BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 5: Romans 15:13

Summary of passage:  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

13)  Trust gives us the faith we need in order to hope.  Without trust, hope is empty as we truly don’t believe it will come to pass.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If we don’t trust, we have no hope.  God grants us both and is good for doing so.  At the end of the day, hope is all that gets me by sometimes.  I hope in God and trust in Him to do as He says He will.  As I see Him fulfill His promises, my faith grows as does my trust and hope.  It’s a beautiful cycle I never want to end!

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everyone.

Conclusions:  Trust and hope are really broad topics and are tightly intertwined.  The more you trust, the more hope you have and the more faith is strengthened.

End Notes:   The prayer and blessing concluding the section is appropriate. As God fills us with the blessings of His joy and peace in believing, we are equipped to live in this common bond of unity God calls us to.

Throughout the Bible, hope is considered a desirable attribute of human life.  Hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and includes trust, confidence, and refuge in the God of hope.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 2: Romans 14:1-8

Summary of passage:  Accept those who are new believers and fail without looking down on him or condemning him.  The Lord will strengthen him.  We all belong to the Lord and God knows our heart for what we do.

Questions:

3)  Without passing judgment.

4)  Whether to eat meat or not to eat meat.  Disputable is open to debate whether it is acceptable or not meaning there is no agreement.  Forbidden are those things that are outlawed, meaning there is a majority agreement on what is acceptable or not.

5)  God is the standard and we are to live for Him.  Both the weak and the strong should be motivated to serve the Lord and give thanks for His provision.

Conclusions:  Acceptance is the theme here.  Mankind is messy.  All of us.  We are all equal.  None of us is better than the other.  Paul reminds us to accept each other and let God handle the rest.

End Notes:  Paul warns us not to judge others whose faith is weak, usually a newer Christian or one ignorant of God’s ways.  He was probably addressing Jewish Christians in Rome who were continuing to observe the hallmarks of Jewish identity, such as dietary restrictions and the keeping of the Sabbath and other special days.  Their concern was not the same as that of the Judaizers of Galatia  They Judaizers thought they could put God in their debt by works of righteousness and were trying to force this heretical teaching on the Galatian churches, but the “weak” Roman Christians did neither.  They were wrestling with the status of the Old Testament regulations under the new covenant that Christ ushered in.

In Paul’s mind, the weak brother is the stricter one due to their legalistic attitudes and lack of love towards others.

Undoubtedly these weak ones did not see themselves as such. They probably saw the meat eaters as weak.  Legalism has a way of making us think that we are strong and those who don’t keep the rules the way we do are weak.

Paul reminds us it is God’s job to judge, not ours.  We must rise above these petty arguments and be united in our faith in Christ.  Christians do not agree on all matters pertaining to the Christian life, nor do they need to.  Fellowship should not be based on agreement.

By bringing in the aspect of observing certain days, Paul is talking more about principles than specific issues. It’s up to the conscience of the individual. But whatever we do, we must be able to do it to the Lord, not using “conscience” as an excuse for obviously sinful behavior.

From birth to death, we are connected to one another and we are to live for the Lord always.

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 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 22, Day 5: Romans 12:6-8

Summary of passage:  God has given each of us different gifts.  Let us use our gifts (whatever they may be) for His glory and to the best of our ability.

Questions:

12)  1 Corinthians 7:7b:  Each person has his or her own gift from God.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6:  Each gift we have works to glorify God.

Ephesians 4:11-13:  God gave us each different works of service to build each other up and mature to the fullness of Christ.

1 Peter 4:10-11:  We should use our gifts to serve others, administering God’s grace and speaking as if we are speaking the very words of God.

13)  Prophesy:  “let him use it in proportion to his faith.”  If one hears a word from God, share it.

Serving:  “let him serve”  If one is called to serve in an area of church, serve.

Teaching:  “let him teach”  If one is called to teach, teach.

Encouraging:  “let him encourage”  If one is blessed with encouraging words, share them.

Contributing to the needs of others:  “let him give generously”  If one is called to contribute to the needs of others (which we all are to a certain degree), do so!

Leadership:  “let him govern diligently”  If one is called for leadership, govern according to God’s principles.

Showing mercy:  “let him do it cheerfully”  If we need to show mercy, do so with a kind heart in forgiveness.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s given me some of these and others not listed.  I’m always teaching my kids like in homeschool or in daily living.  I teach other how to workout correctly with my fitness/CrossFit jobs.  I serve others be it my family or in my work.  I donate to charity groups.  I serve on a local board and hope one day to be on the Town Board and mayor of my town.  I’m not the best at encouraging but I try.  Same with mercy.  I also write via this forum and my novels.  Every day is an opportunity to do His will in all areas of life and in the areas in which we are gifted.  Do you take advantage of it?

