Romans 14:16
Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Your good.—That blessing of Christian liberty which you enjoy. This is not to be used so as to give rise to reproaches and recriminations which will make a bad impression on the outside world.

14:14-18 Christ deals gently with those who have true grace, though they are weak in it. Consider the design of Christ's death: also that drawing a soul to sin, threatens the destruction of that soul. Did Christ deny himself for our brethren, so as to die for them, and shall not we deny ourselves for them, so as to keep from any indulgence? We cannot hinder ungoverned tongues from speaking evil; but we must not give them any occasion. We must deny ourselves in many cases what we may lawfully do, when our doing it may hurt our good name. Our good often comes to be evil spoken of, because we use lawful things in an uncharitable and selfish manner. As we value the reputation of the good we profess and practise, let us seek that it may not be evil-spoken of. Righteousness, peace, and joy, are words that mean a great deal. As to God, our great concern is to appear before him justified by Christ's death, sanctified by the Spirit of his grace; for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness. As to our brethren, it is to live in peace, and love, and charity with them; following peace with all men. As to ourselves, it is joy in the Holy Ghost; that spiritual joy wrought by the blessed Spirit in the hearts of believers, which respects God as their reconciled Father, and heaven as their expected home. Regard to Christ in doing our duties, alone can make them acceptable. Those are most pleasing to God that are best pleased with him; and they abound most in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. They are approved by wise and good men; and the opinion of others is not to be regarded.Let not then your good ... - That which you esteem to be right, and which may be right in itself. You are not bound by the ceremonial law. You are free from the yoke of bondage This freedom you esteem to be a good - a favor - a high privilege. And so it is; but you should not make such a use of it as to do injury to others.

Be evil spoken of - Greek, Be blasphemed. Do not so use your Christian liberty as to give occasion for railing and unkind remarks from your brethren, so as to produce contention and strife, and thus to give rise to evil reports among the wicked about the tendency of the Christian religion, as if it were adapted only to promote controversy. How much strife would have been avoided if all Christians had regarded this plain rule. In relation to dress, and rites, and ceremonies in the church, we may be conscious that we are right; but an obstinate adherence to them may only give rise to contention and angry discussions, and to evil reports among men, of the tendency of religion. In such a case we should yield our private, unimportant personal indulgence to the good of the cause of religion and of peace.

16, 17. Let not then your good—that is, this liberty of yours as to Jewish meats and days, well founded though it be.

be evil spoken of—for the evil it does to others.

Here is another argument against offences; it will cause our good to be blasphemed, or evil spoken of. Some, by good here, would understand the Christian faith, or the gospel in general; but others do rather understand it of our Christian liberty in particular: q.d. Give none occasion for this great privilege of your Christian liberty to be traduced; use it so, as that neither the weak Christian nor the infidel may reproach or accuse you as licentious or contentious: see 1 Corinthians 10:29,30. Let not then your good be evil spoken of. The Vulgate Latin reads it, "our good", and so the Syriac version; the sense is the same, and to be understood either of the Gospel in general, which is good in its author, matter, effects, and consequences; is good tidings of good things, and which might be blasphemed by the men of the world, on account of the divisions and contentions among the professors of it, about such little trivial things, as eating this or the other sort of food; and therefore care should be taken, that it be not evil spoken of through such conduct: or else the doctrine of Christian liberty in particular, which is a good thing; Christ has procured it, and bestows it upon his people; it is a valuable blessing in itself, and is attended and followed with many considerable privileges and immunities; but may be evil spoken of by those, who do not so well understand it, through an imprudent use of it by those who do; and who therefore should guard against any reproach that may be cast upon it; and rather than this should be the case, forego the use of it, in things of an indifferent nature; see 1 Corinthians 10:30; so that this is another of the apostle's reasons, why though nothing is of itself unclean, yet it should be abstained from on account of others. {16} Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

(16) Another argument: because by this means evil is spoken of the liberty of the gospel, as though it opens the way to attempt anything whatever, and gives us boldness to do all things.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 14:16. Μὴ βλασφημείσθω] namely (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:12), through your fault.

ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν] your good κατʼ ἑξοχήν, i.e. ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, Romans 14:17. So also Ewald and Umbreit. It is the sum of the μέλλοντα ἀγαθά, Hebrews 9:11; Hebrews 10:1. How easily it might come to pass that a schism, kept up by means of condemnation and contempt, on account of eating and drinking, might draw down on that jewel of Christians—the object of their whole endeavour, hope, and boast—calumnious judgments at the hands of unbelievers, as if maxims respecting eating and drinking formed that on which the Christian was dependent for attaining the blessing of the kingdom! In opposition to the context in Romans 14:17, following the Fathers (in Suicer, Thes. I. p. 14), de Wette holds that faith is meant; Luther, Calovius, and others, including Philippi: the gospel; Origen, Pelagius, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, and many others, including Flatt, Borger, Fritzsche, Tholuck, Nielsen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Reithmayr, Maier, Bisping, with irrelevant appeal to 1 Corinthians 10:30 : Christian freedom; van Hengel generally: quod in vobis Romanis bonum est; better Hofmann: that which, as their essential good, gives Christians the advantage over non-Christians,—a view, however, which leaves the precise definition of the notion unsettled. With ὑμῶν, Paul, after having previously addressed a single party in the singular, turns to all; hence we are not, with Fritzsche, to think in ὑμ. of the strong believers only (and in ΒΛΑΣΦ. of the weak believers). Note, further, the emphasis of the prefixed ὑμῶν (comp. Php 3:20): the possession belonging to you, to you Christians, which you must therefore all the more guard against slander from without.Romans 14:16. μὴ βλασφημείσθω οὖν ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν. τὸ ἀγαθόν is somewhat in definite. It has been taken (1) as the good common to all Christians—the Messianic salvation—which will be blasphemed by the non-Christian, when they see the wantonness with which Christians rob each other of it by such conduct as Paul reprobates in Romans 14:15; and (2) as Christian liberty, the freedom of conscience which has been won by Christ, but which will inevitably get a bad name if it is exercised in an inconsiderate loveless fashion. The latter meaning alone seems relevant. For βλασφ. see 1 Corinthians 10:30.16. then] therefore. The word sums up and applies the previous reasonings.

your good] i.e. your Christian light and liberty, in the “kingdom of God.” Misuse of this would be sure to embitter Christian intercourse, and to weaken the tenderness of conscience and so the holiness of life in the community. Cp. 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:15-16.Romans 14:16. Μὴ, not) Liberty is the good of [peculiar to] believers, 1 Corinthians 10:29-30, flowing from the privileges of the kingdom of God. Generous service in Romans 14:18, is opposed [antithetic] to the abuse of this liberty. In the writings of the fathers the Lord’s Supper also is usually denominated τὸ ἀγαθὸν, the good, as Suicer shows, Observ. Sacr., p. 85, which is indeed not inconsistent with this very passage of Paul, who, writing on the same subject, 1 Corinthians 10:16, takes his argument from the Lord’s Supper. It is comprehended under the good of believers. But he speaks of τὸ ἀγαθὸν, the good, to show the unworthiness of evil-speaking, of which either the weak, who consider the liberty of the stronger, licentiousness, or even others might be guilty.Verse 16. - Let not then your good be evil spoken of. "Your good" is your enlightenment, which is in itself a good thing; but it will be "evil spoken of" as a bad thing, if it leads to superciliousness and uncharitableness. Your good (ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν)

Referring, most probably, to the liberty of the strong. Others think that the whole Church is addressed, in which case good would refer to the gospel doctrine.

Be evil spoken of (βλασφημείσθω)

See on blasphemy, Mark 7:22. In 1 Corinthians 10:30, it is used of evil-speaking by members of the Church, which favors the reference of good to the strong.

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