Romans 14:10
But why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at nothing your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10-12) Such being our relations to Christ, and such the judgment to which we look forward, there is no room for any human judgment. Censoriousness is thus condemned.

(10) Judgment seat of Christ.—The true reading is, of God.

Romans 14:10-12. But why dost thou judge — Or condemn; thy Gentile brother — Because he neglects the distinction of meats and days? Or why dost thou — O Gentile believer; set at naught — And deride, as weak or superstitious, thy Jewish brother, who conscientiously observes that burdensome ritual, from which thou art so happy as to apprehend thyself free? This censoriousness, or contempt, is greatly to be blamed; and, as well as the judging and condemning just mentioned, must very ill become the state in which we are, and must quickly be: for no principle of our common faith is more certain than this, that we shall all stand and take our trial before the judgment-seat of Christ — And it is surely a dangerous presumption to anticipate that judgment. For it is written — In the Jewish Scriptures, (Isaiah 45:23,) As I live, saith the Lord — An oath proper to him, because he only possesseth life infinite and independent; every knee shall bow to me — Shall stoop to my dominion; and every tongue shall confess to God — Shall acknowledge my sovereignty, which shall be done most fully and perfectly at the day of judgment. The Lord grant we may find mercy in that day! And may it also be imparted to those who have differed from us! Yea, to those who have censured and condemned us for things which we have done from a desire to please him, or have refused to do from a fear of offending him. So then every one of us — The high, as well as the low, the rich, as well as the poor; shall give account of himself to God — Of his own conduct, and not of the weaknesses of others; and therefore we should not trouble ourselves about them, but look to ourselves.14:7-13 Though some are weak, and others are strong, yet all must agree not to live to themselves. No one who has given up his name to Christ, is allowedly a self-seeker; that is against true Christianity. The business of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God. That is true Christianity, which makes Christ all in all. Though Christians are of different strength, capacities, and practices in lesser things, yet they are all the Lord's; all are looking and serving, and approving themselves to Christ. He is Lord of those that are living, to rule them; of those that are dead, to revive them, and raise them up. Christians should not judge or despise one another, because both the one and the other must shortly give an account. A believing regard to the judgment of the great day, would silence rash judgings. Let every man search his own heart and life; he that is strict in judging and humbling himself, will not be apt to judge and despise his brother. We must take heed of saying or doing things which may cause others to stumble or to fall. The one signifies a lesser, the other a greater degree of offence; that which may be an occasion of grief or of guilt to our brother.But why ... - Since we are all subjects and servants alike, and must all stand at the same tribunal, what right have we to sit in judgment on others?

Thou judge - Thou who art a "Jewish" convert, why dost thou attempt to arraign the "Gentile" disciple, as if he had violated a law of God? compare Romans 14:3.

Thy brother - God has recognised him as his friend Romans 14:3, and he should be regarded by thee as "a brother" in the same family.

Or why dost thou set at nought - Despise Romans 14:3; why dost thou, who art a "Gentile" convert, despise the "Jewish" disciple as being unnecessarily scrupulous and superstitious?

Thy brother - The Jewish convert is now a brother; and all the contempt which you Gentiles once cherished for the Jew should cease, from the fact that "he" is now "a Christian." Nothing will do so much, on the one hand, to prevent a censorious disposition, and on the other, to prevent contempt for those who are in a different rank in life, as to remember that they are "Christians," bought with the same blood, and going to the same heaven as ourselves.

We must all stand ... - That is, we must all be tried alike at the same tribunal; we must answer for our conduct, not to our-fellow man, but to Christ; and it does not become us to sit in judgment on each other.

10. But why, &c.—The original is more lively:—"But thou (the weaker believer), why judgest thou thy brother? And thou again (the stronger), why despisest thou thy brother?"

for we shall all—the strong and the weak together.

stand before the judgment-seat of Christ—All the most ancient and best manuscripts read here, "the judgment-seat of God." The present reading doubtless crept in from 2Co 5:10, where "the judgment-seat of Christ" occurs. But here "the judgment-seat of God" seems to have been used, with reference to the quotation and the inference in Ro 14:11, 12.

