In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. ‭Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭5‬ NLT

How do Seventh Day Adventists interpret this verse?

  • The 7th day Adventists have chosen to hold their Sabbath at the same time as the Jews in keeping with their interpretation of the ten commandments as part of God's moral law. However, this could be made consistent with this verse in that although they think it is better to do it on the actual proper Sabbath as long as you keep Sabbath in general it is acceptable to God. That's pretty speculative however, hence a comment not an answer. Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 8:38
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    @Reluctant_Linux_User Ok. I've seen it said by Seventh Day Adventists that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast. Here's a link that Google gave me.
    – Zenon
    Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 17:14
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    @Zenon You are right. Adventists believe that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast and that beast is the Roman Catholic Church. What are the main differences between 7th Day Adventists and Catholic/Protestant churches?
    – user3961
    Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 17:48
  • This isn't necessarily the SDA position, but The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says that “the close contextual association with eating suggests that Paul has in mind a special day set apart for observance as a time for feasting or as a time for fasting” (Everett Harrison, 1976, Vol. 10, p. 146). That is, the "days" have nothing at all to do with Sabbaths or holidays. Using this verse to support moving the day of rest is eisegesis, not exegesis. Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 1:12

4 Answers 4


Seventh Day Adventists do not view Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭5‬ to be about the 4th commandment. We do not believe that the ten commandments (God's moral laws) were abolished at the cross. The law of love would cause Christians to want to keep God's moral laws through grace (i.e. not murder, not commit adultery), it does not free them to then freely murder. The same logic is applied to the 4th commandment, which is specified as the 7th day of the week in the commandment (Exodus 20:10).

Therefore, when Romans 14:5 is read in this context, we believe it is referring to religious holidays. The central issue during the apostolic times were circumcision, eating foods sacrificed to idols, keeping ceremonial feasts and holy days (including the rest days of those festivals). We are free to not keep ceremonial feasts and holy days because they were a "shadow of things to come" (Colossians 2:16-17) (i.e. they were ceremonies that pointed forward to the actual works of Jesus). However, the Sabbath is not a shadow, it represents a memorial of creation, sanctified at creation by God Himself.

Based on the comments on this page, here are a few other points of clarification:

  • The vegetarians in Roman 14:1 is about those early Christians who became vegetarians to avoid food sacrificed to idols, in accordance to Act 15:29. However, the vegan diet advocated by 7th Day Adventists relates to modern foods. Modern animals are raised entirely different from how they used to before. This is the same reason why the organic food movement is popular today, except 7th Day Adventists realized this in the 1850s. Vegetarianism is not a requirement but is greatly advised for heath reasons.

  • While Sabbath keeping Adventists do believe that breaking the Sabbath is a sin, they do believe all those who kept Sunday prior to God revealing this light to them are accepted. Those who are introduced to this topic, however, must search diligently and sincerely for the truth in the Bible until they are fully convicted (one way or the other). Sunday worship is not the mark of the beast today, but will be when it eventually becomes mandatory by law in the future, restricting religious liberty. Then it will become a great test on which men decide to serve God or the traditions of men.

For additional study of Roman 14:5, here is a short 2 min video from amazingfacts.org, scroll down to bottom for the transcript.


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    "The vegan diet advocated by 7th Day Adventists relates to modern foods. Modern animals are raised entirely different from how they used to before." Is that really the whole reason for vegetarianism? I suspect there must be something more. Vegetables are also raised differently. And it seems like "raise animals like they were before" would be an acceptable alternate. Or hunting and fishing. Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 1:04
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    @PaulDraper, yes it is about health, God will not take away the consequences of a poor diet. Eating naturally raised animals is a good step (not all Adventists are vegetarians), but the vegan diet is most preferable because this diet God gave to men initially, before the flood temporarily wiped out all vegetation. There is however an important distinction between clean and unclean animals for Adventists. God told Noah to bring 7 pairs of each clean animal and 1 pair of each unclean animal, and this distinction pre-dates the law given to Jews.
    – Beestocks
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 2:59
  • Seventh Day Adventists do not view Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭5‬ to be about the 4th commandment ... just as they confirm from Paul's earlier comment about food -- which the Ten Commandments never mention -- that the passage is not about the Law. Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 2:18
  • Please note that adventists are not vegan. Vegan and vegetarian are different things. Vegan is a modern word. Some adventists say, probably to simplify explanation, that they are vegan. I'm a vegetarian SDA and I don't share the vegan philosophy. Adventists were advised to become vegetarians since the XIX century. There are a lot of writings from E.G. White about health issues with meat and about the benefits of being veggie. But there are also statements about not killing animals (she mentions this in a chapter about the pre-diluvian life in one of the volumes of Spritual Gifts, from 1864).
    – nbloqs
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 23:05

