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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 14

 

 

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Verse 1

Romans 14:1. ἀσθενοῦντα) The participle is milder than the adjective ἀσθενῆ, weak.— πίστει, in faith) Even still the apostle refers all things to faith.— προσλαμβάνεσθε, receive ye) We have the same word, Romans 14:3, ch. Romans 11:15, Romans 15:7; Philemon 1:17. [Salvation has come to both Jews and Gentiles by faith; therefore neither party should impede the other, but both should afford mutual assistance.—V. g.]— μὴ εἰς, not into) He who urges another to do, what he himself is doing, appears to receive him, but then he receives him so, that his thoughts, διαλογισμοὶ, are driven into [to entertain] doubts, διακρίσεις, so that he cannot in his own feeling on the particular point, be borne along with full satisfaction, πληροφορεῖσθαι [be fully persuaded, Romans 14:5], the word ἀδιαφορεῖν is the antithesis to the word διακρίνειν. He calls them doubts in the thoughts, for those in doubt think more than they speak.


Verse 2

Romans 14:2. πιστεύει, believes) This word has a more direct sense in the predicate; the participle ἀσθενῶν conceals, as it were, the weakness of him who eats herbs.— λάχανα, herbs) vegetable food (in preference to meats, Romans 14:21), which we have the most undoubted liberty to eat, Genesis 9:3.


Verse 3

Romans 14:3. αὐτὸν, him) who eats in faith.— προσελάβετο, hath received) [taken to Himself] for example, from among the Gentiles.


Verse 4

Romans 14:4. σὺ) thou, O weak man.— τὶς εἶ) who art thou, who takest so much upon thyself.— ἀλλότριον οἰκέτην, another man’s servant) He calls him in another respect thy brother, as it suits his purpose, Romans 14:10.— κυρίῳ, [Master] Lord) Christ, Romans 14:6-7; Romans 14:9-10; Romans 14:14-15; Romans 14:18.— στήκει, he stands) although thou, O weak man, dost not think so.— σταθήσεται δὲ, yea, and he shall be holden up) if he shall fall; he will be upheld by sure knowledge.— δυνατὸς γὰρ, for He is able) In the works of Divine grace, the conclusion is often valid, when drawn from what is possible (posse) to what actually is (esse): against those especially, who judge otherwise; and in behalf of those who are weak.


Verse 5

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 6

Romans 14:6. εὐχαριστεῖ γὰρκαὶ εὐχαριστεῖ, for he gives thanks—and gives thanks) Thanksgiving sanctifies all actions, however outwardly different, which do not weaken it, 1 Corinthians 10:30; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:17; 1 Timothy 4:4. The, For, however, has greater force than and, as thanksgiving is more connected with eating, than with abstinence from eating; and in him, who eats, there are both the fruits and the criterion, and in some respects the ground of faith, even of that faith, of which we have an account at Romans 14:22, and of an assured conscience; with respect to him who does not eat, that faith, of which we read at Romans 14:22, is no doubt defective as to its fruits, criterion, and the ground on which it rests, but yet the man retains all the three as regards a conscience void of offence [not violated].— καὶ εὐχαριστεῖ, and gives thanks) for herbs, Romans 14:2.


Verse 7

Romans 14:7. ἡμῶν, of us) believers; for all others live and die to themselves.— ἑαυτῷ, to himself) Wellerus says: No man ought to live to himself, neither formally [formaliter], so that, as one at his own disposal, he should regulate his life according to his own desires; nor materially [materialiter], because, satisfied with himself, he may wish to give way to self-indulgence; nor [finaliter] with this end in view, that he may make the scope of his life the enjoyment of pleasures.— ζῇ, ἀποθνήσκει, lives, dies) the art of dying is the same as that of living.


Verse 8

Romans 14:8. τῷ κυρίῳ, to the Lord) implying the Divine majesty and power of Christ.— ἔσμεν) we are, not merely we begin to be.


