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Old and New Testament.
Romans 14:4-6 Commentary
Updated July 30, 2014
Who are you to
another ? To his
falls; and he will
stand, for the
Greek: su tis ei (3SPAI)
o krinon (PAPMSN) allotrion oiketen;
to idio kurio stekei (3SPAI) e piptei
(3SPAI) : stathesetai (3SFPI)
de, dunatei gar o kurios stesai (AAN)
Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another’s household
servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he
shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to
support him and make him stand.
Bible - Lockman)
Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the
Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's
power will help them do as they should.
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: After all, who are you to criticise the servant of
somebody else, especially when that somebody else is God? It is to his
own master that he gives, or fails to give, satisfactory service. And
don't doubt that satisfaction, for God is well able to transform men
into servants who are satisfactory.
Wuest: As for you, who are you who are judging another’s
household slave? To his own personal master he stands or falls.
Indeed, he shall be made to stand, for the Lord has power to make him
Thou -- who art thou that art judging another's domestic? to his own
master he doth stand or fall; and he shall be made to stand, for God
is able to make him stand.
Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Life by Faith
Modified from Irving L.
Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
WHO ARE YOU TO
JUDGE THE SERVANT OF ANOTHER: su tis ei (3SPAI) o krinon (PAPMSN)
allotrion oiketen: (Ro 9:20; Acts 11:17; 1Corinthians 4:4,5;
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,
67 Biblical Tests to Use in Deciding Upon a Course of Action."
Who are you - While the you is
probably most accurately defined as the weaker brother, the truth in
this passage applies both weak and strong. The word is "You" for
emphasis which immediately confronts this individual and arouses their
attention. It's as if Paul is saying “as for you, who are you,
etc.” As Denney
says "The sharpness of this rebuke shows that Paul, with all
his love and consideration for the weak, was alive to the possibility of
a tyranny of the weak, and repressed it in its beginnings. It is easy to
lapse from scrupulousness about one’s own conduct into Pharisaism about
that of others.” (Romans
14 Commentary - Expositors Greek Testament)
MacArthur - Paul is questioning any
believer's right to evaluate someone else's servant. Their opinion doesn't
improve or impair that servant's position before his own master. Judgment by an
outsider is irrelevant. (Receiving
One Another with Understanding, Part 2 "Unity in Action")
Matters of meat and drink are to be left to
Christian liberty, and no one has any right to dictate to another how he shall
act. It is, however, a good rule—"in all cases of doubt be sure to take the
(krino) primarily signifies to distinguish, separate or discriminate and
then, to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without necessarily
passing an adverse sentence, although that is often what is usually involved.
indicates this is a continual action.
oíkos = dwelling, home) means one who lives in the same house as another and
then household slaves or domestic servants (a "household slave") not as strongly servile as doulos.
Many of the domestic slaves were well educated and held
responsible positions in the households. Among their number were doctors, teachers,
musicians, actors and stewards over great estates. The oiketes thus describes one
who is of the household of
the “family.” It is to his own master that the servant is
responsible, not to another believer.
The servant of another - "Paul speaks
of judging “another’s”, not “another man’s”; his illustration is taken from
human affairs, but he has in mind the divine Master. The possessive means that
the servant in question belongs to and therefore is accountable to that Other.
If a servant is acceptable to his master, it does not matter what his fellow
servants think." (The
Epistle to the Romans- Leon Morris)
Of Another - In context the "another"
clearly refers to
Christ as the Master, for we have all been bought with the price of His precious
blood and thus belong solely to the Savior (Titus 2:14, 1Cor 6:19-20, 1Pe 2:9)
Cranfield - The abstainer, who is
passing judgment on his fellow-Christian who does not abstain, is challenged to
consider who he himself is who thus presumes to pass judgment on someone who,
like himself, is a household-slave of Christ (or of God) and therefore only
answerable to Him (according to ordinary human law governing slavery the
household-slave was answerable solely to his master). The point made by
another (allotrion) is not, of course, that the strong Christian belongs to
a master other than the one to whom the weak Christian belongs, but that he
belongs to a master other than the weak Christian—he is not the weak Christian’s
slave, but Another’s, i.e., Christ’s (or God’s), and therefore not answerable to
the weak Christian. (A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the
J Vernon McGee has a pithy comment (as usual) - "Paul asks, “What right
have you to judge another man’s servant?” What right have you, Christian friend,
to sit in judgment on another Christian’s conduct when it involves something
that is questionable? Are you God? Is that person accountable to you? Paul says,
“He is not accountable to you. He is accountable to God. He is going to stand
before his own Master.” Can you imagine being a dinner guest in someone’s home)
and the servant brings in cold biscuits. You say to the servant, “What’s the big
idea of bringing me cold biscuits?” And you chide—in our common colloquialism,
bawl out—the servant! May I say to you, there would be an awkward silence in
that home. That person is not your servant. Maybe she should not have served
cold biscuits, but it is not your place to say so. I have a notion that the lady
of the house will go back to the kitchen and will tend to the matter. Now maybe
you disapprove of my conduct in one of these doubtful areas. I don’t have to
account to you; you are not my master. I am responsible to Jesus Christ. He is
my Master.' (McGee, J. V. Thru the Bible commentary: Thomas Nelson)
HIS OWN MASTER HE STANDS OR FALLS AND STAND HE WILL, FOR THE LORD IS ABLE TO
MAKE HIM STAND: to idio kurio stekei (3SPAI) e piptei (3SPAI) stathesetai
(3SFPI) de dunatei (PAI) gar o kurios stesai (AAN) auton: (Ro 14:3; 11:23;
16:25; Deut 33:27-29; Ps 17:5; 37:17,24,28; Ps 119:116,117; Jn 10:28, 29, 30; Ro
8:31-39; Heb 7:25; 1Pet 1:5; Jude 1:24) (Isa 40:29):
ONE LORD OVER
THE WEAK AND THE STRONG
To his own master (and no one else!) - The Master of both
the weak and the strong brother is the same Lord and it is to Him both are
accountable. Paul made a similar statement regarding his ultimate accountability
writing "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards
of the mysteries of God.:2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards
that one be found trustworthy. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I
should be examined by you, or by [any] human court; in fact, I do not even
examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by
this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. (1Cor 4:1-4)
J Ligon Duncan - Paul says, “God
is our master.” He's telling us to accept one another in these areas of
secondary opinion, to do so in light of a tremendous truth: That is God
is master, God is judge because He is the master of His children. We
should not be too quick to take upon ourselves the role of judge and
master. We should refrain from it. We should be ready to give as much
room as we possibly can to the consciences of our brothers and sisters
in Christ. This is a tremendous principle that he sets down. There is
the first thing that he says in this passage. God is our master and
therefore we need to remember that (truth) as we estimate, as we exercise
discretion, as we practice judgment with regard to those in the body of
Warning Against Judging Brothers)
Godet feels that "The idea is: It is
to the advantage or disadvantage of his master, not of his fellow-servants, that
a servant fulfils or neglects his task. The terms standing and falling
refer, not to the servant’s absolution or condemnation at the judgment, but to
his daily faithfulness or unfaithfulness, and to the strengthening or weakening
of his inward relation to Christ. What proves this, is the ground for confidence
indicated in the words: “Yea, he shall stand; for God is powerful to hold him
up.” There is no more need of being held up, or at least of being so by the
power of God, in the judgment day. Of course the servant’s sincerity, in the
line of conduct which he has adopted, is assumed, even if he were in error on a
particular point. Paul affirms that the Lord will be able to hold him in
communion with Himself.—Here the Lord is probably, as generally in the N. T.,
Christ. It is He, indeed, who is Master of the house, and for whom the servants
labour (Luke 12:41–48)" (Romans
14:1-15:13 Directions Regarding a Difference of View)
Steven Cole -
To refrain from wrongly judging my
brother, I must remember that God is the Savior, Sanctifier, and Lord;
I’m not. Paul says (Ro 14:4), “Who are you to judge the servant of
another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for
the Lord is able to make him stand.” In other words, I didn’t save
the one with whom I differ; God did. I’m not the one who will keep him
and perfect him for the day of Christ Jesus; God is. I’m not that man’s
Lord and Judge; God is. So I need to let God be God and trust that He
will deal with my brother on these non-essential matters if He thinks
that they need correcting. But my job is to love my brother, accept him
in Christ, and trust God to work in his life. (Getting
Along in Spite of Our Differences Romans 14:1-4)
signifies sovereign power and
absolute authority. It is the one who has absolute ownership of another
and is the same word translated "Lord" below.
The first reason why we must not look down
on the weak or judge or condemn the strong is because it is not our
responsibility to change our brother. We are not his master.
He is not our servant. We are not responsible for one another's conduct
in these "non-essentials." This is an
area of our spiritual life that each individual believer has to decide (krino - judge) before
His Master, and we have no
responsibility to try to change another's opinion or action (in
the area of "neutral", non-essentials, in which Scripture gives no clear
guidelines) and no authority to do so. The weaker or stronger
brother (depending on which camp you are in) is not your
servant, but is the Lord's for the Lord chose him. The Lord is the One
responsible to change him.
Steven Cole however does give one
important caveat writing "I repeat this so that we’re all clear. Paul does not
mean that we should not judge others on matters where the Bible speaks clearly.
We should judge sin in others as sin. In 1 Corinthians 5, he rebuked the
church because they accepted and did not judge a man who was involved immorally
with his father’s wife. We should judge and not accept serious doctrinal
error. In Galatians, Paul did not accept the Judaizers’ view that you must
obey the Law of Moses in addition to faith in Christ to be saved. He said that
they were damned if they taught such a false “gospel” (Gal. 1:6-9). So the
Bible is clear that we are to hold to sound doctrine and condemn false doctrine
on core issues. We are to make moral judgments on matters where Scripture
gives commandments. We must speak out if a matter threatens the truth of the
gospel or the spiritual health of a church or an individual. But then there
are many issues where the Bible either is silent or not clear about what to do.
Often we can apply biblical principles to figure out what to do. On some issues,
godly men differ. We might debate our case vigorously, but we need to be
gracious toward those who differ with us." (Getting
Along in Spite of Our Differences Romans 14:1-4) (Bolding added)
For - Functions here as a
term of explanation.
Paul is explaining why we don't need to worry (and judge) our weaker or stronger
brother, fearing that what he is doing or thinking will cause his spiritual
downfall. Why not? Because "the Lord is able to make him stand."
Lord (master, owner)(2962)(kurios)
signifies the one who has complete sovereignty, absolute authority, total
ownership and unrivaled power. Is
this Who Jesus is in our life? What about where you go, what you watch, what you
buy, etc? Is He Lord over all areas of my life?
In spite of your sharp criticisms of
one another. NLT is a good paraphrase and brings out Paul's idea well
"Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the
Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's
power will help them do as they should."
Is able (1414)(dunateo
= one who possesses power; from
= describes power
in one by virtue of inherent ability and/or resources) means to show
oneself to be able to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. To exert
overwhelming, unstoppable power ("unstoppably able")! In Ro 14:4
dunateo is followed by an infinitive ("to") = "to be able to."
indicates He is continuously able! (cp Heb 7:25).
Able (Webster) = having the
necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc., to do
something, having sufficient power, skill, or resources to accomplish an
object; Having physical power sufficient; having competent power or
strength, bodily or mental;
Thayer - To be powerful or mighty; show oneself powerful (2Cor
13:3) as opposed to weak (astheno); to be able to have power.
BDAG - to display capability, be
effective, be able
TDNTA - Words of this stem (duna-)
all have the basic sense of ability or capability.
See related study on the encouraging
GOD IS ABLE
Dunateo - 3x - Is able (2),
mighty. Used only in NT (no uses in Septuagint).
Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the
servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will
stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is
able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all
sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good
2 Corinthians 13:3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who
speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.
Comment: The power at work in
believers is that of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
(Spirit filled life study Bible)
ESV Study Bible - like Christ,
Paul will manifest the power of God in judging the Corinthians’ behavior
and beliefs (see 1 Cor. 5:12–13; 6:1–3).
Bill Bright - “The Christian
life is more than difficult; it is humanly impossible to live. Only
Jesus Christ can live it through you as He dwells within you (Ed:
Specifically via the "Helper," the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ).
The Christian life is not a person trying to imitate Christ; rather, it
is Christ imparting His life to and living His life through the person.
The Christian life is not what you do for Him; it is what He does for
and through you. He wants to think with your mind, express Himself
through your emotions, and speak through your voice, though you may be
unconscious of it.”
