. Lanier. It first appeared in The Spiritual Sword in January, 1993. It was latter reproduced in Guardian of Truth, September, 1993. This article sets out some things which are not under consideration in Romans 14. This is a good starting point to help us determine what is under consideration.



-(Commentary on Romans, R. L. Whiteside, pages 266-267):


"In this chapter and in 1 Cor., chapters 8 and 10:14-33, Paul discusses the matter of eating meat; but in the main the points of emphasis in the two letters are different. In Corinthians he warns brethren against eating meat under circumstances that might lead others to eat certain meat in honor of an idol, but the main point in this fourteenth chapter is somewhat different. The Christian Jews, at least, many of them, had not entirely broken away from the law of Moses. They observed certain days, and were disposed to condemn the Gentile Christians for not doing so. They would not eat meat that the law declared unclean. Some ate only herbs, lest they might eat meat that had been dedicated to an idol. The Gentile Christians would consider their conduct as foolishness. Perhaps some Gentile converts, having been used to eating certain meats dedicated to idols, feared to eat any meat, lest they honor an idol in so doing. All these matters were grounds for a lot of criticisms and strife."


1. Identify the following as used in the context of Romans 14:

a. Faith (14:1, 5, 22-23; 15:7; cf. 2 Jno. 9-11; Jude 3):

-In Romans 14, "faith" is defined & used as personal scruples, 14:1; as being "fully assured in (one's) own mind," 14:5; as the opposite of "doubt," 14:23; & as that which is personally held before God, 14:22. {cf. v. 2 - "Faith" to eat all things is the confidence or assurance to do so.}

-It is the confidence to use a liberty granted by God (14:22).

-NOT the revealed faith once for all delivered (Jude 3; 2 Jno. 9-11).

-We are commanded not to receive one who comes teaching a different "faith" or doctrine (2 Jno. 10). Yet, Romans 14:1 says "receive" the weak in "faith."

-Obviously, two different sorts of "faith" are being discussed in these passages.

-"Where Christ speaks, conscience ceases to be a criterion of conduct."   (Moses E. Lard, Commentary on Romans, 414)



                    FAITH                                    |              FAITH

  Things Commanded  |   Things forbidden           |     Things Allowed

                2 John 9-11; Jude 3                                      |         Romans 14:1


                  Romans 14           ||               2 John 9-11

             Accepted by God         ||      Rejected       Accepted

                 eat | not eat           ||     transgress  |  not transgress


        Romans 14             ||                 2 John 9-11

1. Receive - v. 1             ||       1. Receive not - v. 10

2. Differences can          ||       2.  Differences must

      continue - v. 5          ||            stop - v. 9

3. Matters allowed but  ||       3.  Matters of revealed faith - v. 9

    not commanded -      ||

    vss. 2, 5, 14                ||


b. The weak (14:1-2; cf. 1 Cor. 8:7):

-Weak in conscience, not in the revealed faith.

-cf. 1 Cor. 8:7-12 [parallel passage], where "weak" refers to one who is "without knowledge" regarding idols (v. 7). For them to eat meat which had been sacrificed would cause them to be "defiled" because "their conscience" was weak.

-In a context describing the conscience of a Christian over matters of opinion (cf. "Faith" below, and # 4).

-"This weakness in faith consisted in doubts as to the propriety of eating meat, and not in the truth that Jesus is the Christ."  (Whiteside, 267)   - cf. Rom. 14:20, 23.

-PROBLEM: In context, "the weak" is the one who:

-Does not eat meat - 14:2, 6. (Either due to continued application of OT unclean meat laws or to avoid eating meat previously dedicated to an idol.)

-Was "judging" (condemning) his brother for eating meat - 14:3, 10. (As somehow being less spiritual or committed to Christ because he ate meat.)


c. The strong (14:1-2; cf. 1 Cor. 8:1, 4, 8-9):

-Strong in conscience - without doubt. In this person, a knowledge of truth is combined with assurance of heart in this person, so that no defilement of conscience occurs in optional matters like eating meats and observing days. - cf. 14:5, 22, 23.

