What does Romans 15:1 mean?
ESV: We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
NIV: We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
NASB: Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not just please ourselves.
CSB: Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves.
NLT: We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves.
KJV: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Verse Commentary:
Paul continues writing to the early church about how those he describes as "strong" in their faith ought to treat those who are comparatively "weak" in their faith (Romans 14:1). This is under a specific context; Paul is referring to those issues where the Bible is not explicitly clear, such as eating meat, drinking alcohol, or observing certain holidays (Romans 14:2; 14:21). Those who are more legalistic on such matters Paul has described as "weak in faith," not recognizing their freedom in Christ. Also, Paul has made it clear that both groups are Christians. Both are trusting Christ for their salvation.

The difference between the weak and the strong, as Paul has defined it, is that the strong are fully convinced that in Christ they have been freed from the restrictions of the law, including the dietary restrictions about food and drink. Their strong faith that Christ has fully satisfied all the requirements of the law allows them to feel comfortable with eating or drinking anything.

Those less strong in their faith still feel obligated to the old rules of the law about eating certain meats, for example. Paul taught in the previous chapter that, though their convictions are not based on truth, they must not violate their own consciences. In fact, to do so would be a serious sin (Romans 14:23).

To those strong in their faith, Paul has written that they must be willing to set aside their freedom in certain situations in order to avoid leading their less strong brothers and sisters into that sin (Romans 14:13).

Now Paul includes himself when he writes that the strong have an obligation—a duty of love—to bear with the failings of the weak. Yes, he describes their lack of faith about what is permitted as a failing. And, yes, he is still teaching that those of stronger faith must not provoke the weak to violate their convictions.

In short, those strong in the faith must put a low priority on pleasing themselves, placing it below their obligation to serve weaker Christians.
Verse Context:
Romans 15:1–7 concludes Paul's teaching on how Christians with strong faith, those who understand their freedom from the law, should live with those of weaker faith. All Christians must please each other and not themselves. After all, Christ didn't come to please Himself. With God's help and encouragement, everyone in the church can live together in harmony and glorify God with one, unified voice, as they serve each other ahead of themselves. They must welcome each other as Christ has welcomed them.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 15 begins with Paul's encouragement to those strong in faith: to please other Christians before themselves so the church can be unified. Christ came to fulfill God's promises to Israel and about the Gentiles. Paul is satisfied with the faith and practice of the Roman Christians. His work of taking the gospel to unreached regions of Gentiles in his part of the world is completed, and he longs to come see them. First, he must deliver financial aid to Jerusalem, a trip about which he asks them to pray along with him.
Chapter Context:
Romans 15 concludes Paul's teaching that those strong in faith ought to sacrifice their own desires to live in harmony with other believers. Paul shows that God always planned to welcome the Gentile nations, and his mission is to introduce Gentiles to the message of salvation by faith in Christ. He longs to visit the Christians in Rome and plans to do so as soon as he delivers financial aid to poor Christian Jews in Jerusalem. He begins Romans 16 by greeting many friends and acquaintances in Rome by name, as part of a drawn-out ending to this letter.
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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