Romans 14:13-15



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Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this --not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Meketi oun allelous krinomen (1PPAS): alla touto krinate (2PAAM) mallon, to me tithenai (PAN) proskomma to adelpho e skandalon.
: Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: So don't condemn each other anymore. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian's path.
 (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Let us therefore stop turning critical eyes on one another. If we must be critical, let us be critical of our own conduct and see that we do nothing to make a brother stumble or fall.
 (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Therefore, no longer let us be judging one another. But be judging this rather, not to place a stumbling block before your brother, or a snare in which he may be entrapped.
Young's Literal: no longer, therefore, may we judge one another, but this judge ye rather, not to put a stumbling-stone before the brother, or an offence.


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Romans 14 Commentary
Romans Notes in Outline Form
Romans 14 Commentary
Romans 14:1-6 Responsibilities Under Grace 13
Romans 14:7-12 Responsibilities Under Grace 14
Romans 14:13-21 Responsibilities Under Grace 15
Romans:14:1-13 Sermon
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Romans 14 Commentary
Romans 14 Commentary
Romans 14:1-12 Would Never Do That
Romans 14:13-23 Free To Help, Not To Hinder
Romans: Studies in Romans (1935)
Romans 14:1-2 ; Romans 14:3-6 ; Romans 14:7-12
Romans 14:13-14 ; Romans 14:15-18 ;
Romans 14:19-23
Romans 14 Commentary
Romans 14 Commentary
Romans 14 The Strong and the Weak
Romans 14:1-23 Love and Liberty: Liberties Love Won’t Take
Romans 14 Commentary (Expositors Greek Testament)
Romans 14:1-12 Consider Others
Romans 14:13-23 Guard Your Actions

Romans 14:1-15:13 Directions Regarding a Difference of View
Romans 14:1-12 When to Accept Others

Romans 14:10-18 Instructions for the Strong

Romans 14:19-15:6 Helping Each Other Grow

Romans 14 What is Unity Worth?
Romans 14 Commentary
Romans 14 Commentary

Romans: Prologue to Prison - 24 Chapter Book (1954)
Romans Notes - 200+ pages of Verse by Verse Notes
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Romans 14: Liberty and Conscience - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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Romans 14:10 The Judgment Seat of Christ

Romans 14 Exposition: Liberty and Conscience
Romans 8 - 16 - Commentary
Romans 14 Making Decisions on Non-Moral Issues
Romans 14:1 Receiving One Another with Understanding, Part 1

Romans 14:1-12 Receiving One Another with Understanding, Part 2

Romans 14:13-15 Building Up One Another  Part 1
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Romans 14:12-23 The Limits of Liberty
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Romans 14 Apostolic Admonitions
What Happens When We Die?
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Romans 14:1-6 How to Welcome a Weak Brother

Romans 14:1-9 Is There a “Lord’s Day”?
Romans 14:1-13 Diversified Domestic Ministries

Romans 14:1-13

Romans 14:1-9  Jesus Is Precious
Romans 14:10-13 Judgment of God

Romans 14:1-12: How to Kill a New Christian

Romans 14:1-12: How to Kill a New Christian - II

Romans 14:1-12 Overcoming a Judgmental Spirit

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Romans 14:10-12 The Judgment Seat of God
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Romans 14:1-12 Trying To Change Others

Romans 14:10 The Judgment Seat of Christ (Thesis)
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Romans 14:1-12 Each Of us Will Give An Account
Romans 14:13-23 What Are Christian Liberties
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Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"

Note: All verbs in bold red indicate commands, not suggestions! Also hold mouse pointer over underlined links for pop up of Scripture which stays open and can be copied.




Therefore refers back to [Ro 14:10,11,12] in which Paul reminds his readers that God alone is qualified and has the authority to judge the minds and hearts of His people, who will all stand before His judgment seat (Ro 14:10) and give account of themselves to Him (v12 cf. 2Co 5:10). Judgment is God’s exclusive prerogative (cp Ro 12:19-note).


James Denney explains that in Ro 14:13-23...


The Apostle now proceeds to argue the question of Christian conduct in things indifferent from another point of view—that of the influence which our conduct may have on others, and of the consideration which is due to them (Romans 14 Commentary - Expositors Greek Testament)


Middletown Bible - The Law of Love (Romans 14:1-15:3) - For further help in understanding how to live so as to not cause a brother to stumble, see our paper entitled, "Guidance: 67 Biblical Tests to Use in Deciding Upon a Course of Action."


LET US NOT JUDGE ONE ANOTHER ANYMORE: Meketi oun allelous krinomen (1PPAS): [Mt 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 5 James 2:4, 4:11]


Let us no longer have the habit of criticizing one another.


This statement summarizes what we have covered so far: we are not to judge one another which is in harmony with what the Jesus instructed [Mt 7:1-note] It is the unloving attitude of contemptuous superiority by strong believers and the equally unloving attitude of self righteousness by weak believers (Ro 14:3-note) by which they judge one another. From Paul’s day to ours, those wrongful judgments have been major causes of disrespect, disharmony, and disunity in the church.


Judge - "A beautiful Mimesis (repetition of words in order to refute them) in relation to what precedes, let us no longer judge (This matter requires careful attention. V. G.)" (Bengel)

One another  (240) (allelon) means each other and speaks of a mutuality or sharing of sentiments between two persons or groups of persons. Allelon is a reciprocal pronoun which most often is used in the context of encouragement and edification which is mutually beneficial. In the present context the reciprocal activity (passing judgment) is mutually detrimental, divisive or even destructive.

