Romans 14:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 14:1, NIV: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.

Romans 14:1, ESV: As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

Romans 14:1, KJV: Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Romans 14:1, NASB: Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not to have quarrels over opinions.

Romans 14:1, NLT: Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.

Romans 14:1, CSB: Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but don't argue about disputed matters.

What does Romans 14:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In Romans 14, Paul draws attention to the tension created between Christians because of conflicting ideas. Not every issue in our lives is given an explicit boundary in the Bible. This leads to differences of opinion about how we should use our freedom in Christ.

Here's the scenario: Paul has made it clear that Christians have died to the law of Moses and have been released from our obligation to it (Romans 7:4–6). That doesn't mean it's acceptable for Christians to participate in sin. In the last verses of Romans 13, Paul was very clear that we must cast off works of darkness like drunkenness, immorality, and jealousy (Romans 13:13). When the Bible is clear—and on the truly important issues, Scripture is very clear—then there is no reasonable room for doubt or disagreement.

However, what about things that are not clearly sin? Is it okay for Christians to eat meat? What about meat that has been offered to idols? What about observing Jewish holidays and Sabbaths? Is that right or wrong for Christians? In the modern context, this applies to issues which are also not clearly spelled out in Scripture, such as consuming alcohol (Romans 14:21) or watching movies, or listening to certain types of music.

Paul's answer to these questions is surprising. First, he refers to those who think of certain foods or items as inherently sinful as being weak in faith. He does not mean that these people are not Christians. They have faith in Christ. Nor does he mean they are spiritually immature, in general. The "weakness" referred to is specifically in this one particular area, or for that question alone. Paul means these believers do not yet fully trust that God has set them free from observing the law or religious rule following. They struggle to accept that everything God created is good (1 Timothy 4:4), and can be used for a good purpose.

Instead of condemning these people, though, Paul speaks abruptly to those of stronger faith in the grace of God. He commands them to welcome those with weaker faith into the full life and community of the church. More, he tells them not to welcome them with an ulterior motive of convincing them they are wrong.