BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 2: Romans 15:14-16

Summary of passage:  Paul says he believes the Jews are full of goodness and competent to instruct each other.  He is writing to remind them of God’s word and as a minister to the Gentiles to bring them the Good News so that they too may be sanctified by God.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another.”  I will encourage them with my presence, be a listening ear, offer up advice when needed, and support them in their dreams and God’s desire for their lives.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We all need reminders of God’s Word, how to live, and what God desires for our lives especially in today’s society because it’s so easy to get caught up in the lies of Satan and the evils of this world.  Paul is reminding the Jews that he is preaching to them as a reminder and he has confidence in them to follow God’s Word.  He is also preaching for the sake of the Gentiles as well.

5)  Paul says his priestly duty is “to proclaim the gospel of God so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament, the priest was our intermediary to God.  He was the only one who could approach God and cleanse the Jews of their sins.  Then Jesus came and became our high priest, our intermediary, eliminating the need for a formal priest to intercede for us.

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “the term is applied primarily to those authorized to perform the rites of the Israelite religion, but it can also be used with reference to pagan priests.

The formal priesthood in Israel began with the time of Exodus.  In the patriarchal times the heads of families offered sacrifices and intercessory prayers and performed general religious functions, but there seems to have been no specialization and no separate priestly office.  God appoints Aaron the tribe of the Levites to be the priests for the people in Exodus 28-29 and Leviticus 8.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only New Covenant priest, described in detail in Hebrews.  Traditionally, Christ has three offices:  prophet, priest, and king.  With Christ’s death, the atonement was finishes, essentially eliminating the traditional role of priest. Now, priests are teachers, not atoners.  When Christ gave up his life on the cross, the atonement was finished once and for all with absolutely nothing more for God or man to add to it.  We are saved!

Conclusions:  Loved reading about the history of the priesthood in my Bible Dictionary!  Love knowing Christ once again is the end all.  Praise God for His almighty goodness to us sinners!

End Notes:  Paul’s whole point of writing the book of Romans is encouragement as he says in this passage.  He is also writing proclaiming the Gentiles as an offering to God as well.

Romans 15:16 is filled with the language of priesthood. Paul says he serves as a “ministering priest” of Jesus Christ presenting the gospel as a “priestly service” so Gentile converts would be an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Scholar Murry explains:  “When Paul defines his ministry as ministering the gospel of God the apostle uses a word occurring nowhere else in the New Testament which may properly be rendered ‘acting as a priest.’ So the ministry of the gospel is conceived of after the pattern of priestly offering.”

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 5: Romans 14:19-23

Summary of passage:  Paul reiterates getting along with others.  Don’t destroy someone’s belief over petty issues like food.  Avoid causing your brother to fail.  Keep your beliefs to yourself and don’t shame others into your beliefs.

Questions:

13)  It could cause others to stumble, feel shame and guilt and begin to doubt God and potentially sin.

14)  “Make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”  “Keep your beliefs about these issues between yourself and God.”

15)  “It is better for the stronger believer to not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”  The weaker believer should not “condemn himself by what he approves.”

16)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This has nothing to do with straying from God but the one thing I can think of is having candy in the house.  My kids eat candy and I don’t but my husband, who is trying to lose weight, can’t resist it. I’m becoming more cognizant of what I’m buying so he won’t stumble.

Conclusions:  Important passage.  We need to put others’ needs first.  Whether it’s not drink around those who struggle with drunkenness or not eat certain foods around those struggling with their weight/health.  It’s being considerate of others at its foundation.

End Notes:  Paul is not talking about catering to legalism here such as eating certain foods.

Keep your faith between yourself and God. You don’t have to parade it around weak Christians.  You can keep your standards and convictions.  However, you’re not permitted to flaunt it around others.

There are things God may challenge us to give up, but we go on approving them in our life – thus we condemn ourselves. It may not be that the thing itself is clearly good or bad, but it is enough that God speaks to us about the matter.

Each of us must ask: “God, what is there in my life hindering a closer walk with You? I want to know the happiness that comes from not condemning myself by what I approve in my life.” This takes faith, because we often cling to hindering things because we think they make us happy. Real happiness is found being closer and closer to Jesus, and by not being condemned by what we approve.

