BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 3: Romans 15:4-6

Summary of passage:  The Bible was written to encourage us and give us hope.  We are to have unity amongst Christians  so that we can glorify God and Jesus.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Scripture teaches us how to live and gives us hope.  We meet God in Scripture.  We grow closer to God.  We become more like Jesus.  It’s an act of obedience.  I’m realized all those goals:  I’m closer to God, more like Jesus, more patient, and more elucidated on the Word.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  A spirit of unity is when even we don’t come to the same conclusions on matters of conscience we agree to disagree in love.  I struggle with those who twist the Word of God or don’t believe in God especially when they spout violence and hate.  It’s hard to be patient and pray over them and let God handle it.

9)  We are to all work together for God’s glory despite our differences.  It’s all about Him, not our differences.  When we work together, God’s glory is amplified.  The goal of life as Paul says in Ephesians is to “attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.  We do this with the help of others.  We can’t do this on our own. We were created by God for His glory.  We best glorify Him the stronger we are as a whole.

Conclusions:  Great reminder on building up our Christian brothers.  We can get so caught up in our own narrow lives we forget we are a part of something greater.  As Paul says, if one of us is suffering, we all are.  Help others and you will grow stronger.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]  Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

The commandment Jesus fulfilled from Psalm 69:7-9 was written for our learning so that we might have hope, knowing we are doing what is right even when difficult.  “You” refers to God and “me” is the righteous sufferer whom Paul identifies with Christ.

Responding rightly bothers people even more.  No one can hurt God’s children.

Paul then prays for the Holy Spirit to endow this attitude onto the Romans.  Other translations here have “God of patience” instead of endurance.  In essence, Paul is saying wait on God’s plan for your life.  God’s purpose for your life takes time.

Paul encourages believers not to necessarily have the same conclusions but to agree to disagree in love (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5).

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 25, Day 2: Romans 13:8-10 with Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Summary of passages:  Romans 13:8-10:  Love others and you will fulfill the law.  Love your neighbor as yourself.

Romans 12:9-21:  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.Bless your enemies.  Be happy with others and sad with others.  Be humble and mindful of others.  Do what is right.  Don’t seek retribution.  Be at peace with all.  Let God handle judgment/revenge.  Be kind to your enemies.  Overcome evil with good.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:  Everything is meaningless (faith, generosity, speaking in tongues, etc) without love.  Love is patient, kind, protects, trusts, perseveres, and never fails.  It does not envy, boast, be prideful, envious or rude.  It keeps no record of wrongs, it’s not easily angered, and it’s not self-seeking.  Love rejoices in truth and does not delight in evil.

Questions:

3) To love is the one debt that is never paid off.  No matter how much people have loved, they are under obligation to keep on loving. Because out of our selfishness we hurt others instead of love.  Our nature is sin, not love.  We cannot love one another perfectly.  It’s impossible.  Only Jesus can.  Hence, our perpetual need for Christ in our lives.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Legalistic is when you do things because they are the law.  It’s strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.  It’s when you put the law above all else including mercy, compassion, and moral values.  Loving obedience is following the law but with the heart.  Paul says here to let love lead the way with grace and mercy at the forefront.  We see this when even though people break laws they are not punished out of mercy and compassion.  Personally, I do lean towards legalistic.  I like laws and like others to follow them.  However, mercy and grace have a place.  It’s a balance we all need.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Others in general.  It reveals how selfish I truly am.  I’m not in denial of this.  I pray about it and make small steps daily towards the kind of love Jesus is/shows/gives.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The fulfillment of the law is perfect obedience to God and since love is the greatest commandment and the ultimate test it would fulfill God’s desire for us.  Love is the greatest gift (besides His Son) God has given us.  Imagine how our lives would be if we approached every person, every problem, every sin, everything out of love.  We would be compassionate, generous, forthright, and amazing people like Jesus.

Conclusions:  1 Corinthians 13:1-8 is one of the most famous Bible verses and one of my favorites.  It sums up love beautifully and perfectly.  Paul was definitely a gifted and God-led writer.  I love how BSF brings up the fact we are to love with a heart of grace and mercy and not be such a stickler when it comes to the law.  Remember Jesus came to replace the law which wasn’t working and was imperfect with his perfection.  What did Jesus bring?  Love.  Great stuff here!

End NotesRomans 13:8-10:  The only debt we are to hold (both to others and to God) is to love another.  No, this isn’t against borrowing money as Jesus permitted borrowing in Matthew 5:42.  This is just referencing love.

