Isn’t vegetarianism discouraged in Romans 14:2?

“For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 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” (Romans 14:2, 3).

The issue here is not discussing the eating or abstaining from certain foods but rather showing patience and understanding in such matters “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (v. 17).

Therefore, the man of strong faith will “follow after the things which make for peace” (v. 19) and will be careful so that by his eating or drinking or any other personal practice he may not destroy the work of God (v. 20) and offend those for whom Christ died (v. 15).

Commonly, those of stronger faith would naturally tend to despise those that are of “weak in the faith” (v. 1) in regards foods. This, of course, would reveal that the faith of those supposedly strong is still lacking in the Christian graces and love (Galatians 5:6). Criticism is often the characteristic of those whose religious experience is based on the fulfillment of external requirements. These show spiritual pride instead of Christian charity. The true Christian is to “receive” his brother as God has received him (Romans 15:7).

And on the other hand, the abstaining believer should not condemn the one who eats all things that God has made clean (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14) for God has accepted and received him into His church in this freedom (1 Corinthians 10:29; Galatians 5:13). If God has forgiven his sins and accepted him in his fold, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit is evident in his life, then, all such criticism is not proper and should be avoided.

Vegetarianism was the original diet of Eden that God intended for man (Genesis 1:29; 2:16).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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