Principles of Conscience
1As for the [a]one whose faith is weak, accept him [into your fellowship], but not for [the purpose of] quarreling over his opinions. 2 One man’s faith permits him to eat everything, while the weak believer eats only vegetables [to avoid eating ritually unclean meat or something previously considered unclean]. 3 The one who eats [everything] is not to look down on the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat must not criticize or pass judgment on the one who eats [everything], for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands [approved] or falls [out of favor]. And he [who serves the Master—the Lord] will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person regards one day as better [or more important] than another, while another regards every day [the same as any other]. Let everyone be fully convinced (assured, satisfied) in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord. He who eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains for the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 None of us lives for himself [for his own benefit, but for the Lord], and none of us dies for himself [but for the Lord]. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For Christ died and lived again for this reason, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you again, why do you look down on your [believing] brother or regard him with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. 11 For it is written [in Scripture],
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Then let us not criticize one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block or a source of temptation in another believer’s way. 14 I know and am convinced [as one] in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean [ritually defiled, and unholy] in itself; but [nonetheless] it is unclean to anyone who thinks it is unclean. 15 If your brother is being hurt or offended because of food [that you insist on eating], you are no longer walking in love [toward him]. Do not let what you eat destroy and spiritually harm one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is a good thing for you [because of your freedom to choose] be spoken of as evil [by someone else]; 17 for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For the one who serves Christ in this way [recognizing that food choice is secondary] is acceptable to God and is approved by men. 19 So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, tear down the work of God. All things indeed are [ceremonially] clean, but they are wrong for the person who eats and offends [another’s conscience in the process]. 21 It is good [to do the right thing and] not eat meat or drink wine, or do anything that offends your brother and weakens him spiritually. 22 The faith which you have [that gives you freedom of choice], have as your own conviction before God [just keep it between yourself and God, seeking His will]. Happy is he who has no reason to condemn himself for what he approves. 23 But he who is uncertain [about eating a particular thing] is condemned if he eats, because he is not acting from faith. Whatever is not from faith is sin [whatever is done with doubt is sinful].
- Romans 14:1 Some Jewish believers may have struggled with abandoning all the old requirements of the Law regarding eating things considered unclean, while some Gentile believers may have been overly sensitive to anything associated with paganism, such as eating meat offered to idols.