Do not judge on what your brother eats.


Romans 14:1-4


Ro 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

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

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.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.


Romans chapter 14 is one of those chapters that has been misinterpreted by the majority of the church today. As an example, we will take a person who goes to church is enjoying watching movies, going out dancing, listening to Christian rock music, then another member of the church confronts him, then the first thing he does is to turn to Romans chapter 14. They say we are not to offend anyone and not to judge any one, so they get away. This is how the modern church looks at Romans 14, which is wrong.


On the other hand the Bible tells us clearly that we should not copy the world or to be conformed to the world, if we follow the ways of the world the Father is not in us. If we are friends of the world, we are enemies of God. Paul said: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Paul told us to exhort and rebuke. The disciplined church is a holy church.


Remember the cardinal rule, there is only one correct interpretation, but many applications. We need to know to whom he is talking here.


We need to judge sin, but this chapter is not dealing with sin, but on how to fellowship with the one who is weak in faith and one who is strong in faith. The issues are different as they pertain to food and observing certain days.


First, we need to see the author is addressing this book to a certain audience. The Roman church was a mixture of Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians. The subject is judging a person upon what he eats and observing certain days, and nothing else. Therefore, we should not extend or go above the boundary limits of this subject to compromise our sins. Let God be true, but every man a liar.


These ceremonial laws were shadows, as they were not the moral law but the outward of the law. When Christ the Messiah came, the ceremonial laws were abolished, do not need to observe the shadow when the reality or the fulfillment of the law was at present.


Heb 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.


Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:


Remember Peter went to the housetop to pray and he felt very hungry and he fell into a trance and he saw all kinds of animals, then a voice from heaven said to Peter, kill and eat. Peter said, Not so Lord! I have never eaten anything common or unclean. Then the voice said, What God has cleansed you must not call common.


There were some Christian Jews who were still holding to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, and they were trying to impose these laws on the new Gentile believers. There were some Jews that they will not eat meat prepared by pagans. We see when Daniel and his friends was in Babylonia, they refused to eat meat, but ate vegetables. Remember the Jews are not vegetarians but there were laws imposed upon preparation of certain meats. There were Jews who were accustomed to the ceremonial laws since their childhood and it is not easy to break the traditions, and when they became Christians, they continued in their tradition of not eating meat with the Gentiles. They believed they were right and on the other hand, they saw the liberty of the Gentiles when it came to food, and the Jews thought the Gentiles were wrong. So there was dispute among them in the church as they judged each other in what they ate and what they did not eat, and Paul deals with that issue here.


14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.


The whole purpose of the chapter is there will be difference of opinion in what you eat and not, but do not quarrel over it, but need to live together in peace, the prescription for the problem is, the one who is strong in faith must assist the weak, instead of judging the weak on what he eats. There is the believing Jew who is weak in the faith, concerning Christian liberty; they still observe the ceremonial laws of Moses, not knowing they were abolished in Christ on the cross. These Jews understood the gospel, they saw they have crucified the Messiah and have repented, but they are weak in Christian liberty, the Gentiles should not ignore them or tell them to go away but to receive them, and build them up in the most holy faith, bear with them in their weakness and have patience instead of opposing them.


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


There is one believer who eats all things, and there is another believer who eats only vegetables, and calls him weak. He is not speaking sickly but according to the context again the weak here is one who is tender and weak in their faith. Mainly to the Jewish believers, as their whole life style of eating foods was different. As I said, the Jews are not vegetarians but they did not eat meat that was cooked by the Gentiles. They observed the law of Moses, as there is a difference between clean and unclean meats.

