Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sabbaths and Sundays, Common Proof Texts, #4

Claim: Romans 14 says not to judge one another in the matter of observing days. Therefore, we don't have to keep the Sabbath.

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (vv.1-6).

First I find it quite odd to find a discussion on the Sabbath (as is claimed) in the middle of a discussion of vegetarianism. Being vegetarian is NOT talked about in the Mosaic law, so it's even an odder pairing to jump back and forth between non-Mosaic (eating only vegetables) to Mosaic (the Sabbath) and back to non-Mosaic again. It just makes no sense.

Judging from the Greek (koinos ["common" - v.14] versus acathartos [impure]), the discussion is likely over meat that had been sacrificed to idols, rather than food that was unclean under Levitical law.

Additionally, if it IS talking about Sabbath keepers and Sabbath keepers are "weak" (v.1) then Paul himself was weak because he kept the Sabbath (Acts 18:4,19; 17:1,10,17; 20:16). And we know Paul wasn't weak because he says in 15:1, "...we who are strong..." (NASB).

Romans 14 doesn't have to do with observance/non-observance of the law, but of "scruples of conscience dictated not by divine precepts but by human conventions and superstitions" (Bacchiocchi, The Sabbath in the New Testament, pgs. 118-119).

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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