Romans 14:5
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
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(5) One man esteemeth.—For the observance of days and seasons, compare Galatians 4:10; Colossians 2:16. From these passages, taken together, it is clear that the observance of special days has no absolute sanction, but is purely a question of religious expediency. That, however, is sufficient ground on which to rest it, and experience seems in favour of some such system as that adopted by our own Church.

Romans 14:5-6. And with respect to days, one man esteemeth one day above another — Thinks that the new moons and Jewish festivals are holier than other days, and ought still to be observed. Another esteemeth every day alike — Holds that the difference of days appointed by Moses has now ceased. The Jewish holydays only being the subject of controversy, what the apostle hath here written concerning them cannot be extended to the sabbath, instituted at the creation, nor to the Christian sabbath, the Lord’s day. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind — That a thing is lawful before he does it, or well satisfied as to the grounds of his practice, that so he may not knowingly offend God. He that regardeth the day — That observes these new moons and festivals; regardeth it unto the Lord — That is, out of a principle of conscience toward God, and with a view to his glory. And he that regardeth not the day — That does not make conscience of observing it; to the Lord he doth not regard it — He also acts from a principle of conscience, and aims at God’s glory. He that eateth — Indifferently of all meats; eateth to the Lord — Endeavours to glorify him, as it becomes a good Christian to do. For he giveth God thanks — For the free use of the creatures, and for his Christian liberty respecting them. And he that eateth not — The food which the law forbids; to the Lord — Out of respect to God’s commands, he eateth not, and giveth God thanks — For his herbs, or that other food is provided, on which he may conveniently subsist, and that he is not forced to eat what he thinks unclean, out of absolute necessity.

14:1-6 Differences of opinion prevailed even among the immediate followers of Christ and their disciples. Nor did St. Paul attempt to end them. Compelled assent to any doctrine, or conformity to outward observances without being convinced, would be hypocritical and of no avail. Attempts for producing absolute oneness of mind among Christians would be useless. Let not Christian fellowship be disturbed with strifes of words. It will be good for us to ask ourselves, when tempted to disdain and blame our brethren; Has not God owned them? and if he has, dare I disown them? Let not the Christian who uses his liberty, despise his weak brother as ignorant and superstitious. Let not the scrupulous believer find fault with his brother, for God accepted him, without regarding the distinctions of meats. We usurp the place of God, when we take upon us thus to judge the thoughts and intentions of others, which are out of our view. The case as to the observance of days was much the same. Those who knew that all these things were done away by Christ's coming, took no notice of the festivals of the Jews. But it is not enough that our consciences consent to what we do; it is necessary that it be certified from the word of God. Take heed of acting against a doubting conscience. We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment. A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them.One man esteemeth - Greek "judgeth" κρίνει krinei. The word is here properly translated "esteemeth;" compare Acts 13:46; Acts 16:15. The word originally has the idea of "separating," and then "discerning," in the act of judging. The expression means that one would set a higher value on one day than on another, or would regard it as more sacred than others. This was the case with the "Jews" uniformly, who regarded the days of their festivals, and fasts, and Sabbaths as especially sacred, and who would retain, to no inconsiderable degree, their former views, even after they became converted to Christianity.

Another "esteemeth - That is, the "Gentile" Christian. Not having been brought up amidst the Jewish customs, and not having imbibed their opinions and prejudices, they would not regard these days as having any special sacredness. The appointment of those days had a special reference "to the Jews." They were designed to keep them as a separate people, and to prepare the nation for the "reality," of which their rites were but the shadow. When the Messiah came, the passover, the feast of tabernacles, and the other special festivals of the Jews, of course vanished, and it is perfectly clear that the apostles never intended to inculcate their observance on the Gentile converts. See this subject discussed in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians.

Every day alike - The word "alike" is not in the original, and it may convey an idea which the apostle did not design. The passage means that he regards "every day" as consecrated to the Lord; Romans 14:6. The question has been agitated whether the apostle intends in this to include the Christian Sabbath. Does he mean to say that it is a matter of "indifference" whether this day be observed, or whether it be devoted to ordinary business or amusements? This is a very important question in regard to the Lord's day. That the apostle did not mean to say that it was a matter of indifference whether it should be kept as holy, or devoted to business or amusement, is plain from the following considerations.