-1 Cor. 8:1, 4, 8-9 - One who has knowledge and the ability to act consistently with that knowledge so as not to defile his conscience in matters of liberty.

-PROBLEM: In context, "the strong" is the one who:

-Was "set(ting) at nought" (looking down on) those who didn't eat meat - 14:3, 10. (Regarding those who did not eat as foolish and ignorant.)

-Does not condemn himself in what he approves (14:22).

-Is to bear the infirmities of the weak (15:1).

                      WEAK                                        STRONG

                 Eats herbs - v. 2                      Eats meat - v. 2

          Regards not the day - v. 5-6           Regards the day - v. 5-6

        Do not condemn strong - v. 3      Do not look down on weak - v. 3

                              RECEIVE ONE ANOTHER!


d. Doubtful disputations (14:1, 3-5; cf. other translations):

-"decision of scruples" (ASV) -

-"disputes over doubtful things" (NKJV)-

-"passing judgment on his opinions" (NASV)-

-"passing judgment on disputable matters" (NIV)-

-"disputes over opinions" (RSV)-

-"do not argue with him about his personal opinions" (TEV)-

-"without attempting to settle doubtful points" (NEB)-

-We are not to be rendering judgments on each other’s liberties (opinions) in matters where God has given us the right to choose. To do so is to stir up strife and disputes. (cf. Rom. 13:8-10, 13 - Love; Gal. 5:13-15, 20)

-In matters of liberty, we are not to "decide" on (judge) a brother's personal scruples (opinions) before we receive him -- We are to completely abstain from this sort of judging! In matters which are indifferent to God we are not to be judging one another’s private opinions and using that judgment as a basis for our fellowship! - cf. 14:4,10-12.


2.  What is the responsibility of the strong brother toward the weak brother? (That is, what problem must the strong in conscience, the meat-eater, overcome and avoid with respect to the herb-eater?) What is meant by "despise" ("set at nought," asv) in verses 3 and 10? (14:3, 10)

-Responsibility of the strong (meat-eater):

a.  Must not "set at nought" the weak (the one who for conscience’ sake does not eat meat).

b.  Despise (set at nought) - "To count as nothing;" "to look down on," to treat as nothing or with contempt. {Herod of Jesus - Luke 23:11}

c.  Not compelled to try to persuade & change the "weak." Instead, "receive" him as he is (14:1).

-14:10 - To do so is to take the place of God as judge of His people! (cf. Jas. 4:11-12)


3. What is the responsibility of the weak brother toward the strong brother? (That is, what problem must the weak in conscience, the herb-eater, overcome and avoid with respect to the meat-eater?) What is meant by "judge" in verses 3-4 and 10? (14:3-4, 10)

-Responsibility of the weak (herb-eater):

  a.  Must not "judge" the strong (the Christian who in good conscience could eat meat, "asking no questions," 1 Cor. 10:27).

  b.  Judge - "To condemn, criticize, separate so as to condemn, to hold at arms length."

  c.  Not compelled to try to persuade & change the "strong." Instead, "receive" him as he is (14:1).

-14:10 - To do so is to take the place of God as judge of His people! (cf. Jas. 4:11-12)


4.  How can we be sure Romans 14 deals with matters of liberty (issues which are indifferent before God)? (14:3-6; see article on Romans 14 by Roy H. Lanier, Jr.)


(1) God has received him - 14:3.

-14:3 - Whether you eat or abstain is inconsequential to God!

-14:3 - "God hath received him" (the one who eats) - God has already received the meat- eater (aorist tense) - Do not condemn him!

-(God has not received the person who violates the revealed faith!)


(2) The Lord shall make him to stand in the day of judgment - 14:4.

-14:4 - God has already received the meat-eater.

-In his eating he is God's servant.

-Therefore, no one has the right to come along now and judge (condemn) his meat eating.

-(Now, a sequential argument to support his statement:)

-To His own lord he stands or falls (in this case, he stands! - v. 3).

-"Yea, he shall be made to stand" - Emphatic declaration that the meat-eater will be approved in the judgment day, for his action is one of indifference, not commanded faith.

-The Lord's power will see to it that he stands in the day of judgment.

