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by Tyler Velau in General Questions about May 17, 2018 open - report

Romans 14:23

Romans 14:23 states "But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." I need some help to understand the text better. What is the verse saying? That to have doubt and eat is the same as sinning? 

Answers: 3 • Score 0 • Views: 1940
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  • 124

    by Dion Todd about May 19, 2018

    Sylvia summed it up well. I will only add that Paul was trying to build unity amidst diversity. There were many divisions in the body of Christ then, much as there are today. The new church was a melting pot of Jews, Gentiles, from all walks of life. It included priests, former prostitutes, and tax collectors. They all had varying beliefs they brought with them. The Jews often felt they were there first, so they wanted the newer converts to become like them. There were many dietary laws, clean and unclean, and sometimes food was "offered" to idols, then served at the table. Paul basically said, eat whatever is set in front of you, and believe that it is OK. A key verse is right at the beginning of the chapter:


    Romans 14:1-3 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.  NKJV

  • 36

    by Tyler Velau about May 18, 2018

    Thanks, Sylvia, that actually makes a lot of sense and I can see where you're coming from. To me, I think as long as a person believes that is good and the rest should be left for that person and for God to sort out. That's just my two cents. :)

    (Tried posting a comment on your answer, but the site wouldn't load or something so it wasn't working.)

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  • 115

    by Sylvia Todd about May 18, 2018

    Hi Tyler! I'm sure Dion will have a more detailed answer later, but I'll kick it off, here ;-). First, I think you may wish to look at this verse in the context of the entirety of Romans 14. The verse you mentioned is just the end of that chapter. The chapter is speaking of the idea of accepting our brothers and sisters who have varying levels and perspectives in their beliefs. I believe Paul put that in the context of food, because it was a much bigger deal in the Hebrew belief system than we would see today, though there are militants in that area these days, too ;-). 


    Second, when reading to study, the Amplified version may be helpful for you, which adds additional words, to give great connotation, based from the original translations. Here is a link to the Amplified version of Romans 14: In context of the chapter, I believe Paul is basically saying that we should not judge others based on our level of belief, which suggests that God will not judge you based on yours. In both those scenarios (our belief and other people's), the person is going forward in faith, whether mature or not, maybe even misguided. 


    The sin mentioned is essentially doubting God in something that He said He will do, essentially calling Him a liar. In the chapter, there are those who think that eating meat is a sin. They are not doubting that God will protect them to the level they think that God allows - they just disagree with others on what that is :). I know you are on a journey of believing in Him in the first place - that's not what I'm referring to. The context of this chapter is all who are already believers in Him, but arguing about "how they believe" :).

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