MacArthur adds that "The Greek
word (dunateo) translated "is able" is a form of
the source of the English word dynamite. Our God is powerful! (a)
John 10:28‑29‑‑Jesus said, "Neither shall any man man pluck them out of
my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all, and no man
is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (b) Ro 8:35‑39‑‑Nothing
can separate us from the love of Christ because those whom He
predestined, He will bring to glory (Ro 8:29‑31). (c) John 6:37‑‑Jesus
said, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me, and him that comes
to me I will in no wise cast out." (d) Jude 24‑25‑‑Jude said, "Now unto
him that is able to keep you from falling ... to the only wise God, our
Savior." (e) 1Peter 1:5‑6‑‑Peter said that we "are kept by the power of
God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this ye greatly rejoice." We don't need to fear that our legalist
brothers or those who live out their freedom in Christ will fall away.
One Another with Understanding, Part 2 "Unity in Action")
Leon Morris - In the last resort
it is the power of God that matters. The Lord is able to make his
servant stand, and he will. (The
Epistle to the Romans- Leon Morris) This recalls the great
closing words of the Epistle of Jude...
Him Who is able
to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His
glory blameless with great joy,
to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, [be] glory,
majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Amen. (Jude 1:24-25-note)
Denney - It is his own Lord who
is concerned—it is His interest which is involved and to Him (not to
you) he must answer—as he stands or falls. But he shall be made to
stand, i.e., shall be preserved in the integrity of his Christian
character. For the Lord has power to keep him upright. Paul does not
contemplate the strong man falling and being set up again by Christ; but
in spite of the perils which liberty brings in its train—and the Apostle
is as conscious of them as the most timid and scrupulous Christian could
be—he is confident that Christian liberty, through the grace and power
of Christ, will prove a triumphant moral success. (Romans
14 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
Ray Stedman - The thing Paul brings out (V4) is that the man under
consideration is being changed. He is on his way to standing. He will
stand, Paul says. Stand, of course, means that he will be straightened
out if he is doing wrong in this area. If it is really wrong, God will
straighten him out and it is not up to you to do it. This is why I enjoy
so much that little pin that Bill Gothard gives out with the letters
PBPGINFWMY, i.e., "Please be patient, God is not finished with me
yet." We are all in the process of change. The Lord is doing it, and he
will do it. He is changing us, and if we will just wait a little while
we can see some of the changes. Now, if the problem is one of not
understanding truth, the solution is teaching the truth more plainly. As
people hear it and understand it, they will be freed from this. To try
to force them into some kind of compliance with something they yet do
not understand is ridiculous and futile. Therefore, be patient. If they
are being exposed to truth, they will change. Let the Lord change them;
it is his responsibility. Not only will he do so, but he is perfectly
able to do so. God is able to do it. I like Phillips' translation here.
He says, "God is well able to transform men into servants who are
satisfactory." That is exactly what Paul is relying on here. (On
Trying to Change Others) (Bolding added)
Ro 14:4 "Who are you to judge the
servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he
will, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
The word "judge" is krino, which means
to separate or to discriminate, to form or give an opinion after
considering the particulars of a case. Let me give you an example. I go
overseas a lot, and a lot of the people there just don’t understand
grace. They are so tied to the law. They are tied to so many things. I
walk in and see these precious, precious people and immediately the
discernment comes. But you see, I can’t take the next step and make a
judgment. I am there to encourage and instruct. By the grace of God they
will be able to come to the light of realizing that Jesus Christ
determines their eternal security with Him and that nothing they do or
don’t do affects that. It may affect their fellowship, but not their
eternal standing with God.
You see, it is immediate that we realize we are not somebody else’s lord.
He is Lord of both. Paul says, "to his own master he stands or falls."
In other words, it is his master that is going to cause him to stand or
determine whether he is going to fall. It is not our determination. Our
determination is to love without hypocrisy. Our determination is to make
sure that whatever we do builds up, encourages and instructs. We are
never to take the place of lording over or judging that individual for
his lack of understanding of grace.
Then Paul goes on in Ro 14:4 to say, "and stand he will, for the Lord is
able to make him stand." The word "to stand" there means to be
established and to confirm. Thank God for that. God will establish both
men. He will establish the strong men. He will establish the weak men.
Thank God for that back when I did not understand grace. Folks, I didn’t.
And I tell you what, hiding behind the corner of great things that God
is doing in your life is that temptation to be spiritually proud and to
judge your brother because he hasn’t done what you have done. There have
been many, many times when God has led me to a fast that nobody knew
about. Those times of fasting are those times of deep commitment.
Somehow you think you are in a realm that nobody else is in, and you
become spiritually proud and begin to judge others because they don’t do
as you do. I had that judgmental "I can tell you how to live if you will
just ask me" attitude.
That is the biggest problem in the body of Christ today. People are
spiritually proud of what they know and what they understand, so they
take that and use their freedom under grace to become a stumbling block
for somebody else. We have no right to do that. It says that He will be
the one to establish them. I am so glad that God loved me when I was so
arrogant. I went from ignorance to arrogance in about six weeks. When I
was so arrogant, I had an answer for everything. Buddy, if you wanted to
know how to live your life, just ask me and I would tell you. The word
"lovingkindness" is one of my favorite words in scripture. God just
Finally through people and situations He began to bring me into an
understanding of what grace really is. When you come to realize it that
way, who are you going to throw a rock at? You used to be in the same
boat. You see, this is what this love is all about. This is the thing
that distinguishes us. Let’s don’t get proud of what we know or what we
do or don’t do. It is not that at all. My spirituality is not ever
determined by what I do or don’t do in the sense of that. It is in the
sense of whether or not my relationships are totally wrapped up in such
unconditional love that nobody can question that God is doing something
in this person’s life. That is the key. (Romans
Conclusion - When I was in seminary, a classmate of mine told me after
we had become acquainted that when he first met me, he questioned
whether I was even a Christian. I asked him why he thought that. He
replied, “Because you have a mustache and you mentioned that you had
gone to some movies.” (I would have had a beard, but the seminary
wouldn’t allow it!) He had grown up in an ultra-conservative church
where being clean-shaven and not going to movies apparently were marks
of the new birth! The truth is, I probably would have judged some of the
ultra-conservative brothers for not being as free in Christ as I was.
We’re all prone to judge those who are different than we are. But we
need to learn to accept one another and love one another in spite of our
differences over minor matters where the Bible does not give specific
commandments. Application Questions: (1) Why does Paul here command us not to judge others, but elsewhere (1Cor.
5:3, 12, 13) he rebukes the church for not judging a man? (2)
How can we determine whether a matter is non-essential, so that we
should let it go or one that requires correction? (3)
When (if ever) is it okay to debate a non-essential matter? What
guidelines apply? (4)
What are some non-essential matters (besides those in the message) where
we must accept and not judge those who differ from us? (Getting
Along in Spite of Our Differences Romans 14:1-4) (Bolding
and its cognates [see below] is a root of English words like critic, critical [kritikos]
= a decisive point at which judgment is made) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between
(in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision), to make up one's
mind, to separate, to discriminate. to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong,
without necessarily passing an adverse sentence, although that is often
what is usually involved. As you will see from this study, krino
has various shades of meaning which must be determined from the context.
The basic meaning of krino is to form an
opinion after separating and considering the particulars in the case. Krino
means to evaluate and determine what is right, proper, and expedient for
Krínō should be distinguished from a
"to condemn," derived from kata, "down, against," and krínō, "to
judge." In Romans 2:1 both verbs are used - "Therefore you are without excuse,
every man [of you] who passes judgment (krino), for in that you
judge (krino) another, you condemn (katakrino)
yourself; for you who judge (krino) practice the same things. The
understanding of this verse lies in the proper rendering of what is translated "another"
(heteros). It is another who is different than you are. If the only
reason you judge another person is because he is different than you are, the
basis of your judgment is faulty; and it is no surprise that you will condemn
him, for who is better than self! Only God knows the extent of suffering there
has been in this world because people have judged their fellowmen by the color
or physical features specific to their race. "Undoubtedly much of the warring
and rioting and bloodshed in the world today is due to just such judgment."
Wuest gives an excellent sense of the
progression of meaning of this Greek word - The word krino meant
originally to separate, then to distinguish, to pick out, to be of
opinion, and finally, to judge. The act of judgment was therefore that of
forming an accurate and honest opinion of someone, thus, appraising his
character, and placing him in a certain position with respect to the law of God.
The result of such a judgment is commonly condemnation. (Wuest's word
studies from the Greek New Testament)
HCSB Study Bible - The Greek verb
krino means to judge and always involves the process of thinking through a
situation and coming to a conclusion. The term could be used in a narrowly
judicial sense but it also has several nuances related to judging in a more
general sense. In nonjudicial contexts, krino can mean to select, prefer,
decide, consider. In the NT, krino most often refers to judging something or
someone in general. However, krino does occur in specific judicial settings
several times, and the court can be human (Mt 5:40; Jn 7:51; 18:31; Ac 23:3;
24:21; 25:9-10,20; 26:6; 1Co 6:1,6) or divine (Jn 5:22,30; 12:48; Ac 17:31; Ro
2:16; 3:4-7; 2Tim 4:1; 1Pe 4:5; Rev 20:12-13). In two passages, krino is used
with the meaning to rule. Jesus said that the twelve apostles would judge the
twelve tribes of Israel "in the Messianic Age" (Mt 19:28), and here krino likely
means to rule, as the verse's reference to sitting on thrones would imply.
Similarly, Paul's statement that the saints would judge the world and angels
(1Co 6:2-3) probably means that believers will rule over them both in the future
kingdom (cp. Rev 2:26-27). (Holman
Christian Study Bible-enter 1 Corinthians 6 - Click "Read" under Study Bible
Krinō means “to form a proper
appreciation of anything by discriminating between two or more things,” to
divide or separate and thus, “to form a judgment." The idea is to sift out and
The primary meaning of krino is "to
judge in the sense of discerning something" or "to reach a decision about
something." The decision in the case of krino can be either for or against
someone. However, many times krino denotes a decision of condemnation in
which the guilty party is handed over for punishment. It is used in this sense
in Acts 13:27. Here Paul said that the Jewish leaders fulfilled the words of the
Old Testament prophets in condemning Jesus.
When one judges (krino) in their own
mind as to what is right, proper, expedient the idea is that they decide or
determine. Another sense of krino is to form and express a judgment or
opinion as to any person or thing, whether favorable or unfavorable (Jn 8:15).
Krino means to hold a view or have an opinion with regard to
something (Acts 15:19). Finally, krino means to judge in the classic
judicial sense (decide a question of legal right or wrong, and thus determine
the innocence or guilt of the accused and assign appropriate punishment or
retribution) (Jn 18:31), some of these uses referring to eschatological (future)
judgment by God (or Jesus -Jn 5:30, 2Ti 4:1, 1Pe 4:5, Rev 19:11) (Jn 5:22, 8:50,
Acts 17:31, Ro 2:16, 3:6, etc). One of the most incredible passages (to me) is
"Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the
world is judged by you, are you not competent [to] [constitute] the
smallest law courts?" (1Cor 6:2)
Wayne Detzler - The word translated
“judgment” in the New Testament is krisis, and the verb, “to judge,” is krino.
This root is seen in many English words, including “crisis” (a decisive time
when judgment must be made) and “critical” (a decisive point at which judgment
is seen). The elementary meaning is to make a judgment. In early Greek the word
was related to the supposed activities of the gods, who were guardians of rights
and customs. They judged those actions which conflicted with their rights or
customs. If people violated these basic rules of life, it was believed that the
gods would punish (or judge) either the violaters or their children. When the
word was taken up in the Septuagint Greek Old Testament it took on a Hebrew
flavor. In the Old Testament it was Jehovah God who judged between right and
wrong. The standard for judgment was His holy Law, handed down at Sinai. (New
Testament Words in Today’s Language)
MacArthur - In the New Testament,
krinō (to judge) has numerous shades of meaning, ranging from the broad and
usually positive sense of forming an opinion or of resolving an issue (As in
Luke 7:43; Acts 4:19) to the immeasurably more serious and negative sense of
condemning or damning (As in John 12:48; Acts 13:27; 2 Thess. 2:12). (2
Timothy. Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press)
Green - Like the English verb “judge,”
the Greek word krinō can mean “form an opinion” (Lk 7:43). But normally
in the NT it describes the passing of a sentence—either in a law-court (Mt 5:40)
or metaphorically with reference to divine judgment (Mt 7:1–2; Jn 5:22, 30).
