Week of October 14 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Day 1 Read: Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Reflect: How do we become righteous before God? What is the result of standing righteous before Him?

Consider: The “therefore” with which chap. 5 begins connects it to what Paul had written in the previous verses. In fact, “since we have been justified through faith” (v. 1) summarizes the entire argument of chaps. 1–4. Those who have placed their trust in Christ can rest assured that their faith has been credited to them as righteousness (Rom 4:24). Their confidence is based on the fact that Christ was put to death for their sins and raised again that they might be declared just (Rom 4:25).[1]

Respond: How does this understanding of righteousness differ from the world’s view on righteousness? In what way does it differ from what you learned previously in church, if at all? What can you relinquish your grip on with the full knowledge that your righteousness is not dependent on anything you do?


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 132–133.

Week of October 7 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Genesis 17:15-19

And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.

Reflect: Why do you think God was insistent that Abraham’s heir come from Sarah?

Consider: God announced that Sarai was to be called Sarah. This new name, though involving only a slight change and meaning “princess,” was fitting for one whose seed would produce kings. Hearing this, Abraham … laughed because it seemed incredible that a barren 90-year-old woman could give birth to a son. Abraham had assumed that his descendants would come through Ishmael.[1]

Respond: Why do you think Abraham laughed when God told him Sarah would have a son? Do you think it revealed a lack of faith or something else?


[1] Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 58.

Week of October 7 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Genesis 17:9-14

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Reflect: We get the sense Sarah was eavesdropping on this conversation. What do you think she must have thought at the announcement she would have a son?

Consider: You shall keep my covenant: there are two main ways in which keep my covenant may be understood. In verse 1 Abraham was instructed to “walk before me [obey me] and be blameless.” On the other hand, God requires in verse 10 that Abraham and his descendants be circumcised as a sign of the covenant. Consequently, keeping the covenant is best taken in this context as obeying the requirement that Abraham and all the males of his camp be circumcised. This interpretation is strengthened in verse 14, where failure to follow God’s instructions regarding circumcision is said to result in a broken covenant.[1]

Respond: Why do you think Sarah was afraid when God asked why she laughed? How does Sarah’s response, and what she subsequently learned about God through the process, encourage you to be open with your feelings to the direction God sometimes wants you to go? How can you encourage others who might be experiencing similar feelings as Sarah’s?


[1] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 370.

Week of October 7 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

Reflect: What was Abraham’s initial response to God’s plan?

Consider: “Abram … ninety years old and nine”—thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael [Ge 16:16]. During that interval he had enjoyed the comforts of communion with God but had been favored with no special revelation as formerly, probably on account of his hasty and blameable marriage with Hagar.[1]

Respond: What did God accomplish by waiting so long to complete His plan? What did He reveal about Himself? How can you be encouraged by this understanding of God and His timing?


[1] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 26.

Week of October 7 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 4:20-25

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Reflect: How did Abraham respond to God as a result of his faith (v. 20)? What is the lesson for us? What should be the focus of our faith (vv. 24-25)? How would you sum up the gospel from verses 23-25?

Consider: In spite of odds that would have attracted every unbelieving dollar in town, Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. When we see that Abraham was strengthened in his faith, we are prone to view “wavering through unbelief” as the opposite; i.e., having weak faith instead of strong faith. But it is not that at all. Waver here is diakrino, which means to act as a judge, to pass judgement, to decide or determine. The point is that he did not allow unbelief to put him in a judgment mode where, like a trial judge or jury, he would weigh the evidence and make his decision.[1]

Respond: How can it be difficult to wait on the promises of God? How does waiting change you? How might we tangibly encourage one another to believe God and surrender to His plans this week and in the weeks ahead?


[1] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 136.

 

Week of October 7 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 4:16

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

Day 1 Read: Romans 4:16-19

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.

Reflect: What had God promised Abraham? Why did there appear to be no hope that the promise would be fulfilled? What did Abraham do anyway?

Consider: Verse 16 opens with a “therefore,” which probably points forward to “so that it may be by grace” rather than backward, providing the reason the promise could not come by law. The promise depends upon faith so that it may be a “matter of sheer grace”. Faith is the response that makes the promise effective in a specific case. It is not, however, a meritorious act. Faith is helplessness reaching out in total dependence upon God. The promise remains an act of grace. God’s promises flow from his nature as one who desires the very best for those he created. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8).[1]

Respond: How have you experienced the wonderful power of God operating in your life to make possible what appears impossible? How do these experiences remind you that God is a God of grace? How do they bolster your faith?


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 127.

Week of September 30 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Genesis 15:1-6

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Reflect: What reasons or personal experiences did Abram have to believe God’s promise in verse 4? Why do you think God gave Abram the sign of the stars as a reminder of His promise?

