Romans Lesson 2

The Universal Need for God’s Righteousness(1:18–3:20)

                    1. Gentiles Are Unrighteous (1:18–32)
                    2. Jews Are Unrighteous (2:1–3:8)
                    3. All Humans Are Unrighteous (3:9–20)

People need to understand their sinful dilemma before they can take the gospel seriously. We can see this is Paul’s strategy in Romans.

Rom 1:18

After Paul has made his wonderful announcement of the good news of salvation through God’s righteousness, (Romans 1:15-17), you would think Paul would spend time teaching about the blessings of salvation. But he goes in a different direction: he writes about wrath, sin, idolatry, and judgement.

The wrath of God is not a welcome discussion, even for Christians. We would rather think about God’s love and His grace. In the rest of this section Paul will detail the ways in which God’s wrath is inflicted and, especially, the reason why he inflicts that wrath. At the end of 18, Paul tells us that God’s wrath is visited on those who “suppress the truth”. This implies that people have access to the truth.

Romans 1:19-21 includes a discussion of natural revelation. We see that God has manifested his truth to human beings.

In Romans 1:22-28 Paul describes the effects of man’s resistance to God. The act of God “giving them over” is not a passive “allowing” them to experience the consequences of unbelief, but rather an action taken by God. He responds by condemning people to the consequences of the sins they have chosen.

We need to keep in mind that idolatry is anything we put in the place of God-sex, money, power, hobbies, ministry-is and idol.

Romans 1:29 focuses on the evil that we do to one another. Paul ends this by telling us that we have a recognition of good and evil. He also condemns not only those who sin, but those who approve of it.

In Romans 2, Paul uses a literary style that would have been familiar to his audience. This style, called a diatribe, uses a debate with a fictional opponent to express his case.

In Romans 2:1 he discusses judgement. He is not arguing that judgement of others or sinful behavior is wrong. In Romans 2:2-11 he shows that man will be judged on his works, because his works reveal who he is. Paul argues that your actions are evidence that your faith is genuine. So your works or the lack of them indicates what you believe.

Romans 1:17-29 shows the contrast between Jewish teaching and Jewish behavior. He is teaching them that to belong to God’s people, one must be inwardly changed. Physical circumcision means nothing without circumcision of the heart.

In vv 28-29 Paul expresses a new concept of “Jew”. Paul is using the language of “Jew” here to mean “a member of God’s true people.” And he argues that membership in this people has nothing to do with outward or physical matters such as circumcision. In v 29, the word “letter” represents the old salvation historical era, while “Spirit” stands for the new era of redemption that has come with Christ and His resurrection.

Jews need to understand that their covenant status cannot, by itself, protect them from the judgment of God. And they need ultimately also to understand that only a relationship with Christ through the Spirit of the new age will bring them into the true people of God.1Douglas Moo Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey

 

 

Footnotes
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    Douglas Moo Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey

Romans Lesson 1

Are you ready to study what many theologians consider to be the greatest letter ever written?

It is important that we understand that this is a letter, a letter written by a particular person to a particular group of people, at a particular time, a particular place. We need to understand it in its context before we can interpret it for its meaning for us. In Acts we see the birth of the church and the spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. In the Book of Romans we are going to see the doctrine of salvation as it is seen through the bible. Continue reading “Romans Lesson 1”

Romans Upcoming Study Update

Are you ready to study what many theologians consider to be the greatest letter ever written?

We are excited to be getting together for our fall 22 study? We have a new format this year and hope this will enhance our Romans Study. It is similar to what we had used a number of years ago. We have a team teaching approach. I will be teaching the basic lesson each week, while Jeanette Baldwin and Lindsey Randow will be leading and teaching discussion groups. Stefanie Bennett will be a regular substitute for that position. Our discussion groups will include new content as well as discussing the weekly lesson. We will have no assigned homework, but you will have optional opportunities to dig deeper as your time permits.

I will keep up a blog each week with a short summary of the lesson. Sometimes I will add pertinent articles and updates. Also, our blog page will have the outline and discussion questions for you to print out if you are not in class. Please take advantage of that as we generally won’t have the past week’s lesson on hand in class. Every time I publish a new blog post, you will get an email like this one informing you of new posts. I will plan to update the blog within 24 hours after a class and usually that same day.

This week we will be studying Romans 1:1-17 plus we will have background info on the context. We encourage you to be early, as we need to start on time to cover all our materials this week. Nursery drop off starts at 9:50, so that should not make anyone late. We ask for your prayers and your patience as we navigate through this new format and this wonderful letter.

See you Wednesday

On behalf of the Romans Teaching Team,

Kathy Horan

Lesson 16

Just a reminder: This is the last class of our Acts study. It has been a pleasure and a great personal blessing working through this wonderful book with you all…….Kathy

 

Conclusion 

Paul is now leaving Caesarea. He has been in prison, remember, in Caesarea for two long years. He has seen both Felix come and go, and now Governor Festus, and more recently we’ve seen him give his defense, or his apologia, before King Agrippa and his sister Bernice. And at the end of the twenty-sixth chapter, King Agrippa had come to this conclusion: that this man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.