-POINT: Who are we to condemn someone God has accepted?! We are not to judge the servant of another, i.e., the servant of God whom He accepts.

-(This cannot be someone who is violating revealed truth - sinning! A sinner is not accepted nor acceptable to God!)


(3) Man is allowed to be fully assured in his own mind - 14:5.

-14:5 - Esteeming days.

-Here, one is allowed to act depending upon being fully assured in his own mind. Whether he does he is okay. If he doesn't, he is okay.

-Therefore, this is not discussing matters of revealed truth. Instead, it is dealing with matters of liberty which are indifferent to God. (cf. Acts 23:1; 26:9).

-(Man does not decide what truth is.)


(4) The activity can be done "unto the Lord" - 14:6.

-14:6 - Here, whether one regards a day or not, or eats meat or not, when done unto the Lord with thanksgiving, it is received by God (implied).

-This cannot be said of sin (even when the sinner THINKS he is doing God service - cf. Jno. 16:2; Acts 26:9).

-Therefore, dealing with matters which are indifferent before God.

(Sin cannot be practiced "unto the Lord"! - cf. 13:14)


5.  Should we refuse someone whom the Lord accepts? How will understanding this help us receive one another in spite of different opinions? (14:4)


-Helps us to develop respect for the personal opinions and consciences of others:

-cf. 12:3 - Helps us avoid arrogance in the body of Christ.

-Helps us to develop respect for the Lord as judge, and His power to approve of His servants as they walk by faith. (cf. 1 Cor. 4:3-5)

-Helps us to avoid causing strife and conflict between ourselves when our judgments over matters of conscience differ. Prompts UNITY.....Paul point!!


6.  Upon what basis are we allowed to hold different opinions? (14:5; 14, 20; cf. Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 4:1-6)

-On the basis of indifferent matters before God (right in and of themselves -- God accepts BOTH parties IN their OPPOSING PRACTICES!).

-Being fully assured in one's own mind (cf. 14:5, 14, 20, 22).

-v. 5 - Another illustration: Honoring a day as special versus seeing all days alike. (There were very likely Jewish Christians who felt compelled to observe certain days - Sabbath, feast days, etc. - cf. Acts 21:17-26). Our responsibility toward the use of our liberty:

Be fully assured in our own mind---

1) This will keep us from violating of our own conscience by doing the very thing we have doubts about (14:23).

2) This is where each of us are to let the matter stay - In the fully-assured mind of our fellow-Christian. Then we can obey 14:1; 15:1 and 15:6-7.

-NOT allowed to hold different opinions (faith) in matters which are sin / unauthorized by the gospel of Christ (Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 4:1-6):

-cf. Instrumental music in worship (is it "clean?" - v. 20)

-cf. Denominationalism (is it "unity?")

-cf. Women elders / preachers (has God "received" such? - v. 3)

-cf. Homosexuality (is it "unto the Lord?" - v. 6)

-cf. Adultery (is such a one a "servant" of the Lord (v. 4); is this "unto the Lord" (v. 6); is this "clean of itself" (v. 14, 20)?


Those who appeal to Romans 14 to defend having fellowship with brethren who are in adulterous remarriages or who teach error on divorce and remarriage (or any other God-revealed subject) are not justified in doing so.  Romans 14 does not condone having fellowship with sin!


7.  For whom does the Christian live and die? How does this affect the use of our liberties? (14:6-8; 6:16-22)

-v. 7-8 - The Christian lives and dies unto the Lord.

-In life and in death we are His (Phil. 1:21).

-Therefore, we belong to Him, and the use of our liberties stand or fall before Him.

-We answer to Him - He approves - Therefore, nobody should disrupt Christian unity over indifferent matters.

-6:16-22 - Servants of God and righteousness. Nobody lives and dies to himself - We all serve either sin or righteousness!

-14:6-8 - How does this affect the use of our liberties?

-We belong to and stand before the Lord, therefore, if we use a liberty of which we are fully assured (or abstain from a liberty because we have doubts about it), nobody has a God-given right to try to change our mind or disrupt our unity by calling that liberty into doubt (14:1).

-The Lord is our judge - Not man....... -- So -- ........Stop judging one another!


