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Paul continued to see faith in those who had not yet accepted Yeshua

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Q. When Paul talks about people being “weak” in the Book of Romans is he talking about those who continued to follow the Torah?

A. That is the traditional interpretation and you will hear it taught that way but that is not what Paul is meaning. The Roman congregation was not a “Christian” church because there was no such thing at the time. 

That would not have been allowed under Roman law and this congregation was obviously flourishing and a viable entity right there in Rome itself. 

Paul was writing to a Messianic congregation still meeting under the oversight of a tradtional synagogue. This includes any meetings held outside of the synagogue building. 

Gentiles were coming to faith in Yeshua and were attending traditional synagogues on Holy Days, including the Sabbath in order to be participants in the faith. Their behavior was the subject of much discussion as seen in Acts 15 and the Jerusalem Council. 

Certain miminal standards were required so that these gentiles could participate in synagogue activities which included not only messianic believers in Yeshua but also with the greater body of Jewish people who did not believe in Yeshua. 

The responsibility was on the gentiles to modify their behavior in Acts 15, not the other way around. They did not have to become Jews through circumcision and ritual conversion and practicing all of Torah but they had minimum standards to follow, with the intention they would continue to learn and observe what applied to them as found in the Torah (Acts 15.21). 

As they exposed themselves to what they heard in the synagogue, they would comply and observe what which was applicable. In Romans, Paul teaches that the responsibility for this change was upon the gentiles who attended. In the first 12 chapters of Romans Paul dealt with two groups of people, gentiles who believed in Yeshua and Jewish people who did not believe. Both groups were to remain Torah observant however. 

Paul was not introducing conflicting issues that would have led to contentionn between these groups.

Where Paul brought up critical matters concerning Torah, he was addressing the Jewish believers who did not follow Yeshua, not Jewish believers who followed the Torah. In chapters 9-11 Paul deals with his Jewish brethren who did not follow Yeshua yet and the arrogance of some gentile believers who thought that they replaced Israel. He also deals with how these gentiles were to behave towards these Jews who did not accept Yeshua. 

The idea that someone who followed the Torah was “weak” is completely foreign to what Paul actually believed and taught. He said that the Torah is confirmed by our faith (Rom 3.31). The concept of “weak” faith is not to be looked at on some sort of easuring line but those “weak” in faith were those Jews who did not believe that Yeshua was the Messiah. What makes a believer strong is the knowledge and acceptance of Yeshua. 

Paul continued to see the faith of his Jewish brethren who had not yet accepted Yeshua as a valid faith. What they observed biblically was given by God and approved by Him.

The “strong” in the Book of Romans are not to judged by the “weak,” but they are are to accomodate them in practice. These Jews are the ones who are “weak” because they are lacking the knowledge that Yeshua was the Messiah, not because they are Torah observant.


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