Good question.

Similarly, an earlier verse seems diminish the importance of the Seventh Day Adventists' distinctive belief in vegetarianism.

For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. ...those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants?

(FYI, NLT has a more favorable translation. E.g., instead of "sensitive conscience", NIV says "whose faith is weak". But even NLT begs the question: does it really matter to God?)

The Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has a fairly extensive analysis of these verses. It was written by the department chair of Theology and Christian Philosophy at Andrews University (Seventh-day Adventist affiliation). I recommend reading the whole thing.

The short version:

Paul said something similar about diet that he also said about days. It's hard to tell whether there was a specific contention over diet, but as in other epistles, he is asking for more consideration from mature Christians towards their weaker brethren. Days should be viewed in the same spirit.

Paul is not trying to say there are no commandments, that "everything goes". He is not discrediting the Ten Commandments. He knows they are holy (Romans 7:12). That the Christian reader knows the indisputable value of the Ten Commandments (including seventh-day worship), is taken for granted by Paul.

Paul was likely talking about Jewish feast days. If Christians want to observe them, fine. If not, that's fine too.

  • Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Awesome thought! Thanks Paul! Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 23:43

The reference has nothing to do with the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is undeniably especially chosen by God, not by man. It existed before sin. It existed before Sinai as enroute to the mountain Manna fell on all days except the Sabbath, and a double portion on Friday which did not spoil overnight. When they went out to collect on the Sabbath God asked “how long will you disobey my commandments”.

The new testament spends a considerable number of pages and chapters discussing circumcision and it’s irrelevance to christians. What kind of a ruckus do you think would have ensued if the new christians had in any way attempted to ignore the Sabbath? The total lack of brouhaha over this issue speaks volumes.

Why is the name for Saturday in so many diverse languages “Sabbath”? Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Persian, Polish, Arabic, Turkish, Malay, Hindustani, and on and on and on.

Do you think this was out of deference for the Jews, a way all nations showed their respect for the Israelites?

Even Babylonian Syriac, Chaldee Syriac and Ancient Syriac name it Sabbath.

Never, not even once, does the Bible ever command Sunday observance.

If you call yourself a Christian it is impertinent to make a part of your faith something that Christ never taught.

No, the cloud of evidence is so overwhelming that no one should be in any doubt as to the perpetuity of all the commandments, including the 4th. To think that Paul would set himself up against God to call “the” Sabbath a day that was something we could choose or discard at will, is unthinkable.

Many accuse Adventists of making a huge issue of a small matter when it comes to the Sabbath.

But they forget that all the bible was written by men. Moved by the Holy Spirit, yes. But one glaring exception. Only one single piece of the entire Bible was written by God himself. On stone. When Moses smashed the commandments over the Israelite idol worship, God instructed him to return and God wrote them himself a second time.

Is it Adventists who make the commandments unique and especially holy above all else?

Or is it God?

The confusion stems from those who read with only the intention of denying the overwhelming evidence. They read the way a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination.


A comment from Lesley is about when the Sabbath begins and ends. Is is at sundown as the Jewish nation recons it? A second question is are we still under the ceremonial law? These are valid concerns because they closely relate to the Sabbath question.

From before sin, as the first creation, at the creation of the day's themselves, they were measured from evening to evening. The Jewish nation has always kept to that. It has as a consequence no bearing on or relationship with the ceremonial law.

