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There are many traditions and many different variations on how to do them

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What is Romans 14.4-6 speaking about?


This chapter is dealing with several groups of people.

In the first century, Gentiles who believed in Yeshua went to the local synagogue to learn the scri ptures (Acts 15.21).

There were also Jews who believed in Yeshua in these synagogues who went back to Rome after Acts 2.10.

Another group consisted of Jews who did not believe Yeshua was the Messiah.

These three groups co-existed in these synagogues and with that came contention.

Paul is dealing with some of these contentions in those synagogues and Romans 14 is continuing with that thought.

In Romans 14.1 he uses the term "weak" to describe those synagogue Jews who did not believe Yeshua was the Messiah (Rom 4.19-20, 10.2, 15.1).

The believing Jews and Gentiles there were not to pass judgment on their opinions.

So right there he is talking about their oral traditions, not written scri pture which were not the opinions of men but the commands of God.

In verse 2, he discusses the fact that some of the Jews would not eat meat or drink wine sold by Gentiles.

There is Jewish law today which says the same thing.

That was a part of their "halakah" or how to walk their faith before the Lord and this was an oral law.

So, they would just eat vegetables because vegetables could not be considered ritually unclean (Dan 1.8-16).

This offended the believing Gentiles and Paul was telling them not to be offended.

He is telling those who are "strong" (have faith in Yeshua –Rom 4.19-20, 15.1) not to look with contempt on those who do not eat meat from Gentiles because God accepts the actions of the weak and the strong.

They are serving God the best they know how and it is their opinion that their actions were correct, so leave them alone.

God will make their actions stand or fall, in other words reveal truth to them eventually.

In v5 he talks about certain days they regarded over other days.

This has nothing to do with Sabbath days or biblical festivals, everyone in the synagogue agreed about those because they were not the opinions of men but written by God Himself.

These days were certain days regarded by the synagogue Jews there as being important, like certain fast days (Lk 18.11-12).

Others there didn’t regard them as that important.

What Paul is saying is when it comes to certain traditions, let each man do what he considers right and not to judge the other about it.

After all, each person does it to the Lord so let the Lord deal with it.

A modern example would be candle-lighting on Friday nights.

There is no commandment to light candles and some do it and others do not.

Those who do should not force others to do it or look down on them for not doing it and those who don’t should not try to convince the others they shouldn’t do it.

When a tradition does not violate the Torah, it’s permissible to do it but it should not be imposed on others one way or the other.

There are many traditions like that and many different variations on how to do them, even today.

On the other hand, if a man-made tradition violates or goes against written scri pture, then that is a different story and that is not what Paul is talking about.

Modern examples of this is Sunday "Sabbath" over Saturday.

The scri ptures are clear that Saturday is the Sabbath.

Another issue is eating pork or not.

Some will take these verses to justify eating pork and one should not judge the other.

But again, the scri ptures are clear about eating pork and it is sin.

If we are not to judge one another when it comes to sin you could never raise a child.

If your child tells a lie, are we to judge it and deal with it, correct it or just let it go.

Of course not and it’s the same with any other clear commandment God gave.

I’ve seen preachers get on homosexuals and quote Leviticus, then turn around and eat pork and tell someone they weren’t to judge them about it.

I guess it depends on whose ox is getting gored!

So, in conclusion, this portion in Romans is dealing with how to get along in a congregation where unbelieving Jews, believing Jews and believing Gentiles co-existed and that we were not to pass judgment on another’s opinions on how to walk before the Lord as long as the opinion was not in direct conflict with the scri ptures.

I hope this answers your question.

Keep this in mind as you read the book of Romans and the different groups he is addressing.

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Nelson Propane

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