Note: If you are looking for any posts you have missed, or a FREE copy of the study guide, you can find the table of contents by clicking here.
Below are my thoughts for each of the chapters we studied this week along with the answers to the questions I posted in the study guide.
Also, make sure that you get a copy of the coloring page I have pasted below. Have a great weekend!
My thoughts on this chapter…
What stood out to me in this chapter was that although these men knew God, they chose to worship their idea of God. It’s easy to slip into this mindset if we’re not grounded in faith–to base our faith on emotion instead God’s truth, to reshape God’s Word to fit our agenda, and to worship this life more than the one Who gave life to mankind.
As long as we’re hanging on to this world and everything in it, we’re elevating the created above our creator. That’s why faith and hope are so important in a Christian life. When we believe in Jesus we believe in the promise of life everlasting. It loosens our grip on this life and prepares our heart for the next.
Verse 21 talks about our thought process and how one’s heart can be darkened. The way to shed light in our heart is by not only reading the Bible, but also obeying God’s Word. It opens us up to be filled with His spirit, to be guided in truth, and strengthened with hope.
Questions and Answers…
Paul was called to be an “apostle.” What is an apostle, and how is it different from a disciple?
All who follow Christ and learn from His teaching are disciples of Christ. A disciple is basically a student of a doctrine.
An apostle however, is different. And apostle is one who is sent on a mission. The word stems from the Greek word, “apostolos” which means messenger or sent forth. (etmonline.com)
Jesus originally chose 12. Judas was later replaced in Acts by Matthias. Paul is also considered an apostle (although not one of the 12), because he was specifically called by God with a mission.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,” – Romans 1:1
Paul also refers to himself as a “servant” of Christ. The Greek word for servant here is “doulos” (Strong’s 1401). What is the meaning of that word?
www.biblhub.com defines “doulos” this way:
Someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, 1401 /doúlos (“bond-slave”) is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers.
It’s important to note that slavery in the Bible was much different than slavery as we know it today. In Old Testament history, people would often sell themselves as slaves, or sell their daughters as slaves. Yes, they gave up their freedom, but being a slave meant that they would be protected, and provided for. This was important to those facing poverty, debtors prison, and unemployment.
At the end of six years, many slaves were granted freedom unless they chose to remain with their master. If he said that he loved his master and wanted to stay with him, they would pierce his ear on a door post as a symbol of their agreement.
So when Paul refers to himself as a “servant” of Christ, he is proudly declaring his love for his master and his willingness to serve him.
Why does Paul long to visit Rome?
He wanted to both encourage them in their faith and to be encouraged by them.
“Some spiritual gift – Some have understood this as referring to “miraculous gifts,” which it was supposed the apostles had the power of conferring on others. But this interpretation is forced and unnatural. There is no instance where this expression denotes the power of working miracles. Besides, the apostle in the next verse explains his meaning, “That I may be comforted together by the mutual faith,” etc. From this it appears that he desired to be among them to exercise the office of the ministry, to establish them in the gospel and to confirm their hopes. He expected that the preaching of the gospel would be the means of confirming them in the faith; and he desired to be the means of doing it.”- Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
How does Paul describe “The Gospel of Christ” in this chapter?
He described it as “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
The original word that Paul used for “power” here was “dynamis.” This is where the word “dynamite” comes from. It’s not merely powerful, but incredibly powerful and effective.
The Greek word for righteousness in verse 17 is “Dikaiosyne” (Strong’s G1343). Can you find out what that word means?
A condition or state of being that’s acceptable to God.
How is righteousness attained?
Righteousness is attained through faith in Jesus Christ. Many in those days went about trying to establish their own righteousness, thinking that the works of the law would save them. In much the same way, many today go about trying to establish their own righteousness, but reject the One by whom righteousness comes, thinking that a moral life is a saved life.
How does God reveal His invisible nature to man?
Everything around us is a reflection of God’s compassionate nature and love. The vastness of this universe shows us that we worship a God much greater than our minds could ever comprehend. The birth of a child displays His goodness and grace. The love between two people is a reflection in part of His incomparable love to mankind.
Unfortunately, what we also see is a reflection of Satan’s imprint on this world through the suffering and the sorrow around us.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” – Psalm 19:1-2
What are some of the ways that man has turned against God?
They dishonored their bodies between themselves.
They “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” The ordinances of God were given to them to point mankind to Christ, but rather than worshipping Christ, they worshipped the law. They took the knowledge they had of God and conformed it to suit their agenda. And, “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God.”
These are the same mistakes that people are making today as they reject the truth of God to worship their own idea of who God should be.
What has God done as a result of their wickedness?
He has given them over to their shameful lust, He has given them over to their sinful desires, and He has given them over to a depraved mind. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity.
My thoughts on this chapter…
In this chapter, Paul warns against judging the ungodly. As we see in Corinthians however, Paul is instructing the church to judge a particular situation in which a man was engaged in sexual immorality:
For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. – 1 Corinthians 5:12-13
And so we must examine these verses in their context, and the Bible as a whole. What are the points that Paul is trying to stress here? That God will judge the ungoldly, to avoid the pitfalls of pride, and to have patience with those who have yet to repent.
There’s a difference between someone who is in the church, professing to be a believer, and someone outside the church who hasn’t accepted the Lord as their Savior. Even then, we must exercise wisdom and discernment within the church, which is why it’s good to have strong leadership.
