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on Romans 14:1-2

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Discerning between Amoral and Moral Issues

Romans 14:1-23 Intro | Romans 14:1-6 Conflict | Romans 14:1-2 Accept Others
Discerning Moral and Amoral Issues
Romans 14:3-4 Pride | Romans 14:5-6 Conscience
Romans 14: 7-12 Accountability | Romans 14:13-23 Love
Video Podcast | Bible Study Questions | Romans 14:1-23 Handout


Some people feel very uncomfortable with being told to tolerate what others do. They feel that if they do that, then anything one might do becomes right or wrong. Romans 14 Discerning between Amoral and Moral Issues clearly defines how to treat others when they are carrying out things that are not necessarily right or wrong. This article helps us go beyond this and discern when something is right or wrong. The is part 2 of Romans 14:1-2, part of The Bible Teacher's Commentary. Previous | Next

Discerning between Amoral and Moral Issues

There is much confusion today about what are moral and amoral issues, or even when something that is not always wrong becomes wrong.

Paul was clearly not saying that any value is okay to hold when he was commanding the believers not to judge one another.

"1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.” (Romans 14:1-2).


We should openly acknowledge Paul does say that many things people do are always wrong.

For example, in Romans 1:24-32 he makes a long list of prohibitions. In Romans starting in Romans 12:9 right into chapter 13 is a whole list of things believers should observe. In other places such as 1 Timothy Paul has added other items along with Peter, James, etc. on how we talk, live, relate, worship and dress.

Paul says in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to the world.” We should not confuse Paul’s warnings regarding immoral issues such as sexual immorality, greed, drunkenness, etc. These things Paul has already spoken against. God has already judged these matters, and the church leadership is responsible to conduct church discipline to keep the church pure.

Amoral Issues

On the other hand, Paul does help us recognize that when a certain habit or action is culturally based without any pertaining biblical instruction, then it is permissible (though perhaps not profitable).

However, we must always be careful to closely monitor our attitudes towards those who come to different conclusions than we do. It is here that we might judge another according to our own understanding.

You draw the line!

Paul here states there are various ways to understand and live out their faith. In the chart below identify where each item belongs: Always okay, sometimes okay, always wrong.

There were no doubt believers from all around the world there in Rome. Each with different customs. Some might think of one as sinful because he places the Holy Scriptures on the ground. We might not think so. If some consider our treatment of the Bible is so significant, then how should their perspective affect the way we care for our Bible?

What about dancing? Stealing? What about a steamy movie? For some ‘steamy’ means viewing a kiss while another person would think nothing of viewing nude scenes. Let me share some personal comments on three different scenarios. Is it always wrong? Sometimes wrong? Never wrong?


I remember showing some photos in India and was warned not to show the photo of the bridegroom kissing the bride (my daughter). I took the photo out and no longer showed it. They thought the kissing between the newly married husband and wife to be wrong. Kissing is a sensual ‘off limits’ act in the public. I do not share that perspective but appreciated my brother mentioning it to me. It was important for me to be sensitive my brother’s suggestion or I would have missed my God’s clue to its offense among these people.

Modest clothes.

commentary on the Book of Romans

Click to learn more!

Because entertainment has speedily left godly standards, many might see nothing wrong with wearing revealing clothing. One can often hear a person state, “What is wrong with it? Everyone wears this. Do you want me to dress like old people?” But there is a scriptural call to wear modest dress (1 Timothy 2:9). The question is not whether the culture around you accepts that style of dress but whether it is considered modest. So where does dress become immodest?

Each individual must come to a standard and live consistently by it. In forming our opinion, we need to be very careful of what others think. For example, revealing clothing has many times forced me to close my eyes or look in different directions during a worship time so that I would not have to struggle with temptation. This is improper. Modesty at a minimum should mean that it does not cause a man to want to look twice in order to see more.

Drinking alcohol.

The Great Transformation John 2:1-11 Jesus makes water into wineEach believer must carefully study the scriptures on each topic. Recently, we were discussing the standard of drinking alcohol during our family devotions. One person recently joined us and shared how she used to think it was wrong to have even a little alcohol.

For more about Jesus making wine and how to discern this issue => "Turn Water into Wine" (John 2:1-11) or click picture.

Her church even had a ‘fight’ over keeping alcohol in the fridge. But she now believes a little alcohol is not wrong. The sin begins when it affects a person (get tipsy, drunk). She also added that she would never drink alcohol if there was someone that would be hurt or tempted by it. Notice how her perspective changed over the years but continues to prioritize the scriptural admonitions (“do not get drunk”) along with not becoming an offense to others.

The Christian life consists of growth in knowledge and practice. Hebrew 5:14 speaks of this process, “...The mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” They see the dividing line and accordingly adjust their lives. (See more on Hebrews 5:14 dealing with emotions and feelings).

Spiritual development includes the process where believers gradually come to more carefully discern these issues under the guidance of the scriptures. The other side of the issue is how to think about and treat those who think differently from us. Paul speaks about this in Romans 14:3-4.

Continue on to Romans 14:3-4 - Keeping from Pride

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