Often the focus is on the negative aspect of condemnation (Mt 7:1; Jn 3:17–18).
(Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press)
Broadly speaking, krinō can have
either a legal, judicial sense or a casual sense of personal preference.
BDAG summarized - Primary meaning: ‘to
set apart so as to distinguish, separate’, then by transference (1) to
make a selection = to select, prefer (Ro 14:5) (2) to pass judgment upon
(and thereby seek to influence) the lives and actions of other people (a) judge,
pass judgment upon, express an opinion about Mt 7:1, 2; Lk 6:37; (b) Especially
to pass an unfavorable judgment upon, criticize, find fault with, condemn
(Ro 2:1, 14:3-4) (3) to make a judgment based on taking various factors
into account = to judge, think, consider, look upon. (you do not consider
yourselves worthy Acts 13:46; you considered their shortcomings as your own 1
Clement 2:6; to decide whether it is right to obey you rather than God Acts
4:19) (4) to come to a conclusion after a cognitive process = to reach a
decision, decide, propose, intend (Acts 3:13, 20:16, 25:25, 1Cor 2:2, 5:3, Titus
3:12) (5) to engage in a judicial process = to judge, decide, hale before
a court, condemn, also hand over for judicial punishment. (A
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
Krino - Primarily “to judge,”
primarily signifies to separate, to select, to choose, to distinguish; then, to
distinguish between right and wrong, without necessarily passing an adverse
sentence, though this is usually involved.
a strengthened form of krinō; always denotes “to pass an adverse
Vine - "The uses of this verb in the NT may be analyzed as
follows: (a) to assume the office of a judge, Mt 7:1; Jn 3:17; (b) to undergo
process of trial, John 3:18; 16:11; 18:31; James 2:12; (c) to give sentence,
Acts 15:19; 16:4; 21:25; (d) to condemn, Jn 12:48; Acts 13:27; Ro 2:27;
execute judgment upon, 2Th 2:12; Acts 7:7; (f) to be involved in a lawsuit,
whether as plaintiff, Mt 5:40; 1Cor 6:1; or as defendant, Acts 23:6; (g) to
administer affairs, to govern, Mt 19:28; cp. Jdg 3:10; (h) to form an opinion,
Lk 7:43; Jn 7:24; Acts 4:19; Ro 14:5; (i) to make a resolve, Acts 3:13; 20:16;
1Cor 2:2" (Judge
- Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)
Liddell-Scott (partially summarized) -
To separate, put asunder, distinguish. To pick out, choose. to choose the best,
passive - to be chosen out, distinguished, admit to a class, number in it
(numbered among), esp. of admitting as a competitor in games. (2) decide
disputes, judge crooked judgments, they decide the question, by what do
you form this judgment? b. decide a contest, e.g. for a prize. (3) adjudge, the
sum adjudged to be paid, etc, etc. (very long and detailed - if interested see
original entry in L-S)
Friberg - Krino - from a basic
meaning divide out or separate off; (1) as making a personal evaluation think of
as better, prefer (Ro 14.5); (2) as forming a personal opinion evaluate, think,
judge (Acts 13.46; (3) as reaching a personal or group decision resolve,
determine, decide (Acts 16.4); (4) as passing a personal judgment on someone’s
actions judge, criticize (Mt 7.1); often in a negative sense condemn, find fault
with (Jas 4.11); (5) as a legal technical term; (a) in a human court judge,
condemn, hand over for punishment (Jn 7.51); passive be on trial, be judged
(Acts 25.10); middle/passive go to law, sue (1Cor 6.6); (b) of God’s judging
judge, administer justice; with an obviously negative verdict condemn, punish
(2Th 2.12); (6) Hebraistically, in a broader sense rule, govern (Lk 22.30) (Analytical
Lexicon of the Greek New Testament- Barbara Friberg and Neva F. Mille Timothy
- In the NT ‘to judge’ is always a translation of krinein or its compounds,
although krino is frequently rendered by other words than ‘judge.’
The primary meaning of krino is to separate, put asunder . Through the
derivative signification (krino can convey the sense of) to search into, to
investigate. Krino came to mean to choose, prefer, determine, to decide
moral questions or disputes after examination, to judge . In this last sense it
is used of the authoritative decisions Christ will declare as to conduct and
destiny at the general judgment of the last day. When krino is not rendered
by ‘judge’ in the NT, it always involves the kindred meaning of reaching a
decision, or of action consequent upon a decision. In a number of instances
it means to determine to pursue the course decided upon as best. Paul had
determined (krino) to sail past Ephesus (Acts 20:16); he determined not to know
anything among the Corinthians save Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1Cor 2:2);
not to come to them in sorrow (2Cor 2:1). The Jews denied Jesus before Pilate
when he was determined (κρίναντος ) to let Him go (Acts 3:13 , See also Acts
24:21 , Acts 25:25 , 1Cor 7:37 ). In Mt 5:40 krino is rendered ‘go to
law’ and other forms are rendered ‘condemn’ (Acts 13:27), ‘called in question’
(Acts 24:21), ‘ordained’ (Acts 16:4), ‘esteemeth’ (Ro 14:5).
1. Judging by men permitted and commended
right to pass judgment upon both the actions of men and their characters as
manifested in their conduct is implied in the power of rational and moral
discrimination which all possess. Its exercise is also made imperative by the
very nature of things. Men must form an opinion not only of the quality of
deeds, but also of those who do them, if there is to be the prudent and wise
action in our necessary relations to others, which shall be best for us and for
them. Paul recognizes this power of moral judgment in even the heathen (Ro
2:14-16). To this, truth and right conduct may confidently appeal (2Cor 4:2). He
commends those who exercise it upon all moral questions, and bold fast the good
it approves, and abstain from the evil it condemns (1Th 5:21-22). It is to this
moral judgment that all true teaching and preaching appeal. Our Lord assumes
that all have the power to know the quality of outward deeds of men, and lays
down the principle that the quality of the man corresponds with that of his
deeds (Mt 7:15-19), and, therefore, that we can form a right judgment of men,
when the fruitage of their lives matures, however much they may seek to hide
under false pretences. To this great principle of judging our Lord made frequent
appeal in His controversies with the Pharisees. The Satanic conduct of these
leaders proved them the children of the devil,—as having his nature (Jn
8:38-44),—while His own works made it plain He was from God (Jn 5:36; Jn 10:25
etc.). Even in Mt 7:1-5 , in connection with our Lord’s strongest condemnation
of judging, it is implied (Mt 7:2; Mt 7:5) that men may judge others guilty of
faults and help to cure them of the failings discovered, if they but be free
enough from faults themselves to have the clearest discernment. He also censures
the Jews (Lk 12:57 ) because they do not judge what is right as to the Messianic
time of His preaching, as they do the signs of the sky, and are therefore in
danger of arraignment and condemnation at the highest tribunal. .2.
The judging which is condemned (a) That prompted by a wrong spirit.
Of this kind is that forbidden by our
Lord in Mt 7:1-4 . It is prompted by a critical and censorious spirit . The man
possessed by this disposition subjects others to searching scrutiny to find out
faults. Where even the smallest defects are discovered, he becomes so absorbed
in them that he is oblivious alike of his own greater faults and the greater
virtues which may be associated with the minor faults of others. Those who are
critical of others in order to find something to blame, instead of being
critical of themselves in order to become fitted to help them, will but bring
upon themselves from God as well as from men the condemnation they are so ready
to mete out to others (see also Lk 6:37).
(b) Judging according to false or inadequate
principles or standards.
In Jn 7:23-24; cf. Jn 5:8 , our Lord condemns
judging upon superficial principles —mere literal conformity to outward rules.
Had the Jews seen the deeper intent of the Sabbath law, they would not have
condemned Him for apparently breaking it by healing a man on that day. It was
this superficial standard of judging—on literal and mere legal grounds rather
than upon the deeper underlying principles—which constituted judging after the
flesh rather than after the spirit. It is only the judging after the spirit that
is righteous and to be commended (Jn 8:15). It is for this reason that the
natural man receives not the things of the Spirit, but he that is spiritual
judges (anakrino) all things (1Cor 2:14). The one has in his nature only that to
which the mere outward and superficial appeals—the other has in him that in
which the deepest inner principles of life and action find a response. The
latter, through this sensitive response of his nature to the deepest truths, can
give strict judgment as to their character. (Judging
by Men - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament)
Complete Biblical Library Greek-English
Dictionary - The basic meanings of krinō include: (1) “To
separate, to distinguish”; from that comes (2) “to pick, choose”; and (3) “to
judge, to decide” (especially in legal contexts). Added meanings such as “to
estimate, interpret,” also fall under this third category. A fourth meaning for
krinō is “to bring to trial” (and subsequently “condemn/ punish”). The term
customarily has legal overtones, but not necessarily always. The legal sense of
“to judge” is most significant in the New Testament....From the overall
perspective of the Synoptic Gospels it appears that the writers integrated fully
the Old Testament understanding of the Day of the Lord as well as later Jewish
concepts. The concept that God would judge all men, prevalent in Pharisaic
Judaism, emerges in such texts as M 7:2 (parallel Lk 6:37; cf. Lk 22:30; Mk
12:40). Judgment language may accompany the proclamation to repent (Mt 3:10) in
light of the arrival of God’s Messiah. Here the coming of salvation will
concomitantly bring judgment. Unless one repents and responds to God’s mercy he
or she will be judged instead of saved (cf. Büchsel, ibid., 3:936, who points
out how many of the parables and debates assume a consequence of judgment). (Complete
Biblical Library - Greek-English Dictionary - Ralph W.; Gilbrant, Thoralf Harris)
Ralph Earle asks "What does the verb
krino mean? In classical Greek it first meant "to separate, put asunder, to pick
out, select, choose" (Thayer). Later it conveyed the sense: "to determine,
resolve, decree," and then "to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong."
In the passive (as here) it meant "to be judged," that is, "summoned to trial
that one's case may be examined and judgment passed upon it." Thayer
continues: "Where the context requires, used of condemnatory judgment, i.q. to
condemn" (p. 361). Abbott-Smith notes that sometimes in the NT it is used
as the equivalent of katakrino, which properly means "condemn." In fact, the
simple verb krill() is translated "condemn" five times in the KJV. Arndt and
Gingrich note that krino came to be used as a legal technical term meaning
"judge, decide, hale before a court, condemn ... hand over for judicial
punishment" (p. 452). They write: "Often the emphasis is unmistakably laid upon
that which follows the Divine Judge's verdict, upon the condemnation or
punishment." And so the verb comes to mean "condemn, punish" (p. 453).The
doctrine of divine judgment is not a minor emphasis in the NT. In the article on
krin0 in TDNT, Buechsel says of the preaching of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels:
"Here the thought of judgment is central. Jesus' call to repentance is urgent
because God's judgment hangs over every man" (3:936). He repudiates the modern
"rationalistic criticism" which rejects the NT concept of judgment as mythical
and unethical. Buechsel declares: "In face of this we must stress the fact that
in the NT judgment is not capricious or emotional.... It is an inwardly
necessary consequence of the sin of man" (3:940). He concludes: "The concept of
judgment can-not be taken out of the NT Gospel. It cannot even be removed from
the centre to the periphery. Proclamation of the love of God always pre-supposes
that all men are moving towards God's judgment and are hopelessly exposed to it"
(3:941). Altogether there are a dozen words which are translated "judge" or
"judgment" in the KJV NT. This opens up a whole field of study in preparation
for preaching on the Judgment—a topic which is surely relevant today. (Word
Meanings in the New Testament)
Stephen Renn - Krino is the
predominant New Testament term designating the judicial function of “judging.”
This verb occurs around ninety times, though not exclusively in formal judicial
settings. Krino refers to the act of judging predicated of human beings, Christ,
and God. As far as human beings are concerned, the contexts of judicial function
involving the use of krino are varied. There are instructions not to judge
unjustly or in hypocritical self-righteousness (cf. Mt 7: 1; Ro 2: 1, 3;
14:3ff.). Jn 18:31; Acts 4:19 allude to the civil function of Jewish judges. Mt
7: 2 affirms the principle that our criteria in judging others will be applied
in the same measure by God towards us. The valid right of church leaders to
judge those within the church is spelled out in 1Co. 5: 3, 12. Mt 19:28; Lk
22:30 refer to the anticipated heavenly privilege of judging the twelve tribes
of Israel, as well as angels (1Co. 6: 2ff.). Gentile judges are mentioned in
1Co. 6: 1, 6. In “non-judicial” contexts, krino refers to judging in the sense
of passing an opinion or considering an issue (cf. Col. 2:16; 1Co. 10:29; Acts
13:46; 1Co. 10:15; 2Co. 5:14). It also expresses the idea of judging in the
sense of one who exercises discernment, whether it be commendation (cf. Lk
7:43), or condemnation (cf. Lk 19:22; Ro 2:27; 2Th. 2:12). When speaking of
Christ as the agent of judging, krino indicates in Jn 3:17; 12:47 that his
mission lay not in “judging” (i.e., condemning) the world, but in rescuing it.
