BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 23, Day 2: Romans 12:9-13

Summary of passage:  Paul offers sage words for living:  Love others.  Honor others above yourselves.  Always serve God.  Be joyful, patience, and faithful.  Share with those who are in need.  Practice hospitality.

Questions:

3)  That love is sincere.  Cling to what is good.  Hate evil.  Be devoted to others.  Put others above yourself.  Serve God always.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with those in need.  Practice hospitality.  Remembering all this helps us to keep in God’s will and be of heaven and not earth.

4)  Paul’s definition is all about sacrificing for others and doing for others.  Love in our culture is all about how “you” feel and what is best for “you.”  Part of hating evil is recognizing and acknowledging what is evil.  So many today want to sugar coat sin.  Sin is sin no matter how big or how small.  Recognize for what it is, call it what it is, work to eradicate it from your life and the life of those around you.  Only then can you sincerely love like God loves.

5)  Proverbs 8:13:  “To fear the Lord (here means righteous living) is to hate evil”.  Evil includes here pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech.

Proverbs 13:5:  “The righteous hate what is false”.  God’s Word is truth.  False is Satan’s word.  We are to hate falsehood and Satan and sin, which brings “shame and disgrace.”  With Jesus, there is no shame nor disgrace.  Only grace and glory and honor.

Ecclesiastes 3:8: “A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”  Evil is a part of human nature.

Isaiah 61:8:  The Lord says through Isaiah that He hates robbery and iniquity.  This is the opposite of God.  He is complete good.  He cannot stand evil.

Amos 5:15:  “Hate evil, love good.”

Luke 14:26:  Jesus here says his followers should hate their earthly life and the evil inside of others when they are here on earth.

Evil is sugar coated in our culture.  It’s made to be not so bad.  These verses tell us how evil is against everything God and Jesus are and want.  As we grow to be more like Jesus, we need to treat evil like Jesus:  don’t abide it.  Period.

Conclusions:  So focused on verse 9 today and evil.  BSF has a good point.  So many people today think evil is too strong of a word.  But all sin is evil.  It is not of God.  We must remember this and quit believing our little sins are okay.  They’re not!  Strive every day to eradicate evil from your life/nature.

End Notes:  Other translations say:  “Let love be without hypocrisy”.  This isn’t real love at all.  However, I firmly believe in “fake it till you make it.”  Some people are hard to love, but treating them with dignity and respect can grow into love.

We are to hate evil AND cling to what is good.  Most of time we pick only one to do.

Be affectionate and genuine to one another.

This is simply a call for good manners, right?  A lot of kids nowadays have no manners at all.

We are also called to work hard.

“Spiritual fervor” can be translated as “boiling.”

The call to hope in the Bible usually has in mind the call to our ultimate home with Jesus.  Everything we do must be with an eye towards heaven.  Difficult times and troubles do not excuse us to abandon our hope and love and prayer.  Just because we’re having a bad day doesn’t mean you should make others have a bad day.  Always cling to Jesus and what he offers.  It’s a cause for joy (1 Peter 1:3-9).

Leon Morris explains patient as: “denotes not a passive putting up with things, but an active, steadfast endurance.”  Enduring triumphantly which is necessary for Christians because affliction is our inevitable experience (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12)  Tribulation/affliction: “denotes not some minor pinprick, but deep and serious trouble.”

“Faithful in prayer”:  One must not only pray in hard times, but also maintain communion with God through prayer at all times (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

God’s people is sometimes translated as “saints”, which all believers are.  The idea here is practice what you preach. Put into action what you believe.  The ancient Greek word for hospitality is literally translated “love for strangers.” In addition, “given” (translated for us as practice) is a strong word, sometimes translated “persecute” (as in Romans 12:14).  The idea is to “pursue” people you don’t know with hospitality.  This is love in action, not just feelings.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 5: Romans 12:6-8

Summary of passage:  God has given each of us different gifts.  Let us use our gifts (whatever they may be) for His glory and to the best of our ability.

Questions:

12)  1 Corinthians 7:7b:  Each person has his or her own gift from God.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6:  Each gift we have works to glorify God.