The ceremonial law relates to the systems that prefigured Christ and the plan of salvation through Christ. They were instituted at the gates of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned. Abel as you know offered a sacrifice according to the law, and it was accepted. Cain wished to substitute the lamb with vegetables because he was a farmer not a shepherd as Abel was. God rejected his. Jesus was not to be prefigured by vegetables.

These systems ceased at the hour of Jesus death, signified by the tearing of the veil at that moment. No sacrificial offering was to occur again. The blood of bulls and goats and lambs ceased when type met anti-type and Jesus shed His perfect blood. With the sacrificial system went the priesthood, the temple, the altar, all the symbols. None had any meaning if you no longer performed a sacrifice and had blood to carry. No lamb to confess your sins over. With it went the day of atonement and all the other ceremonies.

BUT. They were lesson books to us of the plan of salvation. Each of those feasts and ceremonies teach us a lesson about how God is working for us. The Temple layout and the day of atonement in particular hold highly relevant lessons for us today. So though we are to no longer practice them, we are to look at them and read them and see the lesson they teach.

I will very briefly allude to the Temple. The layout of the Temple tells the plan of salvation. It begins in the courtyard (the world), outside the temple itself and it begins at the altar. Without Jesus, there is no plan. His blood is required for the plan of salvation to be possible. Everything starts there for He alone is the Way by which we may approach God with our sins forgiven. Next is the Laver, this symbolises baptism. It too, is outside the Temple, in the world. Here we publicly announce our allegiance to God, and join with Jesus symbolically in His death and His resurrection.

The true temple itself is in Heaven. Read Revelation and you see there the Seven Candlesticks, the Table of Shewbread, the Altar of Incense and finally, the Ark of the Covenant. All these you find mentioned in Revelation.

Additionally, as the True High Priest, it begins with Jesus walking amongst the candlesticks, trimming the wicks and supplying them with oil. If you study further you see Him progress through Revelation to the Table of Shewbread, the Altar of Incense and finally the presence of God at His throne. This occurs in order.

But I will stop there else this edit to the answer becomes detached from the original answer. This edit exists merely to show that the sacrificial system and all that related to it, the ceremonies, the temple and the earthly priesthood ceased at the cross, but that they are still and always will be relevant via the lessons they taught. These Ceremonial Sabbath's ceased. The weekly Sabbath, "The Sabbath" is not part of them.

So, the Sabbath begins as all days do, at sunset and proceeds until sunset the next day and this has no relationship to the sacrificial and ceremonial laws. (Ask any mother and she will tell you Sunday night as we call it, is a school night. Your performance and preparation for the day ahead begins with your rest the night before.)

This is why the Sabbath was on the tables of stone with the other moral laws, and is not part of the ceremonial law.

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    To keep the Sabbath according to the law, must we commence our Sabbath day rest at sundown on a Friday until sundown on a Saturday as Jewish people do? Are we still under the ceremonail law? Colossians 2:16-17 may be relevant here. Appreciate your explanation, even if I might not agree entirely.
    – Lesley
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 15:01

Here's a short answer on how do we read that verse:

In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day [to fast], while others think every day is alike.

(The Jewish usually fasted on Monday and Thursday, and Christians on Wednesday and Friday, as explained in Didache Chapter VIII - 1st verse)

You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable (for fast).

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    Welcome! Sadly, this doesn't seem to do much to address the question, and it doesn't make it clear that this is an SDA view. It would be much stronger if you used sources to demonstrate that it reflects the teaching of the SDA, as requested in the question. I hope you'll take a minute to how this site is different from others, and review how your answer can be supported. Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 14:06
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    On this Brazilian SDA website novotempo.com/namiradaverdade/… and on this video youtube.com/watch?v=646L_zQUPI0 a Brazilian SDA Pastor called Leandro Quadros says the same thing Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 14:27
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    Good! Then what you could do to improve this answer would be to summarize the arguments they make that are relevant to this specific question (the interpretation of Romans 14:5) and include those links in your answer as references. Hope this makes sense! Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 14:28

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