Then, Jn 5:22, 30; 8:26 affirm that all divine judgment is given to the Son by
God. 2Ti. 4: 1 declares that Christ’s act of judgment will be consummated at his
appearing. Jn 8:16; Rev. 19:11 declare that Christ’s judgment is perfect.
Krino also refers to God as the agent of judging. Such divine action is
universal in its effect and includes his people as well as the nations (cf. Jn
8:50; Heb. 10:30; Acts 7: 7; 1Co. 5:13). The phenomenon of divine judgment at
the end of time is highlighted with respect to “the evil ruler of this world”
(Jn 16:11; Rev. 18: 8, 20) and to the world in general on the great day of
judgment (Acts 17:31; Ro 3: 6; 1Pe. 4: 5; Heb. 13: 4; Rev. 11:18). God is also
said to judge his people in the sense of chastising them, to avoid their
ultimate condemnation (1Co. 11:32). Several texts also declare that God judges
justly (cf. 1Pe. 2:23; Rev. 16: 5; 19:2). (Expository
Dictionary of Bible Words- Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the
Hebrew and Greek Texts; Coded to the Revised Strong's Numbers)
Judge believers (1
To rule or govern
over people or angels (Lk 22:30, 1Cor 6:2-3)
To try another
(Acts 23:3) To be on trial (Acts 23:6, Acts 24:21, Acts 25:9,
10, 20, 26:6)
Decide (Acts 27:1,
Acts 16:4, Acts 20:16, 1Cor 7:37, Titus 3:12) Having decided in Acts
21:25 means having made a judgment or determination.
to Pilate determining after reviewing the facts of the case to release
Jesus (Acts 3:13)
(eschatological) judgment (Luke 22:30, John 12:47, Acts 17:31, Ro 2:16,
3:6, 2 Thessalonians 2:12, 2 Timothy 4:1, 1Peter 4:5, Revelation 11:18,
Judgment by Jesus
(John 5:22, 8:15, 2Ti 4:1, Rev 19:11)
To "regard" a day
(eg, like the Sabbath day) better or worse (Ro 14:5)
13:27, Ro 14:22)
Pass judgment or
judge a person (Ro 2:1, 3, Ro 14:3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 1Cor 4:5)
Judged in the
sense of consider (Acts 16:15)
Satan's future judgment (that judgment being so certain) (John 16:11)
Sue (go to law, go
to court) (1 Corinthians 6:1, 6, Mt 5:40)
definitions of the various synonyms -
Separate = make a
Distinguish = to perceive a
difference in: mentally separate, To ascertain and indicate difference
by some external mark. The farmer distinguishes his sheep by marking
their ears. The manufacturer distinguishes pieces of cloth by some mark
or impression. To separate one thing from another by some mark or
quality; to know or ascertain difference.
Decide = to decide, in the
sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision; to come to a
conclusion in the process of thinking and thus to be in a position to
make a decision; to arrive at a solution that ends uncertainty or
dispute about (decide what to do) b : to select as a course of action —
used with an infinitive (decided to go); to determine, as a
controversy, by verdict of a jury, or by a judgment of court. We say,
the court or the jury decided the cause in favor of the plaintiff, or of
the defendant. To end or determine, as a dispute or quarrel.
Determine = Firmly decide. To
resolve; to conclude; to come to a decision. to settle or decide (an
argument, question, etc.) conclusively, as by referring to an authority.
to ascertain or conclude, esp. after observation or consideration. to
settle or decide by choice of alternatives or possibilities. to find out
or come to a decision about by investigation, reasoning, or calculation
Discriminate - to mark or
perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of; to distinguish by
discerning or exposing differences; especially : to distinguish from
another like object. To distinguish; to observe the difference between;
as, we may usually discriminate true from false modesty. To separate; to
select from others; to make a distinction between; as, in the last
judgment, the righteous will be discriminated from the wicked. To mark
with notes of difference; to distinguish by some note or mark. We
discriminate animals by names, as nature has discriminated them by
different shapes and habits.
Condemn = to declare to be
reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and
without reservation. To determine or judge to be wrong, to judge
as guilty. to pronounce judicial sentence on.
Judge = To compare facts or
ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to
distinguish truth from falsehood. Judge not according to the appearance.
John 7. 2. To form an opinion; to bring to issue the reasoning or
deliberations of the mind. If I did not know the originals, I should not
be able to judge, by the copies, which was Virgil and which Ovid.
Dryden. 3. To hear and determine, as in causes on trial; to pass
sentence. He was present on the bench, but could not judge in the case.
The Lord judge between thee and me. Gen. 16. 4. To discern; to
distinguish; to consider accurately for the purpose of forming an
opinion or conclusion. Judge in yourselves; is it comely that a woman
pray unto God uncovered? 1 Cor. 11.
Click for a chart of the Greek Words for
Judging (scroll down the page)
frequency of usage of krino (not counting cognate derivatives) in
COGNATES OF KRINO:
akatakritos (178) = uncondemned,
(350) = to judicially investigate,
anakrisis (351) = a judicial examination;
(611) = to respond;
autokatakritos (843) = Self–condemned;
to separate thoroughly, discriminate, make to differ, judge thoroughly;
(1253) = a distinguishing or
dikaiokrisia (1341) = a judgment which
egkrínō (1469), to class with, count along,
eilikrineia (1505) = purity, sincerity;
(1506), pure, sincere;
(1948), to give sentence;
(2631) = decision against someone;
(2632) =, to judge against, condemn;
katakrisis (2633) = condemnation against someone;
krísis (2920), judgment;
(2922) = judgment the art of judging;
krites (2923) = he who
decides; a judge;
(2924) = Able to discern
or decide, critical;
prokrima (4299) = decide beforehand, prefer
sugkrínō (4793), to judge one thing comparing it
with another, to interpret;
hupokrínomai (5271), to speak or act
under false identity.
Krino - 114x in
98v - Note that 86 uses are used in the sense of to judge - Usage in NAS: act as...judge(1), concluded(1), condemn(1),
condemning(1), considered(1), decided(8), determine(1), determined(2),
go to law(1), goes to law(1), judge(42), judged(25), judges(10),
judging(5), judgment(1), pass judgment(1), passes judgment(1), passing
judgment(1), pronounced(1), regards(2), stand trial(2), sue(1),
trial(3), tried(1), try(1).
Matthew 5:40 "If anyone wants to
sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by
your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
MacArthur - Krino (to
judge) means basically to separate, choose, select, or determine, and
has a dozen or more shades of meaning that must be decided from the
context. In our present passage Jesus is referring to the judgment of
motives, which no mere human being can know of another, and to judgment
of external forms. Paul says, “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” (Ro 14:13). The Bible consistently forbids
individual or vigilante justice that assumes for itself the prerogatives
of a duly established court of law. It also consistently forbids hasty
judgments that do not have full knowledge of the heart or of the facts.
“He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him”
(Pr 18:13). Sometimes what appears to be wrong is nothing of the sort.
(Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press)
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who
have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on
His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging
the twelve tribes of Israel.
Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be
judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and
you will be pardoned.
Comment: The disciples are
forbidden to usurp the place of God in judging and condemning other
people. Jesus uses a present tense in Greek. He is telling the people
not to be living on a daily basis in a judgmental mood, criticizing
motives and actions without evidence. A judgmental attitude opens the
door to be condemned, but one who has a pardoning spirit will find mercy
and be pardoned.
Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave
more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."
Luke 12:57 "And why do you not even on your own initiative judge
what is right?
Luke 19:22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you,
you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up
what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?
Luke 22:30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you
will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Louw-Nida - Though it would be
possible to understand krino in Lk 22.30 as meaning ‘to judge’
(see 56.30), the function of the twelve disciples seems to be far
greater than that. Furthermore, there seems to be a significant Semitic
influence in the meaning of krino, since the corresponding Hebrew
term likewise involved far more than merely making judicial decisions.
John 3:17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge
the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who
believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been
judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the
only begotten Son of God.
John 5:22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has
given all judgment to the Son,
30 "I can do nothing on My own
initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because
I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge
with righteous judgment."
51 "Our Law does not judge a
man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?"
John 8:15 "You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging
anyone. 16 "But even if I do judge, My judgment is true;
for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.
26 "I have many things to speak and
to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the
things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world."
50 "But I do not seek My glory; there
is One who seeks and judges.
John 12:47 "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not
judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to
save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings,
has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge
him at the last day.
John 16:11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has
John 18:31 So Pilate said to them, "Take Him yourselves, and judge
Him according to your law." The Jews said to him, "We are not permitted
to put anyone to death,"
Acts 3:13 "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers,
has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned
in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.
Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is
right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be
Acts 7:7 "'AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF
WILL JUDGE,' said God, 'AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND
SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.'
Acts 13:27 "For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers,
recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are
read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.
46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that
the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and
judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to
Acts 15:19 "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble
those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,
Acts 16:4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were
delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the
apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.
15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us,
saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come
into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.
Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the
world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having
furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
Acts 20:16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he
would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in
Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 21:25 "But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote,
having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols
and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication."
NET Note: Having decided
refers here to the decision of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:6–21).
Mention of this previous decision reminds the reader that the issue here
is somewhat different: It is not whether Gentiles must first become Jews
before they can become Christians (as in Acts 15), but whether Jews who
become Christians should retain their Jewish practices. Sensitivity to
this issue would suggest that Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians
might engage in different practices.
Acts 23:3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you
whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in
violation of the Law order me to be struck?"
NET Note: In violation of the
law. Paul was claiming that punishment was given before the examination
was complete (m. Sanhedrin 3:6–8). Luke's noting of this detail shows
how quickly the leadership moved to react against Paul.
Acts 23:6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees,
Paul began crying out in the Council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son
of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
Acts 24:21 other than for this one statement which I shouted out while
standing among them, 'For the resurrection of the dead I am on
before you today.'"
Acts 25:9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and
said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me
on these charges?" 10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought
to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well
20 "Being at a loss how to investigate such matters, I asked whether he
was willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these matters.
25 "But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death; and since
he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him.
Acts 26:6 "And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made
by God to our fathers;
8 "Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise
Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they
proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the
Augustan cohort named Julius.
Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes
judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for
you who judge practice the same things.
Wuest - The word (krino)
here refers to censorious criticism and judgment. It refers to a
derogatory appraisal of another’s character, the forming of a judgment
of his character.
3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you
pass judgment on those who
practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the
judgment of God?
12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the
Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets
of men through Christ Jesus.
27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he
not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision
are a transgressor of the Law?
Vine - Krinō here
denotes “to pronounce sentence upon.” Compare the teaching of the Lord
about the men of Nineveh and the queen of the South (Matt. 12:41, 42),
where, however, katakrino, “to condemn,” is used. Stress is thrown upon
each word, “judge” and “thee.” (Collected writings of W. E. Vine)
Romans 3:4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every
man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN
YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED."
6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?
7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I
also still being judged as a sinner?
Romans 14:3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who
does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who
eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he
stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him
stand. 5 One person regards one day above another, another
regards every day
alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you
regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the
judgment seat of God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather
this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.
Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except
Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on
passing judgment before the
time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the
things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts;
and then each man's praise will come to him from God.
Wayne Detzler - Life is really
a chain of decisions. We make big decisions such as those on career,
marriage and place of residence. Of course, our commitment to Christ
determines all other decisions. (Woe to the man or woman who wilfully
puts things above God, and thus sells his soul!) It is this
decision-making which flavours the words we are considering. The basic
word krinō, ‘judge’, entails decision. In Acts 16:15 Lydia asks the
apostles to decide whether or not she displays spiritual life. (This is
a decision we all face in Christian work.) The Lord Jesus Christ uses
this word. In John 5:30 he claims that his ‘judgement is just’. He will
pronounce unbiased and completely informed judgement on the human race.
