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 25, Day 2: Romans 13:8-10 with Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Summary of passages:  Romans 13:8-10:  Love others and you will fulfill the law.  Love your neighbor as yourself.

Romans 12:9-21:  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.Bless your enemies.  Be happy with others and sad with others.  Be humble and mindful of others.  Do what is right.  Don’t seek retribution.  Be at peace with all.  Let God handle judgment/revenge.  Be kind to your enemies.  Overcome evil with good.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:  Everything is meaningless (faith, generosity, speaking in tongues, etc) without love.  Love is patient, kind, protects, trusts, perseveres, and never fails.  It does not envy, boast, be prideful, envious or rude.  It keeps no record of wrongs, it’s not easily angered, and it’s not self-seeking.  Love rejoices in truth and does not delight in evil.

Questions:

3) To love is the one debt that is never paid off.  No matter how much people have loved, they are under obligation to keep on loving. Because out of our selfishness we hurt others instead of love.  Our nature is sin, not love.  We cannot love one another perfectly.  It’s impossible.  Only Jesus can.  Hence, our perpetual need for Christ in our lives.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Legalistic is when you do things because they are the law.  It’s strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.  It’s when you put the law above all else including mercy, compassion, and moral values.  Loving obedience is following the law but with the heart.  Paul says here to let love lead the way with grace and mercy at the forefront.  We see this when even though people break laws they are not punished out of mercy and compassion.  Personally, I do lean towards legalistic.  I like laws and like others to follow them.  However, mercy and grace have a place.  It’s a balance we all need.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Others in general.  It reveals how selfish I truly am.  I’m not in denial of this.  I pray about it and make small steps daily towards the kind of love Jesus is/shows/gives.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The fulfillment of the law is perfect obedience to God and since love is the greatest commandment and the ultimate test it would fulfill God’s desire for us.  Love is the greatest gift (besides His Son) God has given us.  Imagine how our lives would be if we approached every person, every problem, every sin, everything out of love.  We would be compassionate, generous, forthright, and amazing people like Jesus.

Conclusions:  1 Corinthians 13:1-8 is one of the most famous Bible verses and one of my favorites.  It sums up love beautifully and perfectly.  Paul was definitely a gifted and God-led writer.  I love how BSF brings up the fact we are to love with a heart of grace and mercy and not be such a stickler when it comes to the law.  Remember Jesus came to replace the law which wasn’t working and was imperfect with his perfection.  What did Jesus bring?  Love.  Great stuff here!

End NotesRomans 13:8-10:  The only debt we are to hold (both to others and to God) is to love another.  No, this isn’t against borrowing money as Jesus permitted borrowing in Matthew 5:42.  This is just referencing love.

Paul echoes Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40. This is one of the two commands upon which hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Love your neighbor means to love the people you actually meet with and deal with every day. It is easy for us to love in the theoretical and the abstract, but God demands that we love real people.

Spurgeon says about this passage:  “No man can compass the ends of life by drawing a little line around himself upon the ground. No man can fulfill his calling as a Christian by seeking the welfare of his wife and family only, for these are only a sort of greater self.”

Love is the fulfillment of the law: It is easy to do all the right religious “things” but to neglect love. Our love is the true measure of our obedience to God.

Mosaic law:  Both moral and social responsibilities.

Romans 12:9-21:  (Taken from Lesson 23 Days 3, 4 & 5)

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.

We are not to hate anyone, even our persecutors.  Matthew 5:46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Persecution can be from inside the church as well.  Jesus told us the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service (John 16:2).  Inquisition anyone?  Holocaust?

Be considerate of the feelings of others instead of waiting on them to be considerate towards you.

Conceited here is pride again.  Other translations say “Do not be wise in your own opinion”, which is thinking you are always right.  Again, reminders from Paul to step outside of ourselves and see others before ourselves.

Matthew 5:38-45. We are to love our enemies and treat well those who treat us badly.

Note Paul’s caveat:  If it is possible.  It may not always be possible since we cannot control others.  But he says do your part.

If you trust God, then you know it’s not necessary to avenge.  God will handle it.

Do good to your enemies.  “Heaping burning coals on his head” most likely refers to a “burning conviction” that our kindness places on our enemy.  It may bring about his repentance.  Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start their own – an appreciated act of kindness.

Either way we see that we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend.

Great read on God’s vengeance and the heaping coals HERE

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:   The Corinthians were enamored with spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues. Paul reminds them even the gift of tongues is meaningless without love.  It is nothing but empty noise.

The ancient Greek word translated tongues has the simple idea of “languages” in some places (Acts 2:11 and Revelation 5:9). This has led some to say the gift of tongues is simply the ability to communicate the gospel in other languages, or it is the capability of learning languages quickly. But the way tongues is used here shows it can, and usually does, refer to a supernatural language by which a believer communicates to God. There is no other way to understand the reference to tongues of angels.