8.  According to Romans 14:9, why did Christ die? (cf. 14:8; Matt. 28:18)

-Christ died that this very relationship might be established, namely, that "whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s" (14:8). {Verse 9 assigns a reason to verse 8}.

-His death, with His subsequent resurrection, enables Him to have ALL AUTHORITY over the living & the heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).

-Through His death, we became His! He died to redeem us that He might be lord over us. Because of His resurrection, He exercises rule over us. (Lord - Ownership; "to own completely, in the sense of both owning and controlling"....ruler.)

-Living and dead - Christians, disciples, whether alive or now dead.


9.  What is one of the compelling reasons why we are forbidden to stir up strife among brethren over morally or doctrinally indifferent matters of personal opinion? (14:10-12; cf. v. 4)

-Since we live and die to the Lord, we answer to Him. "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (14:10).

-The one judging (v. 10) is the weak (the one who doubts the propriety of eating meats, and therefore only eats herbs).

-The one despising (setting at nought, v. 10) is the strong (the one who eats meats, not doubting its propriety).

-"We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" - According to verses 3-4 - in the indifferent matters of personal conviction - God has already received (judged as righteous) His servants (regardless of their conduct)!

-v. 11 - Quote from Isaiah 45:23: All shall recognize the authority of God (every knee shall bow) and all shall confess that God is righteous and just.

-v. 12 - Each shall give account (answer to) God.

-Therefore, since we shall all stand before God and give answer for ourselves -- It is His authority that all should regard in these matters. Stop pressing your opinion upon your brother! To do so is to disrupt unity and peace!

-" is idle to be judging and despising one another here. Our judgments are not final, nor will any one either stand or fall by them."  (Lard, p. 421)


10. What must the strong judge and avoid in order to promote peace among brethren? (14:13; cf. 1 Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-33)

[In this section, the apostle points out the limit beyond which we are not to push our liberty in Christ. So, he will be especially speaking to "the strong" here.]

-14:13:  First, stop judging your brother in such matters of personal liberty and private conviction -- We will all stand before the Lord and be judged! (cf. 14:1)

-14:13:  Instead, judge when you put a stumbling-block before your brother and cease to do it! (cf. 1 Cor. 8:13; 10:28-33).  cf. 2 Cor. 6:3

-v. 13 - Rather than judging one another (the critical condemnation of personal liberties), let us give ourselves to the task of not laying stumbling-blocks before each other. [In his context, it appears obvious that one such stumbling-block being laid before brethren was their "doubtful disputations" (decisions of scruples/opinions) over the exercise of liberties (14:1-5), rather that freely accepting one another.]

Define stumbling-block:

-For "stumbling-block," see 1 Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-33, where it is used in a similar context to describe the use of liberty which results in causing another to violate their conscience in the same activity. [We will see the same application of the term here in Romans 14 (vss. 14-21, esp. vss. 20-21).]


11.  Are liberties unclean in and of themselves? What makes them unclean?   (14:14, 20b; cf. 1 Cor. 8:4, 8; 10:25-29)

-No. Paul declares that the old Mosaic distinctions are abolished in Christ. And, since an idol is nothing, eating meats to "nothing" is not sin (1 Cor. 8:4, 7-8).

-v. 14 - Paul affirms the sinlessness of partaking of liberties in the first part of the verse. (cf. 1 Cor. 8:4, 8). This is true because "God hath received him" (v. 3), because he stands before the Lord (v. 4), and because he engages in his liberty "as unto the Lord" (v. 6-7). Thus, Paul takes his stand with the "strong," but he is aware of the weak.

-14:14 - The use of one’s liberty becomes "unclean" (sinful) when one who deems it to be unclean for himself is persuaded to nevertheless participate in the action, thereby violating his conscience (1 Cor. 8:10; 10:25-29).

-[v. 14 appears to be parenthetical, as Paul explains the place of meats in God’s design. This verse is a strong evidence that Romans 14 cannot be used to justify tolerance toward / fellowship with doctrinal or moral error (sin) - Such things are not self-defined as things here are!!]


12.  What warning is given in Romans 14:15, 20-21? (cf. 1 Jno. 2:10)

-To use one's liberty to influence a fellow-Christian to violate his conscience by participating in that liberty is clearly forbidden.

