“But is good neither to eateth flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”
We are back to the point that what may be right for one person may be the ruin of another.  To eat flesh and to drink wine, are the two points of the weak brother’s special scruples.  Paul begins by giving some advice for the strong brother.

“But is good”
Literally: {It is} good;” or ““{It is} better.”–It is right; or it is better. This verse is addressed to the strong brother. Anything that is questionable or a matter of conscience for a weak brother becomes wrong for the strong one.

Duty requires us to abstain from indulgences which lead others to sin, injure their character, hinder their usefulness, prevent their enjoyment, or endanger their souls. It is often a duty to avoid the doing of things, which, though not in themselves wrong, will become the occasion of evil to our fellow-men.

“neither to eateth flesh, nor to drink wine”
Literally:  “not to eat flesh, nor drink wine.”–That is, such flesh as the Jewish convert regarded as unclean, (v. 2).

FLESH:  (Grk.–kreas)—This is speaking of meat of sacrificial (pagan) animals.  This word is used in the plural in this verse, and is used only here and I Cor. 8:13.

          If not eating any kind of food, or drinking wine, is the way of your brother's peace and security, it is better to abstain from both. Deny yourself, rather than offend a brother. (Compare I Cor. 8:13). This maxim applies to all things indifferent. It applies to wine-drinking at our time. No Christian ought ever to set an example that may destroy another.
          The spirit and self-denying principles of the Gospel teach us that we should not only avoid everything in eating or drinking which may be an occasion for offence or apostasy to our brethren, or even to lay down our lives for them should it be necessary.

“nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth,
Literally:  “Nor {anything} by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is weak.”  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 be the occasion of offences and problems in the church

That is, it is not charitable to make use of any part of our Christian liberty so that when by doing so any weak Christian is offended, or discouraged, and even driven from his profession, and brought to any kind of sin. And if it be a Christian's obliged duty to forbear the use of indifferent things, when it is a scandal to the weak; how much more is it a duty to avoid inferring or imposing such things to the scandal, offence, and hurt of others.

             STUMBLE:  (Grk.–proskoptei)—to strike, to hit the foot against a stone in walking, so as to halt, and be impeded in one's journey.”  Here it means spiritually, anything by which a man is so perplexed in his mind as to be prevented from making due progress in the Divine life.  Anything by which he is caused to halt, to be indecisive, and undetermined; and under such an influence no man has ever yet grown in grace and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

            “or is offended, or is made weak.”–Omit these phrases for they are not in the best Greek manuscripts.


“Hast thou faith?  Have it to thy self before God.  Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.”

“Hast thou faith”
Literally:  “Do you have faith?   Have you such confidence in the purifying work of
Christ that you see your freedom in matters of food and drink?

          FAITH:  (Grk.–pistin)–Literally: {the} faith.” Do you believe that it is right to eat all kinds of food etc.? The word “faith” here refers only to the subject under discussion–to the subject of meats, drinks, etc. The term faith seems to signify in this place a full persuasion in a man's mind that he is right, that what he does is lawful, and has the approbation of God and his conscience.

There may be no necessity for reading the first clause interrogatively; and it seems to be more agreeable to the structure of the Greek to render it, “Thou hast faith;” as if he had said: “I know you have a right persuasion.”

“have it to thyself before God”
Literally: “By yourself have {it} before God.”–Keep it to yourself.  Do not parade it.  Do not force your faith or opinion on others. Be satisfied with cherishing the opinion, and acting on it in private, without bringing it forward to produce disturbance in the church. Keep it in your own breast.

          BEFORE GOD: (Grk.–enôpion tou Theou)—Literally:  “Before the God.”  Where only God is the witness, or He sees your sincerity, and will approve your opinion. That opinion cherish and act on, yet so as not to give offence, and to produce disturbance in the church.

It is not mere sincerity, or a private opinion, of which Paul is referring; rather, it is conviction as to what is the truth and will of God. If you have formed this conviction in the sight of God, keep yourself in this frame before Him

“Happy is he”
Literally:  “Blessed {is} the {one}.”

HAPPY: (Grk.–makarios)—Literally: “blessed; spiritually prosperous.” This is the same word rendered as “blessed” in the Beautitudes (Matt. 5).

          That man only can enjoy peace of conscience who acts according to the full persuasion which God has given him of the lawfulness of his conduct: whereas he must be miserable who allows himself in the practice of anything for which his conscience upbraids and accuses him.  This is ant excellent maxim, and every genuine Christian should be careful to try every part of his conduct by it.
          If a man does not have peace in his own bosom, he cannot be happy; and no man can have peace who sins against his conscience.  If a man's passions or appetite allow or instigate him to a particular thing, let him take good heed that his conscience approve what his passions allow, and that he live not the subject of continual self-condemnation and reproach.  Even the man who has the too scrupulous conscience had better, in such matters as are in question, obey its erroneous dictates than violate this moral feeling, and so live as to condemn the actions he is constantly performing.

 “that condemneth not himself in that which he alloweth”
Literally:  “Not judging himself in what he approves.” 

 CONDEMN: is (Grk.–krinô)—to judge; to distinguish, to choose, to give an opinion upon.”

