5010 conscience, matters of
Dictionary of Bible Themes

Dictionary of Bible Themes  »  5000 Humanity  »  5008 conscience  »  5010 conscience, matters of

Scripture gives guidance on matters of conscience, particularly in cases where believers may reach different conclusions on certain matters of moral or spiritual choice.

Having a right attitude to Christians with different opinions

Consciences may differ

Romans 14:2

Different conscientious decisions must not be condemned

Romans 14:1 The gospel dispenses believers from all prohibitions concerning food. Those who are strong in faith realise this, and joyfully accept this liberty. Yet others are hindered from accepting this, on account of scruples about food inherited from their past life. Paul asks those with a clearer grasp of the gospel to respect anyone whose “faith is weak”, so that, in their own time, they may come to share the fulness of the liberty of the children of God. See also Romans 14:10,13; 1 Corinthians 10:29-30

God accepts and supports people who reach different conscientious decisions

Romans 14:3-4

God alone must judge whether decisions of the conscience are right or wrong

Romans 14:12-13 See also Colossians 2:16


Decisions should honour Jesus Christ

Romans 14:6 See also Romans 14:7-9,22; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 2:20-23

Decisions should arise from convictions

Romans 14:5 See also Romans 14:23

Decisions should be based on good doctrine

1 Corinthians 10:25-26

Consideration of others

Regard for another's position

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 See also Romans 14:14

Restraint of freedom for the sake of another

1 Corinthians 8:9 “The weak” are Christians who have yet to grasp the full implications of the gospel. At this stage, they are likely to be scandalised by the full public exercise of Christian freedom on the part of those who are more mature in their faith. Paul's advice is to respect the sensitivities of the weak, and wait for these fellow believers to become spiritually mature. Paul is not suggesting that Christians should cease to exercise the liberty of faith. Rather, he is asking for pastoral sensitivity. See also Romans 14:15,19-21; Romans 15:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:10-13; Corinthians 10:27-29

Appeals to conscience

1 Kings 12:1-15; Acts 10:9-16; Acts 15:6-11 Peter argues against circumcision for Gentile believers; 1 Corinthians 8:4-8; Phm 8-21; Galatians 2:11-16 Consciences are not infallible.

See also

5051  responsibility
5802  care
5881  immaturity
5902  maturity
6658  freedom
8020  faith
8292  love
8408  decision-making
8469  respect

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