I love how John Piper wrote, “Be slow to judge.” He goes on to say, “When blatant sin is confirmed, Christians must lovingly judge Christians. But in most situations, we must be very slow to judge, exercising great care and restraint. Our sinful flesh has a hair-trigger to judge others. We must have a healthy suspicion of our own pride, and keep Jesus’s words ringing in our ears: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
Questions and Answers…
How does Paul address self-righteousness at the beginning of this chapter?
In chapter one Paul talks about God’s wrath against the ungodly. Knowing that some who read those words may swell with pride, Paul sternly reminds us in chapter 2 that the very thing that led us to repentance was the forbearance, the longsuffering, and the goodness of God.
In other words, we were every bit as sinful as the ungodly, but God was patient and compassionate as He led us to repentance.
What three attributes does Paul use to describe the riches of God?
Goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering.
How do these attributes work to lead man to repentance?
Sometimes it takes a day and sometimes it takes a lifetime for a man to come to repentance. God is patient and longsuffering. He waits, and He loves, and He pours His goodness upon us until we finally realize how much we need Him. Sometimes it’s a whisper, and other times it’s a trial that brings us down to our knees before Him, but whatever it takes to get us there is the goodness and the forbearance of God.
What do we learn from verse 5 about the people Paul is addressing?
The goodness of God is poured out daily on both the just and the unjust. As we see in verses four and five however, some misinterpret the goodness of God thinking that they have found favor with Him and therefore there’s no need for repentance.
Paul is addressing this mindset with a warning of God’s judgment and wrath.
What will happen on the day of judgment?
God will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
What is the difference (if any) between those who sin under the law, and those who sin without the law?
Those who sin without the law are those who are unaware of the sin in their lives. Those who have knowledge of sin and continue to sin are sinning under the law. In the Old Testament, the law was written on tablets of stone, in the new covenant however, the law is written upon our heart.
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” – Hebrews 10:16
As we continue to walk with the Lord, the Spirit opens our eyes to God’s truth and gives us a deeper understanding of God’s will:
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:12-15)
How were the Jews blaspheming the name of God?
They were preaching one thing and doing another. Stealing, committing adultery, and partaking in idolatry, all the while preaching against these things. This is an example of those who were sinning under the law.
What is circumcision symbolic of?
It’s symbolic of cutting off the sinful flesh (the former self) in our lives to follow the spirit. Galatians 5:17-18 says,
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
According to the New Testament, there are both physical and spiritual Jews. How does one become a spiritual Jew?
Through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. A spiritual Jew or what Paul refers to as being a Jew inwardly are those who walk in the Spirit. They have crucified the sin they used to serve and are risen with Christ to serve Him. As Colossians 3:1-3 says:
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
My thoughts on this chapter…
What stood out to me in this chapter was how Paul started listing off body parts, from the top of our head to the bottom of our feet to show the unrighteousness of man.
How often do we think, “I’m not sinful like the next person…” and yet every part of our body has proven us wrong: our mouths, our minds, our hearts, our hands, our feet, our eyes…
Once we come to the point in our lives that we see our sin for what it is, we begin to see our God for Who He is—loving, compassionate, graceful, and kind.
Questions and Answers…
If there is no partiality with God, what advantage is there of being a Jew?
They were God’s chosen people, in that they were the lineage through which the Messiah would come. Everything God entrusted to them including the law, the writing of the scriptures, and the setting up of the temple pointed to the coming Messiah.
How can our unrighteousness demonstrate the righteousness of God?
In much the same way that black is a stark contrast to white sin brings out the radiant purity of God’s goodness and grace. God loves the sinner. The deeper we are in our sin, greater yet is His abounding grace and forgiveness.
Throughout scripture we see wicked people being used by God to demonstrate His glory. Can you name some of them?
Judas was used in God’s plan to fulfill the scriptures and bring Christ to the cross.
Pharaoh was used to display God’s powerful glory and strength as He set His people free from slavery.
Haman was used not only to destroy himself but to elevate God’s people in the kingdom.
Joseph’s brothers were used to deliver him to the Egyptians where God promoted and blessed Joseph.
In each of these stories, God used the pride and sinfulness of man for His glory. Joseph articulated this well when he said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20
If their unrighteousness demonstrated God’s righteousness, why should they be judged?
Because it was their wickedness and their pride that was used. Even though God was able to use it for good, it was their choice to do evil.
What argument does Paul make to prove that we are all under sin?
Using verses from the Psalms and Isaiah, Paul points out that every part of man is sinful: our throats, our tongues, our lips, our feet, our eyes… have turned away from the Lord.
If the law didn’t make men righteous, what purpose did it serve?
To show men how sinful he was, to show them their need for redemption, and to point them to the righteousness of the coming Messiah.
How does one become righteous?
Paul writes, “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption [purchasing us] that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement [restitution for our sin],[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” (vs. 24&25, NIV)
How did God demonstrate His righteousness to us?
He demonstrated His righteousness to us by sending His Son to die for our sins.
Has God’s righteousness nullified the law (both moral and Old Testament law)? Explain your answer.
To nullify something would be to cancel it out or to say that it had no use or no value. The law however was an important part of God’s plan for man.
The law with it’s commandments and regulations was put in place both to show men how sinful they were, and their need for redemption. It pointed to the coming Messiah who would take away the sins of the world.
Ceremonies were kept and sacrifices were made, but those sacrifices were powerless as they merely shadowed the coming Christ.
Galatians 3:24 refers to the law as a “schoolmaster,” as it led men to Christ.
The law demonstrates the unrighteousness of man, and the unrighteousness of man demonstrates the righteousness of God.
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