In Paul’s day, many Jews believed angels had their own language, and by the Spirit, one could speak it. The reference to tongues of angels shows that though the genuine gift of tongues is a legitimate language, it may not be a “living” human language, or may not be a human language at all. Apparently, there are angelic languages men can speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Poole has a fascinating comment, suggesting that the tongues of angels answer to how God may speak to us in a non-verbal way: “Angels have no tongues, nor make any articulate audible sounds, by which they understand one another; but yet there is certainly a society or intercourse among angels, which could not be upheld without some way amongst them to communicate their minds and wills to each other. How this is we cannot tell: some of the schoolmen say, it is by way of impression: that way God, indeed, communicates his mind sometimes to his people, making secret impressions of his will upon their minds and understandings.”

Prophecy, knowledge, and faith to do miracles are likewise irrelevant apart from love. Paul, quoting the idea of Jesus, refers to faith which could remove mountains (Matthew 17:20).   Yet even with this kind of faith we are nothing without love.

Excellent commentary on legalism HERE

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 2: Romans 8:17-18

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.  Our sufferings are miniscule compared to the glory that awaits us.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul suffered terribly as we all know.  He was imprisoned and murdered by the Romans.  He was tortured and beaten, robbed and stoned.  He was scared for his earthly life most of the time and on the run from persecutors.  He was shipwrecked and starving.  This does not affect my understanding of these verses in any measurable way.  When I suffer, it’s nothing compared to Paul or any other 1st century human.  It’s hard to compare apples to oranges.  All I know is my suffering is miniscule to Paul’s and I try not to complain about it.

That being said disregarding Paul who lived 2000 years ago, Paul’s words are encouraging because in my suffering there is hope and a glory that is unseen.  Suffering is fleeting; glory is forever.  And when you think you have nothing you really have everything.

4a)  The definition of glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is “praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent: renown.  worshipful praise, honor and thanksgiving.  great beauty and splendor; magnificence.”  According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, glory is “Great honor or praise; used especially of God’s majestic splendor; weight, burden, wealth, magnificence, honor.  The glory of God is the worthiness of God or the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere.”

b)  2 Corinthians 3:18:  “We all reflect the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Philippians 3:20-21:  Our bodies will be transformed into Jesus’s glorious body.

Colossians 1:27:  Christ in us is the hope of glory and a glorious mystery.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14:  We were called and chosen by God to share in Christ’s glory.

Hebrews 2:10:  Jesus brought us to glory through his suffering and death. (read Hebrews 2:9)

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Suffering and glory go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.  Christ suffered; we suffer.  Christ has glory; we have glory.  You have to suffer in order to have glory.  Suffering is a part of life.  It’s something we have to walk through.  It doesn’t last forever–heaven and Jesus are forever.  In heaven, our glory will shine.  Keeping a heavenly perspective through suffering and keeping faith in Christ gives us/me hope during the trials and tribulations of life and will go a long way towards us getting through suffering here on this side of heaven.  Glory outshines the suffering.

Conclusions:  Every question is outside of this passage.

End Notes:  Our sharing in Christ’s suffering is a condition of our future glorification.

Without a heavenly hope, Paul considered the Christian life foolish and tragic (1 Corinthians 15:19). Yet in light of eternity it is the wisest and best choice anyone can make.

This coming glory will not only be revealed to us, but it will actually be revealed in us.

God has put this glory into the believer right now. In heaven the glory will simply be revealed.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 11, Day 2: Romans 6:12-14

Summary of passage:  Sin is not your master since you are under grace.  Offer yourselves and your bodies to God, not sin, as instruments of righteousness.

Questions:

3)  We are alive through believe in Jesus Christ.

4a)  Negative:  “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  “Do not offer parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness.”

Positive:  “Offer yourselves to God” and “offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

In this instance, lasting change has to have both:  you cannot keep your evil ways AND be instruments of God.  You have to consciously lessen the evil and increase the good.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any time I sin I’m giving myself up to sin and every time I choose God I’m giving myself to Him.  This is a daily, minute occurrence with no glaring examples that come to mind.  It could be when I’m being selfish or prideful or even mean.  This could be as well when I’m compassionate, giving, and kind.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is with me always and I can draw upon His power and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very, very weak.

End Notes:  This is a call by Paul to Christians to live in the freedom Jesus’s blood provides us as many are unsure.  Paul says stop yielding to the fleshly desire to sin which leads to a life of discouragement, fear, anxiety, and defeat.

We are dead to sin and alive to God.  We must refuse to let sin reign in our lives and offer ourselves to God.

The parts of our body–eyes, ears, mouth, lips, etc–must be used for good and not given in to sin.  You could think of “instruments” as weapons.  How God used David’s hands to slay Goliath.  Later, how David allowed his eyes to be used for sin when he gazed upon Bathsheba.

Once we take away the sin we must use them for something–righteousness–offered to God.

The priests in the Old Testament consecrated their bodies to God. Sacrificial blood was applied to the ear, to the thumb, and on the big toe, showing that those parts of their body (and all other parts) belonged to God and were to be used for His glory (Exodus 29:20).  The idea is the same.

We present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead. This first has the idea that all connection with the previous life – the old man – must be done away with. That life is dead and gone. Secondly, it has the idea of obligation, because we owe everything to the One who has given us new life!

“For sin shall not be your master”:  Spurgeon said that these words give us a test, a promise, and an encouragement.

1) It is a test of our claim to be Christians. Does anger have dominion over you? Does murmuring and complaining? Does covetousness have dominion over you? Does pride? Does laziness have dominion over you? If sin has dominion over us, we should seriously ask if we are really converted.

2) It is a promise of victory. It doesn’t say that “sin will not be present in us,” because that will only be fulfilled when we are resurrected in glory. But it does promise that sin will not have dominion over us because of the great work Jesus did in us when we were born again.

3) It is an encouragement for hope and strength in the battle against sin. God hasn’t condemned you under the dominion of sin – He has set you free in Jesus. This is encouragement for the Christian struggling against sin, for the new Christian, and for the backslider.

Law clearly defined God’s standard, and shows us where we fall short of it. But it cannot give the freedom from sin that grace provides. Remember that grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). Grace (not law) provides the freedom and the power to live over sin.

This shows again that a life lived truly under grace will be a righteous life.

For the Jews, their life was completely about living under the Law.  Now Paul says after Jesus we live under grace.

Paul has answered his question from Romans 6:1. Why don’t we just continue in habitual sin so grace may abound? Because when we are saved, when our sins are forgiven, and God’s grace is extended to us, we are radically changed. The old man is dead, and the new man lives.

In light of these remarkable changes, it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Jesus to be comfortable in habitual sin. A state of sin can only be temporary for the Christian. As Spurgeon is credited with saying: “The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.”

John states the same idea in another way: Whoever abides in Him does not [habitually] sin. Whoever[habitually] sins has neither seen Him nor known Him . . . Whoever has been born of God does not[habitually] sin, for his seed remains in him; and he cannot [habitually] sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:6 and 3:9).

The changes may not come all at one time, and they may not come to each area of one’s life at the same time, but they will be there and they will be real and they will be increasing as time goes on.

You cannot sin for you love God. We are changed and free through grace.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 10, Day 5: Romans 6:9-11

Summary of passage:  We are no longer slaves to sin since Christ’s death has freed us from sin.  Since Christ rose from the dead, he lives!  As do we.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus was raised from the dead.  He cannot die again since he defeated death through this act.  He died to sin and its power forever.  He lives now to God.  Sin now no longer has power over us either and we are now alive to God in Christ (righteous and sanctified and justified).

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In my home, community, work, and church, my life is the same:  sin’s power is broken.  I live for God.  He rules.  The end.

Conclusions:  There is nothing new here and BSF is obviously out of questions to ask since we just regurgitated yesterday’s lesson.  Now I see how answering only 6 questions has come about:  because of the repetitive nature of these questions!

End Notes: [Pulled from YESTERDAY]

Jesus’s death broke our slavery to sin and death since now we have eternal life.

Our new life is a life we live to God–we live the life God wants not the life we want. Ezekiel predicted this in Ezekiel 36:26:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

We now want to do God’s will and with practice and perseverance we will overcome!

We are dead to sin but alive in Jesus.

Summation of Romans 6:1-11:  Spirit baptism brings the regenerated person into a redemptive relationship through his participation in and identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the subsequent infusion of the merit of that death and resurrection into the life of the believer, by which he may live as one dead to sin but alive to God.

Fun Fact:  The first occurrence in Romans of “in Christ”, which is often found in Paul’s writings.  True believers are “in Christ” because they have died with Christ and have been raised to new life in union with him.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 10, Day 4: Romans 6:5-10

Summary of passage:  We are united with Christ in his death and resurrection.  We are no longer slaves to sin since Christ’s death has freed us from sin.  Since Christ rose from the dead, he lives!  As do we.

Questions:

9)  In death, resurrection, and life.

10)  The old self (our sin nature) is you before you accepted Christ as your Savior–the one patterned after Adam and who rebels and resists God and His commands.  Once you believe in Christ you were inhabited by the Holy Spirit and changed.  You are made new in righteousness and holiness!

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I thank God for all aspects of choosing me to be saved, making me holy and righteous and able to stand before God for all of eternity.  I know He’s set me free from sin.

Conclusions:  Weak lesson.  Very, very weak especially since two questions are on different Biblical passages.

End Notes:  All three are essential:  united with Christ in death, resurrection and life.

Your old self must die because it can never measure up to God’s standards.  Once Christ died and was resurrected our new self is obedient to God and seeks Him out.  Evil is still in us but now we abhor it and it has no power over us.

You may ask:  Why do we still sin then if our old self is dead?  Our old self is distinct from the flesh, which is our inner desires, passions, and impulses that play out in our mind, our will, and our emotions.  This is the daily battle we must fight to overcome.

The flesh is remnants of your old self. It is influenced by the world, which is in a constant battle to overcome God, and the devil attacks us through the flesh.

Our job/challenge is to strengthen our new self in order to overcome the flesh. We do this through prayer and Bible study and God’s words and being cognizant of it.  It will increasingly exert itself to where this struggle is lessened and lessened.

Jesus’s death broke our slavery to sin and death since now we have eternal life.

Our new life is a life we live to God–we live the life God wants not the life we want. Ezekiel predicted this in Ezekiel 36:26:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

We now want to do God’s will and with practice and perseverance we will overcome!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 10, Day 3: Romans 6:1-4

Summary of passage:  Paul pauses to answer any questions and to clarify:  No!  We don’t go on sinning just because grace is bigger than sin! When we’re baptized, we’re baptized into Christ and his life and death.

Questions:

6)  Believers.  We became different people when we died to sin.

7)  Water baptism is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection.  It’s a spiritual death and a renewal, receiving the Holy Spirit.  Baptism depicts graphically what happens as a result of the Christian’s union with Christ, which comes with faith–through faith we are united with Christ just as through our natural birth we are united with Adam.  It gives the believer entry into the righteousness and new life in Christ through an identification with Christ himself.

8 ) Part personal Question.  My answer:  Once we accept God’s grace and gift of Jesus into our life we are born again with the Holy Spirit and therefore our relationship with sin is permanently changed. We have died to sin and cannot live any longer it it.  For the most part, I lead a guilt-free life, knowing God has forgiven all my sins.  I strive to do His will in my life.  I pray and listen and obey (I’m not perfect in this mind you).  I abhor sin.  I strive my best not to sin.  I live a life full of contentment knowing where my home is.  I try to share this with others through my example.

Conclusions:  This is an important concept to get:  As believers all of our sin is washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.  We are given a new self (which we’ll explore in the next lesson) when we accepted Jesus and were baptized. He now lives inside all of us, setting us apart for all of eternity.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

End Notes:  [Same End Notes as YESTERDAY]  In verses 3:21-5:21 Paul explains how God has provided for our redemption and justification.  He next explains the doctrine of sanctification–the process by which believers grow to maturity in Christ and are made holy.  He treats the subject in 3 parts:  1) freedom from sin’s tyranny (ch 6)  2)  freedom from the law’s condemnation (ch 7)  3)  life in the power of the Holy Spirit (ch 8)  This will be Chapters 6:1-8:39

Throughout history, you’d be surprised who twisted these verses (and Paul’s words) to justify their wrong-doings (this is why Paul is harping on this topic).  The Russian, self-proclaimed monk Rasputin for one said “I’ll sin more to earn more forgiveness.”  If you don’t know much about Rasputin, he’s a fascinating character (albeit evil one) in history who led a bizarre life of immorality, but heavily influenced the last Imperial family of Russia.  In essence, he was a very good con man, which was unfortunate for the Royals and some scholars even say he contributed to their downfall.

Paul often used this writing technique:  He pauses in the middle of an argument to answer objections or questions that may be occurring to the reader.

Paul’s concern here is that people will misuse God’s grace and use God’s forgiveness of their sins as an excuse to continue sinning (like Rasputin did).  It’s God’s job to forgive and our job to sin, right?

This explains the early church’s emphasis on an angry God, His wrath, and the law because man has no motivation to stay the straight and narrow path.

Paul points out that when we accepted Jesus our relationship to sin has changed; therefore, we have died to sin and a life of sinning is incompatible with life.  Paul will explain this in detail but his point is clear:  Before, we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1); now we are dead to sin.

In New Testament Times baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered part of one event.  Baptism is closely associated with faith although not the means by which we enter into a faith relationship with Jesus.

The ancient Greek word for baptized means “to immerse or overwhelm something.” When a person is baptized in water, they are immersed or covered over with water. When they are baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11Acts 1:5), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with the Holy Spirit. When they are baptized with suffering (Mark 10:39), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with suffering.  Here, Paul refers to being baptized – “immersed” or “covered over” – in Christ Jesus.

Being baptized with water is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection.  It’s not cleansing here as Paul uses the term.  In essence, you can’t die and rise again without it changing you.  It’s akin to almost dying.  You’re changed when you have a near-death experience. We die spiritually and rise with Jesus!