Who are the “weak” Christians?
Paul definitely believes there are some. But who are they?
Likely, all those being addressed in Romans 14 had a “scriptural basis” for what they believed: the vegetarians, the meat-eaters, the holy-day observers, and the free spirits who regarded all days alike.
So who was right?
In this chapter, it would appear Paul says “it doesn’t matter.”
While all of these matters are mentioned in scripture, there was no clear ruling on any of them for the Church. They are, in Paul’s words, “disputable” matters. Frankly, I doubt seriously any of the proponents reading this letter were convinced their side was disputable.
But that really wasn’t the point.
Paul was concerned about how they treated one another. After all, they were, in Christ, brethren. Each had been accepted by God into the family of God. To look down on a brother, regardless of what he believes, or mistreat him, was, in the mind of Paul, of greater concern than the differences between them.
We’d do well to remember this. There are matters about which God has specifically spoken. These are beyond dispute. Other matters we get to by a variety of religious gymnastics. Perhaps we get it right. Perhaps we don’t. But regardless, the call is, among brethren, to make every attempt to do what leads to peace. In the end, it’s the weak who insist on binding their ways in disputable matters on others. The strong are strong not because they are pliable of conscience, but because they put the concerns of the weak above their own.