Romans

December 1, 2022

Romans 14:19-23

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 14 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 14:19-23 (ESV)

19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Reflection Questions: Romans 14:19-21

  • Reflect on v.19 as a general rule of life. in what specific way can I increase my effort to “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” with people in my life?

Prayer


November 30, 2022

Romans 14:13-18

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 14 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 14:13-18 (ESV)

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Reflection Questions

Romans 14:13-18

“The strong are not wrong to think they have freedom to eat whatever they want. Rather, they are wrong for using that freedom without regard to the effect it may have on their weaker brothers and sisters – people for whom Christ died. The strong need a reordering of priorities, in which kingdom values take precedence over selfish interest and pleasure.” [1]

•       What lesson is here about a life of voluntary self-limitation as a basic duty of Christian love?

•       What are some permissible things which, given the call to be mindful of other believers, I need to personally limit or eliminate?


[1] Douglas J. Moo. “Romans,” The NIV Application Commentary. (Zondervan, 2000) 460.


Prayer


November 29, 2022

Romans 14 Commentary


ROMANS 1-13 COMMENTARY

Romans 14 Commentary

v.2  “The weak eat only vegetables, probably so that they avoid the risk of eating unclean foods (cf. Dan 1:8, 10, 12, 16).” [1]

v.3  “The strong are liable to ridicule and mock the weak with their delicate conscience. Conversely, the weak are prone to pass judgment on those who feel the liberty to eat anything. The weak must not stand in judgment, for God has accepted the strong believer.”

vv.10-12  “The strong should not despise the weak, and the weak should not judge the strong, for everyone will stand before God, who will judge all on the last day. The future day of judgment is prophesied in Isa 45:23. Every person will give an account of his life to God at the judgment. Though justification is by faith alone, what Christians do will affect God’s evaluation of their service to him and the rewards they will receive (cf. 1 Cor 3:10–17; 2 Cor 5:10).” [2]

v.14  “At the Jerusalem council (Acts 15), the Jewish church in Jerusalem asked the Gentile church in Antioch not to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul was at the Jerusalem council, and he accepted this request not because he felt that eating such meat was wrong in itself, but because this practice would deeply offend many Jewish believers. Paul did not think the issue was worth dividing the church over; his desire was to promote unity.”

vv.20-21 “Sin is not just a private matter. Everything we do affects others, and we have to think of them constantly. God created us to be interdependent, not independent. We who are strong in our faith must, without pride or condescension, treat others with love, patience and self-restraint.” [3]

“In conclusion, we need to say again: The need to limit the expression of our liberty out of love for God and fellow believers is the key principle in this chapter. Our culture insists on rights, and it is easy for Christians to bring that attitude into the church. But the spiritual health of the body is far more important than our rights. The freedom God has purchased for us through his Son is a precious gift, but it is a freedom to live as God wants, not as we want. Luther put it well in his famous comment on Christian liberty: ‘A Christian man is a most free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian man is a most dutiful servant of all, subject to all.’” [4]


[1] English Standard Version Study Bible, study notes (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008) 2180.

[2] English Standard Version Study Bible, study notes (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008) 2181.

[3] Life Application Study Bible, study notes (co-published by Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991) 2054.

[4] Douglas J. Moo, Romans, Life Application Bible Commentary CD (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2000).


November 29, 2022

Romans 14:1-12

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 14 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 14:1-12 (ESV)

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Reflection Questions

Romans 14:1-12

“If we are to understand the point of this section as a whole, we must recognize that the phrase ‘whose faith is weak’ has a special nuance in this context. ‘Faith’ refers not directly to one’s belief generally but to one’s convictions about what that faith allows him or her to do. The weak in faith are not necessarily lesser Christians than the strong. They are simply those who do not think their faith allows them to do certain things that the strong feel free to do. What Paul wants the strong to do is not simply extend grudging tolerance to the weak, but to welcome them (the verb proslambano, used here, means to receive or accept into one’s society, home, circle of acquaintance). They should not allow differences over ‘disputable matters’ to interfere with full fellowship in the body of Christ.” [1]

  • The Christians in Rome passed judgment upon one another, “quarrel[ing] over opinions” such as the eating of meat. Name some opinions of our day that have caused Christians to be unaccepting and judgmental of one another.
  • Why must Christian freedom be understood in the context of “we are the Lord’s?” What kinds of abuses can this lead to if not properly understood?

Romans 14:5,12

  • Reflect on the words: “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (v.5); and “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (v.12).  Think about the degree to which God calls me to take ownership over my own convictions and decisions, and assess the degree to which I do things out of being “fully convinced in [my] own mind.”

[1] Douglas J. Moo. “Romans,” The NIV Application Commentary. (Zondervan, 2000) 448.


Prayer


November 24, 2022

Romans 13:11-14

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 13 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 13:11-14 (ESV)

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Reflection Questions

Romans 13:11-13

  • Reflect on v. 11. Why is it important to “know the time?” Are there things causing me to “sleep”?
  • What are the “works of darkness” that I need to “cast off?”

Romans 13:14

  • What practical step is being urged in the words: “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires?” How can I specifically carry out this advice regarding my thought life?
  • What does it mean to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” and how can I specifically carry out this exhortation in my life?

Prayer


November 23, 2022

Romans 13:8-10

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 13 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 13:8-10 (ESV)

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Reflection Questions: Romans 13:8-10

  • How would a person’s relationships change if he went from thinking about what people in his life owe him, to what he owes to the people around him? How can I specifically begin to give people in my life what I owe them?
  • Reflect on the truth that love is the fulfillment of the law.  Why is this so amazing? How does this change the way I view people in my life?
  • Reflect on the truth that all of the commandments are summed up in the command to love my neighbor, and the truth that, when I sin, I am doing “harm to [my] neighbor.”  How does this motivate me to become a person of greater love and greater obedience to God’s commandments?

