This guide, including a commentary and overview of Romans along with 25 study questions, is for our Sunday morning bible study on November 7. Please download this and use it as you read Romans during November 1-7.
1. What is the difference between John's baptism and Jesus' baptism (1:4-8)?
2. What does it mean to "repent" of your sins and "believe" the good news (1:14-19)?
3. From chapters 2-3, what is different about Jesus compared to the Pharisees?
4. What is the point of the parable of the scattered seed (4:1-20)? What is the key to growing in faith, according to the parable of the lamp (4:21-25)?
5. What role does faith play in 5:21-6:6?
6. What role does faith play in 7:17-30?
7. In 7:31-8:26, Jesus heals two men by his touch. In between these two healings, what role does faith play, and how does the "touch" of Jesus factor in?
8. Is it significant that Peter's declaration of Christ and Christ's prediction of his death come after the block of teaching about needing a second touch from Jesus? Why or why not? (8:27-9:1)
9. What happens when Jesus predicts his death the first time? What teaching about discipleship does Jesus teach? (8:31-9:1)?
10. How do the disciples respond to Jesus' second prediction of his death? (9:30-37) What does this teach us about following Jesus?
11. How did the disciples respond to Jesus' third prediction of his death? (10:32-45) What does this teach us about following Jesus?
12. How does the fig tree stand as an image of the unfruitfulness of the people (11:12-25)?
13. What is the significance of Jesus' sermon in chapter 13?
14. What were the disciples doing while Jesus prayed in the garden (14:32-42)? How are we sometimes like this?
15. Why was the Temple curtain torn in two when Jesus died (15:37-38)?
16. Why did the women disregard the angel's command and tell no one about Jesus' resurrection (16:1-8)? Are we sometimes like this?
O Lord of love,
You have taught us that love is more important than all sacrifices.
May we love you and others more than our own created rituals
so that we may share your love with others
through Christ our Lord.
The entirety of chapter 19 takes place in Ephesus and demonstrates to us the power of God that is at work in Paul. In Ephesus, which was both an important geographic location and an important theological location for the church, Paul begins the church, preaches at length to both Jews and Gentiles, and demonstrates God's power over magic through his preaching and person.
By now, many of these events are typical rather than unique to Paul's missionary activity in a city, with just a few minor exceptions. As he arrives, we would expect him to go to a synagogue, which he does, but only after he meets these twelve disciples of John the Baptist who are flourishing all the way from Judea in Ephesus.
Paul's emphasis with these believers is whether they received the Holy Spirit. This can be taken in two ways--since they had not yet been baptized into Jesus, it's possible that Paul is referring to the actual Holy Spirit itself (Acts 2:38-39). However, since it could also refer to the powers of the Holy Spirit which is most often given in Acts through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-17), and which these disciples receive when Paul lays his hands on them after their baptisms into Jesus.
That there are "about twelve" of them is important; because Ephesus was such an important location in the ancient world, this number symbolically represents the completion of spiritual Israel among the Gentiles, much like the twelve apostles symbolically represent the completion of the nation of Israel among Jews.
This is a typical action of Paul--when he arrived in a city he went to the synagogue and preached. When he faced opposition, he left. In this case, when opposition arose, he left and went to a famous lecture hall where he could teach daily, and it became a base of operations for him for two years, so much so that Luke can summarize this period of time by saying that "all" the Jews and Greeks who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord.
This section demonstrates the power of God against magic that is at work in and through Paul's preaching and person. God is more powerful than magic. This is shown in three different ways--Paul's body has power from God such that clothing items that merely touch Paul are able to heal people and exorcise demons; demons themselves know who Paul is; many burn their magic scrolls in light of Paul's presence among them. Through Paul's ministry, this is a sound victory for God over the demonic forces that were present in Ephesus.
This section also concludes with Paul resolving to go to Jerusalem (which will bring with it much trial for him), much like Jesus resolved to do so in Luke's gospel (Luke 9:51).
This final section details another typical event in Paul's ministry in a city--a disturbance of some kind breaks out! In this case, it's a riot, instigated by a man (Demetrius) who stands to lose a lot if people turn from idolatry to the living God. He points out to the crowd that many of them who deal in the creation of idols will lose their businesses if this message takes hold. Of course, this ultimately leads to a riot, but with a twist. Paul is nowhere to be found during this riot because the disciples won't let him go to where the people are. Instead, a town clerk recognizes that the accusations don't have any merit to them! He calmly dismisses the crowd and the riot is over. This action by the clerk shows the integrity of the gospel and Paul's message, that it cannot be undermined by false accusations.
1. In 19:1-7, Paul's emphasis is on the Holy Spirit, not baptism. Why?
2. How could these believers be believers without even knowing there is a Holy Spirit? On what basis does one become a believer?
3. When were these believers baptized into Jesus? What mode of the Spirit did they receive? How did they receive the Spirit?
4. Why does Luke mention that there were "about twelve" of these disciples?
5. How long did Paul preach in Ephesus? (19:8-10)
6. In what three ways is the power of God demonstrated over magic in Ephesus? (19:11-20)
7. Why was Demetrius upset? What charges did he seek against Paul? How did the crowd get worked up? How did the crowd finally settle down? (19:23-40)
8. What applications can you take from this chapter?
O Lord who created us,
You have redeemed our bodies from death to life.
May we present our bodies to you in lived righteousness
for your glory and for the justification and sanctification of others.
Through Christ our Lord.
Creator of all that is good,
you have graciously given us grace and mercy.
May we respond to others with the same grace and mercy
in acts of godly goodness
through Christ our Lord.
1. What problem existed in the Corinthian church, according to chapters 1-4? What is wrong with division? What causes division? How does division creep into the church today?
2. How are God's ways different than human's ways (1:18-31)?
3. What was the message Paul had (1:18-31)?
4. What are some signs that a church is too worldly (3:2-4)?
5. How do workers in the kingdom build, and how is their work evaluated (3:10-15)?
6. What is the point of Paul's hierarchy in 3:21-23?
7. What can you learn about ministry from chapters 1-4?
8. Why does Paul use fatherhood language in 4:14-21? On what basis does he challenge them to imitate him?
9. Why does Paul require the removal of specific sinners from the church in chapter 5?
10. What is the point of Paul's "you are the temple" teaching in 6:19? How is this different from 3:16-17?
11. What principles does Paul teach in chapters 7-8 about the topics of marriage and food sacrificed to idols?
12. In chapter 9, what rights does Paul have? What ministry philosophies does he teach?
13. In chapter 11, what does Paul teach about men and women and prayer, and what does he teach about the Lord's Supper?
14. In chapter 12, how is the Spirit instrumental in the unity and ministry of the church? What is the Spirit's purpose (12:7)?
15. What is the point of chapter 13? How do chapters 12-14 work together?
16. What is the purpose of worship, and how should worship be done (14:26-40)?
17. In chapter, what is the purpose of Jesus' resurrection? What does it mean for us?
O God who is faithful,
You washed us with your Spirit to clean us.
May we always turn to you in trust,
Feeding off your gracious provision for us.
We pray this in Christ's name.
Early morning rain
Falling upon dried out grass
Brings with it new life
The aim of real bible study is action. We are called to "learn" how to do good deeds for others. Bible studies that focus mainly on knowledge acquisition, arguments, and superiority to others are wrong. People who have 100 opinions on the text of the bible but go into silent mode when service and good deeds are discussed have missed the point.
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Although I work for the Otisville Church of Christ in Otisville, Michigan, this blog represents my own thoughts and does not necessarily correspond to the views and workings of the Otisville Church of Christ.
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