BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 4: Romans 1:11-15

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Romans how he has longed to see them for a while now but has been prevented from doing so as he has many commitments (as we all do!).  He wants to encourage them.

Questions:

9)  He wants to see the Romans to impart a spiritual gift of encouragement in their faith to them, but he has been prevented from doing do due to his other duties and the timing of God has not been right (the harvest time).

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul doesn’t forget the Romans.  He touches base with them.  He lets them know he is thinking about them and praying for them and is with them in spirit.  He tells them he is coming in God’s time.  Same with us.  We are all busy people.  But not forgetting commitments to others (and God) is important.  Trust in God to open the doors when He’s ready.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul was called by God to preach to all.  He embraces it and is eager to perform his duty.  What we don’t read in Acts (Acts 26:19-23) is Paul doing exactly what God tells him to do.  He obeys unquestioningly.  I would say my attitude is similar to Paul’s.  It’s just something I do ambivalently.  I do His will.  Accept it and move on.

Conclusions:  I think it is important to honor our commitment to God and to others.  Here, in this passage, I believe it’s more of an emphasis of Paul’s to the Romans.  Acknowledge people.  Don’t keep them hanging or guessing.  Be honest and open.  Tell them why it’s not a good time right now but give them a time when it is.  I think people today appreciate forth righteousness more than flimsy excuses.

End Notes:  Note how Paul says he needs encouragement from the Romans!  This is something we often forget.  Our pastors need us to pray for them and journey alongside of them in their spiritual growth.

Paul realized he had an obligation to the Romans.  Remember in history this is the time of the Pax Romana, a time of unseen economic prosperity and growth for the first time in history.  It is in such an environment that Christianity could grow without being overwhelmed by the basic needs of mankind (like food and such).  Paul felt a duty to bring the gospel to those who enabled the gospel to spread.

Greeks here then are those who followed the Greek way of life.  Non-Greeks are the other Gentiles or barbarians in the eye of the Greeks.

Paul is ready to go–with only Christ by his side.  I’m sure Paul had a vision of sailing the calm Mediterranean, taking in the smell and sun of the sea, and landing on the coast of Italy.  Instead, he came as a shipwrecked prisoner (Acts 27-28).  However, he still fulfills God’s plan for his life.

2 Lessons to us:

1)  Pray for and encourage your pastor!

2)  Embrace God’s path, not yours.

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Lessons from the Arabian Nights

I began this humongous book of epic proportions to read to my kids entitled “The Arabian Nights: Their Best Known Tales.”  I’ ve been reading it pretty much non-stop for the past 5 days mainly because it’s due back at the library today.  I finally finished it last night and even my kids were glad.

This book was refreshing because the stories are all ancient and most talk a lot about God or Allah.  It’s nice to see how the characters rely on God and his will for their lives.  Some good quotes I enjoyed:

I resigned myself to the will of God.

Call upon the Almighty, He will help thee; thou needest not perplex thyself about anything else; shut thy eyes and whilst thou are asleep, God will change thy bad fortune into good.

There is no strength or power but in God alone, who is almighty.

God’s purposes concerning me are as yet hid in darkness.

Several times the characters submit to the will of God and chalk up the calamities of their lives and their situations to His will.  They never complain and about it but just accept (or submit if you will) to it and move forward, making the best of what has happened.

I wish I had more of this attitude in my life.  The ability to accept things in your life and not try to fight or change the bad stuff and to do all this humbly and with grace is hard in our day and time of instant gratification.

To realize that God does have a plan for your life but it is hidden in darkness, waiting for you to discover it.

Good stuff to think about this weekend.