(1) the discussion had reference only to the special customs of the "Jews," to the rites and practices which "they" would attempt to impose on the Gentiles, and not to any questions which might arise among Christians as "Christians." The inquiry pertained to "meats," and festival observances among the Jews, and to their scruples about partaking of the food offered to idols, etc.; and there is no more propriety in supposing that the subject of the Lord's day is introduced here than that he advances principles respecting "baptism" and "the Lord's supper."

(2) the "Lord's day" was doubtless observed by "all" Christians, whether converted from Jews or Gentiles; see 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10; compare the notes at John 20:26. The propriety of observing "that day" does not appear to have been a matter of controversy. The only inquiry was, whether it was proper to add to that the observance of the Jewish Sabbaths, and days of festivals and fasts.

(3) it is expressly said that those who did not regard the day regarded it as not to God, or to honor God; Romans 14:6. They did it as a matter of respect to him and his institutions, to promote his glory, and to advance his kingdom. Was this ever done by those who disregard the Christian Sabbath? Is their design ever to promote his honor, and to advance in the knowledge of him, by "neglecting" his holy day? Who knows not that the Christian Sabbath has never been neglected or profaned by any design to glorify the Lord Jesus, or to promote his kingdom? It is for purposes of business, gain, war, amusement, dissipation, visiting, crime. Let the heart be filled with a sincere desire to "honor the Lord Jesus," and the Christian Sabbath will be reverenced, and devoted to the purposes of piety. And if any man is disposed to plead "this passage" as an excuse for violating the Sabbath, and devoting it to pleasure or gain, let him quote it "just as it is," that is, let "him neglect the Sabbath from a conscientious desire to honor Jesus Christ." Unless this is his motive, the passage cannot avail him. But this motive never yet influenced a Sabbath-breaker.

Let every man ... - That is, subjects of this kind are not to be pressed as matters of conscience. Every man is to examine them for himself, and act accordingly. This direction pertains to the subject under discussion, and not to any other. It does not refer to subjects that were "morally" wrong, but to ceremonial observances. If the "Jew" esteemed it wrong to eat meat, he was to abstain from it; if the Gentile esteemed it right, he was to act accordingly. The word "be fully persuaded" denotes the highest conviction, not a matter of opinion or prejudice, but a matter on which the mind is made up by examination; see Romans 4:21; 2 Timothy 4:5. This is the general principle on which Christians are called to act in relation to festival days and fasts in the church. If some Christians deem them to be for edification, and suppose that their piety will be promoted by observing the days which commemorate the birth, and death, and temptations of the Lord Jesus, they are not to be reproached or opposed in their celebration. Nor are they to attempt to impose them on others as a matter of conscience, or to reproach others because they do not observe them.

5. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day—The supplement "alike" should be omitted, as injuring the sense.

Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind—be guided in such matters by conscientious conviction.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike: there were differences in the church of Rome about the observation of days, as well as the choice of meats; and in this he endeavours an accommodation as well as in the other. The converted Jew was of opinion, that the festival days appointed in Moses’s law, were holier than other days, and that they should still be observed: see Galatians 4:10 Colossians 2:16. On the other side, the believing Gentile was of opinion, that the difference in days under the Old Testament was now ceased, and he (the text says) esteemed or approved of all days. The word alike is not in the original, but it is aptly supplied by our translators.

Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind; i.e. Let every man be satisfied as to the grounds of his practice; let him act by his own and not another man’s, judgment and conscience; let him be so fully assured in his own mind of the lawfulness of what he doth, as to find no doubting or scrupulous hesitations in the doing of it; let him be able to say as the apostle himself doth, Romans 14:14. The reason of this counsel you have, Romans 14:23. He that doth what he thinks is a sin, is an offender against God, whether it be a sin or no. And yet a man may sin in that wherein he is fully persuaded he sinneth not. A full persuasion must be had, but it is not sufficient to make an action good or lawful.

