Week of November 11 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 7:24-25

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Reflect: What was Paul’s frame of mind in verse 24? Have you been there? What was that like? What were the circumstances?

Consider: The exclamation what an unhappy man I am! may be rendered as “I am exceedingly unhappy,” “I am not at all happy,” or “I am indeed miserable.”4

Respond: In the midst of Paul’s frustrating struggle, what was Paul’s hope? How can this hope become more than just words we say?


4 Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1973), 142.

Week of November 11 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 7:17-23

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 

Reflect: What did Paul mean when he said sin was living inside him? How can Christians have sin living in them?

Consider: Paul says, “What I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” His words must be measured against his life for interpretation. Had Paul not done much that he desired to do in obedience to Jesus Christ? Had he not suffered greatly for the sake of the spread of the gospel, nearly losing his life on more than one occasion? Certainly, there is evidence that Paul did much of what he wanted to do. What then of his words? He is speaking of the sinful capacity that lives in him still. If it were up to Paul (or to us), we would do only what the law wants us to do. Yet we keep on doing the opposite. Paul does not mean that he does only evil, or that he does more evil than good, but that the conflict with evil is one that keeps on (present active indicative of prasso). The lure of sin is not dead though we have died to it. It will not die during “this present age” until we die physically. Only in “the age to come” will we be free from doing those things which we ought not to do.3

Respond: What two laws does Paul reference in verses 21-23? What are the key differences between these two laws? What is the battle between these two laws like for you?


3 Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 230–231.

Week of November 11 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 7:14-16

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  

Reflect: What does Paul’s inner battle tell us about ourselves? When is the last time you could relate to Paul’s statement: I do not understand what I do? How do you usually respond to that feeling?

Consider: In v. 14 Paul reminded his readers of the obvious fact that the law is spiritual. Since it has its origin in God, it must of necessity give expression to the holiness of God’s character. In contrast, Paul acknowledged that he was unspiritual. It takes very little self-examination for the Christian to agree that our life and conduct fall miserably short of the divine expectation. Even though the believer has a new nature acquired by a spiritual rebirth, the old nature continues to exert its maleficent influence.2

Respond: What do we communicate to God when we try to battle sin on our own? Why isn’t it realistic for us as believers to think we can live the Christian life without struggling against sin? How is our struggle with sin actually an indication of spiritual growth?


2 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 168.

Week of November 11 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 7:12

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Day 1 Read: Romans 7:7-13

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

Reflect: Why does God’s good law provoke us to sin?

Consider: Is the Law sin? Paul’s response again was a vehement denial. Certainly not! The Law arouses sin (7:5) but that does not mean the Law itself is sin. In fact, Paul said later, the Law is holy (v. 12) and spiritual (v. 14). Paul went on to explain that the Law made sin known. Then to be specific, he mentioned coveting. The Law’s prohibition, Do not covet (Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21), makes people want to covet all the more. Paul knew sin as a principle and specifically, covetousness as an expression of it, and that knowledge came through the Law. Paul described how it worked. The indwelling principle of sin, seizing the opportunity (lit., “taking a start point” [aphormēn, a base for military operations or for an expedition]) afforded by the commandment (cf. Rom. 7:11), produced in me every kind of covetous desire.1

Respond: How are the commandments meant for life? Why would a commandment meant for life bring death?


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), 466.

Week of November 4 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Romans 7:6

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Reflect: What transfer of ownership has taken place in the life of the believer? What has that set the believer free from and free to do?

Consider: Verse 6 completes the comparison. By dying to that which was once in control, the believer is now released from the law and freed to serve in a new way. Formerly we were in bondage to written regulations. Law was our old master. But now we are set free to serve our new master in a new way, in the Spirit. The shift from law to Spirit is a shift from legalism to true spirituality. How unfortunate that so many believers continue to understand their Christian experience within an ethical framework determined by law. To serve in the Spirit is to live the resurrected life, to claim our rightful place in Christ. Dead to sin and freed to live for righteousness, we now live lives that bear fruit for God.5

Respond: Is there an area of your life where you are still living in captivity to the law? If so, make that a focal point of prayer and ask God to help you let go of that stronghold.


5 Ibid., 162–163.

 

Week of November 4 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 7:5

For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

Reflect: Before Christ, what kind of fruit were you producing? According to Paul, is it possible apart from Christ to just “get by” being a nice person who does good things?

