BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 29, Day 3: Romans 16:17-20

Summary of passage:  Paul warns the Romans to be wary of and to stay away from those who will cause divisions or put obstacles in their way that is contrary to the Lord’s word.  These people deceive others and are serving only themselves.  Be wise and may the grace of Jesus be with them.

Questions:

7)  You yourself have to know the Word so you can make sure you are not being deceived by those who claim to be teaching the Lord’s Word.  Be careful of teachers who may be out for themselves.

8 )  These people teach contrary to the Lord’s Word.  Stay away from them.

9)  Being innocent is staying away from what you know to be evil such as anti-Christians, those doing evil things such as abusers or law-breakers, and those who encourage you to disobey God and His commandments and what you know to be right.  Basically, avoid amoral people.  Being wise about what is good is craving more of it, being near those who are leading a Godly-life, and following God’s commands and His purpose for you.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Satan will be destroyed.  I know God will win and I can overcome Satan and sin with God’s help.

Conclusions:  A lot here for such a short passage.  Great advice from Paul.  In essence, surround yourself with Godly-people who will support your calling on this side of heaven.

End Notes:  Paul is referring to those who will divide God’s people and those who will deceive God’s people.  We must guard ourselves against this and not tolerate it by being indifferent.

Morris speculates:  “It may well be that Paul took the pen and wrote these words himself . . . It is quite possible that Paul wrote these words, then passed the pen back to Tertius for a postscript. Something unusual happened at the end of this letter, and this is a very possible understanding of it.”

The smooth words and flattery is the weapon of deceivers.  They usually target the naive or those who do not know/understand God’s Word.  These people are selfish.

The Romans are doing a good job of avoiding these people, but Paul wants to emphasize it.

We see that God does the crushing, but Satan ends up under the feet of believers.

Satan will be crushed when he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3).  Every victory God wins for us right now is a preview of that event.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 2: Romans 15:14-16

Summary of passage:  Paul says he believes the Jews are full of goodness and competent to instruct each other.  He is writing to remind them of God’s word and as a minister to the Gentiles to bring them the Good News so that they too may be sanctified by God.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another.”  I will encourage them with my presence, be a listening ear, offer up advice when needed, and support them in their dreams and God’s desire for their lives.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We all need reminders of God’s Word, how to live, and what God desires for our lives especially in today’s society because it’s so easy to get caught up in the lies of Satan and the evils of this world.  Paul is reminding the Jews that he is preaching to them as a reminder and he has confidence in them to follow God’s Word.  He is also preaching for the sake of the Gentiles as well.

5)  Paul says his priestly duty is “to proclaim the gospel of God so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament, the priest was our intermediary to God.  He was the only one who could approach God and cleanse the Jews of their sins.  Then Jesus came and became our high priest, our intermediary, eliminating the need for a formal priest to intercede for us.

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “the term is applied primarily to those authorized to perform the rites of the Israelite religion, but it can also be used with reference to pagan priests.

The formal priesthood in Israel began with the time of Exodus.  In the patriarchal times the heads of families offered sacrifices and intercessory prayers and performed general religious functions, but there seems to have been no specialization and no separate priestly office.  God appoints Aaron the tribe of the Levites to be the priests for the people in Exodus 28-29 and Leviticus 8.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only New Covenant priest, described in detail in Hebrews.  Traditionally, Christ has three offices:  prophet, priest, and king.  With Christ’s death, the atonement was finishes, essentially eliminating the traditional role of priest. Now, priests are teachers, not atoners.  When Christ gave up his life on the cross, the atonement was finished once and for all with absolutely nothing more for God or man to add to it.  We are saved!

Conclusions:  Loved reading about the history of the priesthood in my Bible Dictionary!  Love knowing Christ once again is the end all.  Praise God for His almighty goodness to us sinners!

End Notes:  Paul’s whole point of writing the book of Romans is encouragement as he says in this passage.  He is also writing proclaiming the Gentiles as an offering to God as well.