One another is a common NT phrase (especially in Paul's letters) with most uses relating to the building up of the body of Christ. As such the "one anothers" in the NT would make an excellent Sunday School study (or topical sermon series), taking time to meditate on each occurrence, asking whether it is being practiced (in the Spirit-note) in your local church and seeking to excel still more (cp Php 1:9, 10, 11 -notes; 1Th 3:12-note, 1Th 4:1-note), 1Th 4:10-note). Below is a list  of the NT uses of one another (be sure to check the context for the most accurate interpretation).

Ro 12:10, 16; 13:8; 14:13, 19; 15:5, 7, 14; 16:16; 1Co 6:7; 7:5; 11:33; 12:25; 16:20; 2Co 13:12; Ga 5:13, 15, 26; Ep 4:2, 25, 32; 5:19, 21; Php 2:3; Col 3:9, 13, 16; 1Th 3:12; 4:9, 18; 5:11, 13, 15; 2 Th 1:3; Heb 3:13; 10:24, 25; James 4:11; 5:9, 16; 1Pe 1:22; 4:8, 9, 10; 5:5, 14; 1Jn 1:7; 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2Jn 1:5



Unfairly Judged - We sometimes criticize others unfairly. We don’t know all their circumstances, nor their motives. Only God, who is aware of all the facts, is able to judge people righteously.

John Wesley told of a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him. After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one.


“Christ has made me an honest man,” he said, “and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I must settle up with my worldly neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest.”


Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness.

BUT RATHER DETERMINE (judge) THIS: alla touto krinate (2PAAM) mallon:
Determine (
2919) (krino) (see 14 uses in
Romans) is used twice in this verse, but with a slightly different connotation. In the first use of "krino" "let us not judge one another" the verb carries the idea of condemnation, as it does in (Ro 14:3, Ro 14:4, Ro 14:10). But in the following phrase, the same verb is translated determine, which refers to making a decision. Those two connotations are also found in the English word judge.


Aorist imperative conveys the sense of taking a definite action ("Do it now! Just do it!"), even a sense of "urgency": The idea is "Do this & do it now! Do it effectively!" Check yourself out first -- Are you pushing your Christian liberty so hard, are you insisting on your rights in certain areas, and your freedom to indulge in something, that you are upsetting others and forcing them to act beyond their own conscience (stumbled or snared)? That is what you ought to judge. What is the effect upon others of your attitudes about some of these things?


We should determine (judge) that we will never do anything to hinder a brother in his spiritual progress. None of these nonessential matters is important enough for us to cause a brother to stumble or to fall.


“Being judgmental” carries the negative idea of denunciation, whereas “using your best judgment” refers to making a careful decision, with no negative connotation. Paul’s play on words demands that we should never be judgmental of fellow believers but instead should use our best judgment to help them.    


NOT TO PUT AN OBSTACLE: to me tithenai (PAN) proskomma:


Obstacle (4348) (proskomma [word study] from prós = to, against + kópto = cut, strike) can describe literal or figurative stumbling. It is something a person trips over. Thus proskomma can be an obstacle in the way which if one strikes his foot against he stumbles or falls or figuratively it can describe that over which a soul stumbles i.e. by which is caused to sin or which causes an occasion of apostasy. It is also used  figuratively, to describe a cause of falling or an occasion of sinning (Ro 14:13, 20; 1 Cor. 8:9; Sept.: Ex. 23:33; 34:12)


Proskomma - 6x in 6v in NAS - Rom 9:32, 33; 14:13, 20; 1 Cor 8:9; 1 Pet 2:8. NAS = obstacle(1), offense(1), stumbling(3), stumbling block(1).


James Denney explains that proskomma...


does not occur in the Gospels, but it is a remarkable fact that in most of our Lord’s express teaching about sin, it is sin in the character of skandalon, a snare or stumbling-block to others, with which He deals. (Romans 14 Commentary - Expositors Greek Testament)

Barclay writes that...

proskomma, means 'a barrier', 'a hindrance', 'a road-block'. It is the word that would be used for a tree that has been felled and laid across a road to block it. We must never do or allow anything which would be a road-block on the way to goodness. (William Barclay. New Testament Words)


In this verse proskomma speaks of the spiritual hindrance to another caused by a selfish use of liberty or alternatively our tendency to set up a list of do's and don'ts. Either way could cause the other person to stub his spiritual toe!. Paul says do not do this.


Robertson McQuilkin has a note regarding the importance of context as a guide to accurate interpretation (see also Keep Context King) in his excellent work Understanding and Applying the Bible...


Romans 14:13-15:1: The Strong and the Weak - We might think that a strong person is one who is strong in his opinions, his convictions, his character, or his spirituality. One who is weak is weak in one or more of those areas. That view is legitimate. But is that what Paul was contrasting in Romans 14 when he spoke of the strong and the weak? The context must determine. He was speaking of being strong in faith and weak in faith. The one who is strong in faith has confidence that he may eat anything. The one who is weak in faith lacks that confidence. In Paul's case, he was the strong person and biblical in his convictions. However, it is quite possible to be strong and wrong. Such a person could be weak in character or weak spiritually and still be "strong" in the sense in which Paul used the term here.