Verse 9

Romans 14:9. καὶ ἀπέθανε καὶ ἔζησεν, both died and revived) This agrees with what goes before and with what follows. Baumgarten reads καὶ ἀνέστη, and alleges the probability of omission on the part of the transcribers, but gives no reason for this probability. I think the addition probably is due to this, that the transcribers very easily laid hold of a very well-known expression concerning Christ, ἀπέθανε καὶ ἀνέστη, 1 Thessalonians 4:14; and when this was done, some omitted καὶ ἔζησεν, others, however, also retained it, and moreover placed it either first, as in Iren. l. iii. c. 20; or in the middle, as in the Syriac version; or third in order, as in Chrysostom, who, however, in his exposition, passes over the καὶ ἀνέστη. Whitby, who, according to Baumgarten, ought to be consulted, refutes himself; for he says, that ἀπέθανεν and νεκρῶν, ἔζησεν and ζώντων correspond to each other (as also Orige(143) observes, c. Cels., p. 103, ed. Hoesch.) ἀνέστη finds nothing to which it corresponds. I have cleared away the objection from the testimonies of the fathers, adduced by him, in the Apparatus. The reading ἔζησεν is well supported; ἀνέζησεν rests on much weaker authority.(144)νεκξῶν, of the dead) The dying and the dead rejoice in the Lord Jesus, who has died and abolished death and vanquished the devil, Hebrews 2:14.— ζώντων, of the living) The living and those, who are made alive again, triumph with their living Redeemer, their Kinsman (Heb. Goel.) The living God is the God of the living, Matthew 22:32. Christ, who lives again, is Lord of those who are brought to life again. Paul places here, Romans 14:7-8, this life before death, and, in Romans 14:9, by gradation, after death, that life, as ch. Romans 8:38, with which comp. 14:34. Christ, says he, died, that he might have dominion over the dying, Christ revived, that He might have dominion over the living. Christ has died, therefore death (the act or rather the passive suffering of dying and the state of death) will not separate us from Him. Christ has risen again, therefore the life (of the world to come) will not separate us from Him; hence the notion of(145) the insensibility of the soul during the whole night, whilst the body is in the grave, is set aside by the dominion of Christ over the dead; and against this doctrine solid arguments are derived from the appearance of Moses and Elias, Matthew 17:3, as also from the resurrection of the saints, Matthew 27:52-53; and from the hope of Paul, etc., Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Hebrews 12:23. To these we may add “the fifth seal,” Revelation 6:9, note, and the ὄχλοι, multitudes of the blessed, Revelation 7, 14, etc. The apostles themselves declined, 1 Corinthians 5:12, to judge “those that are without.” The state of deserving [the state in which men are capable of deserts] (taking the word in a large sense on both sides [in a good and a bad sense]) is doubtless not extended beyond this present life. The condition of man for all eternity depends on [his state at] the moment of death, although without man’s co-operation, different degrees may exist. Comp. Luke 16:9; Luke 16:22; Luke 16:25; John 9:4 (comp. Ecclesiastes 9:10); Galatians 6:10; 2 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:12; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 2:10; Romans 8:23, etc.


Verse 10

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)—ἐ ξουθενε͂ ις, dost thou set at nought?) in thy mind and by thy conduct.


Verse 11

Romans 14:11. γέγραπται, it is written) Christ is God; for He is called Lord and God: It is He Himself to whom we live and die. He swears by Himself.— ζῶ ἐγὼ, λέγει κύριος· ὃτικαὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ θεῷ) Isaiah 45:22-23, LXX., ἐγὼ εἰμι θεὸς καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλοςὃτικαὶ ὀμεῖται πᾶσα γλῶσσα τὸν θεὸν.(147) I am God and there is none else, and every tongue shall swear by God.


Verse 12

Romans 14:12.(148) δωσει, shall give) A gentle exhortation: let no man fly upon [seize] the office of a judge.


Verse 13

Romans 14:13. κρίνατε, judge ye) A beautiful Mimesis(149) in relation to that which precedes, [If we are to judge, be this our judgment] let us no longer judge. [This matter requires diligent attention.—V. g.]— πρόσκομμα, a stumbling-block) if a brother be compelled by one to do the same thing [as one’s self], Romans 14:20.— σκάνδαλον, an offence) if he, the same, abhors you, for what you have done.


Verse 14

Romans 14:14. ἐν κυριῷ ιησοῦ, in the Lord Jesus) All cases are best and most certainly resolved in the face of Christ; I know and am persuaded, a rare conjunction of words, but adapted to this place for confirmation against ignorance and doubt.


Verse 15

Romans 14:15. δἐ, but) An antithesis. Not only faith, Romans 14:14, but also love ought to be present.— διὰ βρῶμα) μείωσις, [less is said than is intended]: comp. Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 12:16; Hebrews 13:9.— λυπε͂ ται, is grieved) The antithesis to this is the joy in Romans 14:17.— οὐκ ἔτι, now no longer) He places before his mind some one who stands stedfast in love, and intimates that he ought never lose sight of love. Love and joy, not love and grief, are connected together.— κατὰ ἀγάπην, according to love, charitably) Hence the connection of the first verse with the preceding chapter, Romans 14:8, is manifest.— τῷ βρώματί σου, with thy food [meat]) Do not value thy food more than Christ valued His life.— μὴ ἀπόλλυε, do not destroy) 1 Corinthians 8:11. Even the true brother may perish, for whom Christ most lovingly died.