Prayer


November 22, 2022

Romans 13:1-7

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 13 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Reflection Questions

Romans 13:1-5

  • What is the state of my relationship with those who have authority in my life?
  • What can I do to be free of fear of those in authority?

Romans 13:7

  • Who are the people with whom I interact?  What do I owe each of them?
  • Who are the people with whom I may not interact, but towards whom I owe a duty of some sort?

Prayer


November 22, 2022

Romans 13 Commentary


ROMANS 1-12 COMMENTARY

Romans 13 Commentary

vv.1-7  “Paul appears to be demanding that every person always obey whatever any governmental authority tells that person to do, for God has appointed every authority that exists; to obey God, we must obey his appointed representatives. Yet believers in every generation have quailed before the prospect of obeying orders from what appear to be evil, even demonic, rulers — Hitler, of course, is the classic modern example. 

“Moreover, Scripture itself seems to present disobedience of secular rulers as, at least in some cases, a virtue. The classic instance is Peter and John, whom Luke apparently commends for responding to the Sanhedrin’s command not to preach about Jesus with these words: ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:19–20; cf. 5:29).”

“In demanding ‘submission’ to the state, Paul is not necessarily demanding obedience to every mandate of the state. Key to this restriction is the recognition that the word ‘submit’ (hypotasso) in Paul is not a simple equivalent to ‘obey’ (hypakouo). To be sure, they overlap, and in some contexts, perhaps, they cannot be distinguished (cf. 1 Peter 3:1, 6). Moreover, submission is usually expressed through obedience.

“Nevertheless, submission is broader and more basic than obedience. To submit is to recognize one’s subordinate place in a hierarchy established by God. It is to acknowledge that certain institutions or people have been placed over us and have the right to our respect and deference. In addition to rulers (see also Titus 3:1), Paul also calls on believers to submit to their spiritual leaders (1 Cor 16:16) and even to one another (Eph 5:21; i.e., in the ways Paul outlines in 5:22–6:9). Christian slaves are to submit to their masters (Titus 2:9), Christian prophets to other prophets (1 Cor 14:32), and Christian wives to their husbands (1 Cor 14:35; Eph 5:24; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5). In each case, one person is to recognize the rightful leadership role that another human being has in his or her life.

“But implicit always in the idea of submission is the need to recognize that God is at the pinnacle of any hierarchy. While not always explicit, Paul assumes that one’s ultimate submission must be to God and that no human being can ever stand as the ultimate authority for a believer.” [1]

v.8  “continuing debt. To love is the one debt that is never paid off. No matter how much one has loved, he is under obligation to keep on loving.” [2]

v.12  “The night refers to the present evil time. The day refers to the time of Christ’s return.” [3]

vv.11-14  “Paul ends the section where he began in 12:1-2, setting the Christian’s moral obligations in the context of knowing what the time is: It is almost daybreak. This is a familiar image in early Christian writing, again quite possibly going back to Jesus himself; and Paul has developed it elsewhere (1 Thess 5:1-11; see also Matt 24:42-44; 26:45; Mark 13:33-37; Luke 12:3-56; 21:36; Eph 5:8-16; the idea of staying awake to be about one’s Christian tasks is also evident in Eph 6:18). This idea flows consistently from the early Christian belief that with the resurrection of Jesus God’s promised new age had dawned, but that full day was yet to come (see above all 1 Cor 15:20-28). Christians therefore live in the interval between the early signs of dawn and the sunrise itself, and their behavior must be appropriate for the day, not the night.” [4]

v.14  “Paul’s exhortations can be summed up in the call to put on . . . Christ. The metaphor of putting on clothing implies not just imitating Christ’s character but also living in close personal fellowship with him. Even though believers have new life, they still must constantly renounce the flesh and refuse to gratify its desires.” [5]


[1] Douglas J. Moo, Romans, Life Application Bible Commentary CD (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2000).

[2] The NIV Study Bible, study notes  (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985)  1726.

[3] Life Application Study Bible, study notes (co-published by Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991) 2052.

[4] N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. X (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002) 727-728.

[5] English Standard Version Study Bible, study notes (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008) 2180.


November 17, 2022

Romans 12:9-21

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 12 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 12:9-21 (ESV)

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Reflection Questions

Romans 12:9-21

  • Read this passage several times and meditate on the life that I am called to live. Imagine a church community seriously carrying out these commands. Pray for our church to become this kind of community and for my part in making that a reality.  Is there a truth that God is particularly convicting me of based on this passage? 
  • How is it possible to “not be slothful in zeal” but “fervent in spirit, serv[ing] the Lord?” What is the relationship between spiritual fervor and the command, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer?”
  • What would it mean to become “overcome by evil”?  What practical approach is suggested by the exhortation to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good?”  Is there some area of life in which I can put this into practice?

Prayer


November 16, 2022

Romans 12:4-8

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 12 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 12:4-8 (ESV)

4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Reflection Questions

Romans 12:4-8

  • Reflect on the phrases “do not all have the same function,” “individually members one of another,” and “having gifts that differ.”  Have I accepted these truths, or is there some degree of resistance to the way these truths work out in my life?
  • Among the gifts listed, which gift do I possess?  Have I been a good steward of these gifts?
  • What is the significance that those who have the gift of doing “acts of mercy” are urged to do it with cheerfulness?

[1] Life Application Study Bible, NIV Edition. (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. & Zondervan, 1984). p.2050.


Prayer


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