It is important for the interpretation of the entire passage to learn from the context what the meaning is. That is, incidentally, another good example of how the context extends beyond chapter divisions. In Romans 15:1 we have additional exhortation and contrast between the strong and the weak: "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves." Paul then gives Christ as a model to show how that difficult injunction can be obeyed—all in another chapter but part of the same thought. (Moody Pub. 1983, 1992)


OR A STUMBLING BLOCK IN A BROTHER'S WAY: to me tithenai (PAN) proskomma to adelpho e skandalon:

Offense (4625) (skandalon [word study] from a root meaning jump up, snap shut) (Click in depth study of skandalon) was originally the piece of wood that kept open a trap for animals. Outside the Bible it is not used metaphorically, though its derivative skandalethron (e.g. a trap set through questions) is so used. The English word scandal is derived from the noun via the Lat. scandalum.

Thus skandalon was literally, that movable part of a trap on which the bait was laid, and when touched caused the trap to close on its prey. Skandalon thus came to mean any entanglement of the foot. Figuratively, as used most often in Scripture, skandalon refers to any person or thing by which one is drawn into error or sin. (but see more detailed notes below)

The use of alcohol is an example of a stronger brother who in the process of using his liberty regarding alcohol intake potentially sets a stumbling block in his weaker brother's way. One must never underestimate the potentially detrimental effect this can have on a former alcoholic. Our drinking, even in moderation, could easily place a stumbling block in that brother’s way and cause him to fall back into his former addiction.

Skandalon - 15x in 13v in the NAS - Matt 13:41; 16:23; 18:7; Luke 17:1; Rom 9:33; 11:9; 14:13; 16:17; 1 Cor 1:23; Gal 5:11; 1 Pet 2:8; 1 John 2:10; Rev 2:14. NAS = cause for stumbling(1), hindrances(1), offense(2), stumbling block(7), stumbling blocks(4).

Trench explains "stumbling block" or skandalon as

literally, that part of a trap on which the bait was laid, when touched caused the trap to close on its prey came to mean any entanglement of the foot."

When the bait touches trap it is triggered and closes shut on its victim. That's a "great" picture of sin which is deceptive (Heb 3:13-note) and virtually always looks alluring (and in fact does have a transitory "pleasure" - Heb 11:25-note), but when "touched" (whether in thought, word, or deed), it captures its unsuspecting prey (cp "cords of sin" in Pr 5:22 - see exposition ; Jesus' warning in Jn 8:34 where commit is in the present tense = one's habitual practice!)

Vine has a helpful discussion:

Skandalon  originally was the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, (in the picture of the trap note the centrally located "pitchfork" shaped trigger where bait is to be placed & which when stepped on releases the two side bars which entrap the victim in a vise like grip -- keep this picture in mind as you meditate on the uses of this word in Ro 14:13 & in the other NT passages) as in Ro 11:9, ‘stumblingblock,’ quoted from Ps 69:22, and in Re 2:14, for Balaam’s device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in Mt 16:23, for in Peter’s words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan. “

In NT Skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked.”* Thus it is used (a) of Christ in Ro 9:33, “(a rock) of offense”; so 1Pe 2:8; 1Co 1:23 (kjv and rv, “stumblingblock”), and of His cross, Ga 5:11; of the “table” provided by God for Israel, Ro 11:9; (b) of that which is evil, eg, Mt 13:41, rv, “things that cause stumbling” (kjv, “things that offend”), lit., “all stumblingblocks”; Mt 18:7, rv, “occasions of stumbling” and “occasion”; Lu 17:1; Ro 14:13, rv, “an occasion of falling” (kjv, “an occasion to fall”), said of such a use of Christian liberty as proves a hindrance to another; Ro 16:17, rv, “occasions of stumbling,” said of the teaching of things contrary to sound doctrine; 1Jn 2:10, “occasion of stumbling,” of the absence of this in the case of one who loves his brother and thereby abides in the light.

Love, then, is the best safeguard against the woes pronounced by the Lord upon those who cause others to stumble. Cf.. In Ho 4:17, the Septuagint is translated: “Ephraim partaking with idols hath laid stumblingblocks in his own path.” (metochos eidolon Ephraim etheken (3SAAI) heauto skandala) (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)


Living With Others in View -To become a Christian is easy — for it is just receiving God's grace through faith in the Savior. To live the sanctified life, however, is extremely difficult, especially since the pathway to Glory is narrow, and our instructions for travel include such admonitions as: "pray without ceasing," "be ye perfect," and "love thy neighbor as thyself." In fact, we are told to curb even legiti­mate desires, if they tend to offend a weaker brother (Rom. 14: 19-21). Paul warns in our text that we must be doubly careful not to put a "stumbling block or an occasion to fall" in the way of a fellow believer.

I am told that tourists in the Alps are cautioned at certain points by the guides not to speak or sing or even to whisper, as the faintest breath might start reverberations in the air which could loosen a delicately poised avalanche from its place on the mountain, and bring it crashing down upon the villages and fields in the valley below. J. R. Miller, in commenting on this, wisely points out, "There are men and women who are walking under such a stress of burdens, cares, responsibilities, sorrows and temp­tations, that one whisper of censure, criticism, complaint or un­kindness may cause them to fall under their load. Let us beware, therefore, how we conduct ourselves, for it is a crime thus to imperil another soul."