If we are troubled by something, it is likely sin, not faith.  We can check ourselves when we tend to justify things we permit this way.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 2: 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:

3)  The definition of submit according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to yield to governance or authority; to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation; to yield oneself to the authority or will of another”.  Everyone must submit to governing authorities because God is the one who had given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The same reasons people struggle with submitting to God (which in this passage Paul says is the same thing i.e. God and authorities are the same):  people want to do what they want to do (selfishness) and not what others tell them to do.  Human nature is inherently evil and if a person wants to be able to kill another, that’s what he wants to do.  Man wants power and to lord over others.  God established rules/government so there would not be anarchy in this world.  I’m fine with following the government (when you’re brought up in society it’s relatively easy to obey).  It’s the daily selfishness I struggle with such as when I’m driving being nice to others or putting others needs before mine or giving up my time for others.

5)  When man/human authority asks us to go against God and His Word.  Daniel ignores the decree by King Darius to not pray to God.  This is against God.  When you’re asked to do something that goes against your conscience or that you know is wrong.  Then you can disobey.  Killing others, persecuting others, causing physical harm to others, etc.

Conclusions:  Great passage by Paul and very important today when people are so against governing authorities.  You may not like who is in office, but God put them there so respect them and the laws of your country.

End Notes:  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 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 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 16, Day 3: Romans 9:6-13

Summary of passage:  It is only Abraham’s children through Sarah who are chosen by God to be saved.  Not all are chosen.

Questions:

6a)  God calls those whom He chooses and those who are governed by Him by grace.

b)  Paul reminds us that those chosen were from Sarah’s son, Isaac, not in Ishmael’s line.  Both had Abraham as a father.  God choose one son only.  Similarly, God chose Jacob over Esau.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul’s example.  All is in God’s grace.  God chooses whom He wants.  There is always hope because we don’t know whom God chooses and why.  Our job is just to pray.

Conclusions:  In essence, Paul says God chooses whom He wants.  It’s all planned.  It is not for us to question or wonder why.  And we are grateful.  Can you imagine if we were in charge?

End Notes:  One meaning of the name “Israel” is governed by God, which is what Paul means here.  He means not all of Israel is governed by God.  Same is true for the word “Christian”.  Not everyone who is called a Christian is a follower of Christ.

When people ask:  “How can God’s promise stand when so many who comprise Israel are unbelieving and therefore cut off?”  Here’s the answer:

God’s word didn’t fail.  Instead, it reaches the children of the promise which may not include all of Israel.  Paul uses Ismael here as an example.  He is of the flesh not of God.  God chose Jacob over Esau before they were born out of grace not works.  It is God’s sovereign right to choose whom He wants.

God’s love and hate here is merely God’s preference to Jacob over Esau.  The idea here is more like accepted and rejected.  Places in the Bible where hate clearly seems to mean something like “loved less”: (Genesis 29:3133Deuteronomy 21:15Matthew 6:24Luke 14:26John 12:25).

Esau was a very blessed man indeed.  Just not with the covenant.

“A woman once said to Mr. Spurgeon, ‘I cannot understand why God should say that He hated Esau.’ ‘That,’ Spurgeon replied, ‘is not my difficulty, madam. My trouble is to understand how God could love Jacob.'” (Newell)

We may not be able to fathom God’s reasons for choosing, and they are reasons He alone knows and answers to, but God’s choices are not capricious. He has a plan and a reason.  We just don’t know it.  Expecting to know God’s plan is where a lot of us cause ourselves heartache and despair.  Let God handle it.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 2: Romans 9:1-5

Summary of passage:  Paul is lamenting how the Jews have not accepted Christ as their Savior and he says how he’d give up his relationship with Christ for their sakes.

Questions:

3)  The truth in this passage is that the people of Israel are God’s chosen people.  The truth Paul is going to talk about in the rest of Romans 9 is how the Jews are not saved because they don’t believe in Christ.  He is grieving how they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Moses and Jesus were the same way:  wanting all to come to God, praying for them, and willing to sacrifice his life for them.  See Galatians 3:13.

