BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 5: Romans 15:30-33 with Acts 20:22-23

Summary of passages:  Romans 15:30-33:  Paul urges the Romans to pray for him, for his safety in Judea and for his service/offering to be accepted by the Jews in Jerusalem.

Acts 20:22-23:  On Paul’s journey to Jerusalem Paul knows hardships and prison await as the Holy Spirit as given him this premonition.

Questions

13)  Hardships, prison, unbelievers in Judea

14)  Prayer.  He believes in its power.

15)  He prayed to be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that his service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there so that he can come to the Roman church with joy and refreshment.

16)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  First century AD was a period of constant upheaval and wars in this region–both spiritual wars and physical wars.  God grants peace in all of this.  It’s hard to convert people to Christ when their lives are in upheavals and survival is the primary goal in mind.  When our worlds are peaceful, so are our minds and therefore our minds are more open to conversion.  Financial and peace with finding His will in my life.

Conclusions:  We all face dangers in our lives (just not so extreme as Paul’s).  What does he do?  He prays and asks others for prayer while walking through the danger, which is God’s calling for Him.  So must we.  We must pray and ask others to pray for us in all areas in our lives, especially the upheavals.  Only God can grant us peace as Paul says.

End Notes:  Sensing that danger awaited him in Jerusalem (having been warned several times as recorded in Acts 20:22-23 and Acts 21:10-14), Paul knew he needed the prayers of God’s people to see him through the difficulty promised him.

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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 23, Day 2: 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:

3)  That love is sincere.  Cling to what is good.  Hate evil.  Be devoted to others.  Put others above yourself.  Serve God always.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with those in need.  Practice hospitality.  Remembering all this helps us to keep in God’s will and be of heaven and not earth.

4)  Paul’s definition is all about sacrificing for others and doing for others.  Love in our culture is all about how “you” feel and what is best for “you.”  Part of hating evil is recognizing and acknowledging what is evil.  So many today want to sugar coat sin.  Sin is sin no matter how big or how small.  Recognize for what it is, call it what it is, work to eradicate it from your life and the life of those around you.  Only then can you sincerely love like God loves.

5)  Proverbs 8:13:  “To fear the Lord (here means righteous living) is to hate evil”.  Evil includes here pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech.

Proverbs 13:5:  “The righteous hate what is false”.  God’s Word is truth.  False is Satan’s word.  We are to hate falsehood and Satan and sin, which brings “shame and disgrace.”  With Jesus, there is no shame nor disgrace.  Only grace and glory and honor.

Ecclesiastes 3:8: “A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”  Evil is a part of human nature.

Isaiah 61:8:  The Lord says through Isaiah that He hates robbery and iniquity.  This is the opposite of God.  He is complete good.  He cannot stand evil.

Amos 5:15:  “Hate evil, love good.”

Luke 14:26:  Jesus here says his followers should hate their earthly life and the evil inside of others when they are here on earth.

Evil is sugar coated in our culture.  It’s made to be not so bad.  These verses tell us how evil is against everything God and Jesus are and want.  As we grow to be more like Jesus, we need to treat evil like Jesus:  don’t abide it.  Period.

Conclusions:  So focused on verse 9 today and evil.  BSF has a good point.  So many people today think evil is too strong of a word.  But all sin is evil.  It is not of God.  We must remember this and quit believing our little sins are okay.  They’re not!  Strive every day to eradicate evil from your life/nature.

End Notes:  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 19, Day 5: Romans 11:25-32

Summary of passage:  God’s plan is to harden the hearts of the Jews until the full number of Gentiles has come in and then all of Israel will be saved.  Israel has become disobedient so that God may show them mercy like He has done the Gentiles.

Questions:

11)  All of Israel could mean that literally:  all people of ethnic, Jewish descent or it could mean all of Israel that God has chosen to be saved by faith in Jesus (the elect).  I think all of the elect because we know faith is a choice.  Man must choose God.  And not all will choose Him (even His chosen people).

12)  They will be saved.  We can be sure because God says so through Isaiah.  God will once again turn His attention to the Jews.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God has reasons behind all His actions.  He loves all His people and wants as many as will turn to Him to come.  God works through all for His purposes.  I am comforted because I know God’s ways are not mine and everything has a purpose for Him.

14)  He showed mercy by allowing them to be disobedient and then forgiving them and offering them salvation.  We all need mercy because we are all sinners and deserve death.  Instead, God offers us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without mercy, heaven would be empty.

