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How to Treat Weak Believers

14 Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of arguing over differences of opinion. One person believes that he may eat anything, while the weak[a] person eats only[b] vegetables. The person who eats any kind of food[c] must not ridicule the person who does not eat them,[d] and the person who does not eat certain foods[e] must not criticize the person who eats them,[f] for God has accepted him. Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? He stands or falls before his own Lord—and stand he will, because the Lord[g] makes him stand.

One person decides in favor of one day over another, while another person decides that all days are the same. Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind: The one who observes a special day,[h] observes it to honor the Lord. The one who eats, eats to honor the Lord, since he gives thanks to God. And the one who does not eat, refrains from eating to honor the Lord; yet he, too, gives thanks to God.

For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live to honor the Lord; and if we die, we die to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this reason the Messiah[i] died and returned to life, so that he might become the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why, then, do you criticize your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? For all of us will stand before the judgment seat of God.[j] 11 For it is written,

“As certainly as I live, declares the Lord,[k]
    every knee will bow to me,
        and every tongue will praise[l] God.”[m]

12 Consequently, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Acting in Love

13 Therefore, let’s no longer criticize[n] each other. Instead, make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know—and have been persuaded by the Lord Jesus—that nothing is unclean in and of itself, but it is unclean to a person who thinks it is unclean. 15 For if your brother is being hurt by what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not destroy the person for whom the Messiah[o] died by what you eat. 16 Do not allow what seems good to you to be spoken of as evil. 17 For God’s kingdom does not consist of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy produced by the Holy Spirit. 18 For the person who serves the Messiah[p] in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. 19 Therefore, let’s keep on pursuing those things that bring peace and that lead to building up one another.

20 Do not destroy God’s action for the sake of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong to make another person stumble because of what you eat. 21 The right thing to do is to avoid eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that makes your brother stumble, upset, or weak.[q] 22 As for the faith you do have, have it as your own conviction before God. How blessed is the person who has no reason to condemn himself because of what he approves! 23 But the person who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not act in faith; and anything that is not done in faith is sin.


  1. Romans 14:2 Or ill
  2. Romans 14:2 The Gk. lacks only
  3. Romans 14:3 The Gk. lacks any kind of food
  4. Romans 14:3 The Gk. lacks them
  5. Romans 14:3 The Gk. lacks certain foods
  6. Romans 14:3 The Gk. lacks them
  7. Romans 14:4 Other mss. read because God
  8. Romans 14:6 Lit. the day
  9. Romans 14:9 Or Christ
  10. Romans 14:10 Other mss. read of the Messiah
  11. Romans 14:11 MT source citation reads Lord
  12. Romans 14:11 Or confess
  13. Romans 14:11 Cf. Isa 49:18; 45:23
  14. Romans 14:13 Or let’s not criticize
  15. Romans 14:15 Or Christ
  16. Romans 14:18 Or Christ
  17. Romans 14:21 Other mss. lack upset, or weak