It is most unfortunate that the KJV translators divided the chapters here, for verse 7 actually ends the thought begun in Chapter 14. In verses 1-7 of this chapter Paul is still continuing his subject of the stronger and weaker Christians and their differences in the scruples and how the stronger believer should treat the weaker believer.  It seems natural to infer from this that the distinction between weak and strong had some relation to that between Jew and Gentile; the prejudices and scruples of the weak were probably of Jewish origin.

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
The sense of this verse is supposed to be the following: We, Gentile Christians, who understand the nature of our
Gospel liberty, not only lawfully may, but are bound in duty to bear any inconveniences that may arise from the scruples of the weaker brethren, and to ease their consciences by prudently abstaining from such indifferent things as may offend and trouble them; and not take advantage from our superior knowledge to make them submit to our judgment.

“We then that are strong”
Literally: “And we the powerful.”–That is, we who are of a clearer judgment, and free from these scruples.   That is, inlightened on the subject in question; free from harassing doubts as to our duty.

            By the strong here he means the strong in faith in respect to the matters under discussion; those whose minds were free from doubts and perplexities. His own mind was free from doubt, and there were many others, particularly of the Gentile converts, that had the same views. But many also, particularly of the Jewish converts, had many doubts and scruples.
            Paul here identifies himself in the controversy.  He is referring to the morally strong as in II Cor. 12:10; 13:9, not the mighty as in I Cor. 1:26. That is, those enlightened on the subject in question or free from harassing doubts as to our duty. He resumes the subject of the preceding chapter; and continues the exhortation to brotherly love and mutual kindness and forbearance.

“ought to bear the infirmities of the weak”
Literally:  “ought to bear the weaknesses of those not powerful”–This phrase might be better rendered as:  “Are in debt to bear, to lift up, or to support.”

Not only ought those who are strong in faith to be careful what they do in the matter of meat and drink, but in all things they should show sympathy and consideration for their weaker brethren.

           OUGHT: (Grk.–opheilô)—Literally: “to be a debtor; to be under obligation” or “bound by duty.”  This word is also used in Matt. 23:16.  We owe it to Him who has set us free.

           BEAR: (Grk.–bastazô)—Literally: “to lift up, to bear away, to support as a burden..”   But here it is used in a larger sense; “to bear with, to be indulgent to, to endure patiently, not to contend with.” (Gal. 6:2; Rev. 2:2)—“Thou canst not bear them that are evil.”  This phrase might be better rendered as:  “Are in debt to bear, to lift up, or to support.”

Bear with them, and attempt to assist them. The universality of this duty: we, that is, not only all private Christians, but all church leaders. Paul even puts himself into the number so that he may propose himself as a example of the following duty.  We, that are the officers, the pastors, deacons and teachers of the local church, like parents who bear with children in their waywardness, so must we bear, though not with heresies in doctrine, yet with such errors and mistakes in both as proceed from ignorance, or common infirmities.

INFIRMITIES  (Grk.–asthenêmata)—The “weakness” (cf. 14:1,2), the  scruples  “of the not strong.” 

This Greek word is used only here in the N.T.  It is a medical term and used of a physical or mental weakness.  The “weak” are believers whose understanding of the Word of God is so limited that they consider some things which are right in themselves, to be wrong.  These false notions are included in the “infirmities” spoken of in this verse.

 “and not to please ourselves”
Literally:  “And not ourselves to please.”–Not to make it our main object to gratify our own wills.

          We should be willing to deny ourselves, if by doing so we may promote the happiness of others. This refers particularly to opinions about meats and drinks; but it may be applied to Christian conduct in general as denoting that we are not to make our own happiness or gratification the standard of our conduct, but are to seek the welfare of others. See the example of Paul, (I Cor. 9:19,22; see also Phil. 2:4; I Cor. 13:5, “Love seeketh not her own;” (I Cor. 10:24), “Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.”"
         A further duty urged and enforced, namely, not to please ourselves, but others: Let every one of us not please ourselves, but our neighbor; that is, not please our-selves by insisting upon the use of our lawful liberty, but rather, for the sake of others, depart a little from our own right.

“Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”

“Let every one of us please his neighbor”
Literally:  “For each one of us let him please {his} neighbor.”– That is, all other persons, but especially the friends of the
Redeemer. Comply with his opinion in indifferent matters, so far as may tend to his advancement in holiness.

Not just for his own gratification, for it should be a maxim with each of us to do all in our power to please our brethren; and especially in those things in which their spiritual edification is concerned. 

                        NEIGHBOR:  (Grk.–plêsion)—This has especial reference to the members of the church.  It is often used, however in a much larger sense. (See Luke 10:36).

It should be a maxim with each of us to do all in our power to please our brethren; and especially in those things in which their spiritual edification is concerned Though we should not indulge men in mere whims and impulses or fads, yet we should bear with their ignorance and weakness, knowing that others had much to bear with from us before we came to our present advanced state of spiritual knowledge.

