What does “judge” in Romans 14:3 mean?

Author: BibleAsk Team

Romans 14:3

The apostle Paul in his epistle to the church of Rome wrote, “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” (Romans 14:3). In this passage, the issue here wasn’t so much as to judge what one eats, but rather the propriety of eating foods sacrificed to idols.

According to the ancient pagan practice, priests offered meat merchandise to idols. Paul told the Corinthian believers—converts both from Judaism and from paganism—that because an idol was nothing (1 Corinthians 8:4), there was nothing wrong, in eating foods dedicated to it.

It is clear that in Romans 14, Paul is not speaking of the unclean foods of Deuteronomy 14 and Leviticus 11. He is not suggesting that the Christian of strong faith may eat anything, regardless of its effect upon his physical well-being. He has already made plain, in Romans 12:1, that the true believer will see to it that his body is preserved holy and acceptable to God as a living sacrifice. The man of strong faith will regard it as an act of spiritual worship to maintain good health (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

The apostle Paul is not discussing the propriety of eating or abstaining from certain foods but rather urging the believers to be patient and not judge each other. For “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Therefore, the man of strong faith will “follow after the things which make for peace” (Romans 14:19) and will beware lest by his eating or drinking or any other personal practice he destroys the work of God (Romans 14:20) and those for whom Christ died (Romans 14: 15).

Also, Paul urged those without these conscious issues regarding these foods not to place a stumbling block in a brother’s way by indulging in them (Romans 14:13). And, for a person that his conscience bothers him for eating such food, he should leave it alone and not judge the one that eats. For those that judge show spiritual pride instead of Christian love. Jesus taught, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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