1) 14:15 - It is not walking in brotherly love.

-To do so is a violation of brotherly love and walking in the light - 1 Jno. 2:10.

2) 14:15 - It is spiritually destructive (1 Cor. 8:12).

3) 14:20 - It is overthrowing the work of God (the soul of another) (1 Cor. 8:11).

-Therefore.....14:21 - Do not do anything that will cause your bro./sis. to "stumble" (act against their conscience).

-In context, would not this warning include despising/judging the liberties of our brethren?! (14:3, 10, 13)


13. How could their "good" be "evil spoken of?" (14:16-18; 1 Cor. 8:8-13)

-"Good," in context, is eating meats. Generally, it would be the use of one’s liberty.

-By using our liberty when it causes one who doubts (is not fully assured in his mind, v. 5, 23) to participate and thus violate their conscience, our "good" becomes "evil." (1 Cor. 8:10-12; 10:28-33).


14.  What is the nature of the kingdom of God? How does the nature of the kingdom of God make eating or abstaining from meats inconsequential to one's true spiritual condition? (14:17; cf. Acts 10:9-16)

-The nature of the kingdom of God is spiritual (Jno. 18:36; Lk. 17:20-21); not physical (eating and drinking (cf. Mk. 7:19; Acts 10:9-16; 1 Tim. 4:4-5).

-Righteousness - Rom. 1:16-17; 6:15-23.

-Peace - Eph. 2:14-18.

-Joy in the Holy Spirit - Rom. 5:1-5.


-Romans 15:13; Gal. 5:22-23-

-14:17 - The nature of the kingdom should teach us the inconsequential nature of meats to one's spiritual condition (Acts 10:14-15) as well as warn us not to use a liberty when it will cause another to so act as to violate his conscience, thus sinning against himself and God (1 Cor. 8:7-11). Instead, the attributes to nurture which constitute the character of the kingdom are righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We must place our emphasis upon these things.

-This being the case, what one eats will neither commend nor condemn a person before God (1 Cor. 8:8; Mk. 7:18-23). Also, it makes it easier to give up a liberty rather than press it to the destruction of a brother.


15.  With what attributes are we to serve God? What will result? (14:18)

-The attributes of righteousness, peace and joy. Living according to the gospel achieves this (1:17). Do those things which induce peace and joy as the servants of righteousness (6:17-18).

-We will not quarrel over opinions (14:1) nor use our liberty when it causes another to sin against their conscience (1 Cor. 8:13; 10:28-33; Rom. 14:13).

-Results in:

  1)  Pleasing God - 2 Cor. 5:9 (Jno. 8:29).

  2)  The approval of men - cf. Acts 2:47.

"It is the general sentiment of mankind that he is worthy of approval who is righteous in conduct, and who at the same time so acts as to occasion others peace and joy, and not grief. Such a man is approved by the world."  (Lard, 426)


16.  What must we pursue among ourselves? Make the contextual application. (14:19; cf. 14:1; 15:1-2, 5-7; 1 Cor. 10:23-24)

-v. 19 - Our pursuit must be after things which make for peace among brethren, and things which edify (spiritually build up) each other (the church here under the figure of a house).

-14:1 - Without question this would include ceasing "doubtful disputations," despising and condemning each other over personal liberties.

-15:1-2 - Includes avoiding laying stumbling-blocks before others in the use of our liberties (causing the weak to engage in the activity about which they have doubts/of which they are not "fully assured").

-15:5-7 - As we receive one another in these areas, we are pursuing peace and edifying each other (cf. Eph. 4:3).


17.  What is the "work of God" in Romans 14:20? (cf. v. 15; Eph. 2:10)

-Some say, "the church," which ought to be built up (14:19).  (Lard, 427)

-In overthrowing the faith of a Christian, we destroy the work of God. Therefore, the "work of God" is "the brother for whom Christ died" (14:15); cf. 1 Cor. 8:11.

-Eph. 2:10 - Each Christian is a work of God, created for good works.