This is a comfort to the ‘justified’, but a terror to the unjust. Paul
presents the human inability to judge in Romans 2:1: ‘You, therefore,
have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever
point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who
pass judgement do the same things.’ What insight into human life is
expressed in that sentence! People are always trying to cover up their
own sins by the condemnation of others. The German poet and dramatist
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) said, ‘World history
is world judgement.’ He thought all judgement took place within history,
but he was wrong. God will judge evil in eternity, and this is the only
comfort to downtrodden people. (Living Words in 1 Corinthians,
Evangelical Press, 1983)
1 Corinthians 5:3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present
in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though
I were present.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those
who are within the church?
13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM
1 Corinthians 6:1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his
neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the
MacArthur - When Jesus Christ
returns to set up His millennial kingdom, believers from throughout all
of history will be His coregents, sitting with Him on His throne (Rev.
3:21; cf. Dan. 7:22). Part of our responsibility as rulers with
Christ will be to judge the world. The apostles will have special
authority, ruling from “twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel” (Matt. 19:28). But every believer will participate in some
way. He “who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to Him
I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a
rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I
also have received authority from My Father” (Rev. 2:26–27).If the
saints will one day help rule the entire earth, they surely are able to
rule themselves within the church now. That future rule will be based on
perfect adherence to the Word of God and proper godly attitudes, which
are available now. There will not then be any different principles of
wisdom and justice than we have revealed to us in Scripture now. (1
Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press)
2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world
is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law
3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of
6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
MacArthur - The Greek (krinō)
for judge can also mean “to rule or govern.” That certainly would be
the meaning if we are to have authority over the holy angels, for they
will have no sin for which to be condemned. One cannot be dogmatic, but
I am inclined to think that glorified believers will help judge the
fallen angels and exercise some rule over the holy angels. If Christ was
exalted above all the angels (Eph 1:20–23), if we are in Him and are
like Him, and if we are to reign with Him, it must be that somehow we
will share in His authority. Whatever the sphere and extent of that
heavenly judgment or ruling, Paul’s point here is the same: If we are to
judge and rule over the world and over angels in the age to come, we are
surely able, under the guidance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, to
settle any matters of disagreement among ourselves today. (1
Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press)
1 Corinthians 7:37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no
constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in
his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.
1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.
29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my
freedom judged by another's conscience?
1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to
pray to God with her head uncovered?
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we
will not be condemned along with the world.
2 Corinthians 2:1 But I determined this for my own sake, that I would
not come to you in sorrow again.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded
this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
Colossians 2:16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to
food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath
2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that they all may be judged who did not
believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of
Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His
appearing and His kingdom:
Titus 3:12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to
come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.
Wuest - “Decided” is
krinō, “to separate, put asunder, pick out, select, choose, approve,
prefer,” thus, “to determine, resolve.” It is in the perfect tense which
speaks of an action completed in past time having present results. The
use of this tense by Paul is indicative of a person who thinks a matter
through and finally comes to a conclusion where he is so sure of himself
that he is settled in his determination to follow a certain
course of action. Paul thought the matter through carefully as to the
advisability of spending the winter season in which travel by land was
difficult, and by sea impossible, at Nicopolis, and came to the settled
conclusion that that city was the best place at which he could stay.
(Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)
Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL
REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE."
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage
bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
James 2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law
James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks
against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and
judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law
but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and
to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you
yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the
1 Peter 1:17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges
according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time
of your stay on earth;
1 Peter 2:23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while
suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who
1 Peter 4:5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the
living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who
are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live
in the spirit according to the will of God.
Revelation 6:10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long,
O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our
blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
Revelation 11:18 "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and
the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your
bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name,
the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth."
Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, "Righteous
are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these
Revelation 18:8 "For this reason in one day her plagues will come,
pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire;
for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
20 "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and
prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her."
Revelation 19:2 BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has
judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her
immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER."
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat
on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing
before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened,
which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things
which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades
gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of
them according to their deeds.
Krino - 173v in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen 15:14; 16:5; 18:25; 19:9; 26:21; 30:6;
31:53; 49:16; Ex 5:21; 18:13, 22, 26; Lev 19:15; Num 35:24; Deut 1:16f;
16:18; 25:1; 32:36; Jdg 3:10, 30; 4:4; 10:2f; 11:27; 12:7ff, 11, 13f;
15:20; 16:31; 21:22; Ruth 1:1; 1 Sam 2:10; 4:18; 24:15; 25:39; 2 Sam
18:19, 31; 19:9; 1Kgs 3:9, 28; 7:7; 8:32; 2Kgs 15:5; 23:22; 1Chr 16:33;
2Chr 1:10f; 6:23; 19:6, 8; 20:12; 24:6, 22; 26:21; Ezra 4:9; 7:25; Job
7:18; 8:3; 9:3; 10:2; 13:19; 22:13; 23:13; 27:2; 31:13; 35:14; 36:31;
37:23; 40:4; Ps 2:10; 5:10; 7:8; 9:4, 8, 19; 10:18; 26:1; 35:24; 37:33;
43:1; 51:4; 54:1; 58:1, 11; 67:4; 72:2, 4; 75:1; 82:2f, 8; 94:2; 96:10,
13; 98:9; 109:7; 110:6; 119:154; 135:14; Prov 17:15; 22:23; 23:11;
28:25; 29:7, 9, 14; 30:12; 31:5, 8f; Eccl 3:17; 6:10; Isa 1:17, 23; 2:4;
5:3; 11:3f; 16:5; 19:20; 41:6; 43:26; 49:25; 50:8; 51:22; 66:16; Jer
2:9, 35; 5:28; 11:20; 21:12; 22:16; 25:31; 30:13; 50:34; 51:36; Lam
3:36, 59; Ezek 7:8, 14; 11:10f; 18:30; 20:36; 21:30; 22:2; 23:36; 24:14;
33:20; 34:22; 35:11; 36:19; 38:22; 44:24; Dan 2:6f; 3:10, 29; 4:8, 26;
9:12, 24; Hos 2:2; 13:10; Mic 3:11; 4:3; 6:1; Zech 7:9; 8:16.
Some of the uses of Krino in
Gen 15:14 “But I will also judge the
nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many
Gen 16:5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I
gave my maid into your arms; but when she saw that she had conceived, I
was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me.”
Gen 18:25 “Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous
with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are [treated]
alike. Far be it from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal
Gen 19:9 But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one
came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will
treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came
near to break the door.
Gen 26:21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so
he named it Sitnah.
Gen 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard
my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan.
Gen 31:53 “The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their
father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the fear of his father
Gen 49:16 “Dan shall judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel.
Psalm 7:8 The LORD judges the
peoples; (Vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my
integrity that is in me.
Complete Biblical Library
Greek-English Dictionary - The cognates of krinō are quite
frequent in the Septuagint (cf. krima , krisis). Krinō itself
translates 13 Hebrew words or constructions. By far, the most dominant
words rendered by krinō are shāphat (and other forms), rîv, and
dîn. Shāphat, the most frequent of the three, ranges in
definition from “to decide” (a dispute; e.g., Genesis 19:9; cf.
Leviticus 19:15), to the idea of “to help” someone get justice (Isaiah
1:17), or “to rule, lead” (Judges 3:10; 10:2,3). Rîv especially
denotes the litigation of a lawsuit (e.g., Ge 26:21) or the pleading of
a legal case (1Sa24:15). Din means “to judge” and more. It
denotes the carrying out of sentence and punishment (Genesis 15:14). The
provision of justice through judgment (Ge 49:16; Ps 9:8) is also
included. It should not be overlooked that judgment and salvation are
two sides of the same coin in Old Testament understanding
(particularly in terms of eschatology). Judgment is not simply the
action of decision. Judgment, so typically portrayed by the prophets,
means punishment of the ungodly. Therefore, on the Day of the Lord, God
will administer both salvation and judgment; He is Saviour as well as
Judge. One can escape judgment only because of His great mercy. It is
never some “reward” for proper behavior. In every case it is God’s
response to a relationship.
person must be
convinced in his
Greek: os men
(gar) krinei (3SPAI) hemeran par
hemeran, os de krinei (3SPAI) pasan
hemeran: hekastos en to idio noi plerophoreistho (3SPPM).
Amplified: One man esteems one day as better than another,
while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be
fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind.
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: One man rates one day beyond another; one
regards all days alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.
NLT: In the
same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while
others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal
conviction about this matter.
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: Again, one man thinks some days of more
importance than others. Another man considers them all alike. Let
every one be definite in his own convictions.
Wuest: For, on the one hand, there is he who judges a day above
another day. On the other hand, there is he who subjects every day to
a scrutiny. Let each one in his own mind be fully assured.
One doth judge one day above another, and another doth judge every day
alike; let each in his own mind be fully assured.
ONE MAN REGARDS (judges)
ONE DAY ABOVE ANOTHER
ANOTHER REGARDS EVERY DAY ALIKE: Os men (gar) krinei (3SPAI)
hemeran par hemeran os de krinei (3SPAI)
pasan hemeran: (Galatians 4:9,10; Colossians 2:16,17)
Regards (judges) one day - The verb is
(elsewhere translated judge)
and here means to judge something to be better than something else, to
judge as superior, and hence, to prefer, to regard as more
One day...days - An example
would be a believer who feels strongly as a matter of conscience that
the Sabbath is a day to be kept holy. I know some believers who
genuinely wrestle with this question (Sabbath) even today. However Paul
does not specify the Sabbath which means some could be observing feast
days or fast days, especially the believers of Jewish background. Paul's
mention of days in this context is entirely different from his mention
of days in Galatians and Colossians, for in both of those situations he
denounces the keeping of days as essential to one's Christian walk (for
that would be out and out legalism and would add works to faith). Thus
You observe days and months and
seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you
in vain. (Gal 4:10-11)
Therefore let no one act as your judge
in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or
a Sabbath day–things which are a [mere] shadow of what is to
come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col 2:16-17-note)
Morris comments - It seems that
some regarded the keeping of sacred times as of the essence of the
Christian way. Paul rejected all such views with decision. But where the
centrality of justification by faith was clear and the observance of a
certain day (or days) was no more than a practice some believer found
helpful, it was another matter. (Ibid)
John MacArthur - Though it was
no longer required by God, the weak Jewish believer felt compelled to
observe the Sabbath and other special days associated with Judaism (cf.
Gal. 4:9, 10; see notes on Col. 2:16, 17). On the other hand, the weak
Gentile wanted to separate himself from the special days of festivities
associated with his former paganism because of its immorality and
idolatry. (The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Word Pub)
Some kept the Jewish festivals and some did
Though it was no longer required by
God, the weak Jewish believer may have felt compelled to observe the Sabbath and other
feast days associated with Judaism (Gal 4:9-10, Col 2:16, 17-notes).
Now remember, he did not did so as a condition of salvation or sanctification
(cf this erroneous thinking in Galatians 4:9-10 and Col 2:16-17) but as a matter
of conscience. On the other hand, the weak Gentile
might want to separate himself from the special days of festivities
associated with his former paganism because of its immorality and
Read this example of a "weaker" brother who regarded one day above another
(and it helps one understand that a "weaker" brother is not
necessarily one who is not spiritually mature):
Eric Liddell, the "Flying Scotsman"
was the fastest man in world in 100 meters. For months Eric Liddell trained
with the purpose of winning the 100-meter race at the 1924 Olympics in
Paris & indeed most sportswriters predicted he would win. Then Eric
learned the qualifying heats were scheduled for Sunday. This posed a
problem: Eric believed that he could not honor God by running on the
Lord's Day. He simply said "I'm not running on a Sunday" & even said "no"
to Prince of Wales, all because he regarded "one day above another".
Eric didn’t make a big deal about it and shout his convictions from the
rooftop so people would see how pious he was. Nevertheless his fans were
stunned by his refusal. Some who had praised him now called him a fool.
But Eric stood firm in his convictions and did not go against his
conscience (Ro 14:6 "he who observes the day, observes it for
the Lord" & 14:23 "he who doubts is condemned if he
(runs on Sunday), because his (running) is not from faith; and
whatever is not from faith is sin") . Many thought it was completely
in character for Eric & a lot of the athletes were quietly impressed by
it. They felt that here was a man who was prepared to stand for what he
thought was right, without interfering with anyone else, and without being
dogmatic. That's the power of integrity. His masseur gave him the
following verse just prior to his world record race. (1Samuel 2:30
"those who honor Me I will honor") As God's providence would have
it a runner dropped out of the 400-meter race, scheduled on a weekday.
