Introduction: We come to the last study in our series on the book of
Romans. This book is a blessing! As a practical matter, we will end
with Romans 14 and not be able to cover that last two chapters of
Romans. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Romans 14.
Perhaps it is because it allows us to be “holy hypocrites” – in
limited circumstances. The great thing about this chapter is that
Paul schools us on what is really important in our life for Christ.
Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Vegetables

    1. Read Romans 14:1-2. Why would being a vegetarian have
      anything to do with a weak faith? (Read 1 Corinthians
      10:18-22. The issue was weather meat sold in the
      marketplace had previously been offered to idols. Who
      could tell? We can see why some Christians would be
      concerned about eating meat that might have been offered
      to an idol.)

      1. Read 1 Corinthian 10:23-26. What does Paul say is the
        proper solution for this concern? (Go ahead and eat
        the meat. What Paul continues to say in 1 Corinthians
        10 reflects what we are studying in Romans 14.)

      2. Skim over Acts 15 to remind yourself of the
        controversy being debated and resolved in the early
        church. Then read Acts 15:23-29. What did the early
        church decide regarding the issue of eating meat
        offered to idols? (It was one of the few specifically
        prohibited things!)

    2. Let’s look again at Romans 14:1. If we are correct that
      the issue is avoiding eating meat offered to idols (and it
      is hard to imagine the issue could be anything else), what
      does Paul call this issue? (“Disputable.”)

      1. How can Paul call “disputable” an issue that was
        decided by the church in a formal meeting to resolve
        the controversy over circumcision – and apparently
        other matters like eating meat offered to idols?
        (Let’s just hold this issue in our mind and see if we
        can resolve it later as we study the rest of this

    3. Read Romans 14:3-4. Why should a Christian accept the one
      who acts inconsistently with a decision made by the
      leaders of the church in a formal session? (The key to
      this must depend, in large part, on the statement in
      Romans 14:1 that the issue is “disputable.” I would think
      that if the church formally decided an issue, it was not
      disputable. But, this is part of the mystery that we need
      to resolve.)

      1. What is the main conclusion that we should reach from
        reading these verses in Romans 14? (Not to be
        judgmental. Not to show contempt toward those who
        disagree with us.)

  2. Holy Days

    1. Read Romans 14:5. I consider Saturday to be the true
      Sabbath of the Bible, a day more sacred than the others.
      Is Paul talking about me? Am I being corrected? (If you
      read older Bible commentaries(meaning around 100 years
      old) you will find Bible scholars of the day who are
      Sunday keepers arguing strongly that Paul is not talking
      about the weekly day of worship. They did not want
      Christians to stop showing up at church on Sunday! What
      these scholars argued, and I believe is correct, is that
      the Old Testament holidays and feasts were also considered
      sacred days. Since those holidays and feasts were tied to
      the sacrificial system that was fulfilled at the cross,
      they would fit Paul’s definition of a holy day that is a
      “disputable matter.” I do not think that keeping the
      weekly Sabbath is disputed anywhere in the Bible – but
      that is another study.)

    2. Read Romans 14:6-8. If we disagree about disputable
      matters, what rule does Paul say applies? (We should do
      what we think the Lord permits and be grateful. The goal
      in everything is to live a life that brings glory to God.)

      1. What if a person argues that a matter is
        “disputable,” and the argument for the “dispute” is
        that times have changed and the Bible is irrelevant
        to resolving the issue? (That kind of argument raises
        the question of whether the person making the claim
        does so “to the Lord.” It might be that some do not
        really care what God requires of us.)

  3. Relationships

    1. Read Romans 14:10-12. Whose judgment should concern us?
      (God’s judgment. We need to be careful about judging
      others, and we should treat with respect those who
      disagree with us on disputable matters.)

    2. Read Romans 14:13. If we think we are right about
      something, what is wrong with “laying down the law?” By
      that I mean enforcing those things that we think are what
      God requires? (The problem is creating a “stumbling
      block.” Another Christian is growing in faith and may not
      understand God’s will very well. We must not discourage
      that person from continuing on the Christian journey by
      being judgmental.)

    3. Read Romans 14:14. What is the rule if you believe that
      you must not eat meat offered to idols or that certain
      holy days must be observed? (If you think that, then you
      must do what you believe is right.)

    4. Read Romans 14:15-18. We can clearly see that Paul is in
      favor of eating meat and paying no attention to the holy
      days observed by some. What is the obligation of someone
      who has the same views as Paul towards those who disagree?
      (Avoid getting into a conflict over your differences on
      disputable matters.)

      1. Look again at Romans 14:17. What is central to the
        Christian life? (“Righteousness, peace and joy in the
        Holy Spirit.” What is not central is “eating and

      2. Let’s revisit the issue that I told you to hold in
        your mind at the very beginning of this study. How
        can Paul call “disputable” the formal decision of the
        Church to prohibit eating meat offered to idols? (It
        is a matter of “eating and drinking,” not a matter of
        righteousness, peace and joy. This gets us back to
        part of our study last week. Read Romans 13:9-10.
        This teaches that the purpose of the Ten Commandments
        is to show love to others. We need to always keep in
        mind what is important (an attitude of love and
        creating peace and joy) and what is not (rules about
        eating, drinking and other technical matters).)

    5. A Christian should always be open to re-examine his or her
      beliefs. What reason is there to believe that the Sabbath
      is not a technical detail, like eating and drinking?
      (Recall that the big things are love, righteousness, peace
      and joy. In Genesis, the Sabbath celebrated God’s work of
      creation. In Exodus, the Sabbath celebrated the creation
      and a day of rest. In Deuteronomy, the Sabbath celebrated
      the rescue from Egyptian slavery. At the cross, Jesus
      rested in the grave on the Sabbath to celebrate His defeat
      of sin and His rescue for every person who accepts Him. It
      is hard for me to imagine an issue more connected to love,
      righteousness (by faith), peace and joy!)

    6. Read Romans 14:19-22. What should you do if a new (or
      weaker) Christian thinks you should not eat or drink
      something and you, a mature Christian, thinks that is just
      fine? (This is where we get to be “holy hypocrites.” Paul
      tells us don’t eat or drink the disputable thing. I
      believe he means in front of the weak Christian. Instead
      “keep it to yourself.”)

      1. What does this say about the discussion of disputable
        matters in your Bible study group? (Keeping it to
        yourself is good advice – especially when you will
        cause a weaker Christian to stumble.)

      2. What about helping someone to become more mature in
        their faith? What about bringing them to a more
        reasonable conclusion? (Read Romans 14:23. We need to
        remember that unless the person is convinced on the
        point, it is still sin for him. So, beware!)

    7. Read Romans 15:1-4. What should be our final conclusion
      about this discussion of disputable matters? (The goal is
      to build others up. We need to sacrifice our own (mature,
      correct) views to lift up those less mature around us. In
      disputable matters, the true goal is to show love.)

    8. Friend, has this study of Romans changed how you think
      about the law and right living? Paul teaches us to look
      higher. Look at whether your actions are promoting
      righteousness, love, peace and joy. If you have not
      focused on this in the past, will you ask the Holy Spirit
      to change your attitude?

  4. Next week: We begin a new series on stewardship.