Recognizing the seriousness of life, every Christian who is con­secrated at all must guard against being an offense to others. Let us walk carefully and prayerfully today lest some thoughtless word or deed impede the spiritual progress of a fellow believer! Have your feet on errands of love been bent,

Or on selfish deeds has your strength been spent? Has someone seen Christ in you today; Or has your life led a soul astray? — V. B. Hopkins.
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Live for thy neighbor, if thou wouldst live for God!
—Seneca (An Unbeliever!)


Romans 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: oida (1SRAI) kai pepeismai (1SRPI) en kurio Iesou hoti ouden koinon di heautou, ei me to logizomeno (PMPMSD) ti koinon einai (PAN) ekeino koinon.
: I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean.
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
GWT: "The Lord Jesus has given me the knowledge and conviction that no food is unacceptable in and of itself"
NLT: I know and am perfectly sure on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong.
 (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips:  I am convinced, and I say this as in the presence of Christ himself, that nothing is intrinsically unholy. But none the less it is unholy to the man who thinks it is.
 (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for I know with an absolute knowledge and stand persuaded in the Lord Jesus that not even one thing is unhallowed in itself except it be to the one who reasons it out to be unhallowed.
Young's Literal: I have known, and am persuaded, in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself, except to him who is reckoning anything to be unclean -- to that one it is unclean

I KNOW AND AM CONVINCED IN THE LORD JESUS THAT NOTHING IS UNCLEAN IN ITSELF: oida (1SRAI) kai pepeismai (1SRPI) en kurio Iesou hoti ouden koinon di heautou: (1Ti 4:4, 5)


We must not violate our conscience. We may not do what we believe to be wrong because we see others do it. We must neither judge them nor excuse ourselves.

James Denney comments that...

 In principle, the Apostle sides with the strong. He has no scruples about meats or drinks or days. In the Lord Jesus: it is as a Christian, not as a libertine, that Paul has this conviction; in Christ Jesus he is sure that there is nothing in the world essentially unclean; all things can be consecrated and Christianised by Christian use. (Romans 14 - Expositor's Greek Testament)


What Paul is saying in essence is "Don't violate your conscience."
When Paul says here that there is nothing unclean of itself, we must realize that he is speaking only of these indifferent matters. There are plenty of things in life that are unclean, such as pornography, suggestive jokes, PG & higher rated movies & every form of immorality. Paul’s statement must be understood in the light of the context. Christians do not contact ceremonial defilement by eating foods which the Law of Moses branded unclean.
Having been a
Pharisee, a member of those well known for majoring on the minors, Paul doubtless had been extremely careful about what he ate and did not eat. But he now understood with absolute certainty the truth which the Lord declared to Peter three times in a vision: “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy” (Acts 10:15). That divine cleansing referred directly to the multitude of animals Peter was commanded to eat that were ceremonially unclean ac- cording to Mosaic law (Acts 10:12, 13). Indirectly, and in an even more important way, it referred to God’s full and impartial acceptance of believing Gentiles into the church (Acts 10:28, 34).Jesus declared that “there is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him” (Mk 7:15). The strong Christian is therefore entirely right in his conviction that he is at liberty to enjoy anything the Lord does not declare to be sinful. The weak Christian, on the other hand, is wrong in his understanding about some of those things. But he is not wrong in the sense of being heretical or immoral. He is wrong in the sense of not having complete and mature understanding, which causes his conscience to be unnecessarily sensitive.
Morris writes that...

 To the believer, saved by grace through faith in Christ and His provision of full forgiveness and justification, all things are legal. Note such assurances as [Titus 1:15 1Co 10:23 Ga 5:1,4]. Nevertheless, since he should now desire to live and die as unto the Lord (Ro 14:8), this should clearly affect all his behavior and make him very different from those yet unsaved." (Morris, Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)

adds that...

As one who is in the Lord Jesus," that is, as one speaking as a Christian. What Paul really says is, "As one who has been taught by the Lord Jesus, no food is unclean in itself." The Lord Jesus did say that. It was he who said, "No food is unclean." He does not mean that all foods are good for you; some foods are not; some things you can eat are highly poisonous. Jesus does not mean that everything is all right to take in; he means that there is no moral question about food. It is never wrong, morally, to eat what your body may enjoy. Jesus taught that himself, and Paul says, "That is enough for me. That sets me free." But that is not the only problem involved. The conscience needs to be trained by this new insight into liberty. One person's conscience may move much slower than another's, therefore, we are to adjust to one another's needs along this line.  (Read his full sermon -The Right to Yield)


Wiersbe says...

What something does to a person determines its quality. One man may be able to read certain books and not be bothered by them, while a weaker Christian reading the same books might be tempted to sin. But the issue is not, “How does it affect me?” so much as, “If I do this, how will it affect my brother?” Will it make him stumble? Will it grieve him or even destroy him by encouraging him to sin? Is it really worth it to harm a brother just so I can enjoy some food? No!" (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)


BUT TO HIM WHO THINKS ANYTHING TO BE UNCLEAN, TO HIM IT IS UNCLEAN: di heautou, ei me to logizomeno (PMPMSD) ti koinon einai (PAN) ekeino koinon:

if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. Paul is saying essentially "Don't violate your conscience." If a weak brother thinks it is wrong for him to eat pork, for example, then it is wrong. To eat it would be to violate his God-given conscience.
Thinks (3049) (logizomai
from lógos = reason, word, account) means to reckon, compute, calculate, to take into account, to deliberate, and to weigh.  Logizomai refers to a process of careful study or reasoning which results in the arriving at a conclusion. Logizomai conveys the idea of calculating or estimating.