Eric offered to fill the slot, even though this was four times as long as
the race for which he had
trained. When the 400 meters had concluded, not only did Eric win running
away, but he did so in record time! What Eric did was was "acceptable
to God and approved by men" (Ro 14:18). And God did honor him. And men
did approve of him. However Instead of basking in the glory & potential
fortune that might have been his as an Olympic gold medalist, he chose to
finish his education at the U. of Edinburgh. Upon graduation he left
Scotland for the missionary fields of China. As he left the train station
in Edinburgh, all the faculty, students & town sang "All
Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" In China he was captured
by the Japanese during WWII & imprisoned with 1800 others in an area no
bigger than 100 x 200 yards. In this difficult environment this man of
integrity, proved to be a daily source of a righteous life lived out,
bringing peace & joy, preaching, singing & ministering to his fellow
prisoners, many of whom were also missionaries. He died there in 1945,
shortly after his 43rd birthday, and just prior to the liberation.
Although most of his fellow prisoners did not know it, Eric had been
suffering headaches from what proved to be a brain tumor that caused his
death. And yet despite his personal torment, this godly saint persevered
to the end, proving to be a source of comfort, continuing to manifest his
radiant smile literally up to the very day before he died. His biographer,
Sally Magnusen, freely admitted the source of his spirituality: "He seemed
to get his strength and self-discipline and his air of quiet serenity from
his early-morning sessions of prayer, meditation, and Bible study. . . .
somewhere in this daily discipline of faith lay the secret of the man,
perhaps the secret of how he ran."
presented a compelling model for how we should live, calling himself
others to an honest life & to self-sacrifice: "Let us put ourselves
before ourselves & look at ourselves. The bravest moment of a person's
life is the moment when he looks at himself objectively without wincing,
without complaining, [However] self-examination that does not result in
action is dangerous. What am I going to do about what I see? The action
called for is surrender -- of ourselves to God."
strong brother was unaffected by regard for days (such as the Sabbath),
for they were all a gift from God to him (See Jesus' assessment of the
Sabbath - Mk 2:27). They Nowhere are Christians told to keep the Sabbath or the
Lord's Day (Sunday). And yet at the same time we recognize the principle
of rest for one day in seven -- one day of rest after six days of work.
LET EACH MAN
FULLY CONVINCED IN HIS OWN MIND: hekastos en to idio noi plerophoreistho (3SPPM):
(Ro 14:14,23; 1Corinthians 8:7,11) (Isaiah 40:29) (1John 3:19, 20, 21)
be fully convinced
- Paul makes their choice of days a matter of each individual believer's conscience.
Why do they (you) do what they (you) do? As Leon Morris says "To go along
with what others do simply because they do it and without being convinced for
oneself can be a dangerous practice. Specifically the weak brother can hurt his
conscience by following the strong brother’s practice without holding the strong
brother’s convictions." (Ibid) Note
also Paul's additional important
"qualifying statement" in the next verse - whatever we determine in
our conscience to do, we should do it "for the Lord."
Warren Wiersbe - To be "fully
persuaded—or assured—in his own mind" (Ro 14:5) means: Let every man see to it
that he is really doing what he does for the Lord’s sake, and not merely on the
basis of some prejudice or whim. Some standards and practices in our local
churches are traditional but not necessarily scriptural. Some of us can remember
when dedicated Christians opposed Christian radio "because Satan was the prince
of the power of the air!" Some people even make Bible translations a test of
orthodoxy. The church is divided and weakened because Christians will not allow
Jesus Christ to be Lord." (Bible
from pleres = full + phero = to bear or bring) means literally to
carry fully and so to bring to fullness or to bring to a full measure. All of
the meanings in the NT are figurative and can be divided into either (1) to
fulfill, accomplish or achieve, carry out fully or (2) to be fully convinced,
to be wholly certain or to be persuaded as in the present verse. The primary
idea is, being filled with a thought or conviction.
Each person should have a personal conviction about this
matter. Each Christian must follow the dictates of his own conscience in matters
not specifically commanded or prohibited in Scripture. Since conscience is a
God-given mechanism to warn, and responds to the highest standard of moral law
in the mind (Ro 2:14, 15-notes), it is not sensible to train yourself to ignore it.
Rather, respond to its compunctions and as you mature, by learning more, your
mind will not alert it to those things which are not essential.
It should however
be clear that such a principle applies only to matters that are morally neutral
-- the externals but not the eternals. When it comes to fundamental eternal
doctrines of the Christian faith, there is no room for individual opinions. But
in the area where things are neither right nor wrong in themselves, and
Scripture is silent, there is room for differing views. They should not be
allowed to become tests of fellowship, which far too often is the case in
practice. Paul then is saying in essence "I know you are sometimes going to
choose differently from each other, but by all means be confident in what you
choose. Be settled in your conviction & don't be flipping back and forth." There
is a reverse truth implicit here also, which is: If the Lord convicts you that
something is wrong in your life, you had better not do it, even if other
Christians are doing it!
Bengel on "in his own mind"
- “As a boat may pursue its course uninjured either in a narrow canal or
in a spacious lake.” (Romans 14 Commentary)
refers to human intellectual perception and moral judgment. It is the
God given faculty of perceiving and understanding and is the channel
through which truth reaches the heart. Nous describes everything in the
realm of the intellect, including one's will, emotions, ability to
think, reason and decide.
John MacArthur on one's "own
mind" - Deferring to one's own conscience (Ed: See study
- Paul is saying to do whatever you think you ought to do. Why? Because
the veneration of days is not a moral issue. The Sabbath has been set
aside. Paul is not concerned with Sabbaths and feast days, but he is
concerned that people not train themselves to violate their conscience.
If conscience tells you to keep a certain day, then you ought to keep
it. If you train yourself to ignore your conscience, you will have
problems because the Spirit of God leads subjectively through a person's
conscience. Paul does not want anyone to have a conscience seared
with a hot iron (1Ti 4:2)‑‑a scarred conscience insensitive to truth and
the prodding of God's Spirit. Don't train your conscience to do wrong.
If your conscience tells you to abide by certain preferential traditions
and taboos, then do so if you believe it pleases the Lord. Don't let
anyone tell you not to. In Garry Friesen's Decision Making and the Will
of God (Portland: Multnomah, 1980), the main point is that everything
God wants you to know about His will for you is in the Bible. That's
true, but I believe he ignores some things that Scripture teaches about
keeping a pure conscience so God's Spirit can subjectively lead you. (Receiving
One Another with Understanding, Part 2) (Bolding added)
G Campbell Morgan writes the
following note on this verse - This is a far-reaching word. Its
application in Paul's argument was to such very disputable matters as the
observing of days, and the eating of foods. It is really passing strange
how these and similarly unimportant matters have been, and continue to be,
reasons for much bitterness between the children of God. Two matters are
contained in this instruction—first, that of a man's personal duty; and
second, that of his attitude toward all other men. The first is explicit;
the second is implicit. The personal duty is that a man be fully assured
in his own mind. That means first, that he is to have an opinion. He has
no right to be guided in these things by the opinions or habits of others.
That way lies the paralysing of the powers of personality, and therefore
weakness. It may be that coming to full assurance will demand time and
thought, and in the process he may be helped by conferring with others;
but at last he must find his own stand. This being so, it follows that he
will recognize the right and obligation of every other man to the same
process. Therefore no man can have any right whatever to impose upon any
other man his own convictions. All this is important and reasonable,
because one man may be helped by the observance of a day, while another is
not; one may find strength in abstinence from certain forms of food, and
another weakness. (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of
Ro 14:5 Here he shifts from food to
days. It is the same thing, isn’t it? You had better get this straight in
your theology. A lot of people who love God believe that you have to meet
on a certain day. That is exactly what Paul was dealing with. Paul was
dealing with the Jewish mind-set there. The Jews felt the Sabbath was the
day to be revered and set aside. That is the last day of the week. Sunday
is the first day of the week. Not only was the Sabbath a particular day
but it also was in regard to other periods that were reserved. The word
"Sabbath" doesn’t just mean the Sabbath as we think about it. There were
several Sabbaths they would honor. They would fight to keep this day very
The Apostle Paul was the greatest preacher of grace in the New Testament.
I think he learned it certainly not from the apostles, but he learned it
in that desert when the Holy Spirit of God took him for three years and
taught him what grace was because as soon as he came out, he went
immediately to Simon Peter and told him, "Man, you are not living under
grace. You won’t even eat with the Gentiles and other like that when the
Jewish higher ups are around. You have got to get out from under that
Paul knew and understood grace. He says in Colossians 2:16, 17
Therefore let no one act as your judge
in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a
Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the
substance belongs to Christ. (Col 2:16, 17-note)
Here is Paul, who wrote that, telling
them in Rome not to ever treat with scorn somebody who doesn’t understand
that, who still hangs on to a day. Others treat every day the same. You
see, when you understand grace, you realize that the Sabbath is a shadow.
The shadow means that it is a day of rest, but we don’t have a day of
rest. Every day is a day of rest for the believer when he rests himself in
the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is our rest. The reason we worship Him on
Sunday is because that is the day He resurrected. The Psalmist said,
"This is the day the Lord has made. Let
us rejoice and be glad in it." (Ps 118:24-note)
He referred in the context specifically
to resurrection Sunday. That is why we do it. It is a day of beginnings,
the newness of what God has done.
But what about a brother who loves Jesus just as much as you do but still
sees the Sabbath as the day that he wants to worship God? Does that mean I
become his lord or his judge? I pray that God may help me to instruct him.
I pray that God may help him to find the understand where he is wrong, but
I don’t scorn him and look down on him and demean him because God will
establish that brother. I am not his lord. Jesus is his Lord. God is the
revealer of all truth.
You see, the mature believer understands that he is free on any day. Every
day is the same as far as loving and praising and celebrating the Lord
Jesus. But Paul drives his point home. It is why you do what you do that
God is looking at. Look at what he says in Ro 14:5
Let each man be fully convinced in his
The word "fully convinced" is
the word that means to be fully persuaded. It comes from two words,
pleres, which means full and phoreo, which means to cover. So
the two words together mean to cover fully to the point that you are
motivated, you are fully persuaded.
There is no doubt whatsoever in his own mind. The word for "mind"
is nous. There are different words for "mind," and this word has to
do with one’s understanding which leads him to deep convictions in his
life. Let each man do whatever he is doing. Now there are some people on
both sides who will do it for the wrong motive, and they are already out
of the picture. That is not what he is talking about. But a person who is
sincere and at that point in his life is doing it because he thinks this
is what will please the Lord, then let him do it out of that motive. One
sees it one way, and one may see it another way. But let them do it from
their own conviction. It is the motive of the heart that God looks at.
Now, before I go any further, let me draw a line and say he is not
referring to anything that is wrong doctrine or anything that is
intentionally deceptive. He is talking about a person’s walk with God and
his sincerity and purity of his heart. He may not understand grace because
of the trappings of what he came out of, because of other people’s
influence in his life. He may have it all wrong, but if in his heart he
really believes this is what God wants, you just leave him alone. Instruct
him if you can, encourage him if you can, but don’t demean him because God
will bring him out of that. He will come to understand it. If it is not
from your encouragement, if not from your instruction, if it is not
somehow from you, your love will keep him intact and not become a
stumbling block to him while God is able to bring him into an
understanding and revelation of what he needs. (Romans
Steven Cole introduces Romans
14:5-12 - Years ago, when ice cream was a bit cheaper than now, a
10-year-old boy approached the counter of a soda shop and asked the
waitress, “What does an ice cream sundae cost?”
“Fifty cents,” she answered.
The boy reached deep into his pockets and pulled out an assortment of
change, counting it carefully as the waitress grew impatient. In her
mind, she had “bigger” customers to wait on.
“Well, how much would just plain ice cream be?” the boy asked.
With noticeable irritation, the waitress answered, “Thirty-five cents.”
Again the boy slowly counted his money. “Then may I have some plain ice
cream in a dish, please?” He gave the waitress the correct amount and
she brought him the ice cream.
Later, the waitress returned to clear the boy’s dish and when she picked
it up, she felt a lump in her throat. There on the counter the boy had
left two nickels and five pennies. She realized that he had had enough
money for the sundae, but sacrificed it so that he could leave her a tip
(adapted from A Lifetime of Success [Revell], by Pat Williams).
