BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 5: Romans 1:16-17

Summary of passage:  The gospel saves those who believe, first the Jew and then the Gentile, bringing righteousness through faith.

Questions:

12)  “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  It reveals “a righteousness from God” through faith.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m never ashamed.  However, I do live a cushy life in the United States so I’m sure some of you have a very different experience.  The gospel is for everyone.  All you need is faith.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  I’ve always had faith so it’s hard to me to imagine a life without God by my side. I’ve been blessed indeed.  It’s simple:  with Christ you have life.  Without him you have nothing.  For Paul, realizing that faith in Christ gets him to God changed everything.  He put Christ first.  To him, everything else is garbage.  Christ alone.  That simple.

Conclusions:  You could say this is the crux of the Christian faith, boiled down to two verses.  I love how it’s a faith that has always been there and will always be there.  Awesome!

End Notes:  Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the gospel that saves.  It is power from God.  To have that power all one has to do is believe.

Greeks used here is anyone non-Jewish.

Righteousness is God treating the sinner like he’s not a sinner.  It’s a gift given to those who believe in Christ as God’s Son and Savior.  God’s righteousness, which is the state of being in a right relationship with God.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 4: Romans 1:11-15

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Romans how he has longed to see them for a while now but has been prevented from doing so as he has many commitments (as we all do!).  He wants to encourage them.

Questions:

9)  He wants to see the Romans to impart a spiritual gift of encouragement in their faith to them, but he has been prevented from doing do due to his other duties and the timing of God has not been right (the harvest time).

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul doesn’t forget the Romans.  He touches base with them.  He lets them know he is thinking about them and praying for them and is with them in spirit.  He tells them he is coming in God’s time.  Same with us.  We are all busy people.  But not forgetting commitments to others (and God) is important.  Trust in God to open the doors when He’s ready.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul was called by God to preach to all.  He embraces it and is eager to perform his duty.  What we don’t read in Acts (Acts 26:19-23) is Paul doing exactly what God tells him to do.  He obeys unquestioningly.  I would say my attitude is similar to Paul’s.  It’s just something I do ambivalently.  I do His will.  Accept it and move on.

Conclusions:  I think it is important to honor our commitment to God and to others.  Here, in this passage, I believe it’s more of an emphasis of Paul’s to the Romans.  Acknowledge people.  Don’t keep them hanging or guessing.  Be honest and open.  Tell them why it’s not a good time right now but give them a time when it is.  I think people today appreciate forth righteousness more than flimsy excuses.

End Notes:  Note how Paul says he needs encouragement from the Romans!  This is something we often forget.  Our pastors need us to pray for them and journey alongside of them in their spiritual growth.

Paul realized he had an obligation to the Romans.  Remember in history this is the time of the Pax Romana, a time of unseen economic prosperity and growth for the first time in history.  It is in such an environment that Christianity could grow without being overwhelmed by the basic needs of mankind (like food and such).  Paul felt a duty to bring the gospel to those who enabled the gospel to spread.

Greeks here then are those who followed the Greek way of life.  Non-Greeks are the other Gentiles or barbarians in the eye of the Greeks.

Paul is ready to go–with only Christ by his side.  I’m sure Paul had a vision of sailing the calm Mediterranean, taking in the smell and sun of the sea, and landing on the coast of Italy.  Instead, he came as a shipwrecked prisoner (Acts 27-28).  However, he still fulfills God’s plan for his life.

2 Lessons to us:

1)  Pray for and encourage your pastor!

2)  Embrace God’s path, not yours.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 3: Romans 1:8-10

Summary of passage:  Paul thanks God for the Romans’ faithfulness.  He says how he prays for them constantly and he prays God will allow him to visit them.

Questions:

6)  God through Jesus.  He was grateful for the faith of the Romans.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Serving goes hand-in-hand with prayer.  Prayer should be in the forefront of all of our lives and the decisions we make.

8a)  He prays to be able to visit them by God’s will.  Paul does visit them although as a prisoner.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God answers prayers and it may not be in the way we envision but it’s in His way.  I always ask.  No matter what.  If you don’t ask, God doesn’t answer (Matthew 7:7).  I pray for the impossible and expect the impossible but am not disappointed if it doesn’t happen cause it is in God’s will.  I have faith He’ll do His work through me.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on prayer and gratitude.  Paul is grateful and thankful.  He prays for the prayers answered, people, and prayers he wants answers.  Great prayer model!

End Notes:  Paul is especially grateful because of the visibility of the Roman church.  Rome remember is the most powerful place on the planet.  A strong Christian community goes a long way toward the spread of the good news.  In Rome, where the pagan Roman gods ruled, the Christians were strongly persecuted especially under Nero.  They needed Paul’s prayers!

A lesson to us:  remember to pray for your church as well!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 2: Romans 1:1-7

Summary of passage:  Paul greets the people of the early Roman church, identifying himself as a servant of Jesus and an apostle of God’s Word, which was promised long ago.  Jesus is the Son of God as declared by his resurrection.  Through Jesus Paul and others call the Gentiles to Jesus.  You (the early Christian church in Rome made up mostly of Jewish converts) are called to Jesus as well.

