BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 29, Day 4: Romans 16:20-25

Summary of passage:  Timothy, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus send their greetings to the Roman church.

Questions:

11)  Timothy is Paul’s fellow worker.  Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater are relatives.  Tertius wrote this letter down to the Romans.  Gaius is hosting Paul.  Erastus is the city’s director of public works in Corinth.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Husband, kids, mom, sister, relatives, friends, other family members, church members, strangers even.  I encourage all of them to win the race for the Lord.  The little daily encouragements and the overarching goals.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life is all about relationships.  We were created so we wouldn’t be alone.  None of us could survive without each other.  We need to build each other up and treat each other as family.

Conclusions:  Wouldn’t it be cool to be mentioned in the Bible for all of eternity?  Help one another.  Enjoy one another.  Be with others.  Love others.  People is what makes life meaningful (along with God).

End Notes:  Timothy rightly rates a first mention, being one of Paul’s closest and most trusted associates.

Tertius was Paul’s writer as the apostle dictated the letter. This was Paul’s normal practice in writing letters to churches, but this is the only letter where Paul’s secretary is mentioned by name.

Gaius had such a reputation for hospitality that Paul can say he was regarded as the host of the whole church.

Jason is possibly the Jason mentioned in Acts 17:5-9.

Sosipater is probably Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea (Acts 20:4).

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 4: Romans 15:22-29

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Romans he plans to visit them on his way to Spain.  However, now he’s headed to Jerusalem to deliver funds he has raised from Macedonia and Achaia.  The Gentiles owe the Jews for sharing in the spiritual blessings.  After this trip, he is headed to them.

Questions:

10)  He longed to visit the Roman church but he needed first to go to Jerusalem to deliver funds he has raised from his travels to Macedonia and Achaia.

11)  Duties come first.  Paul wants to go to Rome but first has to deliver the funds he has raised.  Priorities are important.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Macedonia and Achaia 1) were pleased to donate 2) had a duty to donate to the Jews since they now share in the spiritual blessing.  Giving is a blessing and should be grateful to do so and we should give to those who have helped us along the way.

Conclusions:  Put God’s will for your life first.  You will be blessed for doing so.  God’s will leads to unexpected plans for your life!

End Notes:  Paul wrote Romans while traveling to raise funds for famine relief.  In another letter (2 Corinthians 8) he gives more details on this mercy mission on behalf of the Jews in Jerusalem.  Paul’s actions set an example of unity for a church composed of both Jews and Gentiles–unity sorely needed by groups wracked by the divisions described in Chapter 14.

Paul’s pioneer work came first.  Paul probably wanted Rome to be his base of operations for the western part of the empire, even as Antioch was his base for the eastern part.

Paul had these plans; yet things did not work out according to his plans. He did go to Rome, yet not as a missionary on his way to Spain. He went to Rome as a prisoner awaiting trial before Caesar, where he would preach the gospel on a different kind of frontier.

God had other plans for Paul, which led to unexpected opportunities.  As a prisoner, Paul was able to preach to the Roman emperor!

After his release from the Roman imprisonment at the end of the Book of Acts, Paul did in fact make it to Spain and preached the gospel there.

Paul thought he would stop in Corinth on his way to Jerusalem to deliver a collection from Christians in Macedonia and Achaia (Acts 20:1-3).

Paul sets the example:  We should help those who have helped us.  The Gentile Christians of the broader Roman empire had received so much spiritually from the community of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, it was only right that they help the Jerusalem Christians in their need.  Paul wanted to present this gift personally to convey the lvoe and concern of the Gentile churches for their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ.

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 25, Day 5: Romans 13:12-14

Summary of passage:  Put aside sin (orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension, jealousy, etc) and put on Jesus (the armor of light).

Questions:

13)  Jesus.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is the opposite of sin and will defeat sin.  Light wins out in a dark world and always defeats it.  With Jesus all sin melts away and I can defeat it.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Constant prayer, memorize Scripture, surround myself with Christian friends who can keep me accountable, put God in the center of my life, remember who this world is all about (Jesus), try to keep myself away from things that cause me to sin and places and events.

Conclusions:  Not sure we needed two days on Jesus is the light of the world.

End Notes:  [Same as yesterday’s]  Putting aside darkness (sin) and putting on light is a metaphor with putting on clothes (which we all do).  Put on Jesus (the armor of light) every morning!

Spurgeon explains this passage: “The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.”

The night is the present evil age.  This is a clear teaching of the nearness of the end times (1 Corinthians 7:29; Philippians 4:5; James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:18).  Early Christians did not believe Jesus would return within a few years.  Instead, they saw the death and resurrection of Jesus as the events that began the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2).  “The night is nearly over” is the next great event in God’s plan, which is the Second Coming.  The day is when Jesus does come and ushers in the consummation of the kingdom.

The armor of light allows us to both defend and attack like in battle.

We have to work to not let sin creep into our lives since it is our nature to sin.  This is part of being present so you can stop sin in its tracks!

When we clothe ourselves with Jesus, he becomes our partner and helper and he works through us (not for us) to combat sin.

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.

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 3: Romans 12:4-5

Summary of passage:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The human body.  The body works together for one goal, which is the health and function of the human body.  So are Christians. We all have different functions in the body, working together for Christ.

8 )  Each member depends on the other member to function properly and efficiently.  Each member has its own unique skills, designs, and qualifications to contribute to the smooth functioning of the body.

Conclusions:  Inherently self-explanatory passage.

End Notes:  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.