Logizomai is related to our English term logic (which deals with the methods of valid thinking, reveals how to draw proper conclusions from premises and is a prerequisite of all thought).

Here are the 40 uses of logizomai in the NT l- Lk. 22:37; Jn. 11:50; Acts 19:27; Ro. 2:3, 26; 3:28; 4:3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24; 6:11; 8:18, 36; 9:8; 14:14; 1 Co. 4:1; 13:5, 11; 2 Co. 3:5; 5:19; 10:2, 7, 11; 11:5; 12:6; Gal. 3:6; Phil. 3:13; 4:8; 2Tim. 4:16; Heb. 11:19; James 2:23; 1Pe 5:12. The NAS translates logizomai as - consider(6), considered(2), counted(1), counting(1), credit with(1), maintain(1), mind dwell(1), numbered(2), propose(1), reason(1), reckoned(11), reckons(1), regard(4), regarded(3), suppose(1), take into account(3), thinks(1).

Logizomai means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner and to draw conclusions through the use of reason. This was a common secular term used in bookkeeping to describe an entry in an accounting ledger. The purpose of the entry was to make a permanent record that could be consulted whenever needed. In sum logizomai means to draw a logical conclusion from a given set of facts, as in Romans 6:11 (see notes) where one is commanded to continually (present imperative) draw the conclusion (based on the truths "enumerated" in Ro 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10-see notes) that we are "dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus". In the present context it pictures a weaker brother looking at the issues involved and arriving at the conclusion that the issues are "unclean". It is easy to see how this brother could become very judgmental of the stronger brother who considers the same facts but concludes they are not permissible to indulge in.
Unclean (
2839) (koinos) means common, defiled, unclean, unholy, profane.  "Koinos" was a technical term to express those customs and habits which, although "common" to he world, were forbidden to the pious Jew (see similar meaning in
Mk 7:2, Mk 7:5, Acts 10:14, Acts 10:15, 10:28, 11:8, 11:9, Re 21:27).


Koinos is the opposite of hagion (holy), and signifies that which is not and cannot be brought into relation to God.

Who thinks anything to be unclean - Though there is nothing which in itself has this character, some things may have it subjectively, i.e., in the judgment of a particular person who cannot help (from some imperfection of conscience) regarding them so; to him (ekeino = emphatic) they are what his conscience makes them; and his conscience (unenlightened as it is) is entitled to respect. (Ibid)

For various reasons, there are certain things that we all know are not sinful but that we do not feel comfortable in doing or even being near. And as long as we feel discomfort about any such thing, we should avoid doing it—even if it would not cause offense to other believers. If we ourselves consider anything to be unclean, then to us it is unclean.
Stedman comment that...

I liken this to crossing a swinging bridge over a mountain stream. There are people who can run across a bridge like that, even though it does not have any handrails. They are not alarmed by it, they can keep their balance well. They are not concerned about the swaying of the bridge, or the danger of falling into the torrent below. That is fine; some people can do that. But others cannot. You watch them go out on a bridge like that, and they are very uncertain. They shake and tremble; they inch along. They may even get down on their hands and knees and crawl across. But they will make it if you just give them time, if you let them set their own speed. After a few crossings, they begin to pick up courage, and eventually they are able to run right across. It is like that with these moral questions. Some people just cannot see themselves moving in a certain area that they have been brought up to think is wrong; they have difficulty doing so. As in the case of the swinging bridge, it would be cruel for someone who had the freedom to cross boldly to take the arm of someone who was timid and drag them across, to force them to run across. They might even lose their balance and fall off the bridge and suffer injury. This is what Paul is warning about in [Ro 14:15]. (Read his full sermon -The Right to Yield)


Romans 14:15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: ei gar dia broma o adelphos sou lupeitai (3SPPI) ouketi kata agapen peripateis (2SPAI): me to bromati sou ekeinon apollue (2SPAM) huper ou Christos apethanen (3SAAI)
Amplified:But if your brother is being pained or his feelings hurt or if he is being injured by what you eat, [then] you are no longer walking in love. [You have ceased to be living and conducting yourself by the standard of love toward him.] Do not let what you eat hurt or cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV:  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
NLT: And if another Christian is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don't let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died.
 (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips:  If your habit of unrestricted diet seriously upsets your brother, you are no longer living in love towards him. And surely you wouldn't let food mean ruin to a man for whom Christ died.
 (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For, if because of food your brother is made to grieve, no longer are you conducting yourself according to love. Stop ruining by your food that one on behalf of whom Christ died.
Young's Literal: and if through victuals thy brother is grieved, no more dost thou walk according to love; do not with thy victuals destroy that one for whom Christ died.

FOR IF BECAUSE OF FOOD YOUR BROTHER IS HURT : ei gar dia broma o adelphos sou lupeitai (3SPPI): (cp 1Co8:9 10 11)


Henry Alford...

Of food, barely put, to make the contrast greater between the slight occasion, and the great mischief done. The mere hurt of your brother, is an offence against love: how much greater an offence then, if this hurt end in ruining (causing to act against his conscience, and so to commit sin and be in danger of quenching God’s Spirit within him) by a meal of thine, a brother, for whom Christ died! “Do not make more of thy food than Christ did of Hi life” Bengel. See an exact parallel in 1Co 8:10, 11.