At the beginning God allowed only vegetables and fruits for man, (Genesis 1:29) with the exception in Genesis 2:17. (Tree of the knowledge good and evil) Then meat was allowed for man to eat after the flood. (Gen 9:2-5) We see when the Lord appeared to Abraham with the angels we see him killing a calf for bread, butter and milk. We see God provided quail for the Israelites when they were in the wilderness. (Numbers 11:31) God gave different dietary laws to the Israelites. (Leviticus 11 and Deut 14:3-21) Animals that were consecrated to the idols were forbidden to eat. (Exodus 34:15) Animals that were died in disease or killed by other animals were prohibited to eat. Then there were many various other restrictions. (Leviticus 3) These were all ceremonial laws that were given to the Israelites to obey. These laws became a daily part of their lives, and from one generation to another generation it was handed down. There was a difference between the clean meats and the unclean meats. The Jews did not eat the meats because they thought probably they were offered to idols. And they restricted to a vegetable diet. The meat offered on pagan altars was usually divided into three portions: one was burnt in honor of their gods. One was given to the worshipper to take home and eat. One was given to the priest. If the priest did not want to eat his portion, he sold it at the temple restaurant or meat market. This meat, which was sold at the temple, was generally cheap, and many people bought this meat, as it was a bargain.

Now when you come together as a church, Gentiles and Jews the Jew would not eat meat with the Gentiles, as they feared they would sin not knowing if the meat is clean or unclean. We need to understand here although they agreed in doctrine there was a gap in culture. Paul deals with this issue in the book of Corinthians.



1Co 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.


What happened here, we see the one group of people who thought it is a sin to eat meat that was sacrificed to idols, their conscience being weak was defiled. They were weak in their understanding. On the other hand, the other group of people praising over their bargain, the meat was cheap in the temple, knowing it was offered to the idols and did not care of the weaker brothers and sisters in the group they were selfish and abused their liberty. It became a stumbling block for the weak and it injured the body of Christ, the church.


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.


Paul wisely sees the fault of both parties. The one who eats meat despise the one who does not eat, and then the one who does not eat meat, judges the one who eats meat. But God has embraced and accepted both of them.


We were all perishing sinners, but now by his grace and mercy we are adopted and received into his fellowship. We are saved by him so we need to serve him, and we cannot serve him if there are dispute in the church.


4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.


The one who eats meat has his own rule and the one who does not eat meat has his own rule. They will condemn his own brother or sister according to their rule. Why? Because they are not living according to their law of belief. But who are you to judge another mans servant? Here he is speaking on the same subject, food. Then judging on someone what he eats. But how many in the church today take only this scripture out of context. When we say, rebuke the false teachings in the church, they will take this scripture and say, who are you to judge another mans servant? Paul is not speaking on false teaching but the context is food.


The church should expose false teachings, Jesus called the false teachers as wolves coming in sheep clothing, Paul called them wolves, Satan masquerading himself to an angel of light, the church is responsible for showing error form right, but we cannot use this scripture out of context as this scripture in context is speaking on food. We are not to judge another mans servant regarding food and not false doctrine.



As we too have different nationalities but all one in Christ, we need to be careful not to look down on others concerning what they are eating. I remember when I was in a different house before I was eating some rice and canned corned beef, then a person living in the house who professed a Christian came looked at my foods and said, that looks like dog food. I was very hurt inside. However, woe to me, as I have done the same thing to others. When I was a missionary to the Philippines I have fellowshipped with many poor brothers and sisters, and when I came to USA, speaking with the Christians here I have often put down the food of the poor Filipinos, as the fish they eat looks like a dead fish in water. Yes, I was a hypocrite saying this, as how we need to be careful in what we speak and our expressions to another persons food. How many times I have seen when someone eats something where the other person does not like, the expressions of yak and others expressions come out putting the other persons food down. As unworthy servants we need to be humbled before the Lord in everything what we do. The smaller things that we take loosely are the most important.


Also we need to remember that we eat what ever that is on the table without complaining. If we take this, advise from the Christian attitude we can do it. How? Again, we need to go to the basics and see, the grace of God. We who are unworthy sinners do not deserve anything but hell and damnation. However, God in his mercy he has provided food for our hunger and water for our thirst. Do we really deserve food? No. Then do not complain what is given. If you complain, you are complaining against the Lord. Remember the Children of Israel, they soon forgot their salvation from their enemy Pharaoh, forgot the mercy of God, when they were delivered from the hand of the enemy. Then in the wilderness they complained against Moses saying, We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic. Nu 11:5 Again they said, we sat by the pots of meat and we ate bread to the full! (Numbers 16:3) Then God saw they are not complaining against Moses but against him.


Nu 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.


I Timothy 4:4-5

4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.