Romans 14:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 14:3, NIV: "The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them."

Romans 14:3, ESV: "Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him."

Romans 14:3, KJV: "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."

Romans 14:3, NASB: "The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him."

Romans 14:3, NLT: "Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don't. And those who don't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them."

Romans 14:3, CSB: "One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat, and one who does not eat must not judge one who does, because God has accepted him."

What does Romans 14:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has defined two different groups of Christians in the early church. In the context of actions not clearly labeled as sinful or righteous by Scripture, Paul considers those of "weak faith" in contrast to those who are more secure in their faith. Those in both groups were true believers in Jesus. The difference was found in their opinions about what Christians should be free to participate in versus what they should stay away from. In the previous verse, Paul identified an example: those who refuse to eat meat for religious reasons, being weak in faith. Those of stronger faith felt free to eat anything at all, because they were convinced that Christ has freed them from all the requirements of the law and they were fully accepted by God's grace through faith in Christ.

Paul, though, does not condemn the religious vegetarians for their opinion. Instead, he forbids both groups from despising or passing judgment on each other. God has welcomed all who are in Christ, whether they live in the full freedom of God's grace or not. As such, both groups should welcome each other.

This statement is a crucial part of the context of chapter 14. It coordinates with Paul's other remarks on Christian liberty (1 Corinthians 10:23–33; 1 Timothy 4:4). Those who feel free to partake in certain things should not look down on those who are not comfortable with that same activity. At the same time, those who feel a personal conviction about something ought not judge those who do not share their conviction.

In short, both sides need to respect and tolerate each other (Colossians 2:16–23).