Romans 15:16 is filled with the language of priesthood. Paul says he serves as a “ministering priest” of Jesus Christ presenting the gospel as a “priestly service” so Gentile converts would be an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Scholar Murry explains:  “When Paul defines his ministry as ministering the gospel of God the apostle uses a word occurring nowhere else in the New Testament which may properly be rendered ‘acting as a priest.’ So the ministry of the gospel is conceived of after the pattern of priestly offering.”

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 4: Romans 15:7-13

Summary of passage:  Paul is still urging unity and urging the Roman Jews to accept the Gentiles, which were always in God’s plan to believe in Him and Jesus which Paul backs up with Old Testament passages.  This will glorify God and is the reason Christ came.  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It brings praise to God.  It humbles me because none of us deserve acceptance, but if God can do it, I am inspired to as well.

11)  2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10.  Everyone (including the Gentiles) will praise God and were all meant to praise Him as part of his plan for humanity.

12a)  It confirms to the Jews that the Gentiles were always part of God’s plan.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God wants all of us despite our differences.  So must we.  Most of our differences are petty.  Have a unity of Spirit.  It’s all for Him.

Conclusions:  Paul brings in the Old Testament to confirm his urgings that the Gentiles are to be accepted as God’s children since they are a part of God’s plan.  In essence, it all comes down to love.  Jesus’s command to love one another as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

End Notes:  We are to give others the grace God has given us fallen humans.  Acceptance and love.  Christ covered our faults and welcomed us; in the same way we do to others.

15:9:  From the beginning, God’s redemptive work in and for Israel had in view the redemption of the Gentiles (Genesis 12:2-3).  They would both see God’s mighty and gracious acts for his people and hear the praises of God’s people as they celebrated what God had done for them (a common theme in Psalms).  Thus they would come to know the true God and glorify him for his mercy.  God greatest and climactic act for Israel’s salvation was the sending of the Messiah to fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs and so to gather in the great harvest of the Gentiles.

We are to unite in Jesus over the common ground of praise to God.  As God blesses us, so we are equipped to live in unity with others.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 2: Romans 15:1-6

Summary of passage:  We need to subjugate our needs to others’ needs.  The Bible was written to encourage us and give us hope.  We are to have unity amongst Christians  so that we can glorify God and Jesus.

Questions:

3)  We are to subjugate our need to others’ needs.  We are to have unity amongst Christians in order to glorify the Father and Jesus.  We are privileged to have the Bible to guide us and teach us.  We are strong and should bear with the failings of the weak and bear the weak up.  We are to lead by example as Jesus did.

4)  People pleasing is where we do things or tasks so that others are happy, which includes things we probably shouldn’t be doing.  Pleasing your neighbor is doing something that the neighbor needs doing and sincerely helping him do it.  It’s making others stronger through your help.  These are things that make the neighbor a better person and more confident and hopefully more Godly.  The difference is the intent behind the act and the results.

5)  The big one is where Jesus gave up his life for us.  The results are eternal salvation for believers.  Everything Jesus did was for others:  healing, feeding the 5000, teaching, serving, etc.  He is our greatest example.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Selfish.  Greedy.  At times evil and corrupt.  Closed-minded.  Ultimately, miserable.  I can be very selfish.  Greedy.  Evil.  Definitely.  The difference is I fight against that with God’s and the Holy Spirit’s help and I hope I’m making progress, but oftentimes I don’t think so.

Conclusions:  I love the strong versus weak analogy.  I tend to think of myself as strong and I’m very impatient with those who aren’t.  This isn’t necessarily physical.  It’s emotional and mental as well.  This is a great reminder for me to see others with God’s grace.  I also love Paul’s reminder about unity with other Christians (BSF will explore this on Day 3).  I have drifted away from weekly church attendance (other than BSF) and I know I need a church home.  Desperately so.  Perhaps this will “kick me in the butt” to do something about it!

End Notes:  Paul says to use your strength to serve your brothers, not just yourself.  “Bear with” really means “bearing up” your brother i.e. holding him up.  This advice goes against the “me” society today.  Paul says if you build up others you will build yourself up in the process.

Paul gives the same advice in Philippians 2:3-4.  Put others first.  The goal is to make the weak strong.

