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“Romans 14”

Categories: Christian Living, NT Chapter Summaries, The Bible, The Church

How to differ with other Christians without dividing was a controversial subject in the first century and it continues to be an important question for disciples today.

Romans 14 was written to show us that it is possible for followers of the Christ to have different views on some issues, but to remain in fellowship with one another.

The first thing we need to understand about Romans 14 is that Paul is dealing with matters of judgment in areas where God is indifferent, that is, where either decision is acceptable.

There are two specific issues that Romans 14 mentions. One was the question of eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols (verses 1-4). Some Christians thought they could; others believed they should not. Another was the practicing of “observing days” (verses 5-6). This probably was speaking of the practice of Hebrew Christians who continued to respect Jewish holidays, not as “holy days” but as civil observances. Some thought it to be a compromise (because the Old Law was finished), while others believed they could still observe those days without the religious or spiritual implications they formerly held.

There are many similar subjects today on which brethren differ, such as the woman’s head covering, the observance of Christmas as a national holiday, the Bible version one uses, whether a Christian can serve in the military or as a policeman or woman, and whether Christians should go to movies or not. Paul writes, “Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind” (verse 5).

The second consideration in the chapter is the effect that such decisions would have on other Christians. One of the key parts of the chapter is verse 7 – “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.” Paul is reminding us that our actions can affect the conscience of others and we ought not to dismiss the views of others just because they disagree with us about a particular subject.

If brethren love God and one another, we can find a way to work together that pleases the Lord and does not violate His Holy word.

--Roger Hillis