You have liberty to do as you please, but do not use that liberty if it would be mischievous to your brother in Christ. If your action, though right in itself, would have a tendency to destroy his soul, deny yourself for love's sake.

Hurt - "The contrast to this is joy in Ro 14:17" (Bengel)

Hurt (3076) (lupeo from lupe = sorrow) signifies pain, of body or mind and means to cause one to experience severe mental or emotional distress or physical pain which may be accompanied by sadness, sorrow or grief.


The King James' translation of lupeo as grieved parallels our colloquial sayings like -- "It weighs heavy on my soul" or "My soul is weighed down with affliction." or "My soul is so burdened."


Lupeo has the basic meaning of causing pain, distress, or grief and is used by John to describe Peter’s reaction when Jesus asked Peter


...the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.  (Jn 21:17).


Lupeo is used of the Holy Spirit, Who is grieved when we sin...


and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ep 4:30-note).       


Here are all 26 uses of lupeo in the NT - Mt. 14:9; 17:23; 18:31; 19:22; 26:22, 37; Mk. 10:22; 14:19; Jn. 16:20; 21:17; Ro 14:15; 2Co. 2:2, 4, 5; 6:10; 7:8, 9, 11; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 Pet. 1:6
It is wrong to hurt our brother over such trivial matters. It is not loving to force people to move at your pace. To refuse to indulge a freedom that you have for the sake of someone else, to adjust to their pace, is surely one of the clearest and truest exercises of Christian love. Is there some non-essential ("food") I need to give up for the higher interest of my brother (that's what agape love does)?
William MacDonald notes that...

"When I sit down to eat with a weak brother, should I insist on my legitimate right to eat Crab Louis or Lobster Thermidor, even if I know he thinks it is wrong? If I do, I am not acting in love, because love thinks of others, not of self. Love foregoes its legitimate rights in order to promote the welfare of a brother. A dish of food isn’t as important as the spiritual well-being of one for whom Christ died. And yet if I selfishly parade my rights in these matters, I can do irreparable damage in the life of a weak brother. It isn’t worth it when you remember that his soul was redeemed at such a towering cost—the precious blood of the Lamb." (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)


YOU ARE NO LONGER WALKING ACCORDING TO LOVE: ouketi kata agapen peripateis (2SPAI):


What is walking in love? Not all believers are mature, and love demands that the mature members of the family defer to the immature. Love (agape) protects people and gives them a chance to grow up. People may be (will be!) difficult, but we are to accept them in love for the Lord’s sake.


Walking (4043)(peripateo from peri = about, around + pateo = walk, tread) means literally to walk around, to go here and there in walking, to tread all around and figuratively refers to living or passing one’s life, signifying the whole round of the activities of the individual life, whether of the unregenerate, (Ep 4:17) or of the believer (1Co 7:17; Col 2:6).  The  39 uses of peripateo in the Gospels always refer to literal, physical walking. Seven of the 8 uses in Acts are also in the literal sense (except Acts 21:21). (See Spurgeon's comments on what it means to walk)

Paul uses peripateo only in the metaphorical sense (32 times in his Epistles -Ro 6:4; 8:4; 13:13; 14:15; 1Co 3:3; 7:17; 2Co 4:2; 5:7; 10:2, 3; 12:18; Ga 5:16; Ep 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15; Php 3:17, 18; Col 1:10; 2:6; 3:7; 4:5; 1Th 2:12; 4:1, 12; 2Th 3:6, 11) meaning to conduct one's life, to order one's behavior, to behave,  to make one's way, to make due use of opportunities, to live or pass one’s life (with a connotation of spending some time in a place).

Some lexicons state that Paul used peripateo in the Hebraic sense of living, regulating one's life or conducting one's self.

NIDNTT writes that...

peripateo (Aristophanes onwards) is found in classic Greek only with the literal meaning of strolling, stopping, (e.g. while one walks here and there in the market, Dem., Orationes 54, 7); the figurative meaning of walking, with reference to conduct, is lacking. Only in Philodemus (1st cent. B.C.) does one find the meaning to live (De Libertate 23, 3)... In the LXX peripateo is found in only 33 passages, of which more than half come from Wisdom literature...  Only occasionally does peripateo denote in the figurative sense way of life (2Ki 20:3; Eccl 11:9). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan

Ray Stedman comments on walk writing

That (Ed: In context Pastor Stedman is referring to the truth in Col 3:1, 2, 3, 4) is the true basis for living a Christian life. Scripture calls it "walking with the Lord." I like that figure because a walk, of course, merely consists of two simple steps, repeated over and over again. It is not a complicated thing. In the same way, the Christian life is a matter of taking two steps, one step after another. Then you are beginning to walk. Those two steps follow in this passage. Paul describes them as, "Put off the old man" (Col 3:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 see note) and "put on the new." (see specific attitudes and actions in Col 3:12-4:6) Then repeat them. That is all. Keep walking through every day like that. That is how Scripture exhorts us to live." (Click for Pastor Stedman's message on True Human Potential)

In the figurative sense, peripateo refers to one's manner of life, to one's habitual way or bent of life, to one's life-style. For example, Luke describes Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, as being

righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (Luke 1:6).

In contrast, Paul counseled the Ephesian believers to

walk no longer just as the Gentiles (in context a description of all the unsaved) also walk, in the futility of their mind” (See note Ep 4:17).