18.  What does it mean to "eat with offense" in Romans 14:20? Does it merely mean "to hurt the feelings of another?" (cf. v. 13; 1 Cor. 8:9-12)

-It does not mean to "hurt somebody’s feelings." In fact, the one eating is the weak one!

-Eat with offense - To violate one's conscience because he is not "fully assured." It is the stumbling of the weak which is caused by the "occasion of falling" (v. 13).

-On offense: "And this has no reference to merely hurting the feelings of another.... Thayer gives this definition and explanation of the Greek word: ‘A stumblingblock, i.e., an obstacle in the way which if one strikes his foot against he necessarily stumbles or falls; trop., that over which the soul stumbles, i.e. by which it is impelled to sin.’ To eat with offense was to eat certain meat under circumstances that would lead a weaker person to eat against his convictions."  (Whiteside, 274-275)

-cf. 1 Cor. 8:10 - The emboldening of the conscience to act against itself.

* Please notice how "offence" is used in verse 20 (same word for "stumbling-block" in verse 13): When one, by using his liberty, causes a weak brother to "eat" (that is, engage is the same activity about which he is not "fully assured," v. 5), the strong brother has laid a stumbling-block or offence before his brother. The use of the liberty per se is not the offence. If it is, then Paul is wrong when he says using the liberty is "clean" (v. 14), "good" (v. 16), "clean" (v. 20), and that one can use his liberty and be "happy" (v. 22).


19.  Is Paul saying it is wrong to use our liberty under any circumstance?   How do we decide when not to use our liberty? (14:21; cf. 1 Cor.  10:25-27; 1 Cor. 8:10; 10:28-29)

-Paul is not saying it is wrong to use your liberty under every circumstance, else the whole point of this chapter is faulty. The only way to safely apply Paul’s teaching today is to apply it to the same sort of circumstances which he describes. We are not to use our liberty (in matters of indifference or of personal rights) if by using it we cause a fellow Christian to engage in an activity which he/she holds a personal scruple against, thereby sinning against his/her conscience (1 Cor. 8:10; 10:25-29).

-14:21 - Hear is another affirmation of Paul's avowed denial of a liberty if by using it a Christian is caused to violate his conscience in that activity.

-"Or is offended, or is made weak" at the end of verse 21 is of uncertain authority. Even if this is true, it need not be appended to the end of the verse to complete the thought. (See Pulpit Commentary, Adam Clarke).

>>Wine - Without additional information, it is impossible to know exactly why Paul added this. Some refer back to verse 17, where he mentioned "drinking." Context dictates that drinking wine was involved in the scruples of the weak (that of not eating meats), perhaps because wine was used as a libation in animal sacrifices. cf. Dan. 1:8, 16<<


20.  Are we supposed to press our personal liberty upon a brother (i.e., try to persuade him to have the same opinions in inconsequential matters as we hold)? What are we supposed to do with respect to our personal liberties ("faith," v. 2)? (14:22; cf. v. 1, 5, 19)

-No. Hold it between yourself and God. It is a personal conviction over a matter which is inconsequential to God (14:3-4). So, do not be divisive by pressing your "faith" upon another (14:1, 5, 19).

-We are supposed to be fully assured of our personal conviction on these matters of indifference (if we engage in its practice).

1) "That which he approved" ("alloweth") - One must put his conviction to the test of truth, to see if it stands before God! (1 Ths. 5:21-22; 2 Cor. 13:5).

2) The "faith" discussed here is the assured use of one's liberty - 14:2, 5, 23.

3) The person who uses his liberty (or abstains from it due to lack of assurance) without bringing condemnation upon himself is blessed. That is, he acts within his rights, therefore he stands (is approved) before God (14:4, 6), before himself (not self-condemned, 14:22), and before others (14:18).

-This principle applies to both the strong and the weak. In this use of / abstinence from liberties, one acts according to his personal persuasion (v. 5). Neither is to abuse the other in this use. Both are blessed by God for this worthy treatment of their liberty and one another. We must pursue this approach in our use of personal liberties.


21.  What type of sin is described in Romans 14:23? Why is violating one's conscience sin? (cf. 14:5)

-The violation of one's conscience in acting against one's personal convictions. In matters of personal liberty, whatever we do with doubt, without being "fully assured" in our own mind (v. 5), is sin.