Ephesians 4:11-13:  God gave us each different works of service to build each other up and mature to the fullness of Christ.

1 Peter 4:10-11:  We should use our gifts to serve others, administering God’s grace and speaking as if we are speaking the very words of God.

13)  Prophesy:  “let him use it in proportion to his faith.”  If one hears a word from God, share it.

Serving:  “let him serve”  If one is called to serve in an area of church, serve.

Teaching:  “let him teach”  If one is called to teach, teach.

Encouraging:  “let him encourage”  If one is blessed with encouraging words, share them.

Contributing to the needs of others:  “let him give generously”  If one is called to contribute to the needs of others (which we all are to a certain degree), do so!

Leadership:  “let him govern diligently”  If one is called for leadership, govern according to God’s principles.

Showing mercy:  “let him do it cheerfully”  If we need to show mercy, do so with a kind heart in forgiveness.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s given me some of these and others not listed.  I’m always teaching my kids like in homeschool or in daily living.  I teach other how to workout correctly with my fitness/CrossFit jobs.  I serve others be it my family or in my work.  I donate to charity groups.  I serve on a local board and hope one day to be on the Town Board and mayor of my town.  I’m not the best at encouraging but I try.  Same with mercy.  I also write via this forum and my novels.  Every day is an opportunity to do His will in all areas of life and in the areas in which we are gifted.  Do you take advantage of it?

Conclusions:  Great reminder and verses to remind us all that we each have a different purpose here on this planet for Him.  We each have different gifts to use for His glory.  We need to take advantage of these and use them for Him and give Him the glory for all we accomplish for Him.  Is it for Him or for you?

End Notes:  The ancient Greek word for “spiritual gifts” is charismata, which means a gift of grace. This term was apparently coined by Paul to emphasize that the giving of these spiritual gifts was all of grace.

Spiritual gifts are given at the discretion of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Paul is careful to warn us against being proud of our gifts and exalting them/us instead of God.

Prophecy:  God may give us something to say to an individual or church body that stretches our faith. If we can’t prophecy in faith and trust that God has really spoken to us, we shouldn’t do it at all.

Prophecy in the Biblical understanding, isn’t necessarily “fore-telling” in a strictly predictive sense. It is more accurately “forth-telling” the heart and mind of God, which may or may not include a predictive aspect.

This warns us against flippant, “stream of consciousness” prophecy that has no difficulty saying, “Thus says the Lord” at the drop of a hat.

In proportion to our faith: The ancient Greek text actually has “the” before faith. Paul may be cautioning that prophecy must be according to the faith, in accord with the accepted body of doctrine held among believers.

Some take the proportion of faith to be the proportion of the faith of the audience of the prophecy; this has truth also.

This was a warning that meant more in Ancient Times as many claimed that God spoke to them and then their words were not from God or Biblically-based.  This was a warning against false prophets.

Ministry can be seen as serving in practical ways and not necessarily as a pastor or priest. Paul sees this as important ministry from the Holy Spirit as well.

Teaching has in mind instruction, while exhortation encourages people to practice what they have been taught; both are necessary for a healthy Christian life.

When someone who is called and gifted to be a giver stops giving, they will often see their resources dry up – having forgotten why God has blessed them.

It is easy for leaders to become discouraged and feel like giving up, but they must persevere if they will please God by their leadership.

It can be hard enough to show mercy, but even harder to be cheerful about it. This reminds us that the gift of showing mercy is a supernatural gift of the Spirit.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 4: Romans 12:4-5 & Ephesians 4:1-6

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:4-5:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Ephesians 4:1-6:  Paul urges us to live a life worthy of Christ.  Be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with one another in love.  Be peaceful and unified.  Be one body along with the One God, One Spirit, and One Son.

Questions:

9)  Believers are the body of Christ and it is Christ who unites us all.

10)  By peace.  Through humility, gentleness, patience, and love.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Living a Godly life is how I promote unity.  Doing my part in God’s will in the way I interact with others and lead my life.

Conclusions: Didn’t get much out of the questions, but Paul’s exhortations are clear:  it is our responsibility as Christians to keep the unity amongst us and not let petty arguments/sin/Satan/the world divide us.  We are to keep Christ in the forefront always and forever.