One man esteemeth one day above another,.... This is another instance of the difference of sentiments in this church, about the observation of rituals; and is not to be understood of days appointed by the Christian churches for fasting, or abstinence from certain meats, either once a year, as the "Quadragesima", or Lent; or twice a week, as Wednesdays and Fridays; for these are things of much later observation, and which had never been introduced into the church of Rome in the apostle's time; nor were there any disputes about them: much less of days of Heathenish observation, as lucky or unlucky, or festivals in honour of their gods; for the apostle would never say, that a man who regarded such a day, regarded it to the Lord; nor would have advised to a coalition and Christian conversation with such a man, but rather to exclude him from all society and communion: it remains, therefore, that it must be understood of Jewish days, or of such as were appointed to be observed by the Jews under the former dispensation, and which some thought were still to be regarded; wherefore they esteemed some days in the year above others, as the days of unleavened bread, or the passover; particularly the first night, which was a night to be observed throughout their generations; and in their service for it to this day, use these words, , "how different is this night from every other night" (n)? and the feast of tabernacles, especially the last and great day of the feast, and the day of Pentecost; also one day in a month above others, the first day of the month, or new moon; and one day in a week, the seventh day sabbath: now there were some, who thought that the laws respecting these days were still in force, particularly the latter, and therefore esteemed it above another: but let it be observed, that the man that did so was one that was weak in faith; the same man that ate herbs, because he would not be guilty of violating those laws, which ordered a distinction of meats to be observed, the same weak man esteemed one day above another, imagining the laws concerning the distinction of days were still obligatory, not rightly understanding the doctrine of Christian liberty, or freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law:

another esteemeth every day alike; that is, one that is strong in faith, and has a greater degree of the knowledge of the Gospel, and of evangelical liberty, knows that the distinction of days, as well as of meats, is taken away, since the word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, Christ the passover is sacrificed for us, the firstfruits of the Spirit have been received, and light by the church from the sun of righteousness, and Christ the true sabbath and rest is come; and therefore, being firmly persuaded there is no more holiness in days than there is in places, has the same regard for one day as another. The difference between these two lay here, the weak brother regarded a day for the sake of a day, as having by a positive law, he supposed to be in force, a superiority to another, and he regarded worship for the sake of this day; the stronger brother, though he also observed a day for divine worship, which is the Lord's day, since there must be some time for it as well as place, yet he observed the day for the sake of worship, and not worship for the sake of the day:

let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind; this is the advice the apostle gives to both parties; his sense is, that he would have each of them fully enjoy their own principle and practice undisturbed; he would have the weak brother, that esteemed one day above another, indulged in his way, since it arose from weakness, until he had better light, nor should he be despised for his weakness; he would have the stronger Christian also peaceably enjoy his sentiment, and pursue what he believed to be right; nor should he be judged, censured, and condemned, as a profane person, and a transgressor of the law: his counsel is, that they would sit down and carefully examine the word of God, and act according to the best light they should receive from thence; and take care especially, that they did not act contrary to their own consciences, with doubt and hesitation; they ought to be thoroughly satisfied in their own minds, and being so, should content themselves with their different sentiments and practices, without despising or censuring one another.

(n) Haggada Shel Pesach, p. 5.

{6} One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. {7} Let {d} every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

(6) Another example of the difference of days according to the law.

(7) He sets against this contempt, and hasty or rash judgments, a continual desire to profit, that the strong may be certainly persuaded of their liberty, of what manner and sort it is, and how they ought to use it: and again the weak may profit daily, in order that they do not abuse the gift of God, or please themselves in their infirmity.

(d) That he may say in his conscience that he knows and is persuaded by Jesus Christ, that nothing is unclean of itself: and this persuasion must be grounded upon the word of God.

Romans 14:5. Second point of difference, as is evident from the contents themselves, and in particular from the general laying out of the representation, which is quite similar in form to Romans 14:2. Hence we are not here to find, with Hofmann (who defends the reading ὃς μὲν γάρ), merely the first member of a chain of thought which is intended to make good the correctness of the proposition δυνατεῖ γὰρ κ.τ.λ.,—so that Paul does not pass over to another controverted point. The fact that he does not thereupon enter at length on the question of days, but returns immediately in Romans 14:6 to the question of food, indicates that the latter formed in the church the controversy most prominent and threatening in an ascetic point of view. Moreover, what he had said on the point of food might so readily of itself find its application in an analogous manner to the question of days, that an entering into equal detail in regard to both points was not required.

