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Romans 14:2 – Vegetarian?

04-01-2022 - Posted by Hans

One, indeed, is believing to eat all things, yet the infirm one is eating greens.

Without further explanation, Paul says here: “the infirm one is eating greens”, i.e. vegetarian: vegetables and fruits. He does not name the motive, so we can only guess. It is possible that Jewish-oriented reasons play a role here. We read of Daniel and his friends who had come to Babylon, that they refused to eat of “the king’s table” and to drink of his wine, because it was not kosher (Dan.1:8). That is why they decided to take only vegetables and water (Dan.1:13).

Another option could be for these vegetarian believers to follow the so-called “Genesis Diet.” Until the flood, for sixteen centuries, mankind ate exclusively vegetarian and only after that meat (without blood) was added to the menu by God (Gen. 9:3).

But whatever the motive behind it may be, Paul calls the position taken infirm. However, we should definitely not read about one word here. The non-infirm believes to (can or may) eat everything. The idea is not that he actually does that, but he is convinced that he is free to do so. And that freedom lacks “the infirm”. That is not wrong, but it is limited and therefore infirm.