Conclusions:  Great reminder and verses to remind us all that we each have a different purpose here on this planet for Him.  We each have different gifts to use for His glory.  We need to take advantage of these and use them for Him and give Him the glory for all we accomplish for Him.  Is it for Him or for you?

End Notes:  The ancient Greek word for “spiritual gifts” is charismata, which means a gift of grace. This term was apparently coined by Paul to emphasize that the giving of these spiritual gifts was all of grace.

Spiritual gifts are given at the discretion of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Paul is careful to warn us against being proud of our gifts and exalting them/us instead of God.

Prophecy:  God may give us something to say to an individual or church body that stretches our faith. If we can’t prophecy in faith and trust that God has really spoken to us, we shouldn’t do it at all.

Prophecy in the Biblical understanding, isn’t necessarily “fore-telling” in a strictly predictive sense. It is more accurately “forth-telling” the heart and mind of God, which may or may not include a predictive aspect.

This warns us against flippant, “stream of consciousness” prophecy that has no difficulty saying, “Thus says the Lord” at the drop of a hat.

In proportion to our faith: The ancient Greek text actually has “the” before faith. Paul may be cautioning that prophecy must be according to the faith, in accord with the accepted body of doctrine held among believers.

Some take the proportion of faith to be the proportion of the faith of the audience of the prophecy; this has truth also.

This was a warning that meant more in Ancient Times as many claimed that God spoke to them and then their words were not from God or Biblically-based.  This was a warning against false prophets.

Ministry can be seen as serving in practical ways and not necessarily as a pastor or priest. Paul sees this as important ministry from the Holy Spirit as well.

Teaching has in mind instruction, while exhortation encourages people to practice what they have been taught; both are necessary for a healthy Christian life.

When someone who is called and gifted to be a giver stops giving, they will often see their resources dry up – having forgotten why God has blessed them.

It is easy for leaders to become discouraged and feel like giving up, but they must persevere if they will please God by their leadership.

It can be hard enough to show mercy, but even harder to be cheerful about it. This reminds us that the gift of showing mercy is a supernatural gift of the Spirit.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 2: Romans 12:3

Summary of passage:  Don’t be high and mighty and prideful.  Remember it is only in God’s grace that we are saved.

Questions:

3)  The grace given him by God.  So his audience knows he speaks with authority and his words are from God, not himself.  Hence, we should take him seriously.

4)  “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”  We become prideful.  Think all we accomplish is because of how great we are when it’s because of how great God is.

5)  Being humble is a work in progress.  Small steps count.  Don’t judge yourself too harshly as you work to overcome human nature.  Same with others.  They are a work in progress as well and are at different places in their walk with God.  Grant others grace as they work towards overcoming pride.  Forgive them.  Encourage them in their walk as you yourself need encouragement as well.

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  So you don’t think you’re better than others when we’re all the same.  Always approach others with grace and forgiveness.  Like Jesus would do.  Be slow to anger and slow to react and quick to forgive and quick to encourage.

Conclusions:  Good emphasis on relating to others.  It’s so hard to approach others as Jesus would without man’s human nature of judging to interfere.  Small steps will get you there!  Same with seeing ourselves as we truly are not as some fluffed up image we carry in our mind.

End Notes:  Paul will soon speak in Verse 4 about how we should exercise spiritual gifts in the body of Christ, but a warning about humility is in order, given the inordinate pride that often arises from those who regard themselves as spiritually gifted.  Just being spiritually gifted does not equate to spiritual maturity.

Paul urges us to see the truth of ourselves and live in the light of it.  If we do, it will be impossible to live a prideful life.  We should see ourselves in light of God’s gift of saving faith with no basis for ourselves being superior.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 5: Romans 12:1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Questions:

13)  Renewing of your mind through the power of the Holy Spirit/God.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.  Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.  Speaking God’s Word into the minds of others when the opportunity arises.  Taking my kids to church and bible study.  Teaching them to put God first in their world.

15)  “his good, pleasing, perfect will.”

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

Most people confuse their will with God’s will and justify their will as God’s.  People also use God as a scapegoat for their sinful actions.  Reality is it is hard to know God’s will since we can’t know everything like God does.  But if you know His Word, His character, His heart, and His justice then through prayer He will reveal it.  But if it has anything to do with sin, it’s not God.