This does not mean we are to compromise with any evil our neighbor may be doing in order to have fellowship with him or in order to “win” him.  The phrase, “for his good” rules out such a conclusion.  Paul explains this idea in I Cor. 10:32-11:1—“Give none offence, neither to the Jew, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (I Cor. 10:32).  Pleasing one’s neighbor refers to the act of the believer foregoing a legitimate act because the weaker Christian thinks it to be wrong.  But the stronger Christian is compelled to do this only in the instance where the weaker Christian could be edified or built up in the Christian life.

“for his good to edification”
Literally:  “For good to building up.”–With a view to his building up. 

          FOR HIS GOOD:  (Grk.–eis to agathon)—Literally:  “for the good.”  He is not to be pleased, gratified, and indulged, in anything that is evil: we are not to please any man in anything that is contrary to the Gospel of Christ, for then we should not be faithful servants of his; nor in anything repugnant to the commands of God.

The objective of all Christian conduct is the edification of our brother believers. Not to seek to secure for him indulgence in those things which would be injurious to him, but in all these things which his welfare would be promoted. With a view to their good and up building in Christ. So ought we to do. Not to please men just for popular favors, but for their benefit.

             EDIFICATION:  (Grk.–oikodomê)—This denotes the building up. Edification (feeding or growing) is the rule, scope, and boundary, of all our satisfaction in and compliance with others.

“For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me.’”

“For even Christ pleased not Himself”
Literally:  “For even Christ also did not please Himself.”Christ never acted as one who sought his own ease or profit; “not My will, but Thine be done.”

         He never acted as one who sought His own ease or profit; He not only bore with the weakness, but with the insults of His creatures; as it is written in Psa. 69:9: “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me-I not only bore their insults, but bore the punishment due to them for their vicious and abominable conduct.”  That this Psalm refers to the Messiah and His sufferings for mankind is evident, not only from the quotation here, but also from John 19:28-29, when our Lord's receiving the vinegar during His expiatory suffering is said to be a fulfilling of the scripture, i.e.,  of verse 21 of this very Psalm.
          This is not to be understood as if the Lord Jesus did not voluntarily and cheerfully engage in His great work. If He had not, He would never have engaged in its sacrifices and self-denials. But the meaning may be expressed in the following particulars:
1.      He came to do the will or desire of God, in undertaking the work of Salvation.
         a.            It was the will of God;
         b.           It was agreeable to the Divine purposes, and the Mediator did not consider His own happiness and honor in heaven, but cheerfully came to do the will of God,
Psa. 40:7-8.; comp. Heb. 10:4-10; Phil. 2:6; John 17:5).

2.      When He was on earth, Christ never acted as one who sought His own ease or profit; rather, He made it His great object:
          a.          To do the will of God,
          b.          To finish the work which God had given Him to do,
                       and not to seek his own comfort and enjoyment. This he expressly affirms, (John 5:30; 6:38).
3.      He was willing for this to endure whatever trials and pains the will of God might demand, not seeking to avoid them, or to shrink from them.
         See particularly His prayer in the garden, (Luke 22:42)–“Not My will be done, but Thine be done.”

4.      In His life he did not seek personal comfort, wealth, friends or honors.
         a            He denied Himself to promote the welfare of others; He was poor that they might be rich;
         b.          He was in lonely places that He might seek out the needy and provide for them. Nay,
         c.          He did not seek to preserve His own life when the appointed time came to die, but

         d.          He gave Himself up for all.

“as it is written”
Literally:  “even as it has been written”–In Psa. 69:9. The passage affirms that the
Messiah, instead of pleasing Himself, became the subject of “the reproaches of them who reproached” His Father. This psalm, and the former part of this verse, is referred to theMessiah,. (Comp. Psa. 69:21 with Matt. 27:34, 48).

“the reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me.’”
Literally:  “The reproaches of those reproaching You fell on Me.”–The enemies of
God vented their fury on Christ.

REPROACHES:   (Grk.-oneidismoi)–The verbal abuses, censures, harsh, vitriolic speeches.

“of them that reproached thee”
Literally:  “the reproaches of those reproaching You”–Of the wicked, who vilified and abused the law and government of

“fell on Me”–In other words, Christ was willing to suffer reproach and contempt in order   to do good to others. He endured abuse and contempt all His life, from those who by their lips and lives calumniated God, or reproached their Maker. We may learn here,

1.      That the contempt of Jesus Christ is contempt of Him who appointed Him.
2.      That we may see the kindness of the Lord Jesus in being willing thus to throw Himself between the sinner and God;
         a.         To intercept, as it were, our sins; and,
         b.         To bear the effects of them in His own person.
3.      That if Jesus thus bore reproaches, we should be willing also to endure them.
         a.         We suffer in the cause where He has gone before us, and,
         b.         Where He has set us the example; and as He was abused and vilified,
         c.         We should be willing to be so also.