He goes on to persuade them to a mutual forbearance, to dehort them from condemning or contemning one another about indifferent things. He suggests two arguments against it in this verse; one (which is more implied) is taken from the relation they bore one to another; they were brethren, not by natural generation, but by regeneration and adoption; they had the same Father, even God. The second argument is more plainly expressed; and it is taken from the consideration of the day of judgment, when all shall stand before Christ’s judgment seat; see 2 Corinthians 5:10; all, both the strong and the weak; and then he will determine who hath done well or ill. In the mean while, who art thou that darest to usurp his place or office? The interrogation hath the force of a strong denial; q.d. Have you no more grace, charity, or wisdom, than so to do. But why dost thou judge thy brother?.... These words are spoken to the man weak in faith, that scrupled eating of certain meats, and chose rather eat none, and live on herbs, and who esteemed one day above another; and was very apt to censure and condemn such as made use of their Christian liberty in these things, though they were brethren, not in a natural or civil, but in a spiritual relation:

or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? these words, on the other hand, are directed to the stronger believer, who believed he might eat all things, and esteemed every day alike; being fully persuaded, that the distinction of meats and of days was now ceased; and such were apt to be puffed up with their superior knowledge and faith, and were ready to treat with an air of contempt those that were weak; showing little or no regard to their peace and edification, though they stood in the same relation to each other. The emphasis lies upon the word "brother", in both branches of the expostulation; and the force of the apostle's reasoning is that they should not judge or despise one another, because they were brethren, stood in the same relation to God and Christ, belonged to the same family, were partakers of the same grace, and had no pre-eminence one over another; they had but one master, and all they were brethren: and which he further enforces with the following reason or argument,

for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; at the last day, when he shall sit on his throne of glory, and all nations shall be gathered before him, and he shall pronounce and execute the decisive sentence on each of them: there is a particular, and a general judgment; a particular judgment at death, when the soul is immediately consigned to bliss or woe; and a general one in the end of time; which may be proved both from reason, as from the relation creatures stand in to God, from the inequality of things in this life, and the conscious fears of men with respect to a future one; and from divine revelation, Christ will be the Judge, he is so appointed by his Father, and is every way fit for it, being God omniscient and omnipotent; and when he shall appear in his glory, he shall sit on his judgment seat, the dead will be raised, the books will be opened, and all shall be summoned to appear before him, of every age and sex, of every rank and degree, and of every character, good or bad: here the saints are particularly designed, "we shall all stand"; whether ministers or private Christians, weak or strong believers; they that are apt to judge, and others that are too ready to despise; they shall all stand before the tribunal of Christ, who is sole Judge, and shall render to every man according to his works, and from whom they shall all receive their sentence. The allusion is to human courts of judicature, in which the judge sits upon a bench, and they that are tried stand before him; see 2 Corinthians 5:10. The Alexandrian copy reads, "the judgment seat of God".

{11} But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

(11) The conclusion: we must leave to God his right, and therefore in matters which are either good or evil according to the conscience of the individual, the strong must not despise their weak brethren, much less condemn them. But this consequent cannot be taken of equal force in the contrary, that is, that the weak should not judge the strong, because the weak do not know that those who do not observe a day and eat, observe it not to the Lord, and eat to the Lord, as the strong men know that the weak who observe a day and do not eat, observe the day to the Lord, and eat not to the Lord.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 14:10. Σὺ δέ] discloses the contrast to the κυριότης of Jesus.

The first σύ addresses the weaker, the second the freer Christian, as is clear from Romans 14:3.

γάρ] justifies the censure of presumption which lies in the preceding questions: for all, etc., and therefore in both cases thou as well as he.

παραστης., we shall stand before; “stare solent, quorum causa tractatur,” Grotius; Acts 26:6; Matthew 25:33.

τῷ βήμ. τ. Θεοῦ (see critical notes): for God will cause the judgment to be held (John 5:22) by Christ (Romans 2:16; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31). So the judgment-seat upon which Christ will sit (2 Corinthians 5:10; Polycarp, ad Phil. 6; Matthew 25:31) is God’s.

