The Meaning of Romans 14:17 Explained

Romans 14:17

KJV: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

YLT: for the reign of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit;

Darby: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

ASV: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

For  the kingdom  of God  is  not  meat  and  drink;  but  righteousness,  and  peace,  and  joy  in  the Holy  Ghost. 

What does Romans 14:17 Mean?

Study Notes

kingdom See, Galatians 4:9-11 ; Colossians 2:20-23 . (See Scofield " Matthew 6:33 ") .
righteousness .
Righteousness here, and in the passages which refer to Romans 10:10 , means that righteousness of God which is judicially reckoned to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; believers are the righteous.
(See Scofield " Romans 3:21 ") .

Verse Meaning

The kingdom of God here refers to the sphere over which God rules and in which all believers live and operate.
"[1] an echo of our Lord"s teaching. The phrase is used normally in St. Paul of that Messianic kingdom which is to be the reward and goal of the Christian life ... Hence it comes to mean the principles or ideas on which that kingdom is founded, and which are already exhibited in this world (cf. I Cor. iv20)." [2]
The emphasis in this reference is on the authority of God over His own. The primary issues in the lives of dedicated Christians should not be external amoral practices but the great spiritual qualities that the Holy Spirit seeks to produce in them. These qualities include right conduct (cf. Romans 6:13; Romans 6:16; Romans 6:18), peace with God (cf. Philippians 4:7), and joy (cf. Galatians 5:22-23). Paul wanted his readers to keep their priorities in perspective.

Context Summary

Romans 14:13-23 - Yielding Rights For Others' Sake
We must be careful of one another's faith. Unkind criticism or ridicule, or the strong pressure of our arguments and reasons may impede the divine life in weaker natures by leading them to act in defiance of their own conscientious convictions. We must not flaunt our greater liberty or urge men to act against their conscience. We may, of course, temperately and lovingly explain why we are not held by minute scruples. We may show, as Paul did repeatedly, that Christ has called us to liberty; but we must not attempt the regulation of one another's conduct from without. The sanctuary of the soul must be left un-invaded. The Spirit alone may speak His oracles in the shrine.
Leave each disciple to his own Master, each plant to the Gardener, each child to the divine Fatherhood. In many things you may grant yourself a wider liberty than others allow themselves; but it must be used wisely, and you must refuse to avail yourself of it whenever those around you may be positively imperiled. We need not mind the censorious criticism of the Pharisee, but like the Good Shepherd with His flock, we must accommodate our pace to that of the lambs, Isaiah 40:11. [source]

Chapter Summary: Romans 14

1  Men may not condemn one another for disputable matters;
13  but must take heed that they give no offense in them;
15  which the apostle proves unlawful by many reasons

Greek Commentary for Romans 14:17

The kingdom of God [η βασιλεια του τεου]
Not the future kingdom of eschatology, but the present spiritual kingdom, the reign of God in the heart, of which Jesus spoke so often. See 1 Corinthians 4:21. Paul scores heavily here, for it is not found in externals like food and drink, but in spiritual qualities and graces. [source]
The kingdom of God []
See on Luke 6:20, and compare Matthew 3:2. “The heavenly sphere of life in which God's word and Spirit govern, and whose organ on earth is the Church” (Lange). Not the future, messianic kingdom. [source]
Meat and drink [βρῶσις καὶ πόσις]
Rev., eating and drinking. Both words, however, occur frequently in the sense of A.V. Meat ( βρῶμα ), that which is eaten, occurs in Romans 14:15. The corresponding word for that which is drunk ( πῶμα ) is not found in the New Testament, though πόμα drinkoccurs 1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 9:10, and both in classical and New-Testament Greek, πόσις theact of drinking is used also for that which is drunk. See John 6:55. A somewhat similar interchange of meaning appears in the popular expression, such a thing is good eating; also in the use of living for that by which one lives. [source]
Righteousness [δικαιοσύνη]
On its practical, ethical side, as shown in moral rectitude toward men. [source]
Peace [εἰρήνη]
Not peace with God, reconciliation, as Romans 5:1, but mutual concord among Christians. [source]
Joy [χαρὰ]
Common joy, arising out of the prevalence of rectitude and concord in the Church. The whole chapter is concerned with the mutual relations of Christians, rather than with their relations to God [source]
In the Holy Ghost []
Most commentators construe this with joy only. Meyer says it forms one phrase. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:6While this may be correct, I see no objection to construing the words with all these terms. So Godet: “It is this divine guest who, by His presence, produces them in the Church.” [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 14:17

John 4:32 Meat [βρωσιν]
Originally the act of eating (Romans 14:17) from βιβρωσκω — bibrōskō but soon and commonly as that which is eaten like βρωμα — brōma once in John (John 4:34). So here and John 6:27, John 6:55. Cf. vernacular English “good eating,” “good eats.” I … ye Emphatic contrast. Spiritual food Jesus had. [source]
John 6:27 Work not for [μη εργαζεστε]
Prohibition with μη — mē and present middle imperative of εργαζομαι — ergazomai old verb from εργον — ergon work. The meat The act of eating (Romans 14:17), corrosion (Matthew 6:19), the thing eaten as here (2 Corinthians 9:10). See note on John 4:32. Which perisheth Present middle participle of apollumi They were already hungry again. Unto eternal life Mystical metaphor quite beyond this crowd hungry only for more loaves and fishes. Bernard thinks that John has here put together various sayings of Christ to make one discourse, a gratuitous interpretation. Will give Future active indicative of εις ζωην αιωνιον — didōmi The outcome is still future and will be decided by their attitude towards the Son of man (John 6:51). For him the Father, even God, hath sealed Literally, “For this one the Father sealed, God.” First aorist active indicative of διδωμι — sphragizō to seal. See elsewhere in John 3:33 (attestation by man). Sealing by God is rare in N.T. (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). It is not clear to what item, if any single one, John refers when the Father set his seal of approval on the Son. It was done at his baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon him and the Father spoke to him. Cf. John 5:37. [source]
John 6:55 Meat indeed [αλητης βρωσις]
So the best MSS., “true food.” See note on John 4:32 for βρωσις — brōsis as equal to βρωμα — brōma (a thing eaten). Drink indeed Correct text, “true drink.” For ποσις — posis see Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:16 (only N.T. examples). [source]
Romans 8:4 The Spirit [πνεῦμα]
From πνέω tobreathe or blow. The primary conception is wind or breath. Breath being the sign and condition of life in man, it comes to signify life. In this sense, physiologically considered, it is frequent in the classics. In the psychological sense, never. In the Old Testament it is ordinarily the translation of ruach It is also used to translate chai life, Isaiah 38:12; nbreath, 1 Kings 17:17. In the New Testament it occurs in the sense of wind or breath, John 3:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Hebrews 1:7. Closely related to the physiological sense are such passages as Luke 8:55; James 2:26; Revelation 13:15. Pauline Usage: 1. Breath, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. 2. The spirit or mind of man; the inward, self-conscious principle which feels and thinks and wills (1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Corinthians 7:34; Colossians 2:5). In this sense it is distinguished from σῶμα bodyor accompanied with a personal pronoun in the genitive, as my, our, his spirit (Romans 1:9; Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 16:18, etc.). It is used as parallel with ψυχή souland καρδία heartSee 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; and compare John 13:21and John 12:27; Matthew 26:38and Luke 1:46, Luke 1:47. But while ψυχή soulis represented as the subject of life, πνεύμα spiritrepresents the principle of life, having independent activity in all circumstances of the perceptive and emotional life, and never as the subject. Generally, πνεύμα spiritmay be described as the principle, ψυχή soulas the subject, and καρδία heartas the organ of life. 3. The spiritual nature of Christ. Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Timothy 3:16. 4. The divine power or influence belonging to God, and communicated in Christ to men, in virtue of which they become πνευματικοί spiritual - recipientsand organs of the Spirit. This is Paul's most common use of the word. Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Galatians 4:6; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:8. In this sense it appears as: a. Spirit of God. Romans 8:9, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 7:40; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Ephesians 3:16. b. Spirit of Christ. Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:6; Philemon 1:19. c. Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:8, etc. d. Spirit. With or without the article, but with its reference to the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit indicated by the context. Romans 8:16, Romans 8:23, Romans 8:26, Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, etc. 5. A power or influence, the character, manifestations, or results of which are more peculiarly defined by qualifying genitives. Thus spirit of meekness, faith, power, wisdom. Romans 8:2, Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:7, etc. These combinations with the genitives are not mere periphrases for a faculty or disposition of man. By the spirit of meekness or wisdom, for instance, is not meant merely a meek or wise spirit; but that meekness, wisdom, power, etc., are gifts of the Spirit of God. This usage is according to Old Testament analogy. Compare Exodus 28:3; Exodus 31:3; Exodus 35:31; Isaiah 11:2. 6. In the plural, used of spiritual gifts or of those who profess to be under spiritual influence, 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 14:12. 