July, August, September 2010

Want to learn more about Romans? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Paul and Rome (Romans 1:1-17)
Great news! We begin a new series of lessons on one of the most important books of the Bible - Paul's letter to the church at Rome. Do you recall starting a new job where you wanted to make a good impression? If you were the boss, it was important for you to make the right impression so that the people under you in the company would help you make the business a success. Paul's letter to the Romans is something like that. He has never been to this church. He is coming, and he wants his relationship to begin on the right note. How should he start out? Let's jump into our study and see how Paul does this!

Lesson 2: Jew and Gentile (Romans 1 & 2)
Today I was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan hiking to some magnificent waterfalls. There has been a lot of rain and the water going down the falls is just wild. The river's power is awesome. Looking at the beautiful scenery and the incredible power of the river made me think about our Creator God. Paul talks about this in the first two chapters of Romans. What Romans says about the relationship of nature to God leads naturally into the subject of the relationship between humans and God's law. One of the hot issues of Paul's time was whether certain of the laws kept by the Jews applied to the Gentile converts. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about nature, law and grace!

Lesson 3: All Have Sinned (Romans 2 & 3)
We left off last week in the midst of confusion! Paul told us in Romans 2:13 that "those who obey the law ... will be declared righteous." Then Paul quickly added in Romans 3:12 "there is no one who does good, not even one." Are we all lost? Are we doomed by our nature? Whatever happened to the idea of the inherent goodness of humans? Can we live a good life? Let's dive into Romans and see if we can follow Paul's line of reasoning and continue our exploration of God's plan for our salvation!

Lesson 4: Justified by Faith (Romans 3)
Last week we were left in a terrible state! We decided that we were no better than all of those "obvious" sinners and that our deeds deserved death. Worse, there was nothing that we could do about it because "no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law." Romans 3:20. This week we get to the good news - someone has already done something about our sin problem. Let's run to Romans and find out more!

Lesson 5: Justification and the Law (Romans 4)
After we learned last week that keeping the law has nothing to do with our salvation, Paul announced that this did not "nullify the law." Instead, we read that by this doctrine "we uphold the law."(Romans 3:31) On the face of it, that seems completely wrong. If the law has nothing to do with salvation, how does that uphold it? A mother says, "Son, your father had nothing to do with your birth or your upbringing." If you were the father would you think that "upheld" you? Of course not! Yet Paul teaches us that grace upholds the law. Let's dive into our study of Romans to see if we can follow Paul's continuing line of argument about grace and law!

Lesson 6: Expounding the Faith (Romans 5)
Can you remember a time when someone you loved was unhappy with you? What if your spouse is unhappy with you? It doesn't feel good, does it? What about the time when your boss was unhappy with you? That caused worry because your boss could create real problems. God is somewhat like our boss and our spouse wrapped up together. God should be the last person that we want to have unhappy with us. However, since He is a perfect God and we are sinful humans with have a serious problem. This week we learn about how Jesus' perfect life and death for our sins reconciled us to God. We also learn something new about the nature of sin. Let's jump right into our study of Romans and learn more!

Lesson 7: Victory Over Sin (Romans 6)
The law has taken a beating in our last few studies! Not only is it not the key to salvation, it is not even a description of all sin. The law may seem down and bloodied, but it is not out, because sin is still in the picture. This week we begin Paul's argument about the importance of right behavior. Does this involve the law? If not, what does it involve? Let's dive into our study and find out!

Lesson 8: The Man of Romans 7 (Romans 7)
Last week, we learned that upon baptism in Jesus, we "died to sin." (Romans 6:2) We learned that this meant that we were "set free from sin." (Romans 6:18) How did that work out for you this past week? Did you find that you had a sin-free week? Did you enjoy living a perfect life? If not, what do you think is the problem? If you had paid closer attention last week would you be free from sin? Or, are you having a problem measuring Paul's writings against the reality of your life? Since the Bible is the true and faultless word of God, we need to dig deeper to find out what God is trying to teach us. Let's dive into Paul's continuing message!

Lesson 9: Freedom in Christ (Romans 8:1-17)
Last week, Paul finally got around to being brutally honest about life. His mind was a slave to God, but, he admitted, his sinful nature a slave to sin.(Romans 7:25) I was glad to hear that I was not the only one struggling with sin! Bet that made you feel a lot better about your own struggle with sin. But, the bad news for you and for me is that we still have this sin problem. We don't want to be slaves to sin. Paul describes our collective situation as being "wretched." (Romans 7:24) What can we do? Do we need to do anything? Let's plunge into Paul's continuing discussion about sin and salvation and see what we can learn!

Lesson 10: Redemption for Jew and Gentile (Romans 8:18-9:30)
Look around and you find hardships. Natural disasters. Loss of jobs. Human disasters. Some hardships are so terrible that I do not like to think about them. Consider the miners who have been trapped alive underground for more than two weeks. I just read that those on the surface were able to get air, water and food to the miners. But, rescuers project, it will be four months before those miners can be rescued! Other disasters are of a spiritual nature. What does God say about the hardships that we face? Do we have any control over our lives? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 11: The Election of Grace (Romans 10 & 11)
Paul reports that the Jews were "zealous for God," but that their zeal was "not based on knowledge." (Romans 10:2) Have you seen Christians who are excited about being a Christian, but who don't understand God's word? We all have. That, however, seems an unlikely charge against the Jews. The target of Paul's comments studied God's written word. Pharisees, like Paul, memorized huge portions of the Bible. Somehow, they still missed the mark when it came to knowing God. Let's dive into our study today. We do not want to miss the mark when it comes to knowing and understanding God!

Lesson 12: Love and Law (Romans 12 & 13)
Do you feel out of breath? We have been going through some heavy mental lifting! We've worked our way through Paul's complex and wonderful discussion of a very simple matter - that we are saved by grace and not by works. So many Christians stop there. We need to get our second wind and press on because Paul has much more to say about how Christians saved by grace should live in a pagan world. Deep breath: let's plunge back into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 13: All the Rest Is Commentary (Romans 14-16)
We have come to our last study in Romans and I am sad. What a great discussion we have had about our salvation! I have learned more about God's will, and if you have been with me each lesson, I trust that you, too, have advanced in your knowledge of this important topic. This week we learn about the advantage of being a hypocrite. Well, perhaps not. I'll let you decide. Let's dive into our study of the Bible once again to see what we can learn!

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