Articles

Romans 14 and the 4th Commandment

By Tim Hegg

In the course of dialog over issues that we, as Messianic believers, hold to be essential, the Sabbath is a regular subject. Yet as part of the larger body of Messiah we recognize that the majority of our brothers and sisters in the Christian church have been taught that the Sabbath has been abolished in favor of Sunday. While discussing the validity of the Sabbath, Romans 14:5-6 inevitably becomes the pivotal text appealed to in proof that the Sabbath is no longer to be set apart from the six days of work. In this short essay I would like to make a brief inquiry into this text, and offer some suggestions for its interpretation.

The Context

The context in which Paul writes that “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day” is one in which Paul is addressing differing opinions: “Now accept the one who is weak in the faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” (14:1). First, we should note that Paul is not giving his opinion here, but restating what must have been the varying opinions of others within the synagogue at Rome. In the end, Paul is unwilling to side with either opinion, indicating both are valid. Secondly, it ought to be recognized that the issue of Sabbath observance (as well as other Torah observances) would not have been handled within the realm of opinion.

 

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Tim Hegg

President / Instructor

Tim graduated from Cedarville University in 1973 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Bible, with a minor in Philosophy. He entered Northwest Baptist Seminary (Tacoma, WA) in 1973, completing his M.Div. (summa cum laude) in 1976. He completed his Th.M. (summa cum laude) in 1978, also from NWBS. His Master’s Thesis was titled: “The Abrahamic Covenant and the Covenant of Grant in the Ancient Near East”. Tim taught Biblical Hebrew and Hebrew Exegesis for three years as an adjunct faculty member at Corban University School of Ministry when the school was located in Tacoma. Corban University School of Ministry is now in Salem, OR. Tim is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature, and has contributed papers at the annual meetings of both societies. Since 1990, Tim has served as one of the Overseers at Beit Hallel in Tacoma, WA. He and his wife, Paulette, have four children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.