Romans 14:21


King James Version (KJV)

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.

American King James Version (AKJV)

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.

American Standard Version (ASV)

It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

It is better not to take meat or wine or to do anything which might be a cause of trouble to your brother.

Webster's Revision

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing by which thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

World English Bible

It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak.

English Revised Version (ERV)

It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth.

Clarke's Romans 14:21 Bible Commentary

It is good neither to eat flesh, etc. - The spirit and self-denying principles of the Gospel teach us, that we should not only avoid every thing in eating or drinking which may be an occasion of offense or apostasy to our brethren, but even to lay down our lives for them should it be necessary.

Whereby thy brother stumbleth - Προσκοπτει, from προς, against, and κοπτω, to strike, to hit the foot against a stone in walking, so as to halt, and be impeded in one's journey. It here means, spiritually, any thing by which a man is so perplexed in his mind as to be prevented from making due progress in the Divine life. Any thing by which he is caused to halt, to be undecisive, and undetermined; and under such an influence no man has ever yet grown in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Or is offended - Η σκανδαλιζεται, from σκανδαλον, a stumbling-block; any thing by which a person is caused to fall, especially into a snare, trap, or gin. Originally the word signified the piece of wood or key in a trap, which being trodden on caused the animal to fall into a pit, or the trap to close upon him. In the New Testament it generally refers to total apostasy from the Christian religion; and this appears to be its meaning in this place.

Or is made weak - Η ασθενει, from α, negative, and σθενος, strength; without mental vigor; without power sufficiently to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, lawful and unlawful. To get under the dominion of an erroneous conscience, so as to judge that to be evil or unlawful which is not so. The two last terms are omitted by two excellent MSS. (the Codex Alexandrinus and the Codex Ephraim), by the Syriac of Erpen, the Coptic and the Ethiopic, and by some of the primitive fathers. It is very likely that they were added by some early hand by way of illustration. Griesbach has left them in the text with a note of doubtfulness.

Barnes's Romans 14:21 Bible Commentary

It is good - It is right; or it is better. This verse is an explanation or enlarged specification of the meaning of the former.

To eat flesh - That is, such flesh as the "Jewish" convert regarded as unclean; Romans 14:2.

Nor to drink wine - Wine was a common drink among the Jews, and usually esteemed lawful. But the Nazarites were not allowed to drink it Numbers 6:3, and the Rechabites Jeremiah 35 drank no wine, and it is possible that some of the early converts regarded it as unlawful for Christians to drink it. Wine was moreover used in libations in pagan worship, and perhaps the Jewish coverts might be scrupulous about its use from this cause. The caution here shows us what should be done "now" in regard to the use of wine. It may not be possible to prove that wine is absolutely unlawful, but still many friends of "temperance" regard it as such, and are grieved at its use. They esteem the habit of using it as tending to intemperance, and as encouraging those who cannot afford expensive liquors. Besides, the wines which are now used are different from those which were common among the ancients. That was the pure juice of the grape. That which is now in common use is mingled with alcohol, and with other intoxicating ingredients. Little or none of the wine which comes to this country is pure. And in this state of the case, does not the command of the apostle here require the friends of temperance to abstain even from the use of wine?

Nor anything - Any article of food or drink, or any course of conduct. So valuable is peace, and so desirable is it not to offend a brother, that we should rather deny ourselves to any extent, than to be the occasion of offences and scandals in the church.

Stumbleth - For the difference between this word and the word "offended," see the note at Romans 11:11. It means here that by eating, a Jewish convert might be led to eat also, contrary to his own conviction of what was right, and thus be led into sin.

Or is made weak - That is, shaken, or rendered "less stable" in his opinion or conduct. By being led to imitate the Gentile convert, he would become less firm and established; he would violate his own conscience; his course would be attended with regrets and with doubts about its propriety, and thus he would be made "weak." In this verse we have an eminent instance of the charity of the apostle, and of his spirit of concession and kindness. If this were regarded by all Christians, it would save no small amount of strife, and heart-burnings, and contention. Let a man begin to act on the principle that peace is to be promoted, that other Christians are not to be offended, and what a change would it at once produce in the churches, and what an influence would it exert over the life!

Wesley's Romans 14:21 Bible Commentary

14:21 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.

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