In Romans Paul explains how it is possible to no long walk as the Gentiles writing (speaking of our spiritual baptism into Christ)

we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk (peripateo - Paul's first use in the NT canon) in newness (a brand new kind of life never possible before) of life.  (See note Ro 6:4)

(God condemned sin in the flesh of His Son) in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk (peripateo) according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (See note Ro 8:4)

Let us behave (peripateo) properly (fitting or becoming in a manner of behavior) as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. (See note Ro 13:13)

Some uses of peripateo in Corinthians...

For (explaining why they still need milk and cannot take solid food) you (babes in Christ) are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1Cor 3:3)

for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (2 Cor 10:3-see note)

I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps? (2 Cor 12:18)

Paul charges believers to...

walk (present imperative = command to make this one's lifestyle) by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Gal 5:16-note)

Paul's classic description of unbelievers in Ephesians...

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (See notes Ep 2:1; 2:2)

Paul's contrasting description of believers...

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (See note Ep 2:10)

After describing the wealth (in Christ Jesus, in the heavenly places) of believers in the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul proceeds to exhort us to walk accordingly (note the concentration of peripateo in the second half of Ephesians)...

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, (See note Ephesians 4:1)

and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (See note Ephesians 5:2)

for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk (present imperative = command to make this one's lifestyle) as children of light (See note Ephesians 5:8)

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of (redeeming, buying up every second) your time, because the days are evil. (See note Ep 5:15; 5:16)

Here are a few of Paul's uses of peripateo in other epistles...

Brethren, join (present imperative = command to make this one's lifestyle)  in following my example, and observe (present imperative = command to make this one's lifestyle pay attention to, implying mental concentration regarding) those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. (See note Php 3:17) 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, (See note Php 3:18)

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more. (See note 1Th 4:1)

John uses peripateo in the figurative sense affirming that,

if we walk in the light as [God] Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin (1Jn 1:7)

J Vernon McGee adds the practical comment that

Walking is not a balloon ascension. A great many people think the Christian life is some great, overwhelming experience and you take off like a rocket going out into space. That’s not where you live the Christian life. Rather, it is in your home, in your office, in the schoolroom, on the street. The way you get around in this life is to walk. You are to walk in Christ. God grant that you and I might be joined to Him in our daily walk. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Strong believers (Ro 15:1) must not insist on their liberty in the presence of those whose consciences would be offended. if a "weaker" Christian is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Stott says, “Love never disregards weak consciences”. To the one who loves, a weak brother’s spiritual well-being is always more important than indulging the right to eat whatever one likes.

A weak Christian (Ro 14:1, 2, 3) can be hurt or distressed from watching another Christian say or do something he considers sinful. The hurt is deeper if the offending believer is admired and respected by the weaker one. A weak Christian also can be hurt when, by word or example, he is led by a stronger brother to go against the convictions of his own conscience. That is by far the greater offense. Being upset over what another Christian does can certainly hurt, but that hurt is not nearly so severe and damaging as the hurt of a believer’s conscience over what he himself has done. He suffers feelings of guilt, and forfeits much of his peace of mind, his joy, his witness, and perhaps even his assurance of salvation. A Christian whose careless use of his liberty causes such hurt to other believers is no longer walking according to love.


Love (26)  (agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love and Biblically refers to a love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16), that God shows (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9) and that God enables in His children (see note on fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22- note).


It is not surprising that Greek literature throws little light on its distinctive NT meaning. Biblical agape love is the love of choice, the love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. Agape is not based on  pleasant emotions or good feelings that might result from a physical attraction or a familial bond. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. From all of the descriptions of agape love, it is clear that true agape love is a sure mark of salvation. 


Agape is volitional
is emotional


Agape love does not depend on the world’s criteria for love, such as attractiveness, emotions, or sentimentality. Believers can easily fall into the trap of blindly following the world’s demand that a lover feel positive toward the beloved. This is not agape love, but is a love based on impulse. Impulsive love characterizes the spouse who announces to the other spouse that they are planning to divorce their mate. Why? They reason “I can’t help it. I fell in love with another person!” Christians must understand that this type of impulsive love is completely contrary to God’s decisive love, which is decisive because He is in control and has a purpose in mind. There are many reasons a proper understanding of the truth of God's word (and of the world's lie) is critical and one of the foremost is Jesus' declaration that


"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love (agape) for one another." (John 13:35).


F B Meyer has the following description of agape love...


Wherever there is true love, there must be giving, and giving to the point of sacrifice. Love is not satisfied with giving trinkets; it must give at the cost of sacrifice: it must give blood, life, all. And it was so with the love of God. "He so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son." "Christ also loved and gave Himself up, an offering and a sacrifice to God." (Ep 5:2-note)


We are to imitate God's love in Christ. The love that gives, that counts no cost too great, and, in sacrificing itself for others, offers all to God, and does all for His sake. Such was the love of Jesus--sweet to God, as the scent of fields of new-mown grass in June; and this must be our model.

Not to those who love us, but who hate; not to those who are pleasant and agreeable, but who repel; not because our natural feelings are excited, but because we will to minister, even to the point of the cross, must our love go out. And every time we thus sacrifice ourselves to another for the sake of the love of God, we enter into some of the meaning of the sacrifice of Calvary, and there is wafted up to God the odour of a sweet smell.  (
Devotional Commentary on Ephesians)


DO NOT DESTROY WITH YOUR FOOD HIM FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED: me to bromati sou ekeinon apollue (2SPAM) huper ou Christos apethanen (3SAAI):  


For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined (apollumi), the brother for whose sake Christ died (1Co 8:11)

Do not destroy - The Greek combination of a negative ("me" = not) plus the present imperative (command) can be translated "stop destroying" (indicating that this  was already being practiced by believers in Rome) your brother over these non-essential issues of what you eat, etc. To act this way is to practice love with hypocrisy (Ro 12:9-note).