Questions:

3)  He’s “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God.”  In Acts is the story of Paul’s conversion.  Jesus appeared to him and called him to convert the Gentiles as Jesus told Ananias.  Paul preached in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  Paul explains to Timothy that he was the worst of sinners, but through God’s mercy and grace Paul was given the task to save sinners.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is the Son of God and we are called to belong to him.  It is good cause we are forever granted eternal life by God’s side.  Just being a Christian is goodness defined no matter your circumstances.  Living in the dark is a terrible place to be.  Having Jesus by my side every second of every day is a blessing with no words.  In all aspects of my life, good and bad, He is good.  I am blessed beyond words.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  They are called to belong to Jesus through grace and are called to apostleship as well.  They are loved by God and called to be saints.  He offered them grace and peace.  We are all loved and called by God’s grace alone to be His.  We are also called to tell others the good news.  It reminds me I am loved and cherished and I need to show grace and mercy and Him to others.

Conclusions:  Great introduction by Paul, summing up who he is and pouring out love to the Romans.  Reading Paul’s conversion right off the bat reminds us all how Paul was the ultimate sinner until God called him.  He did terrible, terrible things and was on his way to do more terrible, terrible things when God intervened.  So there’s always hope.  For you or a loved one.  God knows.  His timing is perfect.  Trust in Him.

End Notes:  Background on the writing of Romans:  The life and ministry of Paul (previously known as Saul of Tarsus) is in Acts chapters 8 through 28, Galatians 1 and 2, and 2 Corinthians 11 and 12.

In ancient times writers put their names at the beginning of letters.  Almost all scholars agree Paul wrote Romans from the city of Corinth as he wintered there on his third missionary journey as described in Acts 20:2-3. This is based on Romans 16:1, 23 and 1 Corinthians 1:14.   The book is dated from 53 to 58 AD.

When Paul wrote the Book of Romans, he had been a Christian preacher for some 20 years. On his way to Jerusalem, he had three months in Corinth without any pressing duties. He perhaps thought this was a good time to write ahead to the Christians in Rome, a church he planned to visit after the trip to Jerusalem.

However, as Paul endeavored to go to Rome, the Holy Spirit warned him about the peril awaiting him in Jerusalem (Acts 21:10-14). What if he were unable to make it to Rome? Then he must write them a letter so comprehensive that the Christians in Rome had the gospel Paul preached, even if Paul himself were not able to visit them.

Because of all this, Romans is different than many of the other letters Paul wrote churches. Other New Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems. The Letter to the Romans focuses more on God and His great plan of redemption.

Romans 1:1-7:  Paul is first a servant of Jesus and then an apostle.  This order is important.  The Greek word used here is complete and utter devotion.  Next, Paul is an apostle or messenger of God, which means it’s God’s words, not his.

Romans is all about God.

Fun Fact:  The word “God” occurs 153 times in Romans; an average of once every 46 words – this is more frequent than any other New Testament book. In comparison, note the frequency of other words used in Romans: law (72), Christ (65), sin (48), Lord (43), and faith (40).  Romans deals with many different themes but as much as a book can be, it is a book about God.

The gospel is not new, Paul says.  It’s been around since the prophets.

Christianity centers on Jesus, who is both human and divine.  Period.

Our Lord signifies deity and God.

History of First Christian Church in Rome:  Paul had never been to Rome, and he did not found the Roman church.  Most of Paul’s letters were to churches he founded.  Acts 2:10 describes how there were people from Rome among the Jews present at the Day of Pentecost; so when they returned home, Christians needed a place to worship.  Furthermore, being the center of the known world at that time in history, Christians continually migrated to Rome from all parts of the Empire.  It shouldn’t surprise us that a church started there spontaneously, without being directly planted by an apostle.  Moreover, there is no Biblical or historical evidence that the Apostle Peter founded the church in Rome.

Even so, through mutual acquaintances or through his travels, Paul knew many of the Christians in Rome by name because he mentions them in Romans 16.  Hence, he knew two things about them and every true Christian:  they were beloved of God and saints.

The Christians became saints through the calling.  “to be” is added by translators.  All Christians are holy since they are set apart to God and have the Holy Spirit within.

This greeting is used by both Paul and Peter in all their letters.  It combines the traditional Greek greetings with Hebrew.  The greeting is echoed in the conclusions, serving as an apostolic benediction on those addressed.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 30/Lesson Review

Questions:

Day 1:

1) I learned more how much God loves me by sending His one and only Son as a sacrifice for me.  God’s love for me is infinite and I’ve learned just how hard that is to grasp.  Like any thing that grows me closer to Him, I try to live my daily life and actions according to His will.  I’ve tried to remember how much He loves me, especially in the bad times.  I’m sure I will have more clarity on the minute changes in my life as the years progress.

