Handling Non-Essential Differences Humbly and Biblically - Romans 14

Handling Non-Essential Differences Humbly and Biblically - Romans 14

The Bible allows us more than one approach to non-essential issues.... 

If Scripture says something is wrong, it's wrong. 

But there are non-essential areas where two Christians can have different convictions without either being wrong. 

In this regard, Romans 14 gives dietary and holy day observances as examples.  

Today's Church issues would include things like Bible translations, Calvinism/Arminianism, spiritual gifts, alcohol, make-up, dancing, television, head-coverings, politics, tithing, church membership, holidays, and education.

There are right and wrong beliefs in all of these areas, but there's also more than one right approach.

This means Christians will apply biblical principles differently.

Handling Non-Essential Differences Humbly and Biblically - Romans 14We must not criticize, rebuke or tempt our brothers when they have different convictions than ours.

But we must judge and help fellow believers who do things clearly against Scripture. We cannot love them and allow them to continue in sin or error (1 Cor. 5:11-13; Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1).

God wants us to humbly allow for differences in areas of non-essential doctrine and hold fast in areas of essential doctrine. 


(1) Genuine believers, who agree on the essential tenets of biblical Christianity, sometimes come to different conclusions about non-essential areas. 
(2) Essential doctrines are non-negotiable - essential - unchanging, things based on clear biblical principles, truths, and commands. Examples would include: the biblical view of the Trinity, the sanctity of human life, appropriate sexual behavior, God's character, salvation, etc.

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  1. Thank you for this and ALL your articles! While I agree with you on what you say, what can I do if a christian good friend uses, what I term, bad language? She doesn't use God's son's Name,but she uses God's name. The thing that makes me feel uncomfortable is that nobody in her church corrects her because they use it too or the infamous "Jeez Louise", even the pastor! I was always taught just to say, "Oh my" and leave it at that. ***Am I judging?*** I hope not! Also, is it okay to date someone that disagrees with me on that they think baptism is part of the salvation?

    1. Hi Jen,
      Actually, using bad language isn't one of those non-essential areas. There are lots of Scriptures that tell us to use only wholesome speech (Ephesians 4:29, for example). God may lead you to say something to your friend in love or pray for her or both. But I think you have reason to be concerned.

      I do think different views about baptism are in the area of non-essentials although many people would not agree with me. I'm not sure how to counsel you about whether you should date someone who has strong feelings about a non-essentials on which you disagree. I think the best thing to do is seek God in prayer and move forward only if you have His peace about the relationship - this is true for any relationship, even if you agree completely.

      I will pray for your situation.
      God bless you,

  2. Thank you very much for answering!!