Consider: Once again Paul drew a comparison. Verse 5 describes the preconversion days of the believers at Rome when they were “controlled by the sinful nature.”71 Verse 6 moves ahead to the time when they were no longer in bondage to the law. By basic inclination people are controlled by their lower nature. Apart from this fundamental insight into human nature it is impossible to understand the evil that has plagued the human race.4

Respond: Who do you know who would respond to your evangelistic effort with “I’m a good person.” How does this verse help you understand the reality of lostness? How might you change your approach with others in the future?


4 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 162.

Week of November 4 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 7:4

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 

Reflect: What is the result of dying to the law? How is that practically seen?

Consider: Paul continues. It is time now for him to apply the illustration from marriage to the life of the believers in Rome. When seeking new life in a new marriage, only one thing will release one from the old and unto the new—death to the old.3

Respond: Read John 15. Compare Jesus’ words about bearing fruit with Paul’s in this passage. What fruit are you bearing that proves you have died to sin and are now a branch of the vine that is Jesus Christ?

 


3 Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 219.

Week of November 4 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 7:1-3

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Reflect: What point is Paul ultimately making in this passage?

Consider: Verses 1–6 relate to 6:14, the intervening verses (6:15–23) being a digression raised by the question in 6:15. The statement that a believer identified with Jesus Christ in His death is no longer “under Law” (6:14) should not have surprised Paul’s readers because they were men who know the Law. This statement should not be restricted to Jewish believers in the church at Rome because Gentiles also knew the principle that the Law has authority (kyrieuei, “rules as lord”; cf. 6:9; 14) over a man only as long as he lives.2

Respond: If you were to categorize your conversations, ministry, service as either “earthly” or “eternal”, which side would weigh heavier? How much time do you spend on things of the world?


2 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), 465.

Week of November 4 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 7:4

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

Day 1 Read: Romans 6:14

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Reflect: On what basis is the believer free from sin? How was that secured on the believer’s behalf?

Consider: “for ye are not under the law, but under grace”—The force of this glorious assurance can only be felt by observing the grounds on which it rests. To be “under the law” is, first, to be under its claim to entire obedience; and so, next under its curse for the breach of these. And as all power to obey can reach the sinner only through Grace, of which the law knows nothing, it follows that to be “under the law” is, finally, to be shut up under an inability to keep it, and consequently to be the helpless slave of sin. On the other hand, to be “under grace,” is to be under the glorious canopy and saving effects of that “grace which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (see on Ro 5:20, 21). The curse of the law has been completely lifted from off them; they are made “the righteousness of God in Him”; and they are “alive unto God through Jesus Christ.”1

Respond: If Paul’s words are true, why do believers revert back to lists of do’s and don’ts to prove their righteousness? What is the flaw with that approach?


1 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 235–236.

Week of October 28 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Joshua 24:15

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Reflect: What challenge does Joshua make to the nation of Israel? What is implied by his challenge? What declaration does he make to his own challenge?

Consider: Now God left off speaking directly, and Joshua addressed the people, charging them to be faithful in serving the God who had been so faithful in helping them. He again mentioned the gods of their ancestors (cf. v. 2) and urged the people to remove them (“throw away”) from their midst. In v. 14 the NIV’s “serve him with all faithfulness” is literally “serve him with integrity (tāmîm) and truth (ʾĕmet).” The NASB renders the phrase here as “sincerity and truth,” the NRSV as “sincerity and … faithfulness,” the REB as “loyalty and truth,” the NLT as “wholeheartedly.” The word tāmîm connotes the idea of wholeness, blamelessness, integrity, even “perfection,” and thus Joshua’s exhortation is a passionate one that the people should be totally devoted—blameless—in their worship of their God.5

Respond: What influences who or what you worship? How is your worship demonstrated? How can sin become the object of our worship? Why does this go against Christ’s redemptive work on the cross?


5 David M. Howard Jr., Joshua, vol. 5, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 435.

 

Week of October 28 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 6:15-23

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,  18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Reflect: What does it mean to be a slave of sin?

Consider: Obedience was an essential ingredient in slavery: it was the function of the slave to do what he was told. And, of course, a change of owner meant that the slave no longer obeyed his former master. He still obeyed, but his obedience was transferred to his new owner. The obedience he rendered showed whose slave he was. Here Paul insists that obedience is an important part of the life lived in grace (cf. 1:5; 15:18; 16:26). The essence of sin is disobedience to God, while contrariwise to be obedient to God is the hallmark of the slave of God. The quality of our living shows whose we are.[1]

Respond: Why is it impossible to break free from sin before we are born again by God’s grace? Do you have the power within you to overcome sin? Where does the power to live a life free from sin come from?


[1] Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 261–262.