          ALLOWS: (Grk.–dokimazô)—Literally:  “to prove with a view to approving; to approve after having put to the test and finding that that which is tested meets specifications.”  That he had the right to eat all kinds of meats, etc., and did it to the injury of his brother, he would condemn himself, because he trampled on the law of love.

            Allows himself to do nothing about the lawfulness of which he has scruples.  He does only what he neither knows nor fears to be sinful; does not allow himself in things which his conscience condemns, or the propriety of which he doubts. Self-denial as to personal gratifications, for the sake of others, is an evidence of great excellence and a means of rich enjoyment.
            Those who make proper efforts to ascertain what is right, and who do only what they believe to be so, will be truly blessed in the approbation of conscience and of
God; while those who do what they do not believe to be right, will be condemned both by themselves and their Maker.

         Such Christians as have different sentiments from their brethren, as to the matters of indifferent things specifically, ought to keep their judgment and opinion to themselves, and not to hazard the peace of the church by an imprudent action.  This beatitude cuts both ways. After testing and then approving (1:28; 2:18) one takes his stand which very act may condemn himself by what he says or does.

“And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith:  for whatsoever {is} not of faith is sin.”

“he that doubeth”
Literally:  “But the {one} doubting.”–That is not fully satisfied in his mind; one who does not do it with a clear conscience (see James 1:6 for this same picture of the double-minded man; cf.. 4:20; Mark 11:23). He that conscientiously believes, as the Jew did, that the Levitical law respecting the difference between meats was binding on Christians.

This verse is a necessary part of the preceding, and should be read thus: But he that doubts is condemned if he eat, because he does not eat out of faith. The meaning is sufficiently plain.  He that feeds on any kind of meats prohibited by the Mosaic Law, with the persuasion in his mind that he may be wrong in so doing, is condemned by his conscience for doing that which he has reason to think God has forbidden.  He is so unsettled in his belief that he doubts the lawfulness of about anything, and yet does it when there is no doubt about the lawfulness of abstaining from it

 “is damned if he eat because he eatheth not of faith.”
Literally:  “if he eats,{he} has been condemned because {it is} not of faith.”

         DAMNED:  (Grk.–krinô)–Literally: “condemned.”  The KJV use of the word “damned” is NOT the meaning here.  What is meant is the state of conscience condemnation into which one falls who goes beyond his faith in the exercise of his liberty.

          Condemned as guilty of sin. We apply this word almost exclusively to the future punishment of the wicked in hell. But it is of importance to remember that this is not of necessity its meaning. It literally means to condemn; and here it means only that the person who should thus violate the dictates of his conscience would incur guilt, and would be blameworthy in doing it. But it does not affirm that he would inevitably sink to hell. The same construction is to be put on the expression in I Cor. 11:29, “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.”
          He who acts thus enters into the realm of self-will, or lawlessness
God declares to be sin (I John 3:4).  “Not of faith” would have been better rendered, because it is not of faith.”

“For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Literally:  “And all which {is} not of faith is sin.”–The English word “for” should not have been put here, because it is not in the original Greek text.  And should be better worded as, “all that is not of faith is sin.”

WHATSOEVER:  (Grk.–pan)–“All” would be better to be used here instead of “whatsoever.” 

            If you don’t believe in what you are doing, you should not be doing it, for it is not of faith.  Here is a new line of conduct or reasoning for the believer:  “Any line of conduct, or any act which is not the outflow of faith becomes sin.”  This is the Holy Spirit’s answer to the “question-able” things.  As the believer is saved by faith, he should also walk by faith.
          This phrase should drive us to our knees.  It reaches every aspect of our lives which our conscience is not a rest, in which we do not have faith to proceed, and in which we cannot walk with
God .   Whatever the believer does, without a full persuasion of its lawfulness, (see v. 22) is to him sin; for he does it under a conviction that he may be wrong in so doing.
          Therefore, if he makes a distinction in his own conscience between different kinds of meats, and yet eats of all indifferently, he is a sinner before
God ; because he eats either through false shame, base compliance, or an unbridled appetite; and any of these is in itself a sin against the sincerity, ingenuousness, and self-denying principles of the Gospel of Christ. Without faith it is impossible to please God ; everything is wrong where this principle is lacking.
          The rule is of universal application. In all cases, if a man does a thing which he does not believe to be right, it is a sin, and his conscience will condemn him for it. It may be proper, however, to observe, that the converse of this is not always true, that if a man believes a thing to be right, that therefore it is not sin. For many of the persecutors were conscientious, (John 16:2; Acts 26:9) and the murderers of the Son of God did it ignorantly, (Acts 3:17; I Cor. 2:8) and yet were judged as guilty of enormous crimes. Comp. Luke 11:50,51; Acts 2:23, 37.
          In this chapter we have a remarkably fine discussion of the nature of Christian charity. Differences of opinion will arise, and men will be divided into various sects; but if the rules which are laid down in this chapter were followed, the contentions, and altercations, and strife among Christians would cease. Had these rules been applied to the controversies about rites, and forms, and festivals, that have arisen, peace might have been preserved. Amid all such differences, the great question is, whether there is true love to the Lord Jesus. If there is, Paul teaches us that we have no right to judge a brother, or despise him, or contend harshly with him. Our object should be to promote peace, to aid him in his efforts to become holy, and to seek to build him up in holy faith.