GENEVA BIBLE 1599
The Bible of the Pilgrims who founded America and also the Bible of the Reformation.
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1 Him (1) that is weak in the faith, (a) receive unto you, but not for (b) controversies of disputations.
(1) Now he sheweth how we ought to behave ourselves toward our
brethren in matters and things indifferent, offending in the use
of them, not from maliceís or damnable superstition, but for
lack of knowledge of the benefit of Christ. And thus he teacheth
that they are to be instructed gently and patiently, and so that
we apply ourselves to their ignorance in such matters according
to the rule of charity.
(a) Do not for a matter or thing that is indifferent, and such as you may do or not do, shun his company, but take him to you.
(b) To make him by your doubtful and uncertain disputations go away more in doubt than he came, or start back with a troubled conscience.
2 (2) One (c) believeth that he may eat of all things, and another, which is weak, eateth herbs.
(2) He propoundeth for an example, the difference of meats,
which some thought was necessarily to be observed as a thing
prescribed by the Law (not knowing that it was taken away)
whereas on the contrary side, such as had profited in the
knowledge of the Gospel, knew well that this schoolmastership of
the Law was abolished.
(c) Known by faith.
3 (3) Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not, condemn him that eateth, for (4) God hath received him.
(3) In such a matter, saith the Apostle, Let neither them which
know their liberty, proudly despise their weak brother, neither
let the unlearned crabbedly or frowardly condemn that, which
they understand not.
(4) The first reason: Because that seeing both he that eateth and he that eateth not, is notwithstanding the member of Christ, neither he which eateth not, can justly be contemned, neither he which eateth be justly condemned; Now the first proposition is declared in Romans 14:6 .
4 (*) (5) Who art thou that condemnest another manís servant? He standeth or falleth to his own master. Yea, he shall be established, for God is able to make him stand.
(*) James 4:12 .
(5) Another reason which hangeth upon the former; why the ruder and more unlearned ought not to be condemned of the more skillful, as men without hope of salvation; Because, saith the Apostle, he that is ignorant today, may be endued tomorrow with further knowledge, so that he also may stand sure; Therefore it belongeth to God, and not unto man, to pronounce the sentence of condemnation.
5 (6) This man esteemeth one day above another day, and another man counteth every day alike; (7) let (d) every man be fully persuaded in his mind.
(6) Another example of the difference of days according to the
(7) He setteth against this contempt, and hasty or rash judgments, a continual desire to profit, that the strong may be certainly persuaded of their liberty, of what manner and sort it is, and how they ought to use it, and again the weak may daily profit, lest either they abuse the gift of God, or these please themselves in their infirmity.
(d) That he may say in his conscience, that he knoweth and is persuaded by Jesus Christ, that nothing is unclean of itself, and this persuasion must be grounded upon the word of God.
6 (8) He that (e) observeth the day, observeth it to the Lord; and he that observeth not the day, observeth it not to the (f) Lord. He that (g) eateth, eateth to the Lord; (9) for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth (h) not, eateth not to the Lord, and giveth God thanks.
(8) A reason taken from the nature of indifferent things, which
a man may with good conscience do and omit, for seeing that the
difference of days and meats was appointed by God, how could
they, which as yet understood not the abrogating of the Law, and
yet otherwise acknowledged Christ as their Saviour, with good
conscience neglect that which they knew was commanded of God?
And on the contrary side, they that knew the benefit of Christ
in this behalf, did with good conscience neither observe days
nor meats. Therefore saith the Apostle, verse ten. Let not the
strong condemn the weak for these things, seeing that the weak
brethren are brethren notwithstanding. Now if any man would draw
this doctrine to these our times and ages, let him know that the
Apostle speaketh of such things indifferent, as they which
thought them not to be indifferent, had a ground in the Law, and
were deceived by simple ignorance; and not of malice (for to
such, the Apostles yielded not, no not for a moment) nor
suspicion, but of a religious fear of God.
(e) Observeth precisely.
(f) God shall judge whether he do well or not; and therefore you should rather strive about this, how every one of you may be allowed of God, than to think upon other men's doings.
(g) He that maketh no difference of meats.
(9) So the Apostle sheweth that he speaketh of the faithful, both strong and weak. But what if we have to do with infidels? Then must we here take heed of two things, as also is declared in the Epistle to the Corinthians. The one is, that we count not their superstitions among things indifferent, as they did which sat down to meat in Idol's Temples; the other is, that then also when the matter is indifferent (as to buy a thing offered to idols, in the butcher's shambles, and to eat it at home in a private banquet) we wound not the conscience of our weak brother.
(h) He that toucheth not meats which he taketh to be unclean by the Law.
7 (10) For none of us liveth to (i) himself, neither doeth any die to himself.