Conclusions:  This is the first time I have read all of Israel will be saved at the End Times and I was hoping to dive into this truth more.  I love gaining insight into God and His ways and seeing how He won’t leave any behind is awesome!  God never gives up on you, on me, on the people of Israel, on anyone.  Just imagine what a world this would be if all of us embraced that truth!

End Notes:  The mystery religions of Paul’s day used the Greek word (mysterion) in the sense of something that was to be revealed only to the initiated.  Paul uses this word to refer to something formerly hidden or obscure but now revealed by God for all to know and understand.  This word is used of the incarnation, the death of Christ, God’s purpose to sum up all things in Christ and especially to include both Jews and Gentiles in the NT church, the change that will take place at the resurrection and the plan of God by which both Jew and Gentile will be included in his kingdom.

Paul continues from Romans 11:11-24 by saying Israel is blind for the sake of the elect Gentiles.  God’s attention is temporarily off the Jews until He is finished with the Gentiles.  However, He will come back to His people.  The hardening is partial and temporary.

“All of Israel” does not mean every last person of Jewish descent.  It means Israel as a nation.  And they will be saved the same way the Gentiles are saved:  by faith in Jesus.  There is no special or other way for the Jews.  Salvation is not universal.  All must choose God.

Jesus will not return again until God turns the focus of His saving mercies on Israel again, and Israel responds to God through Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:39Zechariah 12:10-11).  Isaiah confirms this truth.

The Jewish people will always be loved by God for the sake of the patriarchs.  God has not given up on them (or us) as His calling endures.

Paul reminds all of us we are lawbreakers and all of us have received mercy from God.  None of us are better than another.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 3: Romans 10:1-4

Summary of passage:  Paul’s heart’s desire and prayer is for all of the Israelites to be saved, to submit to God’s righteousness, and to believe in Christ as the fulfillment of the law.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul is an Israelite, and he desires all to know Christ.  God puts people on my heart and I pray for them.  It’s hard to know these days where everyone stands in their relationship with God so I just pray for Christ to fill them.

7)  They believed they could earn righteousness on their own through works and by following the law.  They lacked the faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, which is the true path to salvation.  Killing others in the name of Christ or God.  Persecuting those with different beliefs than yourself.  Hypocritical behavior of any kind.  Perverting God’s Word to be in line with your beliefs or to justify a particular sin.  Leading others astray as well.  Paul had misplaced zeal before his conversion as he persecuted Christians in the name of the Lord.  This is still happening today.

8 )  Belief in Christ as Lord and Savior fulfills the law and results in salvation.

Conclusions:  I love how Paul does not give up.  Ever.  I can picture him perpetually praying for his fellow brothers to know God’s Truth.  He dedicated his life to bringing as many as possible to God.  So must we.

End Notes:  Chapters 9-11 is Paul discussing the Jews and their unbelief in Christ.  Paul is distraught, so much so that in Romans 9:3 he offered his own relationship to Christ for the sake of the Jews.  Paul felt almost as if his family (the Jews) were rejecting what he’d dedicated his life to.

Paul needed to explain how the Jews were linked to God’s plan for them for the past, present, and future.  He offers hope.

Knowledge alone is not sufficient for salvation.  Action is required.  One must submit to God’s righteousness.  This is Free Will, a choice, and man’s responsibility to choose Christ.

The law ends for the believer in the sense that our obedience to the law is no longer the basis for our relationship with God. The law has not come to an end in the sense of no longer reflecting God’s standard or no longer showing us our need for a Savior.

“Christ did not come to make the law milder, or to render it possible for our cracked and battered obedience to be accepted as a sort of compromise. The law is not compelled to lower its terms, as though it had originally asked too much; it is holy and just and good, and ought not to be altered in one jot or tittle, nor can it be. Our Lord gives the law all it requires, not a part, for that would be an admission that it might justly have been content with less at first.” (Spurgeon)

“End” can be translated as “culmination”.  The Greek word (telos) can mean either termination, cessation or goal, culmination, or fulfillment.  Here fulfillment fits best.  Christ is the fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17) in the sense he brought it to completion by obeying perfectly its demands and prophecies.  We are no longer under the law (Romans 6:14) but it still plays a role in our lives.  We are free from condemnation and liberated by the Holy Spirit to fulfill its moral demands (Romans 8:4).