End NotesRomans 12:4-5:  The church is a unified whole with distinct members.  In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity (unity within diversity).  There is a delicate balance between unity and individuality.  Both co-exist but not at the expense of the other.  Christ is our common ground.

Ephesians 4:1-6:  We should want to walk in God’s way and serve Him out of gratitude for all He has done for us.  It is God’s love that fuels us.

Let God be in control (humility).  Forgive one another out of love and peace as in this world we will inevitably sin against others.

This is spiritual unity, not structural unity i.e. unity of different denominations, etc.  The complete fusion of all churches would inevitably lead to corruption (think Catholicism in the Middle Ages).

We have unity because of what we share in common.  In Jesus we share one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father.

The baptism here is a baptism of water, an outward sign of acceptance of Christ into the soul.

Fun Fact:  Christianus sum, I am a Christian in Latin.  How Martin Luther answered all temptations from Satan.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 4: Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:3-5; and Ephesians 2:1-2

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:2:  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Galatians 1:3-5:  This is part of Paul’s greetings to the church of Galatia where he offers up grace and peace from God and Jesus who sacrificed himself for you to rescue us from our sins and this evil age according to God’s will forever.

Ephesians 2:1-2:  Here Paul reminds the church of Ephesus how they were dead in their transgressions and sins when they lived in the world which is ruled by Satan who is still working in those unsaved by Christ.

Questions:

10)  The world is the world system that contains evil and corruption and is opposed to God and rebels against Him.

11)  Those who love the world are not in God.  The world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.  The world is temporal.  In my own words, the world is anything opposed to God’s Word and His will.  Anything the devil has a hold of.  Any temptation you face.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The world tries to justify sin.  And it puts a high priority on self.  I fight against selfishness every day and it’s hard not to get caught up in doing what “feels good.”  I’ve found putting God at the center of all you do helps to break the influence of the world and re-focus your attention on Him, His ways, His goals and priorities.

Conclusions:  It’s important to realize the influence of the world on yourself, which has some influence if you interact with anyone at all especially unbelievers.  Satan is sneaky and is always seeking your weaknesses.  Use His weapons (the Word, prayer, etc) against him always.

End NotesRomans 12:2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the live that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.

Galatians 1:3-5:  Written by Paul to the churches in Galatia around 50 AD.

“Grace and peace to you”:  This was Paul’s familiar greeting, drawing from the traditional greetings in both Greek culture (grace) and Jewish culture (peace). Paul used this exact phrase five other times in the New Testament.

Fun Fact:  Paul used the word grace more than 100 times in his writings. Among all the other writers of the New Testament, it is only used 55 times. Paul was truly the apostle of grace.

“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.” (Martin Luther)

Note the first thing Paul says about Jesus is he gave himself for our sins.  Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross. He cannot wait to make this plain, and we find a reference to it in his very first sentence.

Jesus gave. We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Yet God the Father was not the only giver; Jesus also gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God and a loving, giving Savior.

Jesus gave the greatest thing anyone can give–Himself.  There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.  Why did Jesus give himself?  For our sins.  If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus rescues us.

The purpose of Jesus’s sacrifice is to glorify God.  Yes, we are saved.  But it’s for the glory of God.

Ephesians 2:1-2:   Paul ended the last chapter by considering that the ultimate example of God’s power was the resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul considers what the implications of Jesus’ resurrection power are for our life.

Paul is speaking of spiritual death here not physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.  Transgressions is crossing God’s boundaries.  Sins is falling short of God’s standards.

Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of air and is active in those who are disobedient to God.

Once walked is our old self.  We should now feel uncomfortable with sin in our new life.  Satan guided us in the old life.  Now God does.

This is a unique title that speaks to Satan’s authority and realm of influence.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 5: Romans 11:35-36

Summary of passage:  God has given all things to us and we can never repay Him.  No one has ever given God anything.  He needs nothing.  He’s God!