We are to build each other up; not tear each other down.

Jesus is the ultimate example of one who did not please Himself, but put others first. Paul’s classic development of this idea is in Philippians 2:5-11.

Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

The commandment Jesus fulfilled from Psalm 69:7-9 was written for our learning so that we might have hope, knowing we are doing what is right even when difficult.  “You” refers to God and “me” is the righteous sufferer whom Paul identifies with Christ.

Responding rightly bothers people even more.  No one can hurt God’s children.

Paul then prays for the Holy Spirit to endow this attitude onto the Romans.  Other translations here have “God of patience” instead of endurance.  In essence, Paul is saying wait on God’s plan for your life.  God’s purpose for your life takes time.

Paul encourages believers not to necessarily have the same conclusions but to agree to disagree in love (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 4: Romans 14:13-18

Summary of passage:  Paul repeats to stop judging others and quit putting stumbling blocks in others’ way.  If someone believes something is unclean, fine.  Let it go.  If  you are having dinner with someone and you are eating something they disapprove of, stop eating it for that meal.  Don’t be a stumbling block.  What matters is serving God and have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

9)  Stop judging others.  Don’t put stumbling blocks in others’ way or be a stumbling block.  Let things go.

10)  Jesus’s sacrifice eradicated all the old rules so now all foods are clean.  The person’s beliefs himself makes food unclean–no rules do.

11)  By not being thoughtful of the other person.  If you drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic, you are causing him or her to stumble.  Be considerate of others’ struggles.

12)  “Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  God’s kingdom is not concerned with petty arguments.  God is concerned with the heart.

Conclusions:  Straight-forward passage with straight-forward questions.  Rise above the pettiness!

End Notes:  Paul summarizes Chapter 14 so far:  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus helped us to understand that we should not judge others according to a standard that we would not want to have applied to our self.  We still need to and have a responsibility for admonishment (Romans 15:14) or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2). However, when we admonish or rebuke, we do it over clear Scriptural principles, not over doubtful things. We may offer advice to others about doubtful things, but should never judge them.

We might stumble or cause our brother to fall in two ways. We can discourage or beat them down through our legalism against them, or we can do it by enticing them to sin through an unwise use of our liberty.

Our freedom from Old Testament law is good unless we use it against another brother–then it is evil.

Love is the proper way to settle disputes.

Christ died for both weak and strong Christians.  Surely, we can adjust our behavior accordingly (1 Corinthians 8:11-13; 10:23, 28-29, 32-22).

This passage is another great example of Paul’s concern for the moral and ethical dimension of the Christian life.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 5: Romans 13:6-7

Summary of passage:  Pay taxes to the authorities who should be paid for governing.  Give everyone what you owe such as taxes, revenue, respect and honor.

Questions:

12)  In essence, Jesus said the same thing as this passage:  Give to those what you owe them.  Pay your taxes and pay God.

13)  Today, there are many purposes for taxes and many different kinds of taxes (like in ancient times as well but in a different way).  Here, it says pay taxes so that the officials may be paid for their time in running the government.  Taxes also go for the public good and items and services we consume collectively like roads, police, etc.  We should have an attitude of gratitude towards taxes that pays for the military and police who keep us safe, roads we travel on to visit loved ones, and so many other things we don’t think of.  Taxes are a part of life.  Accept it.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

Exodus 20:12:  Father and Mother.  Honoring their wishes and what they’ve done for you.  Being there for them in their old age.  Loving them.
Leviticus 19:32:  The elderly and God.  Volunteer to help the elderly.  Care for them in their old age.  Visit them.  Care about them and their lives.
1 Timothy 5:17:  “the elders who direct the affairs of the church especially those who preach and teach”  Pastors and church leaders.  Pray for them.  Care for them.  Do random acts of kindness for them.  Give to them when they don’t expect it.
1 Timothy 6:15b-16:  God.  There is no limit to honoring God.  Prayer, obedience, evangelism, being kind to others, worship, etc.
1 Peter 2:13-17:  Governing authorities, rulers, respect everyone, respect believers, fear God, honor your king.  Obey laws, don’t bad-mouth leaders, pray for leaders and rulers, treat others as you want to be treated, obey God.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray for them.  Pray for them to follow God’s will.  Honor their choices in life.  Give it to God.  It’s none of your business when it’s friends and families and acquaintances.  Treat them as you want to be treated.  Love them.

