The Commandments of God:
Are They Burdensome? Are They Abolished?   May The Truth Be Known.
Tract 05 E: Romans 14


On which day? ROMANS Chapter 14.


What was the apostle Paul's concern about the people 'eating' and 'not-eating'; 'what' to eat and what'not' to eat; on 'which' day to do, or 'not' to do it?


Romans 14:1-23; 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Paul does not specifically say that the people who eat all things are strong, and only those who eat herbs are weak. As we'll see, His concern is for both of them.


3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. He is putting equal weight and judgement onto the ones eating (not fasting), and the ones not eating (fasting). God receives them all.


4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. God never appointed days for fasting, or for eating or not eating certain foods. That depends upon each man's own needs; except for the 'Day of Atonement', for which He has appointed a day, in which He requires fasting.


6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.


Paul is writing to the Romans, which were ruling the Jews of that time; and this letter is addressed to both. The Pharisees were reluctant to submit to the laws and rules of the Romans. The Jews were allowed to carry out most of the religious ceremonies and duties; as long as they did not force that religion on them. The 'glory-seeking' Rabbis and Pharisees judged people that did not live up to the standards of their traditional commandments; like to fast twice a week (Luke 18:10-13). Paul accused the Romans and the Jews for judging one another according to each's own standards; regarding eating (not fasting), and not eating (fasting); which days they regarded to fast, and which days not to fast; and what to eat and what not to eat on certain 'fast' and 'non-fast' days. Many of these dietary rituals are still in effect today, in both of these Religions. And Paul says it's not against God's will if done for His glory.


7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. Since their fasting standards were not prescribed by God, but by their own traditional doctrines; both parties were creating stumbling blocks for the other.


14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean <koinos> [common] of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. There was a concern that food (as from the marketplace), even that which is called 'clean' by God, might be defiled (made common) by it having been sacrificed to idols. And Paul says that food is not defiled, or common, of itself. But if a person esteems it defiled (common), so be it; to him it is defiled--unclean, and don't judge him by it. (more in 1 Corinthians chapters 8 and 10).


The word used here as 'unclean' comes from the Greek word #2839 <koinos>, and it describes something that is made unclean by common use; ('common' as defined in the Old Testament by the Hebrew word #2490 <chalal>, meaning to profane oneself as used in Leviticus 21:9). A Couple of examples in the New Testament are in Matthew 15:20 and Mark 7:2 where that word <koinos> is translated as defiled; to mean 'made' unclean, by eating with unwashed hands; which is a 'Pharisaic' tradition.


Greek #2840 koinow koinoo, koy-no'-o; from #2839; to make (or consider) profane (ceremonially):--call common, defile, pollute, unclean.


Greek #2839 koinov koinos, koy-nos'; probably from 4862; common, i.e. (literally) shared by all or several, or (ceremonially) profane:--common, defiled, unclean, unholy.


The words 'koinos' and 'akathartos', are both used as 'unclean' by Peter: Acts 10:14; But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common <koinos> or unclean <akathartos>.


Greek #169 akayartov akathartos, ak-ath'-ar-tos; from 1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed derivative of 2508 (meaning cleansed); impure (ceremonially, morally (lewd) or specially, (demonic)):--foul, unclean.


The context in which Paul used the word koinos in verse 14 properly describes clean food which might be 'defiled' or 'made' unclean by having been sacrificed to idols; which was referred to as 'common'.


'Akathartos' describes that which 'is' unclean, or defiled; of and by itself; like the 'unclean' animals described in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 which are nowhere in the Bible considered as 'food'; but are forbidden by God to be eaten by His people (defiled as described by the Hebrew word #2931 <tame'>; Deuteronomy 14:7); Akathartos is not used at all in Romans chapter 14. But throughout the New Testament it is used to describe things which are of and by itself unclean; like evil spirits, and/or foul--demonic aspects. (A few examples: Mark 5:13; 7:25; Acts 11:8; 1 Cor. 7:14; 2 Cor. 6:17; Eph. 5:5; Rev. 16:13; 18:2).


15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat <broma> [food], now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat [food], for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat <brosis> [eating] and drink <posis> [drinking]; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.


The word meat <broma> used here does not represent meat as in flesh, but has been used to mean 'food'.


Greek #1033. brwma broma, bro'-mah; from the base of 977; food (literally or figuratively), especially (ceremonially) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law:--meat, victuals.


Greek #1035. brwsiv brosis, bro'-sis; from the base of 977; (abstractly) eating (literally or figuratively); by extension (concretely) food (literally or figuratively):--eating, food, meat.


Greek #4213.posiv posis, pos'-is; from the alternate of 4095; a drinking (the act), i.e. (concretely) a draught:--drink.


Greek #977. bibrwskw bibrosko, bib-ro'-sko; a reduplicated and prolonged form of an obsolete primary verb (perhaps causative of 1006); to eat:--eat.


Digging to the root of #977 ends up a grazing species of ox; "beef"; #1016.


It is clear that meat <broma> is used as (clean) 'food'. And meat <brosis> and drink <posis> is used for 'eating and drinking' or 'food and drink'. Paul is nowhere referring to 'unclean' <akathartos> animal meat as food. Contrary to theological tradition, Paul is 'not' suggesting that the LORD's Sabbaths or His food laws are abolished. There's no mention of either, whatsoever.


18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 'In these things': fasting or not fasting; eating all foods, or only herbs; on certain days...


19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 20 For meat <broma> [food] destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. He warns not to destroy God's work over 'food' or 'drink'. The word flesh here #2907 <kreas>, is animal 'meat'.


22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.


To summarize this, Paul is saying: whether you fast or not; whatever your diet is while fasting or not fasting; whichever day you regard to fast or not to fast; remember for who's honour you're doing it, so DON'T do it in a way which creates a stumbling block for others. And this harmonizes perfecctly with what the Messiah had to say about fasting: Matt. 6:16-18;16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. God is glorified by fasting (not eating), and not fasting (eating); as long as it is done with gratitude, and honour toward Him., 2011, Rev 2012. All emphasis mine. Scripture quotes are KJV.

Hebrew and Greek references are from STRONG'S Concordance.

                                            Words in [ ] within Scripture quotes added by me.