Paul echoes Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40. This is one of the two commands upon which hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Love your neighbor means to love the people you actually meet with and deal with every day. It is easy for us to love in the theoretical and the abstract, but God demands that we love real people.

Spurgeon says about this passage:  “No man can compass the ends of life by drawing a little line around himself upon the ground. No man can fulfill his calling as a Christian by seeking the welfare of his wife and family only, for these are only a sort of greater self.”

Love is the fulfillment of the law: It is easy to do all the right religious “things” but to neglect love. Our love is the true measure of our obedience to God.

Mosaic law:  Both moral and social responsibilities.

Romans 12:9-21:  (Taken from Lesson 23 Days 3, 4 & 5)

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.

We are not to hate anyone, even our persecutors.  Matthew 5:46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Persecution can be from inside the church as well.  Jesus told us the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service (John 16:2).  Inquisition anyone?  Holocaust?

Be considerate of the feelings of others instead of waiting on them to be considerate towards you.

Conceited here is pride again.  Other translations say “Do not be wise in your own opinion”, which is thinking you are always right.  Again, reminders from Paul to step outside of ourselves and see others before ourselves.

Matthew 5:38-45. We are to love our enemies and treat well those who treat us badly.

Note Paul’s caveat:  If it is possible.  It may not always be possible since we cannot control others.  But he says do your part.

If you trust God, then you know it’s not necessary to avenge.  God will handle it.

Do good to your enemies.  “Heaping burning coals on his head” most likely refers to a “burning conviction” that our kindness places on our enemy.  It may bring about his repentance.  Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start their own – an appreciated act of kindness.

Either way we see that we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend.

Great read on God’s vengeance and the heaping coals HERE

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:   The Corinthians were enamored with spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues. Paul reminds them even the gift of tongues is meaningless without love.  It is nothing but empty noise.

The ancient Greek word translated tongues has the simple idea of “languages” in some places (Acts 2:11 and Revelation 5:9). This has led some to say the gift of tongues is simply the ability to communicate the gospel in other languages, or it is the capability of learning languages quickly. But the way tongues is used here shows it can, and usually does, refer to a supernatural language by which a believer communicates to God. There is no other way to understand the reference to tongues of angels.

In Paul’s day, many Jews believed angels had their own language, and by the Spirit, one could speak it. The reference to tongues of angels shows that though the genuine gift of tongues is a legitimate language, it may not be a “living” human language, or may not be a human language at all. Apparently, there are angelic languages men can speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Poole has a fascinating comment, suggesting that the tongues of angels answer to how God may speak to us in a non-verbal way: “Angels have no tongues, nor make any articulate audible sounds, by which they understand one another; but yet there is certainly a society or intercourse among angels, which could not be upheld without some way amongst them to communicate their minds and wills to each other. How this is we cannot tell: some of the schoolmen say, it is by way of impression: that way God, indeed, communicates his mind sometimes to his people, making secret impressions of his will upon their minds and understandings.”

Prophecy, knowledge, and faith to do miracles are likewise irrelevant apart from love. Paul, quoting the idea of Jesus, refers to faith which could remove mountains (Matthew 17:20).   Yet even with this kind of faith we are nothing without love.

Excellent commentary on legalism HERE

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 23, Day 4: Romans 12:14-16

Summary of passage:  Bless your enemies.  Be happy with others and sad with others.  Be humble and mindful of others.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Pray for them.  Forgive them.  Treat them with kindness and compassion–as you would anyone else.  Keep in mind there are different levels of persecution which simply means hostility and ill-treatment of others especially because of religious or political beliefs.  Basically, you don’t have to be stoned to be persecuted.  This is a hard question because I can’t think of anyone who is persecuting me right now.  People probably don’t like me, but it doesn’t affect me daily.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Basically, care about what others are going through and be there for them.  Get along with others.  Put your needs aside.  Be humble.  Every day I have opportunities to do this.  From being courteous to strangers at the grocery store and letting drivers in on the highways.  Every interaction with another person is an opportunity to put yourself aside and do for them.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Pride by its nature is all about you and selfish.  You take the credit for your accomplishments and sometimes throw it in others’ faces.  None of us does anything on our own.  You can destroy another person by taking all the credit. Being the bigger person, saying sorry first, acting like Jesus will restore relationships.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I haven’t lost anyone close to me besides my dogs.  It’s comforting just to be the shoulder to cry on.

