What does Romans 14:11 mean?
ESV: for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
NIV: It is written: " ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ "
CSB: For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.
NLT: For the Scriptures say, '‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God. ’'
KJV: For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
NKJV: For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”
Verse Commentary:
In the previous verse, Paul asked pointedly why any one of us would think it was our job to judge other Christians when a real judgment is coming. He called it the judgment seat of God. This is not a judgment of the salvation of believers, but an assessment of their works, as described in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Paul's specific context for this is disagreements over issues where Scripture is not clear—where the Bible does not explicitly say "don't do that." The proper response between believers with a difference of opinion on such matters should be tolerance, not judgment.

Now Paul quotes mostly from the second half of Isaiah 45:23 to support the idea of God judging our works during the end times. Isaiah looks forward to a moment when every knee will bow in acknowledgment that Christ is the Lord. Every tongue will confess—meaning to praise or swear allegiance to—the Lord. In other words, everyone gathered at that judgment will willingly recognize and submit to Christ as the Lord of all.
Verse Context:
Romans 14:1–12 describes how Christians with opposing views on matters of freedom and sin should treat each other. First, strong-faith Christians who understand that all things are clean for those in Christ should welcome and not try to change weaker-faith Christians who believe some things, like eating certain meats, to be sinful. Each should act on their convictions and honor the Lord in doing so. Neither should judge the other, for the real day of judgment is coming when we will all stand before Christ and give an account of our lives.
Chapter Summary:
In Romans 14, Paul tackles the question of how Christians with different convictions about disputable matters should treat each other in the church. Strong-faith Christians who feel free to eat and drink what was formerly forbidden under the law of Moses should not flaunt their freedoms in front of weaker-faith Christians who are not convinced it is right to participate in those things. Neither group should judge the other. Those strong in their faith should rather yield than lead those weaker in faith to violate their conscience, which is a sin.
Chapter Context:
Paul turns from the black-and-white instructions about light and darkness in Romans 13 to the issue of disputable matters with the potential to divide the church. Paul instructs those who feel free to participate in activities formally forbidden under the law not to flaunt their freedom in front of those who, by conscience, still believe those actions to be wrong. Those strong-faith Christians should be willing to set aside their freedom to keep from leading their weaker brothers and sisters into sin by violating their convictions. Paul addresses this topic with additional comments in 1 Corinthians chapter 10.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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