Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Romans Studies|
General Introduction to this form of Bible Study
Before you start reading the Notes, may we recommend the following:
1. You pause and pray and ask for God's help for the Bible to come alive to you.
2. You have your Bible open infront of you and read the passage through completely first.
3. You work your way through the questions looking for answers in your Bible.
4. Then and only then, read through the commentary.
The primary objectives of these studies are a) to get you to read the Bible and b) to take in what you have read. At the end of each page of studies (normally a chapter) there will be a 'Recap' to remind you of what you have read. At the end of every 'set' (see the front Contents page) there will also be a 'Summary' and a 'Conclusions' that cover the pages in that set.
Introduction to Chapters 1 to 7:
WHO, WHERE & WHY
This letter to the church at Rome was probably written by Paul about AD 57 from Corinth. It is the first of the so-called Pauline Epistles and without doubt is the most important of them.
We will see in our studies that Paul had wanted to go to see the church in Rome but hadn't managed it yet. In this letter he sets out the amazing facts of the Gospel in more detail than most of us would ever think of giving if we were sharing it today.
His approach to the Gospel is very challenging in that he takes much time and space in first of all showing the need of the Gospel before he moves on to spell out the wonder of it. In this epistle is the doctrine at the heart of the Gospel that we refer to as "Justification by Faith", a doctrine we need within our heads and our hearts if we are to avoid the legalism that is seen so often in the church. Understanding the wonder of this in the mind, releases in the heart a love for God and a rejoicing at all that He has done.
We will consider these studies in the following Parts:
PART 1 : "Introduction"
In these opening verses we will see
We will see something of the remarkable way Paul tells us so much in so few words. Without doubt Paul was a brilliant intellect and perhaps it was that which made the apostle Peter suggest that sometimes Paul's writings weren't the easiest to understand! (see 2 Peter 3:15,16) These opening verses are not difficult to understand, they just say a great deal and should leave us much challenged.
Chapter: Rom 1
Passage: Rom 1:1-7
A. Find Out:
1. What 3 ways does Paul describe himself? v.1
2. What 3 pieces of information does he give about the Gospel? v.1c-3a
3. In what 3 ways was Jesus revealed? v.3,4
4. What 2 things had Paul received? v.5
5. What 4 things are said about his readers? v.6,7
6. What 2 things did he desire for them? v.7
B. Think :
C. Comment :
These opening verses are packed with information. First of all Paul identifies HIMSELF [v.1,5]. He considers himself a servant (or slave) who has been equipped and named an apostle (a "sent one") by Jesus, to tell the Gentiles (non-Jews) about the Gospel. We may elevate an 'apostle' in our minds, but Paul knows the reality - he is merely a servant. That is a good balance!
Second, Paul then identifies THE GOSPEL [v.1-3]. It comes from God (has its origins in Him, belongs to Him), was promised by Him through the O.T. prophets, and is all about His Son, Jesus. This letter is all about the Gospel, or Good News, because it is the basis for who we are as Christians. We are only Christians because of the Gospel; that's how vital it is.
Third, Paul goes on to identify JESUS. He is an historical figure from the family line of David [v.3], very much a man, a human being experiencing all that humans experience. Yet by the power within Him (performing miracles, healings etc.) He was clearly shown to be the Son of God [v.4]; by His resurrection from the dead [v.4], He was shown to be Lord (over death and therefore over all things).
Fourth, Paul identifies HIS READERS. They are the Christians in Rome [v.7], but more than this he emphasises,
Note in passing that ALL Christians are called saints (set apart ones).
Fifth Paul identifies THEIR NEED: grace and peace from God [v.7b], a need we all have, and which God willingly meets in Jesus. "Grace and peace" were Paul's desire of good (blessing) for almost every church he wrote to. "Grace" here might simply be described as the God-given ability to cope with life in a Christ-like manner. "Peace" is the ability to be at rest in the midst of life's disturbances. We need them both.
A. Find Out:
1. Why is Paul thankful for his readers? v.8
2. To what does he call God to be a witness? v.9,10a
3. What is he now praying for? v.10b
4. What does he want to do? v.11
5. With what result? v.12
6. Why hadn't he come before? v.13
B. Think :
C. Comment :
Yet again Paul reveals much in a few verses. First of all he reveals the TYPE OF CHURCH IN ROME. Obviously they are strong because they have become known world-wide [v.8].
Second, he reveals his OWN PRAYER LIFE. He prays:
Third, he reveals his OWN MINISTRY. It
Fourth he reveals his OWN DESIRES. He:
Here we can see something of Paul's heart for the Christians in Rome. He is committed to them, as evidenced by his prayer life. He has eager yearnings for them to be blessed by the ministry God has given him. We also see a simple but profound lesson here as well: that we don't always get what we desire and pray for. Paul had been stopped from getting to Rome previously, but that hadn't stopped him praying!
A. Find Out:
1. To whom did Paul want to preach? v.14,16c
2. What powerful effect does the Gospel have? v.16
3. What does it reveal? v.17a
4. What is necessary to release that? v.16b,17b
5. What does it produce? v.17c (& Habakkuk 2:4)
B. Think :
C. Comment :
In these verses we touch the heart of Paul's message that is usually summarised as "justification by faith".
First of all Paul states the UNIVERSAL APPLICATION of the Gospel. It is for ALL men, Jews AND Gentiles (non-Jews), and within the Gentile population he singles out Greeks and non-Greeks (i.e. intellectuals and non-intellectuals). There are NO groups in the world population that are excluded from the need of the Gospel!
Second he states the UNIVERSAL EFFECT. It releases power to save people, by bringing them a new life of right standing with God (i.e. righteousness). NB. The righteous will live by faith, i.e. come alive by faith AND go on living by faith. The Gospel is about God's power to declare and make men righteous.
Third he states the UNIVERSAL REQUIREMENT. To be saved one (everyone!) must believe in Jesus. This is what we call "Saving Faith", faith that hears and responds to the good news about Jesus. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) The Gospel includes ALL people but excludes all other religions! Remember, those are Jesus' words, not ours!
The ONLY means of salvation for the WHOLE world is believing in Jesus and entirely trusting in Him. When this happens God declares that we ARE righteous and grants us new life. Our faith is what God looks for in us as He desires to declare us righteous. He has done His side of it with Jesus' death, now we must have faith to believe.
In these first 3 studies we have seen:
Paul opens this letter with humility and immediately starts talking about the Gospel and Jesus. It is clear that his whole life revolves around this Gospel and he sees it as the answer to all men's need.
In his sharing he also reveals much about his own ministry, his own prayer life and his own yearnings. There are many challenges to us. Perhaps we need to look back over these things again.
LESSONS OR CHALLENGES :
1. Are we as Jesus-centred as Paul?
2. Do we pray in the same way?
3. Are we as whole-hearted?
4. Do we long to bless others?
5. Are we as convinced of the power of the Gospel?
6. Do we see it as the answer for every man?
Ask the Lord to help these challenges touch and provoke your life. Ask Him to really impact you with these particular studies here in this letter to the Romans.
PART 2 : "All are Lost!" :
The beginning of the Gospel is the fact that all men are under the wrath of God and NEED saving. It is essential we face this basic truth in the next Part. We must take in the bad news before we get the good news!