Conclusions:  The theme of Lesson 24 is honor and respect authority (both human authority and God’s authority).  Obey both human laws and God’s laws.  Overall, be good citizens and people.

End Notes:  We pay taxes so the officials can do their job in keeping an orderly society–not to enrich them.  But also so they can eat as well.  Paying taxes is supporting God’s work since He gave the government to help us.

Good question to ponder:  Is rebellion against government ever justified? If a citizen has a choice between two governments, it is right to choose and to promote the one that is most legitimate in God’s eyes – the one which will best fulfill God’s purpose for governments.  However, knowing which is right in God’s eyes is the challenge.  The Communists believe they are right. So do democracies.

These verses are easy for those of us living in a democracies.  We are the government; therefore, we are supporting ourselves when we pay taxes as the money goes for public good.

In ancient times, this would have been much more difficult when rulers were oftentimes evil.  The first generation of Christians benefited from the same freedom of worship and legal protection as the Jews.  But soon emperors such as Nero turned on Christians, torturing and murdering thousands.  History shows that most of them followed Paul’s difficult advice in this passage, refusing to revolt against the government no matter how hostile it had become.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 3: Romans 13:1-5

Summary of passage:  You must submit to government authorities because God is the one who has given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.  If you rebel against the government, you are rebelling against God and are therefore subject to judgment.  Do what is right and you have nothing to fear.  The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer.  Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.

Questions:

6)  God

7)  Glorify, remember, is great honor or praise.  When we obey authority, we are showing our faith in God and His Word.  Thus, we are obeying God when we obey authority, growing our faith, which honors Him.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s not.  I was brought up with police officers in my family and with a healthy respect for those in authority.  I pay my taxes.  I follow the laws.  I respect all elected leaders.  I vote.  I pray for them to lead us in God’s ways.

Conclusions:  As you can see, I didn’t get much out of these questions.  We are coming up to the end of Romans with only 4 chapters left and 6 weeks so expect more of this drawing out phase.

End Notes: [Same as yesterday’s]. Connecting Romans 12, people are not to take vengeance but the government can punish wrongdoers since God gave them the authority to do so.  Paul is speaking to some Jews who refused to acknowledge the authority of the rulers and thus paid no taxes.

“Be subject to” is a significant theme for Romans 13:1-7.  The civil rulers, all of whom were probably pagans at the time Paul was writing.  Christians may have been tempted not to submit to them and to claim allegiance only to Christ.  Even the possibility of a persecuting state did not shake Paul’s conviction that civil government is ordained by God (1 Peter 2:13-17).

Government authorities serve a purpose for God.  God appoints a nation’s leaders, but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it is to judge the people like we read in Daniel and how God used the Babylonian empire to judge His people.

Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.

“Your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the ‘authority!’ ” (Newell)

Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19).  Paul is describing the ideal rulers here.  Obviously, man is fallen so this is not always the case the rulers will do what is right.

God uses governing authorities as a check upon man’s sinful desires and tendencies. Government can be an effective tool in resisting the effects of man’s fallenness.

Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.  Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.  Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.

Fun Fact (taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary):  The Bible, by exhortation and commandment, requires submission and obedience to six principal authorities:

  1.  Parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; 1 Timothy 3:4)
  2.  Teachers (Proverbs 5:12-13)
  3.  Husbands (Ephesians 5:21-22, 24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5-6)
  4.  Masters–or today, employers (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18)
  5.  Government (Romans 13:1-2, 5: Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13)
  6.  God (Genesis 26:5, Ephesians 5:24, Hebrews 5:9; 12:9, James 4:7)

The supreme test of faith is obedience (1 Samuel 28:18).  The Bible often links obedience to faith (Genesis 22:18; Romans 1:5; 1 Peter 1:14).  Jesus obedience to the Father is the supreme example for Christians.