κρίνει ἡμ. παρʼ ἡμ.] he sets his judgment on day before day, i.e. he is for preferring one day to another, so that he esteems one holier than another. This refers to the Jewish feast and fast days still observed by the weak in faith. The classical ἡμέρα παρʼ ἡμέραν, in the sense alternis diebus (Bernhardy, p. 258; Lobeck, ad Aj. 475), does not apply here (in opposition to Fritzsche, who imports into our passage the notion that the people had ascetically observed, in addition to the Sabbath, the second and fifth days of the week). Of so surprising a (pharisaical, Luke 18:12) selection of days there is no single trace in the Epistles to the Galatians (not even ἡμέρας, Romans 4:10) and Colossians, and hardly would it have met with such lenient treatment at Paul’s hands. But the Jewish observance of days, continued under Christianity, so naturally agrees with the Essenic-Jewish character of the weak in faith generally, that there is no sufficient ground for thinking, with Ewald, of the observance of Sunday (at that time not yet generally established), and for seeing in Romans 14:5-6 only an example illustrating the preceding, and not a real point of difference (comp. Hofmann). On κρίνειν τι, in the sense of to declare oneself for something, i.e. aliquid probare, eligere, comp. Aesch. Agam. 471 (κρίνω δʼ ἄφθονον ὄλβον), Suppl. 393 (κρἵνε σέβας τὸ πρὸς θεῶν); Plat. Rep. p. 399 E; Xen. Hell. i. 7. 11; Isocr. Paneg. 46. On παρά, in the sense of preference, Xen. Mem. i. 4. 14, and Kühner in loc.; but in Soph. Aj. 475, παρʼ ἧμαρ ἡμέρα is (in opposition to Valckenaer, Schol. II. p. 153 ff.) to be otherwise understood; see Lobeck ad loc.

κρίνει πᾶσαν ἡμέραν] not omnem diem judicat diem (Bengel, Philippi), but corresponding to the first half of the verse: he declares himself for each day, so that he would have each esteemed equally holy, not certain days before others.

ἕκαστος κ.τ.λ.] Here too, as in the case of an adiaphoron, no more than in Romans 14:2, an objective decision, who is or is not in the right; but rather for both parties only the requisite injunction, namely, that each should have a complete assurance of faith as to the rightness of his conduct, without which persuasion the consciousness of the fulfilment of duty is lacking, and consequently the adiaphoron becomes sinful (Romans 14:20; Romans 14:23).

πληροφ.] Comp. Romans 4:21.

ἘΝ Τ. ἸΔΊῼ ΝΟΐ] i.e. in the moral consciousness of his own reason (Romans 7:23), therefore, independently of others’ judgment, assured in himself of the motives of action.

Romans 14:5. The Apostle passes from the question of food to one of essentially the same kind—the religious observance of days. This is generally regarded as quite independent of the other; but Weiss argues from Romans 14:6, where the text which he adopts in common with most editors seems to contrast “him who observes the day” with “him who eats,” that what we have here is really a subdivision of the same general subject. In other words, among those who abstained from flesh and wine, some did so always, others only on certain days. “To observe the day” might in itself mean to observe it by fasting—this would be the case if one’s ordinary custom were to use flesh and wine; or it might mean to observe it by feasting—this would be the case if one ordinarily abstained. Practically, it makes no difference whether this reading of the passage is correct or not: Paul argues the question of the distinction of days as if it were an independent question, much as he does in Colossians 2. It is not probable that there is any reference either to the Jewish Sabbath or to the Lord’s Day, though the principle on which the Apostle argues defines the Christian attitude to both. Nothing whatever in the Christian religion is legal or statutory, not even the religious observance of the first day of the week; that observance originated in faith, and is not what it should be except as it is freely maintained by faith. For ὃς μὲν see Romans 14:2. κρίνει ἡμ. παρʼ ἡμέραν means judges one day “in comparison with,” or “to the passing by of” another: cf. Romans 1:25, Winer, 503 f. Side by side with this, κρίνει πᾶσαν ἡμέραν can only mean, makes no distinction between days, counts all alike. In such questions the important thing is not that the decision should be this or that, but that each man should have an intelligent assurance as to his own conduct: it is, indeed, by having to take the responsibility of deciding for oneself, without the constraint of law, that an intelligent Christian conscience is developed. For πληροφορείσθω cf. Romans 4:21, and Lightfoot’s note on Colossians 4:12. νοῦς (Romans 7:23) is the moral intelligence, or practical reason; by means of this, enlightened by the Spirit, the Christian becomes a law to himself.

