I just found in MKJV, Modern King James Version, a different reading of Romans 14:14;

Modern King James Version

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing by itself is common; except to him who esteems anything to be common, it is common. (Romans 14:14)

King James Version

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (Romans 14:14)

Unclean also in; NIV, BSB, BLB, NKJV, ESV, NASB, NASB1995, NASB1977, AMP, CSB, ASV WEB, YLT.

The Greek Textus Receptus 1550

οιδα και πεπεισμαι εν κυριω ιησου οτι ουδεν κοινον δι εαυτου ει μη τω λογιζομενω τι κοινον ειναι εκεινω κοινον (Romans 14:14)

κοινός #G2839 - common, defiled, profane i.e Lit shared by all or several, or (ceremonially) profane.

To me the word common is not a synonym to the word unclean. Clean cannot become unclean but becomes defiled, common or profaned, unclean is always unclean and is not a antonym to clean.

In Acts 10:14 we see the two words next to each other referring to different things.

But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common κοινός #G2839 or unclean ἀκάθαρτος. #G169 (Acts 10:14)¨

Sacrifices that defiles the meat, offer to demons;

Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. (Acts 15:20)

No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.. (1 Corinthians 10:20)

For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (Roman 14:2)

The question is this, are the vegetarian afraid of accidentally eat unclean meats? Or are they afraid to eat something defiled / common from the market place or sacrifice ritual?

  • Remotely related hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/33450/…
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:21
  • @PerryWebb Does not answer my question. I don't understand how Lu 15:2 is related to the uses of word in Rom 14:14 ? Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:26
  • That is why it is only a comment. It gives some idea of the thought back then, but does not answer the question.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:28
  • @PerryWebb Thank you for shearing. I read your question and the answer twice but did not see anything relate at all, sorry If I seemed grumpy in my first comment back. Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:32
  • am haaret (people of the land) = sinners = common (koine)
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


The actual word in Rom 14:14 is "common", κοινός. However, when referring to Hebraistic use, it meant "profane, dirty, unclean" (Strong's) and thus was a close synonym for ἀκάθαρτος ("unclean") as its use in Acts 10:14 as correctly pointed out by the OP.

The word κοινός ("common") occurs frequently in the NT and often has this Hebraic meaning of unclean such as, Rev 21:27, Mark 7:2, 5, Rom 14:14, Acts 10:14, 28, 11;8, Heb 10:29. See BDAG.

In Rom 14:14ff, Paul is addressing a valid concern that some believers had about meat, even when butchered in the Toranic method, might have been offered (ritually) to idols and thus, they were concerned that they would be consuming ritually "unclean" meat. This issue here is not vegetarianism or otherwise but meat offered to idols, see Acts 15:29, 20, 21:25.

However, Paul was offering some practical advice consistent with that in 1 Cor 10 - do not ask about whether the meat has been offered to idols and then your conscience will be clear. However, if you know that it has been offered to idols, do not eat it. See 1 Cor 10:27, 28 -

If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat anything set before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone tells you, “This food was offered to idols,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience

  • Thanks! What does the abbreviation ff next to Rom 14:14 mean? What do you mean "butchered in the Toranic method" ? Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 8:59
  • 1
    @DanielDahlberg - "ff" means, "and that which follows" - from the Latin "folium" = the pages the follow, or in this case, the verses that follow. The "Toranic method" is what is now known as "kosher" - according to the requirement of the Torah - all blood drained out so that the meat is always white meat (no blood coloring). See Gen 9:4, Lev 3:17, 7:26, 27, 17:10-14, 19:26, Deut 12:16, 23, 24, 15:23, and without fat, Lev 3:17, 7:22-25.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 9:08

Romans 14:

1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

The vegetarians here were likely Jews who had been following the OT laws:

Leviticus 17:10

‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.

Vegetables do not contain any blood.

The word unclean appears in Leviticus 11 44 times. These are the regulations for not eating unclean animals.

Are the vegetarians afraid of accidentally eat unclean meats?

Some of them probably were because of their weak faith. By eating only vegetables they didn't have to worry about these Leviticus regulations that they sincerely believed in.

Are they afraid to eat something defiled/common from the marketplace or sacrifice ritual?

Again, some of them probably were for the same reason.

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