7. Powers or influences alien or averse from the divine Spirit, but with some qualifying word. Thus, the spirit of the world; another spirit; spirit of slumber. Romans 11:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 1:7. Where these expressions are in negative form they are framed after the analogy of the positive counterpart with which they are placed in contrast. Thus Romans 8:15: “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage, but of adoption. In other cases, as Ephesians 2:2, where the expression is positive, the conception is shaped according to Old-Testament usage, where spirits of evil are conceived as issuing from, and dependent upon, God, so far as He permits their operation and makes them subservient to His own ends. See Judges 9:23; 1 Samuel 16:14-16, 1 Samuel 16:23; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Kings 22:21sqq.; Isaiah 19:4. Spirit is found contrasted with letter, Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6. With flesh, Romans 8:1-13; Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:24. It is frequently associated with the idea of power (Romans 1:4; Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:7); and the verb ἐνεργεῖν , denoting to work efficaciously, is used to mark its special operation (1 Corinthians 12:11; Galatians 5:16-254; Philemon 2:13; Colossians 1:29). It is also closely associated with life, Romans 8:2, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 15:4, 1 Corinthians 15:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 5:25; Galatians 6:8. It is the common possession of the Church and its members; not an occasional gift, but an essential element and mark of the christian life; not appearing merely or mainly in exceptional, marvelous, ecstatic demonstrations, but as the motive and mainspring of all christian action and feeling. It reveals itself in confession (1 Corinthians 12:3); in the consciousness of sonship (Romans 8:16); in the knowledge of the love of God (Romans 5:5); in the peace and joy of faith (Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6); in hope (Romans 5:5; Romans 15:13). It leads believers (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18): they serve in newness of the Spirit (Romans 7:6) They walk after the Spirit (Romans 8:4, Romans 8:5; 1713833634_16). Through the Spirit they are sanctified (2 Thessalonians 2:13). It manifests itself in the diversity of forms and operations, appearing under two main aspects: a difference of gifts, and a difference of functions. See Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 4:4, Ephesians 4:30; Philemon 2:1; [source]
Galatians 5:22 Joy [χαρά]
Comp. joy of the Holy Ghost, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, and see Romans 5:2; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Philemon 1:25; Philemon 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 1:4. [source]
Colossians 2:16 Meat - drink [βρώσει - πόσει]
Properly, eating, drinking, as 1 Corinthians 8:4; but the nouns are also used for that which is eaten or drunk, as John 4:32(see note); John 6:27, John 6:55; Romans 14:17. For the subject-matter compare Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 8:8; Hebrews 9:10, and note on Mark 7:19. The Mosaic law contained very few provisions concerning drinks. See Leviticus 10:9; Leviticus 11:34, Leviticus 11:36; Numbers 6:3. Hence it is probable that the false teachers had extended the prohibitions as to the use of wine to all Christians. The Essenes abjured both wine and animal food. [source]
1 Thessalonians 2:12 Walk worthily of God [περιπατειν αχιως του τεου]
Present infinitive (linear action), and genitive case with adverb αχιως — axiōs as in Colossians 1:10 (cf. Philemon 1:27; Ephesians 4:1), like a preposition. Calleth (καλουντος — kalountos). Present active participle, keeps on calling. Some MSS. have καλεσαντος — kalesantos called. Kingdom (βασιλειαν — basileian) here is the future consummation because of glory (δοχαν — doxan) as in 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:18), but Paul uses it for the present kingdom of grace also as in 1 Corinthians 4:20; Romans 14:17; Colossians 1:13. [source]
1 Thessalonians 2:12 Kingdom [βασιλειαν]
(βασιλειαν — basileian) here is the future consummation because of glory (δοχαν — doxan) as in 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:18), but Paul uses it for the present kingdom of grace also as in 1 Corinthians 4:20; Romans 14:17; Colossians 1:13. [source]
Hebrews 12:16 For one morsel of meat [ἀντὶ βρώσεως μιᾶς]
Βρῶσις , lit. the act of eating, as 1 Corinthians 8:4, Romans 14:17: “one eating of meat.” Sometimes corrosion, as Matthew 6:19. Sometimes of that which is eaten, John 6:27, John 6:55. [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 14:17 mean?

Not for is the kingdom - of God eating and drinking but righteousness peace joy in [the] Spirit Holy
οὐ γάρ ἐστιν βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ βρῶσις καὶ πόσις ἀλλὰ δικαιοσύνη εἰρήνη χαρὰ ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ

βασιλεία  kingdom 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: βασιλεία  
Sense: royal power, kingship, dominion, rule.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
βρῶσις  eating 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: βρῶσις  
Sense: act of eating.
πόσις  drinking 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: πόσις  
Sense: a drinking, drink.
δικαιοσύνη  righteousness 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: δικαιοσύνη  
Sense: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.
εἰρήνη  peace 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.
χαρὰ  joy 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: χαρά  
Sense: joy, gladness.
ἐν  in  [the] 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐν 
Sense: in, by, with etc.
Πνεύματι  Spirit 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
Ἁγίῳ  Holy 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: ἅγιος  
Sense: most holy thing, a saint.