Romans 14: Offensive Behavior

Why can’t we help people of weak faith by arguing with them?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:1–2 Try to help those whose faith is weak. Don’t be critical of their opinions and get into arguments, because that won’t help them. For example, one person might believe he can eat anything while another person believes he should be a vegetarian.
King James
Romans 14:1–2 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

What motivates some Christian fellowships to exclude other Christians?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:3 Avoid judging and isolating yourselves from people whom God has accepted.
King James
Romans 14:3 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.

Why might it be inappropriate to judge the work of others by the work we feel called to do?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:4 You are in no position to judge the performance of employees who work for somebody else. Let their own boss determine whether their deeds are acceptable. But I can tell you, God is an excellent employer, well able to train those who work for him.
King James
Romans 14:4 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.

What makes our beliefs so much better than what other Christians believe?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:5–6 For another example, one man treats some days as being holy, while another person believes every day belongs to the Lord. Let each person be convinced in his own mind and behave accordingly. If a man regards a particular day as holy, he does so to please the Lord. If somebody else sees every day the same, he still does so to please the Lord. Likewise, both he who eats freely and he who eats with restraint give thanks to the Lord.
King James
Romans 14:5–6 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 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.

How can we know we’re doing what God wants and not what we think he wants?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:7–8 We are not our own bosses, allowed to do as we please. We live to please the Lord. And when we die, we will have worked under his direction and authority. Either way, in life or death, God is the boss.
King James
Romans 14:7–8 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

What kind of work do you think we’ll be doing in Heaven?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:9 Why did Jesus Christ die and was raised from the dead? So both those on Earth and those in Heaven could be servants of the Lord of lords.
King James
Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

What danger might we face in judging others?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 7:3–5 “Why do you worry about the sawdust in your brother’s eye but never notice the board in your own eye? How can you say, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and not admit the existence of something much larger in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the large object from your eye. Then you can see clearly to remove the small piece from your brother’s eye.”
Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Romans 14:10 You have no good reason to criticize or punish another Christian, because all of us will stand before Christ, accountable for our behavior.
James 2:1–4 My friends, your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, will not allow you to regard some people as better than others. Suppose a richly dressed man with a Rolex watch enters your assembly, followed by a shabbily dressed man off the streets. You show the rich man to the best seat near you, but you direct the street person to an obscure place in the back. Not only are you trying to draw favor upon yourselves, but you are incorrectly judging by appearance whether a person is good or bad.
King James
Matthew 7:3–5 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Romans 14:10 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.
James 2:1–4 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

What does it mean to “bow before God”?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:11 It is as the prophet Isaiah said, As surely as I live, the Lord says, every knee will bow before me. Everyone will confess that I am God.
James 2:19 You say you believe there is one God, as if that declaration is sufficient. But it’s not. The devils believe and tremble, and their actions haven’t changed.
King James
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

When we answer to God for our actions, what consideration will be given to our past sins?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:12 We will all answer to God for our actions.
Hebrews 10:16–17 The Lord says, “After those days, I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel. I will write my laws in their innermost being, upon their hearts and minds. I will forgive their sinful nature and forget their wrongdoing.”
1 John 4:17–18 When we are like Christ in this world, our love made perfect enough to boast on Judgment Day. The fullness of our love for God leaves us no reason to cringe in fear of him. That’s because the fear is based on our anticipation of his punishment, which is impossible when our love in him is complete.
Revelation 20:12–15 And I saw the dead from the least to the greatest, standing before God. The books were opened and also the book of life. The dead were judged from the works written there. The sea gave up their dead for judgment. Death and hell delivered up their dead. All were judged according to their works. Death and its domain were cast into the Lake of Fire, the second death. Everyone whose name was not recorded in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.
King James
Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Hebrews 10:16–17 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
1 John 4:17–18 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Revelation 20:12–15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

How do people react to criticism versus encouragement?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:13 Therefore, don’t be critical. Instead, be encouraging, seeking to avoid any behavior that might cause another Christian to stumble.
King James
Romans 14:13 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.

Under what circumstance might criticism be important?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:13 Therefore, don’t be critical. Instead, be encouraging, seeking to avoid any behavior that might cause another Christian to stumble.
King James
Romans 14:13 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.

What kinds of behavior might cause another Christian to stumble?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:13–14 Therefore, don’t be critical. Instead, be encouraging, seeking to avoid any behavior that might cause another Christian to stumble. In my relationship with Jesus Christ, I am convinced that nothing is unclean in itself, but our motives are what really matter. If a man believes something is wrong, he should avoid it without condemning others.
King James
Romans 14:13–14 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. 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.

What are the most common areas where other Christians might be offended?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:15–16 If you sense that what you eat might offend someone, be charitable by adjusting your diet for a while so the sacrifice Christ made for them will not be in vain. Don’t let your deeds, which you know to be good, be regarded by others as evil.
King James
Romans 14:15–16 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

If the Kingdom of God is not built upon our actions, what is it?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:17 The Kingdom of God is not built upon what we eat or drink. It’s built upon our relationship with him—each of us following the direction of the Holy Spirit in righteousness, peace, and joy.
King James
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Why would pleasing God make it less likely that we would offend people?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:18–19 If pleasing God is your topmost goal, then you’re less likely to offend people. Instead of focusing on everything wrong, let’s make peace with others by giving encouragement and compliments for doing right.
Galatians 5:22–23 If the Holy Spirit is guiding your life, you show true love—giving to people without regard to whether they can return the favor. You have joy, peace and patience in stressful situations. Kindness, generosity, and faithfulness expresses who you are, not what people deserve. You are gentle and even-tempered. There’s no law against such behavior.
King James
Romans 14:18–19 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

What is our most reliable authority to distinguish right from wrong?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right but ends in death.
John 16:13 “I cannot overemphasize this truth: the servant is not greater than his master. The messenger is not greater than the one who sent the message.”
Romans 14:20 Don’t let what you want get in the way of what God wants. You may be right, but your action becomes wrong when it causes someone to stumble.
James 4:17 Sin is failure to do the good you know you should do.
King James
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
John 16:13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Romans 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Why should we be sensitive to people’s wrong beliefs?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:21 Be sensitive to what others believe, and avoid any behavior that would weaken their faith.
1 Corinthians 9:22 When people are weak, I empathize with their fragile faith in order to bring them to Christ. I do my best to find common ground with everyone, seeking to help them get from where they are to where God wants them to be.
King James
Romans 14:21 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.
1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

How can we keep our faith to ourselves and at the same time share our faith in Christ?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:22 What do you believe? Keep that to yourselves in your growing relationship with God. Don’t use it to condemn others.
King James
Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Why is it damaging to do what we think might be wrong?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 14:23 Whoever doubts that something is right—but he does it anyway—he has damaged his relationship with God. That’s because all deeds that are not believing and trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit are sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Avoid even the appearance of evil.
James 4:17 Sin is failure to do the good you know you should do.
King James
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.