Doubtful Disputations

Romans 14:1-3 Him that is weak in the faith receive you, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs. Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for God has received him. 

‘Weak’ [Greek: astheneo] weak or strengthless in faith. Welcome such into your fellowship, but let all controversies concerning doubtful practices be avoided.

‘One believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs.’ One believes … another believes: Eight great sources of controversy: What to eat and drink (14:2-6, 14-23; Col. 2:14-17; 1Tim. 4:1-6); with whom to eat (Acts 11:3; 1Cor. 5:9-12; 2Thess. 3:7-13; Jude 1:12); where to eat (1Cor. 8:4-13; 10:15-23; 11:17-22); where to buy meat (1Cor. 10:25); what day to keep as the sabbath (14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:14-17); whether to be circumcised or not (Acts 15:1-24; Rom. 4:11; 1Cor. 7:19); whether to keep the Law of Moses or not (Acts 15:1) and what to wear and what customs to observe (1Cor. 11:4-16; 1Tim. 2:9-11; 1Pet. 3:3-4).

‘Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for God hath received him.’ Duties of Christians in view of nonessential scruples among believers: Fellowship with each other in spite of personal differences of opinion (14:1). Do not despise each other (14:3) and do not judge each other (14:3-13). Recognize that each man is God’s servant and personally responsible to God for what he allows himself to do, aside from what is forbidden to all (14:4). Recognize that no man will fall who conscientiously follows God and the light he has received (14:4; 1Jn. 1:7). Judge no man as to the rest-day he keeps (14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:14-17) and judge none about allowable eats and drinks (14:2-6, 13-23; Col. 2:14-17; 1Tim. 4:1-6; 1Cor. 8:8-13; 10:23-31). Let all live in peace, for the Lord, and for each other (14:8-9, 13-23; 1Cor. 8:8-13; 10:23-31; 1Pet. 5:1-9). Do not set each other at nought (14:3-4, 10; Gal. 5:14-15; Eph. 4:31-32). Recognize that each man shall give account of himself to God (14:10-12; 2Cor. 5:10; Matt. 12:37; 16:27). Do not cause anyone to stumble (14:13). Demonstrate love by giving up those things that destroy others (14:15; 1Cor. 8:8-13; 10:23-31). Do not bring reproach upon Christ by your Christian liberty (14:16-18; 1Cor. 8:8-13; 10:23-31). Follow the things that make peace and edify others instead of making a hobby of meats, drinks, rest-days, circumcision, law-keeping, rituals, dress (non-promiscuous), styles, ornaments, customs, and outward religion-things, which in themselves do not destroy the work of God, and concerning which all people will never perfectly agree (14:19-20; 1Cor. 8:4-13; 10:13-31). Do not use any of the non-essentials to stumble, offend, or make any man weak either by argument or practice (14:21; 1Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-31). Practice your faith before God and do not parade it before others (14:22; 1Cor. 8:9-13; 10:31). Do not condemn yourself over anything not specifically forbidden in Scripture by plain command. Do not permit your conscience to be swayed by wrong religious background or constant religious turmoil over doubtful things (14:22). Do not do anything that is doubtful. If you are not clear on a matter, proceed no further (14:23; 1Cor. 8:7). Bear the weaknesses of others. Tolerate their peculiar and sometimes ridiculous scruples until they become strong (15:1-3; 1Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-31).

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