Understanding the Scriptures
|Doubtful disputations (v. 1)||Disagreements over personal opinions|
|Holden (v. 4)||Held|
|Set at nought thy brother (v. 10)||Treat your brother as nothing|
|Esteemeth (v. 14)||Appreciate, consider of worth, care about|
Romans 14—Conflicting Customs of the Jews and Gentiles
Paul faced constant pressure to admonish the Saints to live by the customs and traditions of the Jews. Keeping certain Sabbath day traditions, abstaining from certain foods, and following other customs were important activities to the Jewish converts but not to the Gentiles. Often one group would harshly judge the other according to its religious beliefs and cultural traditions. Paul wanted all to understand that customs are unimportant compared to having faith in Jesus Christ and following His example. Even today we experience similar challenges as a worldwide church. President Gordon B. Hinckley taught:
“It is not an easy thing to become a member of this Church. In most cases it involves setting aside old habits, leaving old friends and associations, and stepping into a new society which is different and somewhat demanding.
“With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 66; or Ensign, May 1997, 47).
|Infirmities (v. 1)||Weaknesses caused by not knowing the truth|
|Edification (v. 2)||Improvement, uplift|
|Laud (v. 11)||Praise|
|Thitherward by you (v. 24)||Toward you|
|Succourer (v. 2)||One who helps and comforts|
|Chamberlain (v. 23)||Trusted servant|
Romans 16:17–19—“Mark Them Which Cause Divisions”
Paul lived in a day of increasing apostasy from the true religion. There were some individuals who posed as good members but taught false doctrines (see Acts 20:28–32). Paul warned the Romans to “mark them which cause divisions” and beware of such self-serving people (Romans 16:17).
Studying the Scriptures
Do one of the following activities (A–C) as you study Romans 14–16.
Interview a New Member
People from many different cultures are joining the Church. Read President Hinckley’s statement in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Romans 14. Then interview someone who joined the Church within the last year and write a summary of his or her responses to the following questions:
What changes did you have to make as a new member of the Church?
What did Church members do that helped you succeed?
What else could members do that would better help new members make the transition into the Church?
What Is Your Judgment on Judging?
Paul taught the Saints not to judge one another. Read Romans 14:4–13 and write answers to each of the following questions:
If we are all servants of God, why shouldn’t we judge each other? (see Romans 14:4).
People may have different opinions and practices, but what is most important to remember? (see vv. 5–6).
How does belonging to the Lord reduce differences among the Saints? (see vv. 7–9).
In the end, what will we all have in common? (see vv. 10–11).
If we judge one another, how does it harm us and those we judge? (see v. 13).
The Church Is a Community
Jesus Christ invites all to come unto Him. In a community of Saints with a variety of talents and strengths, we need to help each other so that we can all become more like Christ. Read Romans 15:1–7. Then write what Paul counseled us to do in verses 1–2, 5, and 7 to try to overcome the differences among us.