-It is sin because it is a direct violation of a personal conviction. It is acting out of "doubt" instead of full assurance.

-Sears one’s ability to discern right and wrong (1 Tim. 4:2)


22.  Given the context, how can the strong "bear the infirmities of the weak?" Is this optional? (15:1)

-The strong (meat-eaters) bear the infirmities of the weak by abstaining from their liberty if its use emboldens the weak one to sin against his conscience (14:20-23; 1 Cor. 8:9-10, 13). In this way we help to edify our fellow-Christians rather than putting a stumbling-block before them.

-This is not optional! Ought - Moral obligation exists - 14:1, 13, 20-21.


23.  Whether "strong" or "weak," what is enjoined upon us all in Romans 15:2?  Who is our example? (15:3; 14:19-20; Psa. 69:9; cf. Jno. 8:29)

-Always have the edification and spiritual well-being of our neighbor in mind (14:19-20).

  1)  cf. Paul in 1 Cor. 9:18-23 - Paul's refusal to accept wages from the Corinthians was an application of this principle - which Paul often applied to himself to save some.

  2)  The strong should not trample and abuse the weak, but rather, lift them up and encourage them. cf. Phil. 2:3-4.

-15:3 - Christ is our example (Psa. 69:9). "Christ did not leave heaven's glory to walk the dusty, sorrowful, and sinful vales of this world in order to please Himself. His concern was not His own ease, comfort, pleasure, or safety. In His earthly pilgrimage, He was ever reaching out and helping others."  (Ken Green, Romans series, Gospel Anchor)

-Psa. 69:9 - Those who reproached God reproached Jesus, too. Those reproaches followed Him all the way to the cross! Yet, He always did the things which pleased God (Jno. 8:29). We must, too.

-"The connection with the present discussion is not immediately obvious, and is perhaps the more eloquent for that very reason. If we think that we are making some monumental sacrifice when we give up some little liberty for the sake of another's welfare, let's try measuring our effort by the cross of our Lord!"  (Green)


24.  According to Romans 15:4, why were the Old Testament scriptures written? What do they provide us, and enable us to maintain?

-For our learning. "The real value of a knowledge of any history is the lessons taught."  (Vinson)

-O.T. scriptures provide us with a source for learning patience (steadfastness, "the quality of holding on under trying circumstances," Whiteside) and comfort (encouragement).

-As a result, we can maintain hope in the face of trials.


 25.  What kind of God do we have? What does Paul pray God will do for the Roman Christians? (15:5; 2 Cor. 1:3-5; Rom. 12:16; Phil. 2:1-3)

-Our God is a God of patience and comfort. He is long-suffering toward His people and toward all mankind. (cf. 2 Cor. 1:3-5)

-Grant them to be of the same mind according to Christ Jesus (15:3; 12:16).

-15:5 - Here Paul begins a summary: To achieve and keep unity in the body of Christ we must respect each other's personal liberties (Those things which are not sin and about which one is fully assured is acceptable before God)

-The only way to "be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus" is to:

  1)  Allow the exercise or abstinence of personal liberties (14:1-5).

  2)  Do not despise or judge each other in such matters (14:3).

  3)  Do not lay stumbling-blocks before each other (14:13ff).

  4)  Refuse to embolden a fellow-Christian to "eat" in violation of his conscience (14:20-15:2).

  5)  Follow the example of Christ (15:3-4).

-This will require of us "patience" and "comfort" - Attributes of God which we have received from him and which now we must show toward each other. May the God of patience and of comfort grant our plea of unity!


26.  What does our unity enable us to do? (15:6; 11:36; 16:27; Eph. 3:21)

-v. 6 - Such unity will enable effective worship of and service to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

-In unity we can raise our voices in praise and adoration to God. (Eph. 3:21)


27.  What is Paul's concluding commandment, and what should motivate us to obey it? (15:7; 14:1)

-v. 7 - Concluding commandment: Receive one another (with your different opinions in the area of personal liberties).

-Motivation: Christ has received us (without reservation, completely, for our edification, for peace). We must receive each other in the same way!