 

Act 27:1-6

The use of the term “we” here shows that the author of this book, Luke, was with Paul. He had been his traveling companion, and though he had not been accused, yet it was resolved that he should still accompany him. Whether he went at his own expense, or whether he was sent at the expense of the Roman government, does not appear.

Continue reading “Lesson 16”

Lesson 15

Acts 24:27-25:12

Since Paul’s trial in Caesarea two years earlier, some of the faces have changed. Ananias, the high priest whom Paul had offended, has been replaced.  Felix has been replaced by Festus. Tertullus, the lawyer hired by the leaders of the Sanhedrin to prosecute Paul before Felix, is now out of the picture.

Felix was a veteran as governor of Judea, who ruled with an iron fist. But his methods greatly angered the Jews. Festus is not nearly as well known as Felix, but all indications are that he was a novice and not really equipped to handle Paul’s case. Felix was experienced and very familiar with Judaism (Acts 24:11). After all, his wife was a Jewess (Acts 24:24). In addition, Felix was familiar with Christianity (“the Way,” see Acts 24:22). Festus was probably lacking in all these areas. History does not have a great deal to tell us about Festus.

So Festus invites the men, the Jewish men, down to Caesarea for the trial. They rehearse the same old charges. There are no witnesses, and they cannot prove a single charge that is being made against the Apostle Paul. Continue reading “Lesson 15”

Lesson 14

Acts 21:40-22:21

Paul begins to speak, and he speaks in the Hebrew tongue — and probably Luke means by that, Aramaic. And that means that while the crowd can understand him — it was the currency language of the temple, everyone in the temple would have understood immediately what Paul was saying.

He begins by telling them of his conservative Jewish upbringing. He was the son of parents who had lived in Tarsus, but at an early age he had been brought to Jerusalem to study under the feet of this notorious Jewish scholar, Gamaliel, the leader of a certain section of Jewry, the so-called school of Hillel. We’ve already come across it in Acts 5. He talks about his zeal for Moses, his zeal for the Law of Moses, his zeal for the traditions of Moses. He talks about his conversion on the Damascus road. He mentions the fact that he went to Damascus and spoke with and was given instruction by Ananias — a devout Jew, a man known in Jerusalem and well-respected for his Jewishness. And then, as he comes back to Jerusalem, as he’s praying in the temple in the very precincts in which these accusers of his are standing, that he sees a vision and hears a voice from heaven that commands him to become the apostle to the Gentiles.

Saul of Tarsus had come to see that the one that he was really persecuting was not just Stephen and not just the Christians that he had imprisoned, but the One that he was really persecuting was Jesus Himself, who had laid down His life on behalf of sinners like Saul of Tarsus on the cross of Calvary. Continue reading “Lesson 14”

Lesson 13

We pick up with Paul in Ephesus after a 3 year stay, where he had a conflict with local artisans. He wrote about it in his first letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

Acts 20:1-6

This is the first reference (the first formal reference, at least) to the Lord’s Day in The Acts of The Apostles, and you get the impression that when Paul comes (and it is to Philippi that he eventually will come) and he’s there with Luke, you get the impression that they’re engaging in a certain activity that they’ve been engaging in for some time on the Lord’s Day.

he hears of a plot, a plot to kill him…a Jewish plot to kill him. And he heads back up to Macedonia, heads back towards the districts of Thessalonica and Berea, and eventually to Philippi, and eventually across the Aegean again to Troas.
Luke tells us that he didn’t travel alone. It was a wise policy, of course, not to travel alone. There’s a whole slew of people, there’s a group here of ten people that we know of in this party. One is Timothy, from Lystra; Aristarchus and Secundus come from Thessalonica in Macedonia; Tychicus comes from Asia; Sopater comes from Berea; Trophimus, from Ephesus; Gaius comes from Derbe; Titus and Luke come from Antioch. We’re not quite clear where Luke has been; all we can say is that when he gets to Philippi, Luke is there, because all of a sudden, you notice, we’re back to we again. And they were gathered together to break bread. Already, do you see, the church in Troas…of which we know almost nothing…but this little church, this little community that has gathered together in Troas on the first day of the week, on Sunday, they’re gathering together. And they’re gathering together for the purposes of breaking bread and, as we see here, of listening to preaching, of listening to the word of God being expounded. There’s no mention here of singing. We do have reference here to two things: preaching and the Lord’s Supper. Continue reading “Lesson 13”

Acts Lesson 12

Ministry in Corinth

We left Paul in Athens last week. We expected Timothy and Silas to join him. Actually, they did, but Luke doesn’t mention it in the account in The Acts of The Apostles, but Paul tells us in a letter to the church at Thessalonica that he will write from the city of Corinth. And he tells us that both Timothy and Silas came down from Berea to Athens, but he immediately sent them back, sending Timothy back to Thessalonica, and probably Silas. In chapters 18 and 19, Luke describes Paul’s visits to Corinth and Ephesus. They follow a similar pattern to what we have seen, namely the evangelization of the Jews, their opposition to the gospel, his deliberate turn to the gentiles and the vindication for his decision. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 12”