on Romans 14 :3
Let not him that eateth - The Gentile, who eats flesh, despise him, the Jew, who eateth not flesh, but herbs. And let not him, the Jew, that eateth not indiscriminately, judge - condemn him, the Gentile, that eateth indiscriminately flesh or vegetables.
For God hath received him - Both being sincere and upright, and acting in the fear of God, are received as heirs of eternal life, without any difference on account of these religious scruples or prejudices.
on Romans 14 :3
Let not him that eateth - That is, he who has no scruples about eating "meat," etc., who is not restrained by the Law of the Jews respecting the Clean and unclean, or by the fact that meat "may" have been offered to idols.
Despise him - Hold him in contempt, as being unnecessarily scrupulous, etc. The word "despise" here is happily chosen. The Gentile would be very likely to "despise" the Jew as being restrained by foolish scruples and mere distinctions in matters of no importance.
Him that eateth not - Him that is restrained by scruples of conscience, and that will eat only "vegetables;" Romans 14:2. The reference here is doubtless to the "Jew.
Judge him - To "judge" here has the force of "condemn." This word also is very happily chosen. The Jew would not be so likely to "despise" the Gentile for what he did as to "judge" or condemn him. He would deem it too serious a matter for contempt. He would regard it as a violation of the Law of God, and would be likely to assume the right of judging his brother, and pronouncing him guilty. The apostle here has happily met the whole case in all disputes about rites, and dress, and scruples in religious matters that are not essential. One party commonly "despises" the other as being needlessly and foolishly scrupulous; and the other makes it a matter of "conscience," too serious for ridicule and contempt; and a matter, to neglect which, is, in their view, deserving of condemnation. The true direction to be given in such a case is, "to the one party," not to treat the scruples of the other with derision and contempt, but with tenderness and indulgence. Let him have his way in it. If he can be "reasoned" out of it, it is well; but to attempt to "laugh" him out of it is unkind, and will tend only to confirm him in his views. And "to the other party," it should be said they have no "right" to judge or condemn another. If I cannot see that the Bible requires a particular cut to my coat, or makes it my duty to observe a particular festival, he has no right to judge me harshly, or to suppose that I am to be rejected and condemned for it. He has a right to "his" opinion; and while I do not "despise" him, he has no right to "judge" me. This is the foundation of true charity; and if this simple rule had been followed, how much strife, and even bloodshed, would it have spared in the church. Most of the contentions among Christians have been on subjects of this nature. Agreeing substantially in the "doctrines" of the Bible, they have been split up into sects on subjects just about as important as those which the apostle discusses in this chapter.
For God hath received him - This is the same word that is translated "receive" in Romans 14:1. It means here that God hath received him kindly; or has acknowledged him as his own friend; or he is a true Christian. These scruples, on the one side or the other, are not inconsistent with true piety; and as "God" has acknowledged him as "his," notwithstanding his opinions on these subjects, so "we" also ought to recognise him as a Christian brother. Other denominations, though they may differ from us on some subjects, may give evidence that they are recognised by God as his, and where there is this evidence, we should neither despise nor judge them.
on Romans 14 :3
14:3 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.