Note how decisive is the testimony of such passages against any limitation of the universality of the final judgment.Romans 14:10. Σὺ δὲ: thou, in contrast with the one Lord and Judge of all. In face of our common responsibility to Him, how dare we judge each other? τὸν ἀδελφόν σου: another reason for not judging: it is inconsistent with a recognition of the brotherhood of believers. ἢ καὶ σὺ τί ἐξουθενεῖς κ.τ.λ. Or thou, again, why despisest thou? etc. This is addressed to the strong and free thinking, as the first question is to the weak and scrupulous Christian. Censoriousness and contempt are never anything but sins, not to be practised but shunned, and that all the more when we remember that we shall all stand at one bar παραστησόμεθα τῷ βήματι τοῦ θεοῦ God is the universal Judge. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we have τῷ βήματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ but here τοῦ θεοῦ is the correct reading We cannot suppose that by τοῦ θεοῦ here Paul means Christ in His Divine nature; the true way to mediate between the two expressions is seen in chap. Romans 2:16, Acts 17:31. When we all stand at that bar—and it should be part of our spiritual environment always—no one will look at his brother with either censoriousness or contempt.10–23. the same subject: mutual care and love more important and sacred than eager assertions of liberty

10. But why dost thou] “Thou” is strongly emphatic here, as in contrast to the Lord. So just below, in the next sentence.—Cp. Romans 14:4.

thy brother] Here, evidently, “thy brother in Christ;” one of the “many brethren” who are such as being adopted by the Eternal Father in the supreme Elder Brother (Romans 8:29. See also on Romans 12:10).

all] Strongly emphatic; the critic as well as the criticized will be there—all on one level.

the judgment seat] Lit. the bema; the Gr. equivalent of the Lat. tribunal. (Same word as e.g. Matthew 27:19; Acts 18:16-17). The great Session is imaged under the forms of imperial law.

of Christ] The true reading, probably, is of God. On the interchange of the words Christ and God in this context, see on Romans 14:6. It is significant that in 2 Corinthians 5:10 (the best commentary on this passage) the undoubted reading is, as in E. V., “of Christ.”

The “judgment seat” here is that of the Great Day, when “the books will be opened.” This passage by no means implies that the Christian must wait till then to know whether he is accepted or not; a thought which would contradict both the letter and spirit of e.g. ch. Romans 5:1-11; Romans 5:8. (See especially also 2 Timothy 4:8.) But it does imply that the judicial declaration of his acceptance, and also of the Lord’s verdict upon his life of new obedience, will be made to him as to one at the bar and before the Judge. The Judge will be his Brother, but yet his Judge, his King.Romans 14:10. Σὺ δὲ, But thou) thou, who art the weaker; it was with him the apostle has hitherto been dealing: he now addresses the stronger, or [dost] thou also.—κρίνεις, judgest) He, who judges, demands, that the knees should be in fact bent to Him.[146]—ἐξουθενε͂ις, dost thou set at nought?) in thy mind and by thy conduct.

[146] Τοῦ Χριστοῦ, of Christ) God will judge by Christ, ch. Romans 2:16.—V. g.Verses 10-13. - But thou, why judgest thou thy brother? or thou too, why settest thou at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God (so, rather than of Christ, as in the Textus Receptus). For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God (Isaiah 45:23, quoted very freely from the LXX.). So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us therefore no longer judge one another. This concluding appeal is addressed to both parties. In all that follows St. Paul returns exclusively to the more enlightened ones, whose feelings were in accordance with his own; and he now presses a further thought upon them, namely of the harm they might be doing to the very souls of the weak ones by tempting them, either by word or example, to disobey their own consciences. But judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling (σκάνδαλον). For the meaning of the word, cf. Luke 17:1; Romans:33; 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:23; Revelation 2:14. Why dost thou judge (σὺ τί κρίνεις)

Thou emphatic, in contrast with the Lord. So Rev., "thou, why dost thou Judge?" Referring to the weak brother. Compare judge as in Romans 14:4. The servant of another is here called brother.

Judgment seat of Christ (τῷ βήματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ)

The best texts read Θεοῦ of God So Rev. For judgment-seat, see on to set his foot on, Acts 7:5.

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