Consider: Genesis 15:6 provides an important note, but it does not pinpoint Abram’s conversion. That occurred years earlier when he left Ur. (The form of the Heb. word for “believed” shows that his faith did not begin after the events recorded in vv. 1–5.) Abram’s faith is recorded here because it is foundational for making the covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant did not give Abram redemption; it was a covenant made with Abram who had already believed and to whom righteousness had already been imputed. The Bible clearly teaches that in all ages imputed righteousness (i.e., salvation) comes by faith.5

Respond: What steps are involved in the process of moving from unbelief to belief? What is the relationship between belief and righteousness?


5 Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 55.

 

Week of September 30 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 4:9-12

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Reflect: Why is it important to point out that Abraham was credited with faith before he was circumcised? What does it mean for Abraham to be the father of those who are not circumcised?

Consider: He accepted the sign of circumcision as the seal of uprightness that comes through faith while he was still uncircumcised. Paul does not reject circumcision but seeks to order it properly in God’s plan of salvation. He plays on a phrase used in Gen 17:11, where circumcision is called ʾôt bĕrît, “the sign of the covenant”, between Yahweh and Abraham’s family. In Acts 7:8 it is referred to as diathēkē peritomēs, “a covenant of circumcision.” Later rabbis, however, regarded it as the sign of the Mosaic covenant, for it served to distinguish Israel from the nations (see Judg 14:3; 1 Sam 14:6).[1]

Respond: How freeing is it to know that we will be judged by Christ’s works and not our own? What will look differently in your life this week if you truly embrace that change?


[1] Joseph A. Fitzmyer S.J., Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 33, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 380–381.

Week of September 30 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 4:6-8

 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Reflect: How can God never charge a sinner with sin? How could David have understood imputed righteousness?

Consider: This fact about Abraham was also true of David, whose description of God’s gracious dealing with him Paul quoted from Psalm 32:1–2. A person, like David, to whom God credits righteousness apart from works, is blessed. Such a person’s sins are forgiven and covered. And instead of his sin credited (logisētai) to his account, God credits (logizetai; cf. Rom. 4:3) righteousness to him.[1]

Respond: How can we demonstrate our joy and gratitude at having our sins covered and never being charged with sin?


[1] John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 453.

Week of September 30 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 4:4-5

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

Reflect: If we were to keep every law of God, would God then owe us salvation? Who has ever kept all of the law?

Consider: The verses constitute a general statement that compares believing with working as the basis for justification. When people work, their wages come not as gifts but because they have earned them. The spiritual realm, however, is different. In this case those who do not work but believe are regarded by God as righteous. Rather than attempting to earn God’s favor by meritorious deeds, they simply trust. They are accepted by God as righteous because of their faith. God is under no obligation to pronounce righteous those who would earn his favor by working. Righteousness is a gift. God freely gives it to those who believe. The disparity between legalism and grace is seen most clearly in the way God grants a right standing to people of faith.[1]

Respond: If someone is hired for a job with an agreed upon payment, could the employer act like he or she was doing the employee a favor by paying them? If salvation is by works and not by grace, is it fair to say that salvation is not a gift but a debt God owes? Why or why not?


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 123.

Week of September 30 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 4:4

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.

Day 1 Read: Romans 4:1-3

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

Reflect: What do you remember about Abraham’s story? What elements of his life remind you that he was a person just like us? How does Abraham’s story exclude him from bragging? What exactly did Abraham believe that led God to credit him with righteousness?

Consider: The most influential voice in Judaism was the voice of “father Abraham,” so Paul suggests to his readers that they poll the patriarch on the matter of faith: What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter [the matter of faith versus works]? The testimony of the founder of the faith would have far-reaching importance.[1]

Respond: How freeing is it to realize that we get credited with Christ’s righteousness and do not have to depend on our own works for salvation? How will that change our behavior and joy in our works?

 


[1] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 127.

Week of September 23 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Romans 3:27-31

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Reflect: What is Paul’s solution to the question about the application of the law to both Jews and Gentiles alike?

Consider: Because of his Jewish readers, Paul wanted to say more about the relationship of the Gospel to the Law. The doctrine of justification by faith is not against the Law, because it establishes the Law. God obeyed His own Law in working out the plan of salvation. Jesus in His life and death completely fulfilled the demands of the Law.5

Respond: If Jesus had not given us righteousness and we had to “work” to pay for it, what would that look like? How does this passage explain the relationship between faith and works? In what area of your life have you experienced this truth? Why do people, especially in a comfortable, prosperous society, easily embrace a performance-based relationship with God? What effect does this have on society in general? On the church?


5 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 524.

 

Week of September 23 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Reflect: What does verse 21 tell us God has provided for all people? As you look back at the previous few verses in Romans 3, why is what God has provided so crucial? Which testimonies of the biblical prophets stand out to you the most and why?

Consider: Being witnessed (μαρτυρουμένη). Borne witness to; attested. The present participle indicates that this testimony is now being borne by the Old Testament to the new dispensation.[1]

Respond: “Justify” is a legal term meaning God declares the sinner not guilty. How does being declared not guilty impact your future? How does it impact you today?


[1] Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 3 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 41.