Day 2:

2) I learned I needed Him more than I thought I did.  I just think my faith is stronger in Him than before.  I also learned to trust in Him more as He is the conductor and I am merely a player in my life.

Day 3:

3) I look for Him more.  I talk to Him more.  I pray more before I do something.  I’m more compassionate towards others.  I’m trying to love others more as Jesus commands us to do and have more sympathy for others in my life.  I desire Him more.  I desire Him to do His will in my life more.

Day 4:

4) I think I understand him more and appreciate him more.  I love him more.  I understand suffering more and the purpose behind it.  I am more accepting of what happens to me in my life because of the trials in Jesus’s life.  I try to be more compassionate to others because of him as well.  More understanding.  And just be there more for others as well.

Day 5:

5)  While I cannot say for sure as I am not omniscient like God, I do believe He plans to prosper me and do His work while preparing me for the future and leading others to Christ.  I have started a new blog based on one of my other passions.  I may have a new job that is much more flexible for my family life and has the potential to be more lucrative.  I am sure He wants my kids in school as they age and mature.  And I continue to write my novel.  Slowly but surely.  And one day I’ll be a published author.  He has great things in store and I can’t wait!

Day 6:

6)  It’s not just during the study of John.  It’s all the time.  I want to tell them how God is good and true and faithful and He is there and His plan is to prosper you as you become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.  God is working, all the time, whether you see it or not.  Have faith!  All of my family needs to hear this.

Final Thoughts on the Study of John:  While I enjoyed this study, I’m glad it’s coming to an end.  I was unable to attend most of the lectures due to a schedule conflict with my children.  They were unable to attend as well because of this schedule conflict.  So that was disappointing.  I know I didn’t get as much out of this as I normally would have but at this stage in my life I did what I could and you all helped me with your comments and being faithful.  Hence, my proposal for lectures available online.  I attend a night class and it’s late both for me and the kids.  Having this as an option would be amazing!  And does it really matter if more people would listen at home?  I don’t think God cares.

Usually BSF asks a whole question on the kids’ program and how it affected your kids.  This year it seems more like an after thought.

I enjoyed my group this year who pushed me to dig deeper into God and His word.

My answers seem trite for Lesson 30.  For me it’s hard to quantify how God has worked in my life when the changes are so very small.

I am looking forward to the break.  To reading some good books and writing one.  To listening to God’s voice in my life this summer.  To hearing Him speak.  To finding a summer bible study.  To watch Him work in my life even when I don’t understand it.  God is good!

Have a great break and see you all in the Fall!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 5: John 21:24-25

Summary of passage:  John says this is his testimony that he recorded and Jesus did many other things he didn’t record.

Questions:

12)  John recorded these events in Jesus’ life so people will believe Jesus is the Christ, the Sone of God, and have faith in him and his name and thus receive eternal life with the Father.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My faith has grown.  My depth of love for Jesus and God have grown.  My path is clearer.  My love is stronger.

Conclusions:  Why are we being asked a question that is not in this passage at all (question 12)?  Question 13 should be in Lesson 30.  Weak ending to the study of John.

End Notes:  We have been given all we need to know.  John refers to the ongoing work or Christ throughout the centuries–so much good it could not possibly be written down.  Awesome!

John, once known as the “son of thunder” in Mark 3:17 changes as he journeys with Jesus and becomes known as the apostle of love.  Scholars speculate that as John looked back and wrote these episodes of Jesus’ life that these are the ones that convinced him Jesus was the Son of God.  As we journey with God and Jesus, we change as well.  We grow, we expand, we deepen, we love.

I hope you all have done all of this and more throughout this study.  Have a great summer break and I’ll see you all in the Fall for the Book of Romans!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 4: John 21:18-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus says Peter will go places where he doesn’t want to go when he follows him and he’ll be martyred.  Peter goes off with Jesus with John following with Jesus indicating John will live a long time.

Questions:

9)  Peter would go places he didn’t want to go and he’d be martyred (specifically crucified) and John would live a long time.

10)  He gives each enough information to continue on their path.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am trying to follow him by quitting my job, teaching my kids, and doing His work in my life not mine.

Conclusions:  Very weak.

End Notes:  “I tell you the truth” means pay attention.  Most of us in our younger days did what we wanted to do.  Jesus is saying as he gets older, he’ll do what Jesus wants him to do.  Jesus tells him it will be his death by a cross that will glorify God.

On one hand, this should have terrified Peter (remember he denied Jesus to save his own skin).  Yet on the other hand, Jesus says you will have faith at the end.  How encouraging!

Scholars say in about 34 years, Peter would face this death and he would so embrace it that he’d ask to be crucified head down, deeming himself unworthy to go in the same manner as his Lord.

The verb is “keep on following” all the days of Peter’s life just as Jesus called him to do years before in Matthew 4:18-19.

Peter, not wishing to answer, deflects the attention from himself to John (as most of us would do).

Jesus lets Peter know that his destiny for John is completely different than his.  We also see how easy it is for others to misconstrue God’s word as the rumor spread that Jesus said John would live forever.  John makes sure to correct this misconception.