16)

John 14:15:  God’s will can be found in loving Him and obeying His commands.

2 Corinthians 10:5:  Take captive your thoughts to make them align to God’s will and obedience to Christ and rid ourselves of arguments and pretensions that is against the Word of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7:  We should live a sanctified/holy life, avoiding sexual immorality, learning to control your own body in a holy way, and not take advantage of others.

James 5:13-16:  One should pray when in trouble, sing when happy, have others pray over you if you’re sick, and confess your sins.  Our prayers are powerful and effective.

1 Peter 2:15:  Do good to silence the ignorance of the foolish.

1 Peter 3:17:  Live as servants of God (verse 16), respect others, love others, fear God, and honor God.

1 Peter 4:1-11:  Live for God’s will, which is being clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray, loving each other, offer hospitality to others without grumbling, use your gifts to serve others, speak as if speaking the very words of God, serve with God’s strength so that God is given the glory.

Conclusions:  One of my favorite parts of BSF is when they do send us to other parts of the Bible on certain subjects.  Hence, I loved question 16 because on my own I never would have made these connections.  Yeah, BSF!  I also love 2 Cor 10:5 because it puts the power in our hands.   1 Peter 4:11 is powerful.  Speak as if God were speaking.  Awesome!

All of this shows us how powerful we truly are.  We don’t give ourselves enough credit.  You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Jr to change the world.  Change those around you and you’ll change the world.  Because then they will change others and the ripple effect will be far more than we’ll ever know.  Live God in you.  Quit worrying about others.  Change yourself.  Change your loved ones.  God will do the rest.

Conclusions to Lesson 21:  This was my favorite lesson so far.  Small verse focus but great questions that re-enforced key ideas we all need to be reminded of.  It all starts with you.  Change yourself first.  Live the life God wants you to live.  Remember others and love others.  Live for Him.  He’ll doe the rest.

End Notes: [Same as Day 2‘s]  Chapters 12:1-15:33.  Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter.  This does not mean he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point because as we saw Chapters 6-8 touched on this already but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life.  These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in Chapters 1-11.  In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believer and thinking. Faith expresses itself in obedience.

“Therefore”  It is Paul’s pattern to begin a letter with a strong doctrinal section and follow with exhortations to Christian living. Paul begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them.  Here, God gives us all things.  Now, how do we show Him gratitude for that?  With our bodies and our minds.

“Urging us” reminds us that we still have a choice in how we live for God.

“In view of God’s mercy” reminds us we do this because of the mercy God grants us (Romans 1-11).  In fact, we are only able to offer ourselves to Him because of His mercy.  Some of the mercies Paul has told us about already:

· Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin

· Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ

· Placed under grace, not law

· Giving the Holy Spirit to live within

· Promise of help in all affliction

· Assurance of a standing in God’s election

· Confidence of coming glory

· Confidence of no separation from the love of God

· Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

Think of “body” here as your entire being for your heart, soul, spirit, and mind are in your body. Paul is saying here give God your entire self.  God wants you!

Many today let their body rule in terms of engaging in physical pleasures.  Paul says no!  Our mind is the will and our mind brings the body as servant to God.

Ancient Greeks dismissed the body as unspiritual so this teaching would have shocked them.  Paul says God is concerned about our bodies, which were dearly bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).

A living sacrifice is a dichotomy especially in the first century AD where sacrifices involved death.  The whole idea is the sacrifice is ongoing.  Paul could be contrasting dead animal sacrifices here as well or perhaps “living” in the sense of having the Holy Spirit.

“Holy and pleasing to God”:  The standard for sacrifices made to God under the New Covenant are not any less than the standard under the Old Covenant.

Sacrifices in the Old Testament:

· He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10)

· But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 15:21)

The idea of a sweet aroma to the Lord is almost always linked to the idea of an offering made by fire. There is a “burning” in this matter of a living sacrifice. It also shows that Paul has in mind the burnt offering, in which the entire sacrifice was given to the Lord. In some sacrifices, the one offering the sacrifice and the priest shared in the some of the meal, but never in the burnt offering.

Today, the holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life.  As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities.

“Spiritual act of worship”:  This was translated as “reasonable service”.  The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” (as it is in 1 Peter 2:2). Reasonable service is a life of worship according to God’s Word.

Another translation says “true and proper worship”.  This is to emphasize not merely ritual worship activity but the involvement of heart, mind, and will in worship and obedient service.

Verse 2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the life that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.