Verse 1. Him that is weak - Through needless scruples. Receive - With all love and courtesy into Christian fellowship. But not to doubtful disputations - About questionable points.
Verse 2. All things - All sorts of food, though forbidden by the law.
Verse 3. Despise him that eateth not - As over-scrupulous or superstitious. Judge him that eateth - As profane, or taking undue liberties. For God hath received him - Into the number of his children, notwithstanding this.
Verse 5. One day above another - As new moons, and other Jewish festivals. Let every man be fully persuaded - That a thing is lawful, before he does it.
Verse 6. Regardeth it to the Lord - That is, out of a principle of conscience toward God. To the Lord he doth not regard it - He also acts from a principle of conscience. He that eateth not - Flesh. Giveth God thanks - For his herbs.
Verse 7. None of us - Christians, in the things we do. Liveth to himself - Is at his own disposal; doeth his own will.
Verse 10. Or why dost thou despise thy brother - Hitherto the apostle as addressed the weak brother: now he speaks to the stronger.
Verse 11. As I live - An oath proper to him, because he only possesseth life infinite and independent. It is Christ who is here termed both Lord and God; as it is he to whom we live, and to whom we die. Every tongue shall confess to God - Shall own him as their rightful Lord; which shall then only be accomplished in its full extent. The Lord grant we may find mercy in that day; and may it also be imparted to those who have differed from us! yea, to those who have censured and condemned us for things which we have done from a desire to please him, or refused to do from a fear of offending him. Isaiah xlv, 23
Verse 13. But judge this rather - Concerning ourselves. Not to lay a stumblingblock - By moving him to do as thou doest, though against his conscience. Or a scandal - Moving him to hate or judge thee.
Verse 14. I am assured by the Lord Jesus - Perhaps by a particular Revelation. That there is nothing - Neither flesh nor herbs. Unclean of itself - Unlawful under the gospel.
Verse 15. If thy brother is grieved - That is, wounded, led into sin. Destroy not him for whom Christ died - So we see, he for whom Christ died may be destroyed. With thy meat - Do not value thy meat more than Christ valued his life.
Verse 16. Let not then your good and lawful liberty be evil spoken of - By being offensive to others.
Verse 17. For the kingdom of God - That is, true religion, does not consist in external observances. But in righteousness - The image of God stamped on the heart; the love of God and man, accompanied with the peace that passeth all understanding, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Verse 18. In these - Righteousness, peace, and joy. Men - Wise and good men.
Verse 19. Peace and edification are closely joined. Practical divinity tends equally to peace and to edification. Controversial divinity less directly tends to edification, although sometimes, as they of old, we cannot build without it, Neh. iv, 17.
Verse 20. The work of God - Which he builds in the soul by faith, and in the church by concord. It is evil to that man who eateth with offense - So as to offend another thereby.
Verse 21. Thy brother stumbleth - By imitating thee against his conscience, contrary to righteousness. Or is offended - At what thou doest to the loss of his peace. Or made weak - Hesitating between imitation and abhorrence, to the loss of that joy in the Lord which was his strength.
Verse 22. Hast thou faith - That all things are pure? Have it to thyself before God - In circumstances like these, keep it to thyself, and do not offend others by it. Happy is he that condemneth not himself - By an improper use of even innocent things! and happy he who is free from a doubting conscience! He that has this may allow the thing, yet condemn himself for it.
Verse 23. Because it is not of faith - He does not believe it lawful and, in all these cases, whatsoever is not of faith is sin - Whatever a man does without a full persuasion of its lawfulness, it is sin to him.