Conclusions:  All personal again.  Paul’s words echo the previous verses.  Again, put others first.  It will change this world.

End Notes:  We are not to hate anyone, even our persecutors.  Matthew 5:46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Persecution can be from inside the church as well.  Jesus told us the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service (John 16:2).  Inquisition anyone?  Holocaust?

Be considerate of the feelings of others instead of waiting on them to be considerate towards you.

Conceited here is pride again.  Other translations say “Do not be wise in your own opinion”, which is thinking you are always right.  Again, reminders from Paul to step outside of ourselves and see others before ourselves.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 18, Day 5: Romans 10:18-21

Summary of passage:  Israel heard the Good News, but chose to be disobedient and obstinate.  Instead, the Gentiles believed when the Good News was revealed to them.

Questions:

12) God revealed Himself to the Gentiles in an attempt to make the Israelites jealous and then turn to Him.  Hearing is listening to words but no action.  Understanding is knowing what the words mean but no action.  Believing is taking action and agreeing with the words.  For example, “Go pick up your room.”  My kids hear the command.  They understand it.  Then they ignore me and don’t do it.  Same with God.  “Believe in my Son.”  The Israelites heard this.  They understand it’s meaning.  But they turned their backs on Christ.

13)  The Israelites who did not believe in Christ.  The Gentiles who heard the Good News.

14)  Personal Question we just answered in Question 8.  My repetitive answer: Where is everywhere I encounter others whom He puts in my path whom He desires to be there.  I encourage others just by listening and sharing God’s truths about love and comfort and purpose, etc.

Conclusions:  Paul is saying Israel has no excuse for they have heard the message and declined.

End Notes:  Israel is ignoring God and the prophets, Moses and Isaiah, making them more accountable and responsible.  This, however, God knew.  God’s chosen people ignored Him, all the more heart-breaking to God.  He holds out His hands and they slap it away.  He continues to reach out to His people in spite of their disobedience.  Same for us.  God hurts when we reject Him.

Conclusions BSF Romans Lesson 18:  Not a lot of verses covered and a simple message by Paul:  All have heard the message and it is simply have faith in Christ.  Nice respite and should be fairly quick to complete.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 4: Romans 10:5-9

Summary of passage:  Moses described righteousness by the law in terms of works.  But if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved.

Questions:

9)  Paul concludes that righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and works has nothing to do with it since the law under Moses is now obsolete with Jesus.

10)  Confess that Jesus is their Lord and believe God raised him from the dead in their heart to cleanse us of our sins and justify us before God.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  One must believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord in their life and believe he died, washing away our sins, and God raised him from the dead, granting all eternal salvation.  You must also confess your belief.  Faith is what matters.  Nothing else does.

Conclusions:  Romans is a lot of repetition.  Here, Paul is quoting Moses from the Old Testament and repeating how faith in Christ is the key to salvation, not works.  Remember this section here is not only to the Gentiles and the Romans but to the Jews as well.  Paul is pulling from the Old Testament (what the Jewish people knew by heart) to substantiate his words of faith in Christ as the key to salvation.

End Notes:  The law of Moses said you must do the law completely and perfectly in order to have righteousness by the law.  The law of Jesus says we don’t have to do anything to achieve righteousness.  Instead, we receive righteousness through faith in Jesus.  We believe, we receive.  We don’t have to ascend into heaven or descend into the deep to have it.

In Deuteronomy 30:14 that Paul quotes, the word is God’s word as found in the law.  Paul applies this to the gospel of “the message concerning faith” or “the word of faith” and uses it to be how righteousness if gained by faith not deeds.

Confessing is recognizing and agreeing that Christ is Lord and Savior and that the cross is the only way to salvation.

In first century AD, calling someone “Lord” was taken much more seriously than in modern times because they truly did have lords in that day.

Barclay states:  “If a man called Jesus kurios he was ranking him with the Emperor and with God; he was giving him the supreme place in his life; he was pledging him implicit obedience and reverent worship.”

Wuest, quoting Robertson on Jesus Christ is Lord: “No Jew would do this who had not really trusted Christ, for Kurios in the lxx is used of God. No Gentile would do it who had not ceased worshipping the emperor as Kurios. The word Kurios was and is the touchstone of faith.”