4a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Cursed is condemned here probably to eternal damnation.  No believer will ever be cut off from Christ (which we just studied LAST LESSON).  Paul’s point is he wants all to come to Christ.

b)  We should always be praying for unbelievers, grieve for them, and desire them to turn to Christ.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian so it’s been a relatively easy journey to Christ.  It’s easier as a child when you’re not bogged down with life’s junk to choose him.  I could always be doing more for God’s kingdom.  Give Him the credit more.  Talk about Him more.  Evangelize more.  I myself could be closer to God as well personally and spiritually.

Conclusions:  We see Paul’s heart here.  He loves his people so much he’d sacrifice his eternity for them.  That’s powerful!  What a motivator for us when we encounter unbelievers either in our own circle of family and friends or those on the street.  We need more heart for them!

End Notes:  Chapter 9 brings a slight shift in focus to the Book of Romans.

In Romans chapters one through eight, Paul thoroughly convinced us about man’s need and God’s glorious provision in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Now in Romans 9-11 Paul deals with the problem associated with the condition of Israel. What does it mean that Israel has missed its Messiah? What does this say about God? What does it say about Israel? What does it say about our present position in God?

In essence, how can I be secure in God’s love and salvation to me when it seems that Israel was once loved and saved, but now seems to be rejected and cursed? Will God also reject and curse me one day?

If God cannot bring his ancient people into salvation, how do Christians know that he can save them? Paul is not here proceeding to a new and unrelated subject. These three chapters are part of the way Paul will make plain how God in fact saves people.

Paul left us at the end of Chapter 8 on a high note:  nothing can separate us from God.  Now, he turns somber as he considers the Jews, God’s chosen people, who are separated from God.

Consider this:  Paul was concerned about the souls of men.  What does this say about your worries over what others think of you, the guy who cut you off in line, the increasing number of wrinkles on your face, the neighbor’s hideous lawn ornaments, your mother-in-laws quirks and fallacies, and any other daily or not-so-daily petty worry?  Worry about the souls of men and these will all disappear.

Consider this as well:  The Jews are Paul’s persecutors.  They (along with the Romans) are the ones casting stones, running him out of towns and villages, and beating him.  Yet Paul still has this much heart for them.

For us average people, it’s hard for us to grasp this deep love and heart like Paul, Moses, and Jesus had.  But this love is something we can build up and increase daily as we walk with Christ.  He can do all things in us!

Paul lists how privileged the Jews are/were in having the law, covenants, promises, etc.  They even had the divine glory (this is God in the cloud that led Israel out of Egypt Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 16:19), God Himself, with them.  All the patriarchs are Jews and Jesus himself is a Jew from the nation of Israel.

Conscience is reliable only when enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

People of Israel:  The descendants of Jacob (who was renamed Israel by God in Genesis 32:28).  The name referred to the entire nation (Judges 5:7), then of the northern kingdom after the nation was divided (1 Kings 12) with the Southern kingdom being called Judah.  After this time and later in New Testament times, Palestinian Jews used the title to indicate they were the chosen people of God,

Paul is about to show that despite Israel’s unbelief and disobedience, God’s promises to her are still valid.

Adopted as sons:  Israel had been accepted as God’s son (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1).

Covenants:  Genesis 15:17-21; 17:1-8; Exodus 19:5; 24:1-4; Deuteronomy 29:1-15; Josiah 8:30-35; 24; Numbers 25:12-13; Jeremiah 33:21; Malachi 2:4-5; 2 Samuel 7; 23:5; Psalm 89:3-4, 28-29, 132:11-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34

Promises:  Genesis 12:7; 13:14-17; 17:5-8; 22:16-18; 2 Samuel 7:12, 16; Psalm 110; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5; 31:31-34; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:1-4; Zechariah 9:9-10

Patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons.

IMPORTANT FACT:  Verse 5 has Paul stating that JESUS IS GOD.  No where else is this written in Romans and some scholars even argue if this is in fact what Paul meant (Interesting commentary on this verse HERE)

Other passages explicitly or implicitly affirming the deity of Christ:  Romans 1:4; 10:9; Matthew 1:23; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 5:20-21; John 1:3, 10, 14, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15-20;2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:2-3, 6, 8; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:13-18; 22:13