Verse 16

Romans 14:16. ΄ὴ, 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 17

Romans 14:17. βασιλεί τοῦ θεοῦ, the kingdom of God) The kingdom of God is, when a man is under the power [influence] of God, so 1 Corinthians 4:20.— βρῶσις καὶ πόσις, eating and drinking [not meat and drink, which would be βρωμα, etc.]) It does not consist in the bold and careless use of liberty, for example in relation to meat and drink.— δικαιοσύνη, righteousness) in respect of God. The three points of this definition relate to the sum of the whole epistle in their order. The one peculiar characteristic of faith and life [in the Christian], independently of the article of the sinner’s justification [through faith] is righteousness.— εἰρήνη, peace) in respect of our neighbour; comp. ch. Romans 15:13.— χαρὰ, joy) in respect of ourselves: comp. ch. Romans 15:13.


Verse 18

Romans 14:18. ἐν τούτοις, in these things) whether he eats or not; the Alex. and others, Lat. [Vulg.] have ἐν τούτῳ: τούτῳ in the singular has no antecedent, to which it can be made to refer. It may have arisen from its alliteration with τῷ, which follows.(150)εὐάρεστοςδοκι΄ὸς, acceptable—approved) He does that, by which he pleases God and approves himself to, and ought to be approved by, men: he is even approved by those, whom he has no desire to please.


Verse 19

Romans 14:19. εἰρήνης, οἰκοδομῆς, of peace, of edification) These two things are very closely connected. Theology is in itself a peace-maker and is designed for edification. Controversy is not so directly useful for edification, although it should sometimes be added.—Comp. Nehem. Romans 4:17.


Verse 20

Romans 14:20. ΄ὴ κατάλυε, do not destroy) The effects of even one sin may be distressing and important moreover, Romans 14:15.— ἓνεκεν βρώματος, on account of meat) a very small matter.— τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ, the work of God) a very great matter: the work, which God accomplishes within in the soul, by edification, and in the church by harmony [Faith is principally intended, John 6:29.—V. g.]— κακὸν, evil) the word to eat [is evil], is to be supplied from what follows: He does not say κακὰ, evils.— διὰ προσκόμματος, with offence) so that another may be offended by his eating.


Verse 21

Romans 14:21. ΄ηδὲ, ἐν ) neither, viz. to eat, drink, do anything, in which, etc.— προσκόπτει) stumbleth, and is wounded, induced rashly to imitate thee, with the loss of righteousness. As there is a difference between righteousness and joy, so there is a difference between the loss of each.— σκανδαλίζεται, is offended) is ensnared and impeded, feeling a repugnance to thy action [in eating, and yet doing it in imitation of thee], accompanied with the loss of peace.— ἀσθενεῖ) is made weak, or at least remains so, 1 Corinthians 8:9-10; defective in mental strength, and hesitating between imitation and horror, with the loss of joy: comp. Romans 14:17. כשל, LXX., ἀσθενεῖν .


Verse 22

Romans 14:22. πίστιν, faith) concerning the cleanness of meat [all meats alike].— σεαυτὸν,— θεοῦ, thyself—of God) a double antithesis, in relation to our neighbour; as in ch. Romans 15:3.— ἔχε, have) The foundation of real prudence and judicious concealment [of our views on non-essentials, for the sake of our neighbour].— μακάριος, happy) These words down to the end of the chapter, contain the antithesis to ch. Romans 15:1, but.— κρίνων, judging [condemning]) [Condemning] judging and approving are the words in antithesis: by combining the two, the doubting conscience is exquisitely described, when a man approves a thing, and yet [condemns] judges his own action.


Verse 23

Romans 14:23. δὲ) The reason, why the stronger ought not to induce the weak to eat.— ἐὰν φάγῃ, if he eat) This must be understood both of a single act and much more of frequent eating.— κατακέκριται, is condemned) Comp. Galatians 2:11, note.— ἐκ πίστεως, of faith) of which Romans 14:2; Romans 14:5 at the end, 14 at the beginning, 22. Therefore it is faith itself that is indicated, by which men are reckoned to be believers, informing and confirming, as it does, the conscience, and constituting partly the foundation and partly the standard of upright conduct.— ἁμαρτία, sin) and therefore obnoxious to condemnation.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 14:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-14.html. 1897.

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