(10) We must not stick, saith he, in the meat itself, but in the
use of the meat, so that he is justly to be reprehended that
liveth so, that he casteth not his eyes upon God. For both our
life and our death is dedicated to him, and for this cause
Christ hath properly died, and not simply, that we might eat
this meat or that.
(i) Hath respect to himself only, which the Hebrews utter after this sort, Doeth well to his own soul.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lordís.
9 For Christ therefore died and rose again, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the quick.
10 (11) But why doest thou condemn thy brother? Or why doest thou despise thy brother? (*) For we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
(11) The conclusion: we must leave to God his right; and therefore in matters, which according as the conscience is affected, are either good or evil, the strong must not despise their weak brethren, much less condemn them. But this consequent cannot be taken of equal force in the contrary, to wit, that the weak should not judge the strong, because the weak do not know, that they which do not observe a day, and eat, observe it not to the Lord, and eat to the Lord, as the strong men know, that the weak which observe a day and eat not, observe the day to the Lord, and eat not to the Lord.
(*) 2 Corinthians 5:10 .
11 For it is written, (*) I (k) live, saith the Lord, and every knee shall bow to me, and all tongues shall (l) confess unto God.
(*) Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10 .
(k) This is a form of an oath, proper to God only, for he and
none but he liveth, and hath his being of himself.
(l) Shall acknowledge me from God.
12 So then every one of us shall give accounts of himself to God.
13 (12) Let us not therefore judge one another anymore, but use your judgment rather in (m) this, that no man put an occasion to fall, or a stumblingblock before his brother.
(12) After that he hath concluded what is not to be done, he
sheweth what is to be done, to wit, we must take heed that we do
not utterly cast down with abusing our liberty, our brother
which is not yet strong.
(m) He rebuketh by the way, these malicious judgers of others, which occupy their heads about nothing, but to find fault with their brethren's life, whereas they should rather bestow their wits upon this, that they do not with their disdainfulness either cast their brethren clean down, or give them some offence.
14 (13) I know, and am persuaded through the (n) Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of (o) itself; but unto him that judgeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
(13) The preventing of an objection; It is true that the
schoolmastership of the Law is taken away by the benefit of
Christ, to such as know it, but yet notwithstanding we have to
consider in the use of this liberty, what is expedient, that we
may have regard to our weak brother, seeing that our liberty is
not lost thereby.
(n) By the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, or by the Lord Jesus, who I am fore brake down the wall at his coming.
(o) By nature.
15 But if thy brother be grieved for the meat, now walkest thou not charitably. (*) (14) Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom (15) Christ died.
(*) 1 Corinthians 8:11 .
(14) It is the part of a cruel mind to make more account of
meat, than of our brother's salvation. Which thing they do, that
presume to eat with the offence of any brother, and so give him
occasion to go back from the Gospel.
(15) Another argument: We must follow Christ's example, who was so far from destroying the weak with meat, that he gave his life for them.
16 (16) Cause not your commodity to be evil spoken of.
(16) Another argument: for that by this means the liberty of the Gospel is evil spoken of, as though it openeth the way to attempt anything whatsoever, and boldeneth us to all things.
17 (17) For the kingdom of God, is not meat nor drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost.
(17) A general reason, and the ground of all the other arguments: The kingdom of heaven consisteth not in these outward things, but in the study of righteousness, and peace, and comfort of the holy Ghost.
18 For whosoever in (p) these things serveth Christ, is acceptable unto God, and is approved of men.
(p) He that liveth peaceably, and doeth righteously through the holy Ghost.
19 (18) Let us then follow those things which concern peace, and wherewith one may edify another.
(18) A general conclusion: The use of this liberty, yea and our whole life, ought to be referred to the edifying of one another, insomuch that we esteem that thing unlawful by reason of the offence of our brother, which is of itself pure and lawful.
20 Destroy not the work of God for meatsí sake. (*) All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for the man which eateth with offence.
(*) Titus 1:15 .
21 (*) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or made weak.
(*) 1 Corinthians 8:13 .
22 (19) Hast thou (q) faith? Have it with thyself before God. Blessed is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he (r) alloweth.
(19) He giveth a double warning in these matters, one, which
pertaineth to the strong, that he which hath obtained a sure
knowledge of this liberty, keep that treasure to the end he may
use it wisely and profitably as hath been said; the other which
respecteth the weak, that they do nothing rashly by other men's
example with a wavering conscience, for that cannot be done
without sin, whereof we are not persuaded by the word of God,
that he liketh and approveth it.
(q) He shewed before Romans 14:14; what he meaneth by faith, to wit, for a man to be certain and out of doubt in matters and things indifferent.
23 For he that (s) doubteth, is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.
(s) Reasoneth with himself.
1 Corinthians 14:8
And also if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?
"Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised. Religious liberty owes it most respect." John Adams, the second president of the United States