Does Romans 14:4 teach, or legitimately suggest UR?


My son thinks it does. I like the idea of course but am not quite sure.

Here’s the text:

The immediate context is disagreements on what different believers eat. But the assumption is that it’s important enough to effect ones standing with God. So you want to get it “right”. Except there is disagreement ON what is “right”. And while the overt emphasis seems to be on cutting each other some slack, there is also the strong suggestion that our concerns might not be the precise same ones as the Lords concerns. Further, there is the assertion that our standing is accomplished by the Lord, and has less to with us specifically. This of course sounds very much like God’s grace. So, while one might see this passage as narrowly applied to this small area of life, it seems quite reasonable to see a much broader truth being demonstrated. Yes, sincerely try to do the very best you can, but know that the “LORD will make you stand” in all sorts of matters; including all the salvific ones.

Sure, the specific context is a servants standing with their masters; but the broader context, since we see our master as being Christ is that He will make us stand in all matters in terms of our salvation.

Is that an acceptable reading – or is it way out of line and/or wishful thinking?
(Also, v9 – what does it mean that Christ is Lord of the dead and Living?)


PS – this is not a pressing question at all; no hurry on answering. I realize it’s fun and important to discuss dissect the obvious and overt Universalism texts, but as I read, there are LOTS of hints. Just wondering how you advise handling those passages. So far, I value those passages for devotional use (encouragement etc) but don’t bring them out when defending UR.


Hi Bob,

Romans 14:4 is not a text that I have ever put forth as part of an exegetical case for a universalist reading of the Bible as a whole. But once one adopts any interpretation of the Bible as a whole, whether it be a Calvinist, an Arminian, or a universalist interpretation, one is bound to find supporting hints of one’s preferred interpretation in many unexpected places. I have also learned over the years to respect the spiritual insights of the Christian laity, or even those of simple peasants, at least as much as I do those of learned scholars. For the New Testament, written as it is in the language of ordinary people and appealing as it does to the human imagination, is a great equalizer; and besides, with respect to almost any important theological controversy, you can find learned scholars on both sides of the controversy. So it is hard to think of scholars as having any particular advantage over the laity in the area of spiritual insights.

Anyway, although I don’t have much to add to your own remarks, I can see how your son, or anyone else with universalist inclinations, might find further support for the idea of universal reconciliation in Romans 14:4. After all, regardless of our own quibbling over various opinions (see 14:1), it is God himself who will in the end make each of us stand.

Thanks for your question.



I’m sorry that I’ve been too busy over the past few days to send in a comment on your question, Bob.

But it would have been basically, and in detail, what Tom says, too. :slight_smile:

(That having been said, I do want to take a closer look at the verse and its context. I’m somewhat dubious it would count as exegetical evidence for universalism, but the suggestive aspects of it tickle the back of my mind enough to warrant a closer look at it eventually.)


Thanks Tom.
And Jason.

I think that this is precisely the kind of thing that might be said if Paul speaks with an overarching ethos of UR. Proof? Not really. But part of a pattern of thinking? Oh yeah.

My son had a T-shirt made which says on the front:


and on the back it says:

LUKE 3:6 “And ALL mankind will see God’s Salvation”

I’m REALLY liking Tom’s tipping point comment that WHAT IF Paul really meant what he said in 1 Cor 15:22??
yeah – what if…

Thanks you so much gentlemen



This is just a bump to remind myself that I wanted to look into the contexts of this verse (but perhaps more especially verse 9); after a long day of catching up on the boards, I don’t think I have the energy to keep going tonight, but I didn’t want to lose the reference down in the list of active topics again, either. :slight_smile:


Another bump to remind myself I’d like to look into the contexts of this verse. :slight_smile: