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 24, Day 4: Romans 13:3-5

Summary of passage:  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:

9)  God has a purpose in all rulers.  He used Babylon to punish His people and make them turn to Him and strengthen their faith.  There is a purpose in suffering–to grow us–and there is a purpose in the future that we cannot see.  I can have faith in God and that leaders are in power for His purpose.  I can pray for the leaders to do God’s will.

10)  You must submit to authorities because they are placed in authority by God and by submitting to them you are submitting to God.  Otherwise, you are rebelling against God if you do not.  Also, if you don’t submit, you will be punished if you break the laws.  Furthermore, you submit because it’s the right thing to do.  You submit for the good of all over the good of yourself.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Good I hope.  I tell my kids to respect authority, those in power, and those elected.  I’m a horrible driver in terms of getting angry (which I’m working on).  I’m running for local office.  I’m respectful as well.

Conclusions:  In essence, Days 2, 3 & 4 all have the same point:  God is in control and if you trust in Him then you trust your leaders.  There’s a purpose.  God’s purpose.  Have faith even when you don’t know.

End Notes:  [Taken from yesterday’s, just cut to the commentary that deals only with verses 3-5].

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.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 23, Day 3: 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:

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everyone.  It’s my nature to be selfish and do whatever I want whenever I want.  It’s a struggle every day to put my needs/wants aside.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Serve the Lord always.  I’m currently trying to serve my community more and those around me more through doing what he wants me to do.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  All.  It’s all about not being selfish and doing for others when man’s nature is to the opposite.

Conclusions:  All personal.  Unsure why.  Verses are clear cut on how to behave.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s].  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.

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.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 4: Romans 11:11-24

Summary of passage:  Salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.  Israel can still be saved.  Israel’s unbelief has paved the way for the Gentiles.  However, Israel can still come to faith and the Gentiles must not boast over their salvation because they too can still fall.  Therefore, be kind for God can still cut off the Gentiles.

Questions:

8 )  Paul says because the Israelites have stumbled in their belief that Jesus is the Messiah, God has granted this opportunity to come to Him to the Gentiles in the hopes it will make Israel jealous and more Israelites will come to faith in Christ.  The good is that now all have been invited to sit at the hand of God through His Son, Jesus.  Before, only the Jews were chosen to receive God’s Word.  Now all may come.

9)  Paul is warning the Gentiles to not boast over their inclusion in God’s plan and over their faith and the Jews’ unbelief for God (being God) can cut off the Gentiles like He did the Jews.  In essence, Paul is warning don’t boast and instead be grateful and humble over your inclusion.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Kindness is all of my blessings.  Sternness is when my blessings are taken from me temporary in order to grow, which in the end is a kindness as well.  The results are I have grown as a person and become more Christ-like and less me-like as I realize all things are from God.  It is all about Him.  I am more grateful than ever.

Conclusions:  It’s taken me up to this lesson to realize every day now has a personal question.  Love the grafting analogy and it would have been crystal-clear to the farmers of first century AD.  They would immediately have understood Paul’s point of bringing in the Gentiles at the expense and support of the Jews.

End Notes:  Israel stumbled, but did not fall.  They are still in God’s plan!  The Gospel only went out to the Gentiles after the Jews rejected it (Acts 13:4618:5-628:25-28).  Israel’s stumble was riches for the Gentiles for it gave them more opportunity to hear the Gospel.  The Gentiles were supposed to show the Jews how awesome a Christian life was, make them jealous, and have more come to Christ.  Instead, throughout history, they have more often than not persecuted the Jews for their beliefs when it fact it was because of the Jews that they themselves enjoyed salvation.

Part of the dough made from the first of the harvested grain (firstfruits) was offered to the Lord (Numbers 15:17-21).  This consecrated the whole batch (the Jewish people). Not all the Jews are righteous (i.e. saved) but that God will be true to his promises concerning them.  Paul saw a future for Israel.

Roots–patriarchs

Branches–Jewish people.

The salvation of Gentile Christians is dependent on the Jews.

Some commentators see the firstfruits as the first Christians, who were Jewish. Their conversion was something holy and good for the church. After all, each of the apostles and most of the human authors of Scripture were Jewish. If the conversion of this firstfruit was good for the Gentiles, how much better will it be when the complete harvest is brought in!  However, many commentators take the firstfruit here as the patriarchs.

Botanists and orchard growers commonly use grafting to improve their stock of flowers and fruit.  Usually they graft a weaker, cultivated branch onto a wild but sturdy root stock.  Paul admits that, contrary to nature, God has grafted the wild branches (Gentiles) onto the cultivated roots (Jews)–a reverse technique sometimes used to reinvigorate an olive tree.

It is only by God’s grace that they can be grafted into the “tree” of God – the “root” of which is Israel.

Paul reminds the Gentiles that the root supports the branches – not the other way around.  Any Gentile standing in the “tree” of God is there by faith only, not by works or merits. If Gentiles are unbelieving, they will be “cut off” just as much as unbelieving Israel was.

Any adequate doctrine of God must include both kindness and sternness.  When we ignore his kindness, God seems a ruthless tyrant.  When we ignore his sternness, God seems a doting father.

We must continually abide in God’s goodness (also expressed in John 15:1-8.)  Paul warns of pride.  The Jews are not cut off permanently. There is hope for all.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 5: Romans 3:19-20

Summary of passage:  The whole world is accountable to God and His Word.  His Word makes all conscious of sin and merely observing the law does not make you righteous.

Questions:

11)  The whole world is accountable to God and His Word.  His Word makes all conscious of sin and merely observing the law does not make you righteous.

12a) Just that:  To silence every critic, God is making it clear ALL are guilty before Him.

b) So far, it hasn’t really. I’ve learned more about the importance of it, but it hasn’t had an concrete effects on identifying and confessing sins.  It’s Week 4.

Conclusions: Unsure why we need a whole day on these two verses (besides the obvious that Romans only has 16 chapters for a 30 week study), which in my mind only emphasizes the facts we’re not righteous just because we obey the law, which is what we’ve been talking about all week.

End Notes:  The law cannot save you.  It gives you knowledge of your sins, not salvation.  In fact, it condemns you, not saves you.  Yes, God wants you to keep His laws and walk in His ways.  But that alone will not give you eternal life.  Only the purifying blood of Jesus can do so under the New Covenant.

J.B. Phillip’s paraphrase of “through the law we become conscious of sin” is striking.  He writes, “it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 9, Day 4: John 6:30-33

Summary of passage:  The people ask Jesus for a miraculous sign so they can believe he is the son of God (verse 29).  Jesus says he is the bread of God who comes from heaven to give life to the world.

Questions:

8 )  The Israelites received manna from God every day for 40 years in the desert for food.  They received it because they grumbled against God for bringing them to a desert with nothing to eat.

9a)  “the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I live my life for Him now.  Follow His calling.  Obey.  Pray.  Listen.  And love like Jesus.  Try to walk in his ways and shine his light to the world.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “miraculous”  I haven’t demanded a miraculous sign from Jesus and it’s inappropriate to gossip about others.  That is between that person and God.  (Very similar question from Lesson 3 Day 4 when the people asked for a miraculous sign as well).

Conclusions:  I thought there was a lot here that got lost in the personal questions.  Very simply:  Jesus is our daily bread.  Feast on him!

End Notes:  So these people have just experienced the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.  However, the Jewish leaders have arrived (Matthew 15:1, John 6:41; Mark 7:1) and they want to see another miracle.  The people who got the free food are in it as well for free stuff!

The people brought up manna and Moses in hopes Jesus would do the same thing:  free bread for life!

Jesus corrects them by pointing out that the manna in the wilderness did not come from Moses but from God and that the Father still gives (present tense) the true bead from heaven (life through the Son).

Jesus replies with:  Yes, indeed, God gave you bread.  And here is the True Bread from God–me!  And then you’ll have eternal life.  Let’s move on from the physical to the spiritual.