Week of September 23 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 3:19-20

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Reflect: According to these verses, what is the Law’s purpose?

Consider: Law encourages effort. But human effort inevitably falls short of the divine standard. The purpose of the law is to guide conduct, not to provide a method to stand before God on the basis of one’s own righteousness. Phillips notes that “it is the straightedge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.”[1]

Respond: What makes verses 19 and 20 such hopeless verses? How does this concept connect with what you see in Romans 1:18-21?


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 111.

Week of September 23 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 3:9-18

 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Reflect: How does Paul emphasize the global reaches of the problem of sin?

Consider: The second witness, beside the apostle himself, is the Old Testament. The corpus of special revelation which formed the Jews’ advantage (Rom. 3:1–2) turns out to be the strongest witness against them. From the Psalms, Isaiah, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs come the seminal thoughts that Paul “quotes” in order to show the Jews one thing: the texts which God committed to them for the purpose of being a light to the Gentiles have now been turned upon them. It is as if someone grabbed their sword out of their hand—the sword by which they were to fight their way through the darkness of this world—and killed them with it.[1]

Respond: Do you think most people in the world think they are righteous or unrighteous? How would you explain to someone that they are not righteous? Which description of unrighteousness from this passage do you think best fits modern society? Why? Which description of unrighteousness from this passage reminds you the most of yourself before Christ? Why? How have you seen Him change you?


[1] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 87.

 

Week of September 23 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 3:23-24

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

Day 1 Read: Romans 3:1-8

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Reflect: What two “absolutely not” questions/statements does Paul make in verses 1-8? In your own words, how would you describe God from these verses?

Consider: A characteristic mark of Paul’s style, particularly in this letter to the Romans, is to ask and answer an obvious question his discussion has raised in his readers’ minds. The natural response to the preceding material (2:17–29) is, What advantage (perrison, “overplus”), then, is there in being a Jew? Expressed in other words the question is, What value (ōpheleia, “advantage”) is there in circumcision? The first question pertains to Paul’s words in 2:17–24, and the second question to his words in 2:25–29. Paul’s response is immediate and direct: Much in every way! He was not saying that being a Jew or being circumcised had no gains.[1]

Respond: Have you ever found yourself wishing you had a more “dramatic” testimony? If you have lived a relatively stress free, challenge free life as a believer, how can you give God praise for that through your life? Your words?


[1] John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 448.

Week of September 16 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Isaiah 29:13-14

And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
    do wonderful things with this people,
    with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
    and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

Reflect: What is the Lord accusing his people of through the prophet?

Consider: The people of Jerusalem, professing to know God, were formally involved in acts of worship but they did not worship God from their hearts. They were more concerned with man-made legalistic rules than with God’s Law, which promotes mercy, justice, and equity. Because of that, God would judge them; their wisdom would vanish.5

Respond: In what ways have you made church about the things you want and need? Have you ever considered what God wants? In what ways would your worship change? Your service?


5 John A. Martin, “Isaiah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1079.

 

Week of September 16 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 2:25-29

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Reflect: While Paul is obviously addressing Jewish believers in these verses, what is the basic concept he is trying to explain to all believers?

Consider: Circumcision may mean the act of circumcising, the state of being circumcised, or those who have been circumcised. The word may also be used metaphorically to denote those in a right relationship to God (Phil. 3:3; cf. Gal. 6:15). Here the physical act is in mind. Paul sees circumcision as profitable, but only if the law is kept (cf. 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 5:3). It admitted to membership of the covenant people, but this is of no avail unless one lives as a member of that covenant people.4

Respond: What is a healthy way you can remind yourself of your need for a Savior this week?


4 Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 139.

Week of September 16 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 2:17-24

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Reflect: What were the people Paul addressed in these verses trusting in?

Consider: Jewish self-righteousness stemmed from a basic misunderstanding of what it meant for them to have been the favored recipients of the law. It is true that in the law they had the “embodiment of knowledge and truth.” But knowledge and truth were intended to be carried out in the affairs of life. They were never meant to be co-opted into the service of personal self-aggrandizement. The Jewish audience to whom Paul wrote fell miserably short of God’s intention for those so blessed with divine favor. They serve as a type of all believers who prostitute the blessings of God to serve their own selfish instincts.3

Respond: Do you have the tendency to trust in your own religious performance? Why do you think that pull is so strong? How does trusting in your own acts of righteousness actually dishonor the sacrifice of Jesus?


3 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 99.

Week of September 16 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

Reflect: What did Moses bring? What did Jesus bring?

Consider: The contrast between law and grace forms a major portion of Pauline theology, but we get a thumbnail sketch here from John. Moses provided a standard of righteousness—that no one could meet. Then the Prophet whom Moses promised (1:25) came, and he brought a standard of righteousness centered in grace and truth. Like John the Baptist and John the apostle, Moses was a servant. But Jesus is the Son. This verse drives the dividing spike between the old and new covenants, introducing a new way of God’s dealing with humankind.2

Respond: How do the law and “grace and truth” work together?


2 Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 14.