That story shows that we often treat people wrongly because we judged
them wrongly. We need to treat all people with respect and kindness,
because we don’t know all the facts. Especially, we don’t know what’s in
their hearts. We don’t know their motives.
As we saw last time, the apostle Paul was very concerned that the
believers in Rome learned to accept and not judge one another. He spends
more time on this in the application part of Romans than on any other
subject. After mentioning the issue of eating or not eating meat, Paul
brings up a second matter where believers in Rome wrongly were judging
one another: observing certain days as holy (Ro 14:5). Then, mentioning
both issues, Paul deals with the motives behind those who do or do not
do these non-essential things. He assumes that they are doing or not
doing them “for the Lord” (Ro 14:6). Then he explains that all believers
are under the lordship of Jesus Christ (Ro 14:7-9). As Lord of all, He
also will be the Judge of all, to whom each of us will give an account
(Ro 14:10-12). Thus, we are wrong to judge our brothers and sisters.
So that we’re clear, I repeat what I said last week, that Paul is not
condemning all judgment. Rather, he is dealing with the subject of
judging others on non-essential matters where the Bible gives no
commands. Paul corrected the Corinthians because they did not judge a
sinning man in the church (1 Cor. 5). And Paul was not tolerant of the
damnable doctrinal error of the Judaizers (Gal. 1:6-9; see, also, Ro
So on moral issues where the Bible gives clear commands or on essential
doctrinal truth, we would be wrong not to judge others. But there are
many other secondary areas where we must be gracious and tolerant with
those who differ with us. We are not to judge them or treat them with
contempt. In our text, Paul is saying,
Since Jesus is Lord and we all will give an account to Him, we must not
judge other believers on non-essential matters where the Bible gives no
There are non-essential matters where
the Bible gives no specific commands.
Paul brings up (Ro 14:5) the matter of one person regarding one day
above another, whereas another regards every day alike. Then he adds,
“Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” Paul never would
have said such a thing if he had been talking about the clear moral
commands or essential doctrines of Scripture. Can you imagine him
saying, “One person thinks that to have sexual relations outside of
marriage is a sin, whereas others don’t have a problem with that; each
person must be fully convinced in his own mind”? Or do you think he
would have said, “Some say that we are justified by grace through faith
alone, whereas others say that we must add our good works; each person
must be fully convinced in his own mind”? Hardly!
Rather, Paul is dealing here with non-essential matters where the Bible
does not give specific commands or clear teaching. These matters may
have an effect on how you live your Christian life. Paul calls those who
abstain from eating foods “weak in faith” (Ro 14:1) and he would put
those who observe certain days as holy in the same camp. Obviously,
weaker believers need to grow stronger in their understanding and
practice. But these non-essential areas do not affect one’s salvation.
Both the weaker and the stronger believers have been accepted by God (Ro
14:3) on the basis of faith in Christ. Both are servants of the Lord (Ro
14:4). And both are seeking to please the Lord (Ro 14:6). But they hold
to different views on these secondary matters.
There are some pastors and commentators whom I greatly respect, but with
whom I differ on their understanding of Ro 14:5. They argue that Paul
was referring to some of the Jewish festivals, but that he could not
possibly have been referring to keeping Sunday holy as the Christian
Sabbath because that is a part of God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments.
Since God’s moral law is never abrogated, Paul could not have been
referring here (or in Gal. 4:10 or Col. 2:16) to observing Sunday as the
Christian Sabbath. They also argue that the Sabbath was a creation
ordinance, stemming from God’s resting on the seventh day. Thus it
applies to us today.
But I find these arguments unconvincing for several reasons. First,
regarding the Sabbath being a creation ordinance, there is no
commandment or example of anyone before Moses’ time keeping the seventh
day holy to the Lord. God commanded Abraham regarding circumcision, but
He never mentioned keeping the Sabbath. Although it is mentioned in
Exodus 16 (before the Ten Commandments, Exod. 20:8-11), the Sabbath was
unique to Israel as God’s covenant people.
With regard to the Ten Commandments being God’s moral law, the Jews
would have viewed all of the commandments in the Mosaic Law as being
morally binding. They would not have divided the law into moral, civil,
and ceremonial categories, as many scholars do (I formerly did so,
also). For the Jew, the law was a whole. To reject any of it would have
been unthinkable. Also, commands that we might label as “moral” are
often mixed together with other laws that we might view as “ceremonial”
(e.g., Lev. 18:19 & Ezek. 18:6 in context). But the Old Testament does
not label any laws according to various categories. So if we’re under
the “moral law,” then we’re under the entire law. You can’t break it up
But Paul is clear that we are not under the Mosaic Law as a system of
relating to God (Rom. 6:14; 7:1-6; 2 Cor. 3:6-18; Gal. 2:19; 3:10; cf.
also, Heb. 8:6-13). If the Sabbath commandment were still in effect, it
is incredible that in writing to Gentile believers, who did not
understand the Mosaic law, Paul would say (Col. 2:16), “No one is to act
as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or
a new moon or a Sabbath day.” Surely he would have put in an explanatory
note, so that the Gentile Christians would not be confused. And if the
Sabbath law was still binding, how could Paul have said what he says in
Romans 14:5 without some note of clarification? In light of the strong
emphasis on the Sabbath in the Old Testament, why is there not a single
command in the New Testament to Gentile churches to observe Sunday as
the Christian Sabbath?
Also, I have observed that when Christians emphasize keeping Sunday as
the Christian Sabbath, they easily fall into the same kind of legalism
that plagued the Jews with regard to the Sabbath. By Jesus’ time, the
Jews had devised all sorts of ridiculous rules about what you could and
could not do on the Sabbath. Jesus often deliberately violated their
rules to show them their errors and to teach that He is the Lord of the
Sabbath (Mark 2:27). I have read well-meaning books that argue that
Christians should observe Sunday as the Sabbath, but invariably they get
into lists of what is permissible on Sundays: To think or talk about
anything other than spiritual subjects is to violate the Sabbath. To
stop by the store for a gallon of milk on your way home from church is
to violate the Sabbath. Pretty soon, we rival the Pharisees!
Having said that, I must point out that the Lord Jesus appeared to the
disciples on the first Sunday when He arose and on the following Sunday.
The early Christians met on the first day of the week (Sunday; Acts
20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2), arguably to testify to Christ’s resurrection. The
apostle John refers to “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10), which everyone
acknowledges to be Sunday. The author of Hebrews (10:25) exhorts us not
to forsake assembling together, as is the habit of some.
Thus there is the principle that we should regularly gather on Sunday,
the Lord’s day, for worship, teaching, the Lord’s Supper, fellowship,
and prayer (Acts 2:42). It’s also profitable to use the Lord’s day to
seek and serve Him in ways that the other busy six days of the week do
not allow. Set aside your normal work and chores and spend more time in
the Word, in prayer, and in reading good Christian books. Visit
shut-ins, have other believers over for a meal and fellowship. Do things
to refresh your soul with the Lord. (For more on this, see my sermon,
“God’s Day of Rest,” from Gen. 2:1-3, on the church web site.)
But Paul allows for a measure of freedom on this matter. The key thing,
he says (Ro 14:5), is, “Each person must be fully convinced in his own
mind.” This means that you shouldn’t just do what you do by habit or
because everyone else does it. Rather, take the time and effort to study
the Scriptures and to think it through biblically. Do what you do
because you believe that it glorifies God, it’s not sinful, and you’re
applying biblical principles to this non-essential issue as best as you
It’s important that you not violate your conscience, because to do so is
not to act in faith, which is sin (Ro 14:22-23). As you grow in your
knowledge of the Word, your conscience becomes more informed. You will
see that keeping or not keeping certain days is not the issue; rather
glorifying God in all that you do is the issue (1Cor. 10:31). But on
these non-essential matters, don’t judge your brother; judge yourself.
Obey God as you understand His Word, seeking Him for more understanding.
We Should Not Judge Others Romans 14:5-12)
observes it for the
Lord, and he who
so for the
Lord, for he
God; and he who
eats not, for the
Lord he does not
Greek: o phronon (PAPMSN) ten hemeran kurio phronei
(3SPAI): kai o esthion (PAPMSN) kurio esthiei (3SPAI) eucharistei (3SPAI) gar to theo: kai o me esthion (PAPMSN) kurio ouk esthiei (3SPAI) kai eucharistei
(3SPAI) to theo
Amplified: He who observes the day, observes it in honor of
the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives
thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord
and gives thanks to God.
Bible - Lockman)
The man who observes a particular day observes it to the Lord. The
man who eats, eats to the Lord, for he says his grace. The man who does
not eat, does not eat to the Lord, for he too says his grace to God.
NLT: Those who have a special day for worshiping the Lord are
trying to honor him. Those who eat all kinds of food do so to honor
the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who
won't eat everything also want to please the Lord and give thanks to
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: If a man specially observes one particular day, he
does so "to God". The man who eats, eats "to God", for he thanks God
for the food. The man who fasts also does it "to God", for he thanks
God for the benefits of fasting.
Wuest: The one who has formed a judgment regarding the day,
with reference to the Lord he judges it. And the one who eats, with
reference to the Lord he eats, for he gives thanks to God.
He who is regarding the day, to the Lord he doth regard it, and he who is
not regarding the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He who is
eating, to the Lord he doth eat, for he doth give thanks to God; and he
who is not eating, to the Lord he doth not eat, and doth give thanks to
HE WHO OBSERVES THE DAY, OBSERVES IT FOR THE LORD: o phronon (PAPMSN) ten hemeran kurio phronei
(3SPAI): (Galatians 4:10)
WHATEVER WE DO, IT'S TO
FOR THE LORD!
from phren = literally the diaphragm and thus that which curbs or
restrains. Figuratively, phren is the supposed seat of all mental
and emotional activity) refers to the basic orientation, bent, and
thought patterns of the mind, rather than to the mind or intellect
itself (that is the Greek word
Phroneo includes a person’s affections and will as well as his
reasoning. In other words phroneo refers not simply to
intellectual activity but also to direction and purpose of heart. In the
present context the idea is the individual sets his mind on a certain
day and/or is intent on observing a particular day. And notice why he
does it -- not for "show" but "for the Lord." His desire and his motive
is to honor His Lord.
For the Lord - Do not miss
Paul's emphasis in this passage! Three times he says it is to be "for
the Lord!" (Repeated in Ro 14:8, cp same idea in Col 3:23, 24-not)
Ultimately, there should be no difference in motivation
between the two groups (strong and weak. Those who have a special day for
worshiping the Lord are trying to honor him. Do everything you do for
the honor of Christ We should all conduct ourselves in this area
of "non-essentials" as we are led by our conscience, but always with the
qualifier that we might please
our Master, the Lord Jesus. In a similar thought, Paul gave us similar
principle that should be our guide in this area of externals writing to
the saints at Corinth "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you
do, do all to the glory of God." (1Cor 10:31)
In debatable matters where
Scripture is silent, we do well to apply a simple test and ask "Am I
doing this for Jesus? Will it give God glory?"
Simple but sobering questions!
who have a special day for worshiping the Lord are trying to honor him. Do
everything you do for the honor of Christ and a heart full of thanksgiving to
Him (Col 3:23, 24-note). Note Paul's repeated emphasis on "for the Lord" (4x in
Ro 14:4, 5,6, 7, 8) in this area of why one does or does not do a "non-essential". Paul gave us similar principle that should be our guide in this area of
externals in (1Cor 10:31) = "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you
do, do all to the glory of God."
Lord (2962) (kurios
is found 10 times Romans 14 and 38x altogether in
in classical Greek, was used of gods, and the inscriptions applied to
different gods (Hermes, Zeus, etc.) or also of the head of the family, who
is lord of wife and children. In the present context kurios
describes the One Who has absolute ownership and unrivaled power.
No Christian has the right to "play
God" in another Christian’s life. We can pray, advise, and even admonish,
but we cannot take the place of God. What is it that makes a dish of food
"holy" or a day "holy"? It is the fact that we relate it to the Lord. The
person who treats a special day as "holy" does so "unto the Lord." The
person who treats every day as sacred, does so "unto the Lord."
The Christian who eats meat gives
thanks to the Lord, and the Christian who abstains from meat abstains
"unto the Lord."
