Romans 14 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Romans 14)

Verse 1

[1] Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Him that is weak — Through needless scruples.

Receive — With all love and courtesy into Christian fellowship.

But not to doubtful disputations — About questionable points.

Verse 2

[2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

All things — All sorts of food, though forbidden by the law.

Verse 3

[3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Despise him that eateth not — As over-scrupulous or superstitious.

Judge him that eateth — As profane, or taking undue liberties.

For God hath received him — Into the number of his children, notwithstanding this.

Verse 5

[5] One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

One day above another — As new moons, and other Jewish festivals.

Let every man be fully persuaded — That a thing is lawful, before he does it.

Verse 6

[6] He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Regardeth it to the Lord — That is, out of a principle of conscience toward God.

To the Lord he doth not regard it — He also acts from a principle of conscience.

He that eateth not — Flesh.

Giveth God thanks — For his herbs.

Verse 7

[7] For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

None of us — Christians, in the things we do.

Liveth to himself — Is at his own disposal; doeth his own will.

Verse 10

[10] But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Or why dost thou despise thy brother — Hitherto the apostle as addressed the weak brother: now he speaks to the stronger.

Verse 11

[11] For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

As I live — An oath proper to him, because he only possesseth life infinite and independent. It is Christ who is here termed both Lord and God; as it is he to whom we live, and to whom we die.

Every tongue shall confess to God — Shall own him as their rightful Lord; which shall then only be accomplished in its full extent. The Lord grant we may find mercy in that day; and may it also be imparted to those who have differed from us! yea, to those who have censured and condemned us for things which we have done from a desire to please him, or refused to do from a fear of offending him. Isaiah 45:23

Verse 13

[13] Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

But judge this rather — Concerning ourselves.

Not to lay a stumblingblock — By moving him to do as thou doest, though against his conscience.

Or a scandal — Moving him to hate or judge thee.

Verse 14

[14] I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

I am assured by the Lord Jesus — Perhaps by a particular revelation.

That there is nothing — Neither flesh nor herbs.

Unclean of itself — Unlawful under the gospel.

Verse 15

[15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

If thy brother is grieved — That is, wounded, led into sin.

Destroy not him for whom Christ died — So we see, he for whom Christ died may be destroyed.

With thy meat — Do not value thy meat more than Christ valued his life.

Verse 16

[16] Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

Let not then your good and lawful liberty be evil spoken of - By being offensive to others.

Verse 17

[17] For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

For the kingdom of God — That is, true religion, does not consist in external observances. But in righteousness - The image of God stamped on the heart; the love of God and man, accompanied with the peace that passeth all understanding, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Verse 18

[18] For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

In these — Righteousness, peace, and joy.

Men — Wise and good men.

Verse 19

[19] Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Peace and edification are closely joined. Practical divinity tends equally to peace and to edification. Controversial divinity less directly tends to edification, although sometimes, as they of old, we cannot build without it, Nehemiah 4:17.

Verse 20

[20] For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

The work of God — Which he builds in the soul by faith, and in the church by concord.

It is evil to that man who eateth with offence — So as to offend another thereby.

Verse 21

[21] It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Thy brother stumbleth — By imitating thee against his conscience, contrary to righteousness.

Or is offended — At what thou doest to the loss of his peace.

Or made weak — Hesitating between imitation and abhorrence, to the loss of that joy in the Lord which was his strength.

Verse 22

[22] Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Hast thou faith — That all things are pure? Have it to thyself before God - In circumstances like these, keep it to thyself, and do not offend others by it.

Happy is he that condemneth not himself — By an improper use of even innocent things! and happy he who is free from a doubting conscience! He that has this may allow the thing, yet condemn himself for it.

Verse 23

[23] And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Because it is not of faith — He does not believe it lawful and, in all these cases, whatsoever is not of faith is sin - Whatever a man does without a full persuasion of its lawfulness, it is sin to him.