BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 5: Romans 13:6-7

Summary of passage:  Pay taxes to the authorities who should be paid for governing.  Give everyone what you owe such as taxes, revenue, respect and honor.


12)  In essence, Jesus said the same thing as this passage:  Give to those what you owe them.  Pay your taxes and pay God.

13)  Today, there are many purposes for taxes and many different kinds of taxes (like in ancient times as well but in a different way).  Here, it says pay taxes so that the officials may be paid for their time in running the government.  Taxes also go for the public good and items and services we consume collectively like roads, police, etc.  We should have an attitude of gratitude towards taxes that pays for the military and police who keep us safe, roads we travel on to visit loved ones, and so many other things we don’t think of.  Taxes are a part of life.  Accept it.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

Exodus 20:12:  Father and Mother.  Honoring their wishes and what they’ve done for you.  Being there for them in their old age.  Loving them.
Leviticus 19:32:  The elderly and God.  Volunteer to help the elderly.  Care for them in their old age.  Visit them.  Care about them and their lives.
1 Timothy 5:17:  “the elders who direct the affairs of the church especially those who preach and teach”  Pastors and church leaders.  Pray for them.  Care for them.  Do random acts of kindness for them.  Give to them when they don’t expect it.
1 Timothy 6:15b-16:  God.  There is no limit to honoring God.  Prayer, obedience, evangelism, being kind to others, worship, etc.
1 Peter 2:13-17:  Governing authorities, rulers, respect everyone, respect believers, fear God, honor your king.  Obey laws, don’t bad-mouth leaders, pray for leaders and rulers, treat others as you want to be treated, obey God.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray for them.  Pray for them to follow God’s will.  Honor their choices in life.  Give it to God.  It’s none of your business when it’s friends and families and acquaintances.  Treat them as you want to be treated.  Love them.

Conclusions:  The theme of Lesson 24 is honor and respect authority (both human authority and God’s authority).  Obey both human laws and God’s laws.  Overall, be good citizens and people.

End Notes:  We pay taxes so the officials can do their job in keeping an orderly society–not to enrich them.  But also so they can eat as well.  Paying taxes is supporting God’s work since He gave the government to help us.

Good question to ponder:  Is rebellion against government ever justified? If a citizen has a choice between two governments, it is right to choose and to promote the one that is most legitimate in God’s eyes – the one which will best fulfill God’s purpose for governments.  However, knowing which is right in God’s eyes is the challenge.  The Communists believe they are right. So do democracies.

These verses are easy for those of us living in a democracies.  We are the government; therefore, we are supporting ourselves when we pay taxes as the money goes for public good.

In ancient times, this would have been much more difficult when rulers were oftentimes evil.  The first generation of Christians benefited from the same freedom of worship and legal protection as the Jews.  But soon emperors such as Nero turned on Christians, torturing and murdering thousands.  History shows that most of them followed Paul’s difficult advice in this passage, refusing to revolt against the government no matter how hostile it had become.


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.


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 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.


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 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.


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.


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


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.


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!


BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 2: Romans 8:28

Summary of passage:  God works for the good of all Christians.


3)  Ultimately, the ability to be with God in His presence forever.  The good is justification, sanctification, and  glorification.  We are conformed to the likeness of Jesus who also intercedes for us.  He gives us all things.  He loves us and grants us eternal life with Him.

4a)  God works for the good of all Christians who have a God-given purpose.  Everything that happens to us has a reason for it even if we can’t see it.  And it’s for our good.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Lord, I know this suffering is for my good.  Help me to see that as I struggle to overcome it.  Help me to put this in your hands and to trust in your purpose in all things.”

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is good.  God is in control.  God loves me.  God wants me to succeed.  I can put all my pressure, worries, and burdens on God’s shoulders.  I can live the life God wants me to live because of His grace.

Conclusions:  One of the most often quoted verses in the Bible.  It’s fitting we spend a whole day meditating on it.  Can you imagine if we could internalize this in every aspect of our lives what peace we’d have?

End Notes:  Even the difficulties in life are used for God’s overall plan for good.  Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  This verse should be read along with the next two paragraphs as people often think only good things are supposed to happen to us.  Paul says all things together.  For those who love Him and trust Him and He will manage the rest.

This is one of my favorite songs which prominently features this verse.  Enjoy!!