Romans 14:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 14:23, NIV: But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Romans 14:23, ESV: But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Romans 14:23, KJV: And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Romans 14:23, NASB: But the one who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

Romans 14:23, NLT: But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

Romans 14:23, CSB: But whoever doubts stands condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin.

What does Romans 14:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul wraps up his teaching on the disputable matters of opinion that might divide churches with a last word to those who are weaker in their faith. These Christians just can't feel okay, for example, about eating meat that might violate the restrictions of the law. Christians with stronger faith are confident that God's grace has freed from the law and made everything they might eat or drink clean for them (Romans 14:1–2; 14:14; 1 Timothy 4:4).

If someone doubts and eats meat anyway, Paul writes in clear language, that person is condemned. He is not eating "from faith." Put another way, he is eating against his own faith. Paul does not mean that such a person is condemned in the sense that he will no longer be a Christian. He is condemned in the sense that he is guilty of sin, though still in Christ.

Paul's last line is a summary statement: Whatever does not come from faith is sin. It is important to read this statement within the context of this discussion. Paul means specifically that for someone to violate their own convictions by participating in one of these disputed areas is to act against faith instead of from faith. That's a sin.

We should not take this to mean it is a sin to obey clear commands of Scripture, even if we find them unpleasant or personally difficult. It is always right to forgive, to be kind, to tell the truth, no matter how it feels to our sinful, limited human nature. But when the Bible gives no clear direction, we have the liberty to make our own choice. If our conscience is telling us no, we are obligated to refrain, even if that's a sign that we're one of those "weak in faith" regarding that issue.