Kenneth Wuest - The man’s
judgment of a certain day is with reference to the Lord. That is, his
measure of what that day stands for and his appropriate conduct in it is
conditioned by his estimation of the Lord Jesus and what is fitting with
reference to Him. Thus, a Christian’s viewpoint regarding and estimation
of any certain thing is controlled or conditioned by the measure in
which he knows the Lord Jesus. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New
Testament : For the English reader)
James Denney - The indifference
of the questions at issue, from the religious point of view, is shown by
the fact that both parties, by the line of action they choose, have the
same end in view—viz., the interest of the Lord. cf. Colossians 3:2. The
setting of the mind upon the day implies of course some distinction
between it and others. (Romans
14 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
J Ligon Duncan on Ro 14:5-9 - Paul
here calls us to mutual forbearance in the body of Christ because we do what we
do for the Lord and we belong to the Lord. Paul wants us to remember that our
relating is controlled by this particular truth: That we do everything that
we do for the Lord. We do it as unto the Lord. We belong to the Lord
and because we live for God and because we belong to Him. His children are not
to stand over one another in judgment, in spiritual scruples, because we live
for God. And because we belong to Him, we are not to stand over one another in
these matter of spiritual scruples. (A
Warning Against Judging Brothers)
Charles Hodge - That is, both
parties are actuated by religious motives in what they do; they regulate
their conduct by a regard to the will of God, and therefore, although
some, from weakness or ignorance, may err as to the rule of duty, they
are not to be despised or cast out as evil. The strong should not
condemn the scrupulous, nor the scrupulous be censorious towards the
strong. This is a fourth argument in favor of the mutual forbearance
enjoined in the first verse. (Romans
14 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
William Barclay has an
interesting comment - Paul would have added something else to that--no
man should make his own practice the universal standard for all other
people. This, in fact, is one of the curses of the Church. Men are so
apt to think that their way of worship is the only way. T. R. Glover
somewhere quotes a Cambridge saying: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,
do it with thy might--but remember that someone thinks differently." We
would do well to remember that, in a great many matters, it is a duty to
have our own convictions, but it is an equal duty to allow others to
have theirs without regarding them as sinners and outcasts. (Romans
14 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
AND HE WHO EATS, DOES SO FOR THE LORD FOR HE GIVES THANKS
TO GOD: kai o esthion (PAPMSN) kurio esthiei (3SPAI) eucharistei (3SPAI) gar to theo:
(Isaiah 58:5; Zechariah 7:5,6)
When people eat all kinds of foods, they honor the Lord as
they eat, since they give thanks to God. The evidence that both the “weak” and
the “strong” have right hearts is that they both give “thanks” to God. That is,
both do what they do with the intention of serving the Lord. The food eaten is
not specified although the NIV is probably correct in paraphrasing it "
He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he
who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God."
Charles Hodge on he who
eats does so for the Lord - That is, he who disregards the Mosaic
distinction between clean and unclean meats, and uses indiscriminately
the common articles of food, acts religiously in so doing, as is evident
from his giving God thanks. He could not deliberately thank God for what
he supposed God had forbidden him to use. In like manner, he that
abstains from certain meats, does it religiously, for he also giveth
thanks to God; which implies that he regards himself as acting agreeably
to the divine will. The Lord is he who died and rose again, that he
might be Lord both of the living and the dead. It is to him the believer
is responsible, as to the Lord of his inner life. (Romans
14 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
Giving thanks (2168)(eucharisteo
from eucháristos = thankful, grateful, well-pleasing - Indicates the
obligation of being thankful to someone for a favor done <> in turn from eú
= well + charízomai = to grant, give.; English - Eucharist) means to show
that one is under obligation by being thankful. To show oneself as grateful
(most often to God in the NT). Thanksgiving expresses what ought never to be
absent from any of our devotions. We should always be ready to express our
grateful acknowledgement of God's provision whether it be material things like
food or spiritual things like mercy and forgiveness, etc.
Morris - In other words, both (Ed:
Weak and strong brethren) “say grace” over their meal, whatever it is. Both
equally have a religious attitude, and neither is simply conforming to worldly
practice or social custom. Paul is not referring to religious indifferentism or
to ritualism. He is referring to genuinely held religious conviction, and action
that springs from that conviction. (The
Epistle to the Romans- Leon Morris)
James Denney - Thanksgiving to God
consecrates every meal, whether it be the ascetic one of him who abstains from
wine and flesh, or the more generous one of him who uses both: cf. Acts 27:35,
1Corinthians 10:30, 1Timothy 4:3-5. The thanksgiving shows that in either case
the Christian is acting for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and
therefore that the Lord’s interest is safe. (Romans
14 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
John Stott - Whether one is an eater
or an abstainer, the same two principles apply. If we are able to receive
something from God with thanksgiving, as his gift to us, then we can offer it
back, as our service to him. The two movements, from him to us and from us to
him, belong together and are vital aspects of our Christian discipleship. Both
are valuable and practical tests. ‘Can I thank God for this? Can I do this unto
the Lord?’ (Romans-
God's Good News for the World -Bible Speaks Today)
In Exodus Moses instructed Israel regarding
the feast of unleavened bread - 'Now this day will be a memorial to
you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your
generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:14)
And similarly in regard to the Passover
that "It is a night to be observed for the LORD for
having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the LORD, to
be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations. (Exodus
And in regard to the Sabbath "And Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a
sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field." (Ex 16:25)
Ray Stedman - God sees both of these men and both of
these viewpoints as honoring him. The one who thinks Sunday is a special day
that ought to be kept different from all other days is doing so as unto the
Lord, therefore honor that, respect that viewpoint. The one who says, "No. When
we are in Christ, days do not mean anything. They are not set aside for any
special purpose. Therefore, I feel every day is alike, and I want to honor the
Lord on every day." Okay, do not feel upset at that. He is doing so out of a
deep conviction of his heart. The one who drinks beer gives thanks to God for
the refreshment of it and the taste of it, and it is perfectly proper that he
does so. The one who says, "No. I cannot drink beer. I only drink coffee," gives
thanks for the coffee. The coffee may do as much physical harm as the beer, but,
in either case, it is not a moral question. It is a question of what the heart
is doing in the eyes of God. Sometimes we are too harsh with one another in
these areas. (On
Trying to Change Others - Romans 14:1-12)
Warren Wiersbe - An interesting
illustration of this truth is given in John 21:15–25. Jesus had restored Peter
to his place as an apostle, and once again He told him, “Follow Me.” Peter began
to follow Christ, but then he heard someone walking behind him. It was the
Apostle John. Then Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, what shall this man do?” Notice the
Lord’s reply: “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me!” In other words, “Peter,
you make sure you have made Me Lord of your life. Let Me worry about John.”
Whenever I hear believers condemning other Christians because of something they
disagree with, something that is not essential or forbidden in the Word, I feel
like saying, “What is that to thee? Follow Christ! Let Him be the Lord!”
Exposition Commentary) (Bolding added)
AND HE WHO EATS NOT, FOR THE LORD HE DOES NOT EAT, AND
GIVES THANKS TO GOD: kai o me esthion (PAPMSN) kurio ouk esthiei (3SPAI) kai eucharistei
(3SPAI) to theo: (Matthew 14:19; 15:36; John 6:28; 1Corinthians
10:30,31; 1Timothy 4:3, 4, 5)
Vegetarians also honor the Lord when they eat, and they, too,
give thanks to God. To count every moment absolutely devoted to God, and
therefore holy in the highest sense, is the very essence of the new life in
J Vernon McGee quips
that ""It is not what
is on the table, but what is in the heart that is noted by God. It
is the heart attitude that conditions Christian conduct." (Thru the Bible
indisputable point here is: people with opposing viewpoints on
non-essentials can both be perfectly right with God. We need to take
this to heart.
Two of the most
famous Christians in the Victorian Era in England were Charles Spurgeon
and Joseph Parker, both mighty preachers of the gospel. Early in their
ministries they fellowshipped and even exchanged pulpits. Then they had
a disagreement, and the reports got into the newspapers. Spurgeon
accused Parker of being unspiritual because he attended the theater.
Interestingly enough, Spurgeon smoked cigars, a practice many believers
would condemn. In fact, on one occasion someone asked Spurgeon about his
cigars, and he said he did not smoke to excess. When asked what he meant
by excess, he waggishly answered, “No more than two at a time.”
Who was right?
Perhaps neither, perhaps both! Better yet would be to realize that the two could
disagree and both be in the will of God. (see another
anecdotal story about Spurgeon under the note for Ro14:22).
Wayne Barber - Ro 14:6 - I want you to know the
greater responsibility to celebrate Christ moment-by-moment, day-by-day,
falls upon the more mature believer. The context is clear. Those of us who
may understand grace and have come further along than others in our own
congregation and in our own city have the greatest responsibility in this.
Listen to what some great mature believers have said over the years.
Ignatius, who was martyred for the faith in 115 A.D., said, "Those who were concerned with old
things have come to newness of confidence, no longer keeping Sabbaths but
living according to the Lord’s Day on whom our life as risen again through
Him depends."Justin Martyr, who was martyred
about 168 A.D., said, "How can we keep the Sabbath who rest
from sin all the days of the week." Yet, even with that maturity, Paul says
that we are not to use our freedom under grace to become a stumbling block
to a weaker brother.
In 1Corinthians 8 Paul says, "But take care lest this liberty of
yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees
you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his
conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to
idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother
for whose sake Christ died. And thus, by sinning against the brethren and
wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. (1Cor
8:9, 10, 11, 12) You know, this gets into several very,
very complicated areas, doesn’t it? You know there are balancing
principles. Whatever you do, you do not cause your brother to stumble. I
have people coming to me all the time and say, "Do you think it is alright
in scripture to drink wine?" I think sometimes people listen to me say
something, but they don’t hear it. They just can’t wait for an opportunity
to ask me that question after it is over with. "Is there a verse in
scripture that says you can’t drink wine?" No, there really isn’t. It just
says don’t get drunk with it.
But there is another principle in Romans 14, and I want to tell you
something straight out, friend. If you are using your freedom under grace
to cause a brother to stumble, you had better get that stuff out of your
house because you are sinning against God. I say that on the authority of
Romans 14. That is not an opinion coming from this preacher.
Don’t we live in a day of the weaker and stronger brother? I am telling
you, they are on every corner. And what God is saying is, "Don’t you dare
use your freedom under grace to become a stumbling block to someone else."
Steven Cole - In these
non-essential matters, your motive is crucial: Do what you do for the
Romans 14:6: “He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he
who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who
eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.”
The recurring phrases here are, “for the Lord” and “gives thanks to
God.” As believers, we belong to the Lord and we live for the Lord. Our
aim is always to please Him. If you observe a special day as holy, such
as Christmas or Easter (neither of which are commanded in the Bible),
you should do it as unto the Lord. If you don’t feel compelled to
observe special days, you still should live every day as unto the Lord.
The same applies to feasting or fasting: you should do it as unto the
Lord with a thankful heart. It’s your motive that matters. Unlike the
pagans, who do not honor God or give Him thanks (Rom. 1:21), believers
live for God’s glory with thankful hearts.
When Paul says (Ro 14:7-8), “For not one of us lives for himself, and
not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we
die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the
Lord’s,” he means that all of life, including dying, is to be lived with
a God-ward focus. When you get saved, Jesus becomes your Lord. You
recognize that He is the sovereign over your circumstances. Nothing
happens to you apart from His kind and loving will. Nothing, whether
“tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or
peril, or sword,” can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:35).
So, rather than living to please ourselves, as we did before we met
Christ, now we live every day for Him (2 Cor. 5:9, 15). Since He has all
of our days numbered (Ps. 139:16), when it comes time to die, we die for
By the way, this means that suicide is never right. God is the sovereign
over life and death. As believers, we should want to glorify Him in our
dying as much as we have glorified Him by our lives. The Puritans used
to talk about “dying well.” They did not have modern medications to dull
their pain, but they wanted to glorify God in their suffering and with
their dying breath.
To come back to the principle of our motives in these non-essential
matters, here’s how it applies. You ask, “Can I go to a movie that
contains profanity, sexual immorality, or violence?” The answer is, “Can
you go to that movie ‘for the Lord’? Will going there help your
relationship with Him? Will it glorify Him?” You ask, “What kind of
music should I listen to?” “Which TV programs and how much TV should I
watch?” “How should I spend Sundays?” “Which Bible-believing church
should I join?” “How should I spend my free time?” Apply this principle
to any non-essential matter where the Bible does not give a direct
command: Can I do it for the Lord and His glory? Your motive is
We Should Not Judge Others Romans 14:5-12)