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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Romans Chapter 14

Romans 14:1

rom 14:1

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 Act 6:7.

Receive ye (προσλαμβάνεσθε)

Into fellowship. See on Mat 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 Mar 7:21. Διάκρισις has the same sense as in the other two passages where it occurs (Co1 12:10; Heb 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."

Romans 14:2

rom 14:2

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 Rom 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 Mar 4:32; see on Luk 12:42.

Romans 14:3

rom 14:3

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.

Romans 14:4

rom 14:4

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 Rom 14:3.

Servant (οἰκέτην)

Strictly, household servant. See on Pe1 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.

Romans 14:5

rom 14:5

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, Luk 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).

Romans 14:6

rom 14:6

He that regardeth not - doth not regard it


Romans 14:7

rom 14:7

To himself

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

Romans 14:9

rom 14:9

Might be Lord (κυριεύση)

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

Romans 14:10

rom 14:10

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 Rom 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, Act 7:5.

Romans 14:11

rom 14:11

As I live, etc.

From Isa 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 Luk 10:21 (Rev., in margin, praise for thank); Rom 15:9. Here, as Rev. in margin, shall give praise. See on Mat 11:25.

Romans 14:13

rom 14:13

Stumbling-block (πρόσκομμα)

Compare Rom 9:32, Rom 9:33; Rom 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.

Romans 14:14

rom 14:14

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 Joh 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 Mar 7:2, "With defiled (κοιναῖς common), that is to say, with unwashen hands." See Act 10:14.

Romans 14:15

rom 14:15

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 Co1 8:9-12.

Meat (βρῶμα)

A general term for food.

Charitably (κατὰ ἀγάπην)

Lit., according to love. Rev. in love. See on Pe2 1:6.

Him (ἐκεῖνον)

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

Romans 14:16

rom 14:16

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, Mar 7:22. In Co1 10:30, it is used of evil-speaking by members of the Church, which favors the reference of good to the strong.

Romans 14:17

rom 14:17

The kingdom of God

See on Luk 6:20, and compare Mat 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 Rom 14:15. The corresponding word for that which is drunk (πῶμα) is not found in the New Testament, though πόμα drink occurs Co1 10:4; Heb 9:10, and both in classical and New-Testament Greek, πόσις the act of drinking is used also for that which is drunk. See Joh 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 Rom 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 Th1 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."

Romans 14:19

rom 14:19

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, Act 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.

Romans 14:20

rom 14:20

Destroy (κατάλυε)

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

Work of God

The christian brother, whose christian personality is God's work. See Co2 5:17; Eph 2:10; Jam 1:18.

With offense (διὰ προσκόμματος)

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

Romans 14:21

rom 14:21

To eat flesh - drink wine

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

Romans 14:22

rom 14:22

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 Pe1 1:7. "Christian practice ought to be out of the sphere of morbid introspection."

Romans 14:23

rom 14:23


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 Rom 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 (Ti2 4:19). But see on Rom 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.

Next: Romans Chapter 15