5-Minute Bible Studies

TOLERANCE-A Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Margaret Garner
Senior Associate, Worldwide Discipleship Association, Fayetteville, GA

January 14, 2002


In this passage Paul admonishes the Roman Christians to not judge harshly those who are less mature and/or those who have different standards of conduct. For example, if a Christian believes he should be a vegetarian, do not belittle or attack his belief, and do not flaunt your own freedom to eat meat. Consider your brother’s need, and be tolerant. Paul sums up his advice in verse 19: Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Thus, focus on what is important: unity, the person’s needs and mutual growth.

While Paul specifically addresses tolerance in the spiritual dimension of life, tolerance is necessary and needs to be applied in all areas: the annoying habits of others; the value and customs of others from different ethnic, racial or cultural backgrounds; individual quirks and preferences; and other differences. It is important to note that biblical tolerance does not mean compromising on essential truth (such as the deity of Christ, the authority of Scripture, and other biblical truths.). It means compromising on the non-essentials of our faith (such as denominational preferences and customs, varying styles of worship, etc.)


Some practical evidences of tolerance we can see in our lives today are seen in the following “I will” statements:

I will not confuse what is right with what is popular.
I will expect the same of myself as I expect of others.
I will look for ways to help others mature.
I will accept my own unchangeables and the unchangeables of others.
I will listen before I form an opinion.

Divide into pairs and discuss:

  • What are some of the roots of intolerance? (Possible answers: fear, ignorance, perfectionism, pride)
  • Name some common areas in which we often see intolerance in our own culture both Christian and non-Christian. (Possible answers: in racial issues, in ethnic and cultural issues, in life style issues.)
  • What are some ways we can use to overcome intolerance, both personally and in our society? (Possible answers: exposure and interaction, education, communication, humility, openness, commitment to the Lord to love our neighbors.)


Spend a few minutes in personal reflection:

  • Identify one area of intolerance in your life that is bothersome to you (and to God).
  • Write a plan for beginning to work on this area of weakness.
  • Share the plan with a trusted friend and ask him to hold you accountable.





This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.