This is NOT being "devoted to one another in brotherly love" and is NOT giving "preference to one another in honor" (Ro 12:10-note).

It is NOT owing "nothing to anyone except to love one another" for clearly "Love does no wrong to a neighbor" (Ro 13:10-note).

In sum, this type of behavior is NOT walking according to love. If we are to live a life of consideration for our neighbor then we must learn that even though there are things we feel we biblically may do, many of those same things, for the sake of the body of Christ, we should not do. Agape love lays down its rights, seeking the highest good of the other person.
McGee comments...

Since Christ was willing to die for that weak brother (Ro 5:8, Jn15:13, Isa 53:6, 1 Pet 3:18, 1 Jn 3:16, 4:9,10), certainly we ought to be willing to refrain from eating something or doing something that would hurt him in his Christian walk.

To destroy (622) (apollumi is derived from apo = away from + olethros =state of utter ruin) pertains to destruction but not annihilation and basically has to do with that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose. It does not refer to the loss of being, but of well-being.

The KJV sometimes translates it damnation but in the context of Ro 14 apollumi does not mean that one brother can cause the damnation of another brother to the lake of fire, but it does indicate that one can seriously derail and ruin the offended brother's spiritual growth "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet 3:18, 1Cor8:11, Ro14:20).

Apollumi means to destroy utterly but not to annihilate. It can also mean to perish (as in Mt 8:25) 

Apollumi means to ruin so that the thing ruined can no longer serve the use for which it was designed. The gospel promises everlasting life for him who believes. The failure to possess this life will involve the utter ruin of those that perish. Apollumi then has to do with that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose.

Apollumi is the term Jesus used to speak of those who are thrown into hell (Mt 10:28). As He makes clear elsewhere, hell is not a place or state of nothingness or unconscious existence, as is the Hindu Nirvana but is the place of everlasting torment, the place of eternal death, where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:42, 50).

Apollumi is used some 265 times in the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT (Septuagint - LXX). In Psalm 1 we read that

the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish (Lxx - apollumi) (Ps 1:6-note)

Jesus used apollumi to remind His disciples what happened when men "put new wine into old wineskins" for they knew that this would make "the wineskins burst...and the wineskins are ruined (apollumi)". (Mt 9:17). The point is that these wineskins did not cease to exist but they did cease to fulfill the function for which they were created. In short they were rendered useless. In a similar way, the noun form, apoleia, is used to describe the reaction of the disciples when they saw the woman anointing Jesus' head with "costly perfume" (Mt 26:8). They became "indignant when they saw this and said "Why this waste (noun form = apoleia)" In essence they were asking Jesus why are You letting the precious oil perish and be rendered useless? The ointment did not go out of existence, but was used for what they judged to be a useless purpose (were they ever wrong!). In a similar way all men and women are created by God for fellowship with Him and for His glory (cf Isa 43:7), but when they individually refuse to come to Him for salvation they lose their opportunity for redemption and for becoming what God originally created them for. Their lives are wasted and useless (eternally)! They are fit only for everlasting condemnation and destruction away from the presence and the glory of the Father. This is the awful picture of what it means to "perish". This is not the desire of God for as Peter writes

Jesus used apollumi with a meaning similar to Paul here in Romans 14. In Mt 18:14 Jesus referred to nonpermanent ruin or loss. When Jesus said, “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish [apollumi]” (Mt18:14), the context makes clear that “these little ones” are believers. They have been “converted and become like children” (Mt18:3) and “believe in Me” (Mt 18:6). Jesus was not concerned about their loss of salvation but about their loss of spiritual well being, which, although not an eternal loss, is a injury the Lord considers to be extremely grave.

A brother's "ruin" is a serious consequence that I fear most believer's (including myself) do not fully comprehend.

Paul does not want the church to underestimate the significance of the non-essentials in the overall spiritual vitality of the body of Christ, for "if one member suffers, all the members suffer" (1Co12:26) and on a given day yet future we will ALL (each one individually) give an accounting of how we dealt with our brethren regarding  the "externals" (Ro 14:10,12, 2Cor 5:10, Mt 12:36; 16:27; 1Pet 4:5). (Don't misunderstand - Jesus paid for our sins as believers - our judgment will be in relation to rewards as Paul described in 1Co 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

John gives us sage advice

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming....We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1Jn 2:28, 3:2,3)


Be aware (beware, be wary) that some commentators interpret this verse to mean that a person can lose their salvation. Even the generally conservative College Press NIV Commentary has a note on the Romans section written by Jack Cottrell (Ph.D. Cincinnati Bible Seminary) with which I strongly disagree. Cottrell seems to imply in his comment that a believer can lose his salvation. Cottrell writes

I must conclude, though, that this strong warning does imply that the careless and unloving exercise of Christian liberty can lead to actual loss of salvation for a weak brother. Apollumi is frequently used in the sense of eternal destruction in hell (Mt 10:28; Lu 13:3, Jn 3:16, Ro 2:12). (College Press NIV Commentary)

We must be Bereans! (Acts 17:11 - see note;)



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