Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
This is one of the most popular cherry–picked verses of Paul’s that is taken out of context. This verse has been used by so many in the mainstream church to say that the 4th Commandment, “remember the Sabbath (7th)day to keep it holy”, was abolished and is no longer binding for God’s covenant people.
What doesn‘t the text say?
The words “Sabbath”, “fourth commandment”, “Law”, “rest” or “worship” do not appear anywhere in this verse or chapter. Not only does the word Sabbath not appear in this chapter but it never appears in the entire letter to the Romans. To interpret this verse as “proof text” that the “4th Commandment” of God is no longer binding or abolished is ludicrous.
Taken out of context, Psalm 14 can claim that “there is no God”.
Context, context, context.
Sabbath keeping is not the topic of discourse by Paul in verse 5. The actual context of this verse and chapter is about “eating”. In the three verses before and the one directly after verse 5 the word “eat” is used 6 times in the ESV, and 10 times in the KJV, as well as the Greek. The true context of verse 5, as well as the rest of the chapter, is food and fasting; not Sabbath keeping.
What does the text say?
In verses 2 and 3 Paul says not to despise or judge those who only want to eat vegetables nor the one who abstains. ~
Romans 14:2-3 2One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. (ESV)
Romans 14:2-3 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let 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. (KJV)
Then in verses 5 and 6 he addresses the fasting crowd that can’t agree on which particular days to fast or abstain from eating. ~
Romans 14:5-6 5One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. (ESV)
Romans 14:5-6 5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He 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. (KJV)
What doesn’t the text say?
It doesn’t say “pick whatever day you want for Sabbath keeping that feels good to you”. In fact, it does not say that anywhere in the entire Bible, much less here in Romans 14.
To claim that “it’s about allowing the 7th day Sabbath to be kept on any day of the week that feels right to you” is atrocious hermeneutics, and is pure eisegesis. And to say this verse somehow gives each believer the right to arbitrarily determine for themselves whether or not they should keep the 4th Commandment is blasphemy.
What does the text say?
Genesis 2:2-3 2By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Exodus 20:8-11 8“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Exodus 31:12,17 12And the LORD said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you… 17It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”
Is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a liar when He says forever? Is the Word of God in error? Maybe God doesn’t know what the word ‘forever’ means…
Is Israel grafted into the nations or are the gentiles grafted into the Common wealth of Israel?
Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you (the Gentile), although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree(Israel),
The Son of God himself proclaims that the Sabbath remains, even into the Great Tribulation, which obviously has not happened yet. ~
Matthew 24:20-21 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
The post-Resurrection Christian Council decreed that the Gentiles coming to faith should at first obey four basic Mosaic Laws, because they would hear Moses preached every Sabbath. The Sabbath was observed by the Church after the cross. ~
Acts 15:19-21 19Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
One also cannot ignore the fact that the Holy Spirit of God had Luke mention “the Sabbath” day nine times in the Book of Acts, which is documented evidence that it actually exists post-Resurrection.
Here is more proof that the Sabbath is still observed at the end of days ~
Isaiah 66:23 From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.
And during the Millennial Reign of Jesus the Feast of Booths, which has two High Sabbath days, will be mandatory for all nations. ~
Zechariah 14:16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
His Word says they are His Sabbath’s and the 7th day Sabbath was set apart/Holy by Him at creation and nowhere in the Old or “New” Covenant Scriptures will you ever find a verse that says do not observe the “4th” Commandment and start observing Sunday instead; nowhere.
The replacement of the 7th day Sabbath for Sunday observance is a man-made doctrine, not God’s; “Choose this day whom you will serve”.
Contrary to what has been taught for centuries and is still being preached by the mainstream church regarding this verse, Paul is not discussing the Sabbath Day nor is he personally voiding 4th Commandment in the Law of Moses; see ‘Examining the Scriptures‘. The topics of discourse in chapter 14 are food, fasting and which days to fast.
By using incorrect interpretive methods, by taking Paul out of context in order to create dogma to fit ‘desired doctrine’, some have created a god to fit their own personal religion. That is idolatry of a horrendous magnitude.
Final Thought: What part of forever is not forever?