“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime”
Literally:  “For what things were written {before}.”  This is a general observation which seems to have struck the mind of the Paul, from the particular case which he had just specified.

Paul had just made use of a striking passage in the Psalms to his purpose and the thought seems suddenly to have occurred to him that all the O.T. was admirably adapted to express Christian duties and doctrine, and he therefore turned aside from his direct argument to express this sentiment. It should be read as a parenthesis.

          WRITTEN AFORETIME:  (Grk.–proegraphê)–That is, in ancient times; in the O.T.  The passage just quoted applies to Christ, and all things written in the Old Scriptures are for our instruction.

This refers not only to the quotation from the 69th Psalm, but to all the O.T. Scriptures; for it can be to no other scriptures that Paul is alluding.  And, from what he says of them, we learn that God had not intended them merely for those generations in which they were first delivered, but for the instruction of all the succeeding generations of mankind.  That we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures-that we, through those remarkable

“were written for our learning”
Literally:  “Were written for our instruction.”  For our teaching or instruction; to instruct us in our duty. Not that this was the only purpose of the writings of the
O.T. to instruct Christians; but that all the O.T. might be useful now in illustrating and enforcing the doctrines and duties of piety towards God and man.  The O.T.does have application to believers today.

           All the precepts, promises, threatening, rewards and punishments, recorded in the scriptures, are for our information, conviction, and direction. Paul tells us in Gal. 3:24 that the Law was our “schoolmaster,” literally, “pedagogue.” The Greek word rendered as “schoolmaster,” is  (paidagogos)— from whence we get our English word pedagogue; referred originally to a slave or freedman, to whose care boys were committed, and who accompanied them to the public schools. The idea here is not that of instructor, but there is reference to the office and duty of the paedagogus among the ancients. It is true, that when the paedagogus was properly qualified and he assisted the children committed to his care in preparing their lessons. But still his main duty was not instruction, but it was to watch over the boys; to restrain them from evil and temptation; and to conduct them to the schools where they might receive instruction.
          In the passage before us, the proper notion of
pedagogue is retained. In our sense of the word “schoolmaster,” Christ is the Schoolmaster, and not the Law. The Law performs the office of the ancient pedagogue, that is, to lead us to the Teacher or the Instructor. That Teacher or Instructor. is Christ.

“through patience and comfort of the Scriptures”
Literally:  “Through patience and encouragement of the Scriptures.”–That we, through those remarkable examples of patience exhibited by the saints and followers of
God, whose history is given in those Scriptures, and the comfort which they derived from God in their patient endurance of sufferings brought upon them through their faithful attachment to truth and righteousness, might have hope that we shall be upheld and blessed as they were, and our sufferings become the means of our greater advances in faith and holiness, and consequently our hope of eternal glory be the more confirmed.

Some Bible teachers think that the Greek word which we translate “comfort,” should be rendered as “exhortation;” but there is certainly no need here to leave the usual acceptation of the term, as the word comfort makes a regular and consistent sense with the rest of the verse.

           PATIENCE:  (Grk.–hypomonês)–Literally:  “endurance” and therewith will come comfort, This does not mean, as our translation might seem to suppose, patience of the Scriptures; but it means, that by patiently enduring sufferings, in connection with the consolation which the Scriptures furnish, we might have hope. . Paul uses the word patience here in the sense of the steadfast endurance of trials. The tendency of patience, the apostle tells us, (5:4,) is to produce hope.

              COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES: (Grk.–paraklêseôs tôn graphôn)–Which is received through the Holy Spirit from the Scriptures.

What will knowledge of the Bible do for the believer?  It imparts patience, comfort and hope.  The only place the believer can find real hope is in  the Word of God.  Ignorance of the Bible is probably the greatest problem in the Church, either in the church or out of it.  Such ignorance leads to problems in the church.  Paul wrote in I Cor. 10:11—“…these things happen…for ensamples:  and they are written for our admonition…”

“might have hope”
 Literally:  “We might have hope.”–That is, do not think that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ's sufferings as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them (that is, the spirit in which they were endured) and the general principle involved in His whole work–self-sacrifice for the good of others–furnish our most perfect and beautiful model.  And so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance (the strong with the weak) requires “patience,” then all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us “hope” of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.

We may learn here:
1.         That afflictions may prove to be a great blessing.
2.         That the proper tendency is to produce hope.
3.      That the way to find support in afflictions is to go to the Bible. By the example of the ancient saints, by the expression of their confidence in God, by their patience, we may learn to suffer, and may not only be instructed, but may find comfort in all our trials. See the example of Paul himself in II Cor. 1:3-11.