The question of what foods to eat in God’s Kingdom had become a stumbling block among the Jews and Gentiles, and the early church was suffering because of the difference of lifestyles and opinions. This was one of many challenges that the early church faced, and all was based predominately upon differences of interpretation. We as humans tend to judge easily and forgive after much struggle.
Sadly, the church today is still challenged by differences of opinion and interpretation. There are so many scripture versions as to make your head spin–and while they may all benefit the church body, we are faced with a sanctuary filled with so many different versions at a given moment that it becomes hard to read along with one another. Any area of confusion can cause division or misunderstanding. Perhaps this can inspire us to all listen to the speaker, for in so doing we all hear the same words.
Joy comes from acknowledging our differences to one another in an atmosphere of openness and trust. Prayerfully this is not a means of control and challenge, but a method of sharing in dialogue so that all may partake at the table. What is true, good, and nourishing will reveal its refreshment if we can allow others to have a right to taste different foods. The key is seeking and tasting so that truth is revealed–and as we all know, ‘the truth will set you free”.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Don’t Criticize Others
14 Be willing to accept those who still have doubts about what believers can do. And don’t argue with them about their different ideas. 2 Some people believe they can eat any kind of food,[a] but those who have doubts eat only vegetables. 3 Those who know they can eat any kind of food must not feel that they are better than those who eat only vegetables. And those who eat only vegetables must not decide that those who eat all foods are wrong. God has accepted them. 4 You cannot judge the servants of someone else. Their own master decides if they are doing right or wrong. And the Lord’s servants will be right, because the Lord is able to make them right.
5 Some people might believe that one day is more important than another. And others might believe that every day is the same. Everyone should be sure about their beliefs in their own mind. 6 Those who think one day is more important than other days are doing that for the Lord. And those who eat all kinds of food are doing that for the Lord. Yes, they give thanks to God for that food. And those who refuse to eat some foods do that for the Lord. They also give thanks to God.
7 We don’t live or die just for ourselves. 8 If we live, we are living for the Lord. And if we die, we are dying for the Lord. So living or dying, we belong to the Lord. 9 That is why Christ died and rose from death to live again—so that he could be Lord over those who have died and those who are living.
10 So why do you judge your brother or sister in Christ? Or why do you think that you are better than they are? We will all stand before God, and he will judge us all. 11 Yes, the Scriptures say,
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘Everyone will bow before me;
everyone will say that I am God.’”
12 So each of us will have to explain to God about the things we do.
Don’t Cause Others to Sin
13 So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. 14 I know that there is no food that is wrong to eat. The Lord Jesus is the one who convinced me of that. But if someone believes that something is wrong, then it is wrong for that person.
15 If you hurt the faith of your brother or sister because of something you eat, you are not really following the way of love. Don’t destroy anyone’s faith by eating something they think is wrong. Christ died for them. 16 Don’t allow what is good for you to become something they say is evil. 17 In God’s kingdom, what we eat and drink is not important. Here is what is important: a right way of life, peace, and joy—all from the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever serves Christ by living this way is pleasing God, and they will be accepted by others.
19 So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. 20 Don’t let the eating of food destroy the work of God. All food is right to eat, but it is wrong for anyone to eat something that hurts the faith of another person. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that hurts the faith of your brother or sister.
22 You should keep your beliefs about these things a secret between yourself and God. It is a blessing to be able to do what you think is right without feeling guilty. 23 But anyone who eats something without being sure it is right is doing wrong. That is because they did not believe it was right. And if you do anything that you believe is not right, it is sin.
Romans 14:2 any kind of food The Jewish law said there were some foods that Jews could not eat. When they became followers of Christ, some of them did not understand that they could now eat all foods.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)