Fun Facts:  This affirmation “Jesus is Lord” is the earliest Christian confession of faith (1 Corinthians 12:3) which served as the equivalent to the Jewish Sherma and was probably used at baptisms.  “Lord” is used over 6000 times in the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT) to translate Israel’s God (Yahweh).  It’s clear that Paul, when using this title for Jesus, is affirming that God of Israel was present in Jesus among his people.

Heart–In Biblical terms this is not only emotions and affections but also intellect and will.

Jesus rising from the dead is the crux of Christian doctrine.  If this doesn’t happen, we don’t live nor are we alive now.  This is the central thrust of apostolic preaching (Acts 2:14-40).

You will be saved probably includes final salvation at the end times as well.

You must confess AND believe that what God/Jesus did on the cross is what will save you and cleanse you and make you righteous and justified.

Spurgeon explains the kind of faith you need:  “We believe everything which the Lord Jesus has taught, but we must go a step further, and trust him. It is not even enough to believe in him, as being the Son of God, and the anointed of the Lord; but we must believe on him . . . The faith that saves is not believing certain truths, nor even believing that Jesus is a Savior; but it is resting on him, depending on him, lying with all your weight on Christ as the foundation of your hope. Believe that he can save you; believe that he will save you; at any rate leave the whole matter of your salvation with him in unquestioning confidence. Depend upon him without fear as to your present and eternal salvation. This is the faith which saves the soul.”

We must confess, believe, trust, rely, rest, depend, and embrace God and Jesus.  This is what God wants.  God is all encompassing.  God is everything.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 12, Day 3: Romans 7:7-13

Summary of passage: The law reveals what sin is as man’s natural tendency is to break the law.  The law defined sin and therefore gave birth to sin and with sin the consequence of death ensued.

Questions:

6)  The law reveals what sin is as man’s natural tendency is to break the law.  The law defined sin and therefore gave birth to sin and with sin the consequence of death ensued.  Sin uses the law to cause us to rebel more.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All sin is harmful, period.  In short, sin draws me away from God.  That’s the most potent consequence.  The rest is varied based on the sin.  You can both spiritually and emotionally harm your body, mind, and emotions.  Sin reveals what God is not and does not want and magnifies His holiness.  I respond by obeying Him with reverent awe.

Conclusions:  2 questions on some of the most key verses in all of the Bible.

End Notes:  Paul is now answering the question raised, “Well if the law is bad, is the law sin?”  Paul says, “No.  The law is good because it reveals sin to us.”  Sin, however, corrupts the law because of our natural tendency to break what is forbidden to us.  The desire is awakened by the prohibition.  Look at Prohibition in the United States.  Once a law is instituted we want to break it.

The word opportunity in the original is a military term meaning a base of operations where sin is awaiting a chance to spring from.

The weakness isn’t the law–it’s us.  We took something good–God’s law–and turned it to evil.

Paul was once alive because he didn’t know or understand the law like children.  He had not been put to death yet because of the law.  With the knowledge of law, it excited our rebellion, bringing sin and death.  Paul is either referring to the time before his bar mitzvah or before his conversion where the true rigor of the law became clear to him (Luke 18:20-21; Philippians 3:6).

The law does not deceive us.  It’s the sin that uses the law to cause us to rebel.  The truth sets us free from the deception of the law (John 8:32).

Sin kills us.  Satan tries to twist this by making sin seem like a good thing that God merely wants to deprive us of (Eve, anyone?)

There is nothing wrong with the law.  The law is holy.  The problem lies within man.  However, because of man’s nature, sin ends up corrupting the law so we must die to both (Romans 6:2; 7:4).

The law, however, is good because it makes our sin more pronounced so we recognize it!

Sin becomes utterly sinful by hiding within God’s good laws.

Explanation on BSF’s note (Romans 7:13-25):  Whether Paul is describing a Christian or non-Christian experience here has been hotly debated through the centuries.

Argument supporting non-Christian life:

  1. The use of the phrases such as “sold as a slave to sin”, “I know that good itself does not dwell in me” and “What a wretched man I am” which do not seem to describe a Christian experience
  2. the contrast between chapters 7 & 8, making it difficult for the other view to be credible
  3. the problem of the value of conversion if one ends up in spiritual misery.

Argument supporting Christian life:

  1. the use of the present tense throughout the passage
  2. Paul’s humble opinion of himself (vs 18)
  3. his high regard for God’s law (vs 14, 16)
  4. the location of this passage in the section of Romans where Paul is dealing with sanctification–the growth of the Christian in holiness.