Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. (Romans 14:5-6) Does it matter which day of the week we keep Holy?
A. Many people assume that Romans 14:5-6 says it makes no difference to God which day we keep holy.  But notice that verse 5 only says “one MAN esteemeth one day above another.”  This is talking about what certain MEN thought, not what God says!

We are not to be judged by what men think, but by the Word of God!  John 12:48 reads, “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”  Jesus is not going to judge you by what any man believes but by the words He spoke!

is not sanctioning nor condemning any particular periods of time, but warning the saints not to judge one another (Romans 14:4) and cause strife over differing opinions about things they did not yet understand clearly.  He tells them in verse 5, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”  Does this give license to believe whatever a person desires?  Absolutely not!  God commands, “Lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).  How are you going to be fully assured in your own mind until you know what God says in His Word?  “The holy scriptures . . are able to make you wise to salvation,” wrote Paul (II Tim. 3:15).

saints at Rome were weak in the faith, not having acquired perfect knowledge.  Paul says, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established” (Rom. 1:11).  Paul told them not to sit in judgment of one another.  God would judge them after setting them aright through more perfect knowledge.

the meantime Paul reminded them that “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” (verse 6).  This did not give them liberty to do as they pleased.  They were to obey what God revealed.  It would be sin if they disobeyed after the knowledge of the truth had come.  For to him that knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin (James 4:17, John 9:41).

But exactly which days was Paul referring to in the first place?

Let’s read these verses in Romans 14 in their context.  Notice in verse 1:  Paul admonished the saints at Rome to receive the “weak in the faith” and not sit in judgment of them.  Some of those recently converted, being still weak in the faith, refused to eat meats and subsisted mainly on vegetables.

The reason is explained in I Corinthians 8.  Most meat that could be bought had been offered to idols.  Some Gentiles who had been converted and had given up idolatry still had superstitious beliefs in their minds, thinking that an idol was something real.  Therefore, some with conscience of the idol ate “it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But meat commendeth us not to God; for neither, if we eat, are we better; neither, if we eat not, are we worse” (I Cor. 8:7-8).

Now why did Paul break into his dissertation – about eating meat or refraining from eating it – and mention “days”?

Noticed the answer in the Moffat translation of this passage:  “Then again, this man rates one day above another, while that man rates all days alike.  Well, everyone must be convinced in his mink; the man who values a particular day does so to the Lord.  The eater eats to the Lord, since he thanks God for his good; the non-eater abstains to the Lord, and he too thanks God” (Romans 14:5-6).

Not only were there weak converts who were afraid of eating meat offered to idols, but there were others also who customarily abstained from particular foods – they practiced a semi-fast or abstained from foods on certain days.  Others regarded all days alike as far as eating is concerned.

The whole matter involved abstention on particular days.  The question was:  “To eat or not to eat!” It was merely a question of the days upon which many voluntarily abstained from certain foods.  Paul was not referring to God’s Holy Days.  There is nothing here referring to the Sabbath.

Jesus said that our fasting should be done before God, and not to be seen or known of men unnecessarily (Matthew 6:16).  But Jews and Gentiles both practiced semi-fasts on particular days of each week or month.  The Jews customarily fasted “twice in the wee” (Luke 18:12).  They also fasted during certain months (Zech. 7:4-&).  The Jews were divided on the matter.  The Gentiles also were divided over when to abstain from certain foods.  See Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.

In God’s sight it does not matter when one abstains or fasts – but it does matter that we do it with a right heart.  Paul was going to Rome to straighten out the brethren on when and how to abstain, but for the moment he wanted them to live at peace with one another.
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