5. One man esteemeth, &c.] Lit. One man judgeth day abeve day, but another Judgeth every day. The “judgeth” in the second clause is an echo from the first, without which it would be obscure. As it stands, it means not only, as E. V., “esteemeth every day alike,” but “every day good alike;” with a suggestion that the “strong” believer will be careful to assert his freedom in the spirit of one who wishes not to secularize but to consecrate his whole time.

On the question of the Sabbath, see last note on Romans 14:1.

fully persuaded] “Quite sure.” Cp. Romans 4:21. This word directs individual Christians not to stubborn fixity in their own opinion as such, but to earnest pains, as in the Lord’s presence and by His revealed will, to form that opinion clearly. Each man not only has a right to “his own” opinion, but (a very different matter) is responsible for it to the Lord.

Romans 14:5. Πᾶσαν ἡμέραν) πᾶσαν ἡμέραν κρίνει ἡμέραν, another judges every day a day. He judges that he should equally do good at all times.—ἰδίῳ νοΐ, in his own mind) his own, not another’s. νοῦς does not signify the opinion of the mind, but the mind itself.—πληροφορείσθαι, to be borne along with full satisfaction [lit. course]) i.e., let each one act, and let another permit him to act (this is the force of the Imperative, as at Romans 14:16) according to his own judgment, without anxious disputation, and with cheerful obedience, comp. Romans 5:6. He is not speaking positively [precisely] of the understanding; for these two things are contradictory: you may eat, you may not eat, and therefore cannot at the same time be true; and yet a man, who has determined either on the one or the other, may be fully persuaded (lit. be carried, full course) in his own mind, as a boat may hold on its course uninjured either in a narrow canal or in a spacious lake.

Verse 5. - One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike (literally, one judgeth day beyond - or, in comparison with - day: another judgeth every day. For κρίνειν in the sense of "estimate," cf. Acts 13:46; Acts 16:15; Acts 26:8. For sense of παρὰ with accusative, cf. 1:25; Luke 13:2. Days being here only briefly referred to in a chapter the main subject of which is meats, some have supposed fast-days only to be meant; in which case the sense might be that some make it a necessary point of conscience to abstain from food, or from certain kinds of food, on particular days, while others make no such distinction between days as a matter of essential import. But a comparison with Galatians 4:10 and Colossians 2:16 suggests rather a general reference to days of observance under the Jewish Law. The same class of weak brethren with Jewish prejudices that was scrupulous about meats would be likely to be also scrupulous about days and seasons and if scruples on the latter head seem to be mentioned only incidentally in this chapter, it may be because the others were at that time mainly conspicuous, and threatening to disturb the peace of the Church. One view that has been taken is that this short allusion to observance of days is introduced only in the way of illustration and argument; it being supposed that difference of practice with regard to days was allowed without dispute, and that what St. Paul means to say is, "You do exercise mutual tolerance in this matter extend the same principle to the matter of meats, to which it is equally applicable. This view of the meaning of the passage would derive support from the reading of γὰρ at the beginning of ver. 5, which rests on fair authority. The supposed reference to Jewish days of obligation in general is.. not inconsistent with the apparent condemnation of the observance of such days by Christians in Galatians 4. and Colossians it. For see what has been said above about the drift of Colossians 2:16 and of 1 Timothy 4:3, etc. When the observances came to be insisted on as obligatory on principle, it was a different thing from mere conscientious scrupulosity. Let every man be fully persuaded (for the verb in this sense, cf. Romans 4:21) in his own mind. To St. Paul himself the observance or non-observance of the days referred to was a matter in itself of no importance. He was content that each person should act up to his own conscientious convictions on the subject. Romans 14:5Esteemeth every day alike (κρίνει πᾶσαν ἡμέραν)

Alike is inserted. Lit., judgeth every day; subjects every day to moral scrutiny.

Be fully persuaded (πληροφορεῖσθω)

Better, Rev., assured. See on most surely believed, Luke 1:1.

In his own mind

"As a boat may pursue its course uninjured either in a narrow canal or in a spacious lake" (Bengel).

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