Righteousness is the righteous standing before God that Christ makes available to everyone who believes.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 4: Romans 9:14-21

Summary of passage:  All is in God’s mercy and God’s plan.  All is just.  God (being God) can do what He wants.  He made us.  He chooses us for His purposes.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question that’s completely unnecessary.  My answer:  Paul is just using past examples that his listeners would understand to drive home his point:  God can do whatever He wants and we have no right to question it.   It’s all in His will for His purposes and for His glory.  I understand this completely.

9a)  Like I’ve repeatedly said to this same line of questioning in this lesson and YESTERDAY’S.  God whom made us can do whatever He wants and us stupid humans have no right to question His authority or His reasons or His justness.

b)  I think people today think everything should be fair and should line up with their idea of justice and really don’t care about God and what He thinks.  They waste so much precious energy and time, trying to figure out a way to be fair and just instead of just letting God handle it.  In essence, people need to get over themselves.

10)  Personal repetitive question I’d rather not answer again.  My personal repetitive answer again: God shows me mercy every day as I fail Him constantly by calling me back and embracing me.  When I’m far, He is near.  When I stray, He guides me back.  When I fall, He picks me up.  When I sin, He forgives.  When I hate, He loves.  When I need Him, He is there.

Conclusions:  Paul is expounding on his points from the first part of Romans 9.  This is just a continuation.  Poor job by BSF on the repetitive questions.

End Notes:  Frequently, Paul interrupts his writing with a question or series of questions.  In doing so, he is imitating the style he learned from the rabbis in his earlier training.

God clearly explains His right to give mercy to whomever He pleases in Exodus 33:19.

Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. God is never less than fair with anyone, but fully reserves the right to be more than fair with individuals as He chooses.

Jesus spoke of this right of God in the parable of the landowner in Matthew 20:1-16.

God allowed the Pharaoh of Moses’ day to rise to power so that God could show the strength of His judgment against him, and thereby glorify Himself.  Sometimes God will glorify Himself through showing mercy; sometimes God will glorify Himself through a man’s hardness.

We should not think that God persuaded an unwilling, kind-hearted Pharaoh to be hard towards God and His people. In hardening the heart of Pharaoh, God simply allowed his heart to pursue its natural inclination.

Does the sovereign right of God to choose relieve man of responsibility?  If someone asks, “How can I go against God’s choice?”, Paul says we are not to ask because God is the creator and has the right over all things including us.  God chooses AND we are responsible.  This is what God says.  Deal with it.

Paul is not silencing all questioning of God, but he is speaking to those with an impenitent, God-defying attitude who want to make God answerable to them for what he does and who, by their questions, defame the character of God.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 4: Romans 8:31-35

Summary of passage:  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He gives us all things.  He justifies.  Jesus intercedes for us.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

If God is for us, who can be against us?  No one.

How will God not also give us all things?  He does.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  No one.

Who is he that condemns?  No one.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  No one.

Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  No.

God is all things.  He’s in charge.  Nothing happens without His approval.  He is omnipotent.  All else pale in comparison.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not sure I’m struggling with any at the moment but “If God is for us, who can be against us?” is one of my favorite quotes from the Bible because it reminds me I can do all things in Him.

Conclusions:  Anyone get anything out of the questions?  The passage, yes.  The questions, no.  For the first time in my eight years of doing BSF I’d say you could skip these two questions and not miss one thing.  So sad by this!  Do read my End Notes for the goodies especially the part on the “if”.  Just because people think God is with them does not mean He is.

End Notes:  If all we had were the first few chapters of the Book of Romans, some might believe that God was against us. Now that Paul has shown the lengths that God went to save man from His wrath and equip him for victory over sin and death, who can doubt that God is for us?

Note the two-letter preposition “if”.  This is not saying God is with everyone (terrorists and cults think God is with them).  God is only with you if you’ve accepted His Son, Jesus, as Lord and Savior.  If you are in Christ Jesus, then God is for you.

Even if others are against us, does it matter?  You + God = unconquerable

God gave us the ultimate gift (His Son), so why wouldn’t He give us all the small gifts as well?  This is a common argument used by Paul from the greater to the lesser similar to Romans 5:9-10.

With Jesus we are secure from all charges (God has already proclaimed us ‘not guilty’) and condemnation.

The God within (the Holy Spirit) can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  Remember this always when you’re down.  God can do it.  And let Him!

And, of course, we can’t forget this AMAZING song!