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.  This planet.  All we need to survive on this planet.  A capacity to survive (our minds).  Everything on this planet.  Rule over this planet and the plants and animals created.  Everything is from Him.  Life and breath.  Our place in time.  God has given us his son to die for us so that we’ll have eternal life.  Respond with gratefulness, praise, humility, a heart to do His will, a desire to not waste my life on earthly pursuits but on heavenly treasures.  The greatest response is to do His will.  Keep Him at the center of all you do and you’ll succeed.

13)  Nothing.  All He asks is our praise of Him.

14)  This thought creeps in when you live a life of entitlement.  When you think people or even God owes you for something.  This life is a gift and treat it as such.  No one owes you anything.  God gave us life.  He owes us nothing.  It is us who owe him everything.

15)  We were created (along with this universe) to praise Him.  To live for Him.  To give Him the glory.  As the creator of the universe, God is the only one who can give us anything.

16)  For His glory, honor, and power.  God’s ultimate plan is for man to be redeemed and inhabit the earth with Jesus at the End Times–to spend all of eternity worshipping Him–through the blood of His Son.

Conclusions:  Another good lesson on how we are God’s and how we only exist through Him.  Hence, He deserves all of our praise and exaltation.  Imagine our daily lives if we remembered our existence is only because of Him.  How this would change the world!

End Notes: [Same as Yesterday’s]

Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.

Conclusions to Lesson 20:  This is the BSF I know and love.  Great study, questions, and reflection on some powerful verses in the Bible.  We got to study the fundamentals of the Bible (why we were created) and our role in the world.  A lesson we all need every few months to remind us we deserve nothing, God owes us nothing, and everything is from Him and through Him and to Him.  Keep it up, BSF!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 3: Romans 11:33-34

Summary of passage:  We humans are too stupid to know God’s wisdom and knowledge.

Questions:

6)  Wisdom and omniscient

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

1 Kings 8:39:  “Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men).  Forgiving others is always a challenge.  If we keep Jesus in the forefront of our minds, forgiving is easy.  I need to release bitter feelings and bloom here where I’m planted instead of in the past.

Job 9:4:  “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?”  God is in control.  He knows what He’s doing.  We cannot hope to know or do more than God.

Job 28:12-28:  Only God knows and has wisdom.  Man needs only to fear God and shun evil.  God himself will handle the rest.  You cannot find wisdom by searching.  God is the source of wisdom.  I need to pray to Him for guidance in my life and to help me understand what is happening around me.  Only God knows the plans He has laid for me and where I’m going.

Psalm 147:4:  “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”  Knowledge.  God knows everything and puts everything in its place.  God is in control of everything that happens in my life.

Proverbs 3:19:  “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place (verse 20) by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”  God is Creator of all things.  Everything works together to create this amazing place we live.  God does not need my help to accomplish anything.  He needs me to pray and obey.  Period.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s everywhere in my life.  One of the ways is in my family.  When I was young I had a vision of being a world traveler, never marrying, never having kids, always on the move.  Then I met my husband and all that changed.  I have 3 beautiful kids because of it and I can’t imagine my life without them. God knew this all along.  I’m glad I’m not in charge!

Conclusions:  So comforting to know God does it all.  So humbling to admit and know I’m ignorant of God’s ways.  Good lesson of showing us to surrender our need to be in control and our need to know everything.  We don’t and we’re not.  The sooner you admit this and depend upon Him, the less drama will be in your life and the more content you shall be.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]

Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 2: Romans 11:33-36

Summary of passage:  This doxology that ends this section of Romans is the natural outpouring of Paul’s praise to God, whose wisdom and knowledge brought about his great plan for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.

Questions:

3)  Paul is praising God due to His grace extended to the Jews who will be saved.  God has not forgotten them, His call upon them is irrevocable, and Israel as a whole will turn to God.

4)  God has offered his grace and mercy to the Gentiles because of the Israelites transgressions.  This will make Israel envious and in turn bring the elect among them to Christ.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Given me a job opportunity from home where I can improve our income significantly.

Conclusions:  This whole lesson is on Paul’s Doxology (a liturgical formula of praise to God).  I’ll be curious to see where BSF goes with this.  This lesson covers the “why” behind this praise.

End Notes:  Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.