Week of October 28 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 6:12-14

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Reflect: How do we prevent sin from reigning in our mortal bodies?

Consider: The attitude of mind that a believer has died to sin must be translated into action in his experience. Paul commanded, Therefore do not let sin reign (pres. imper., “do not let sin continue to reign”) as it did before salvation. The present imperative negative can also be translated, “Stop letting sin reign.” When sin reigns in people’s lives and bodies, they obey its evil desires. Sin enslaves (v. 6), making a person subject to his own desires.[1]

Respond: What do you think it means to present part of yourself as a weapon for unrighteousness or righteousness? What is the difference between being under law and under grace? How does being under grace set us free from the rule of 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), 463.

Week of October 28 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Reflect: On what basis can we face uncertain times in our world? How can we remain hopeful in times of despair?

Consider: Paul concluded that we are always confident. Paul and his company knew that as long as they and other believers were at home in the body, they were away from the Lord. Short of leaving this life, believers must endure physical separation from God’s presence. But the hardship, pain, and trials they endure will disappear when final salvation comes at Christ’s return.

Paul did not mean that God was absent from the lives of believers. He had just affirmed the Holy Spirit’s presence, and Jesus himself had sent the Spirit so believers would not be orphans (John 14:16–18). Yet, the Spirit’s ministry represents only a small portion of what is ahead. His presence neither removes the trouble of this life nor stops the groaning. Rather, the Holy Spirit joins us in our present groaning (Rom. 8:26).[1]

Respond: Why is “walking by faith” such an important dimension of our experience as believers? Who have you observed recently truly walking by faith? Make it a point to do some research on the Underground Church. Read some of their stories and allow them to encourage you to walk more confidently in your faith in Christ.


[1] Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 354.

 

Week of October 28 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 6:5

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

Day 1 Read: Romans 6:1-11

 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Reflect: Why would anyone think that we ought to sin to make grace multiply?

Consider: 6:2–3 The answer to the rhetorical question is a resounding “By no means!” How could it be possible for those who have died to sin to continue to live in it? Death separates. Death to sin removes the believer from the control of sin. This truth finds expression throughout Paul’s writings (Rom 6:6, 11; Col 3:5; cf. 1 Pet 2:24). The text does not say that sin dies to the believer; it is the believer who has died to sin. Origen, the most influential theologian of the ante-Nicene period, described death to sin in this way: “To obey the cravings of sin is to be alive to sin; but not to obey the cravings of sin or succumb to its will, this is to die to sin.”[1]

Respond: What does it mean that we were baptized into Christ’s death? How does baptism picture our union with Jesus? What does Paul mean that our old selves were “crucified with Christ”? How does being crucified with Christ free us from sin’s claims? What does it mean to “walk in a new way of life”?


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 148–149.

Week of October 21 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Colossians 1:19-23

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Reflect: Why is it important that Jesus is the fullness of God? What does Christ’s death accomplish for you? What does that call you to do?

Consider: Jesus has supremacy over all things because all of God’s fullness resides in Jesus: He is the full embodiment of God’s attributes and saving grace. Through Jesus, God is able to reconcile to himself all things. Reconciliation is the removal of hostility and the restoring of friendly relations to parties who have been at war. Paul also calls reconciliation making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. What God has done is to move toward us to restore harmony, patch things up, cease hostilities, bury the hatchet, smoke the peace pipe, and heal the breach.5

Respond: How were you alienated and hostile toward God? How did your actions show your hostility? How are you different today?


5 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 284.

 

Week of October 21 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 5:18-21

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reflect: What are the benefits of God’s grace, made available to us through Jesus Christ? (Re-read Romans 5:1-11)

Consider: so through the obedience of one many will be made upright. This is the climax in the paragraph: the influence of Christ is overwhelming and knows no bounds. Cf. Phil 2:6–8. Jesus’ obedience to the will of his Father has had an effect on the destiny of all human beings. “His whole life was determined by this obedience, and this obedience has won lawful and theological significance for the humanity of the eschatological period” (Michel, Brief an die Römer, 191).4

Respond: How does understanding the abundance of God’s grace help you deal with concern about your sins? What is your response to this amazing act God has done for you? How does this passage affect your heart toward God? Allow your response to lead you to a time of personal worship to Him today.


4 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), 421.

Week of October 21 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 5:15-17

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Reflect: How is Jesus’ work similar to Adam’s? How is it different? What results did the death of Jesus Christ bring?

Consider: Because of Adam’s trespass, many died; because of Christ’s obedience the grace of God abounds to many bringing life. The word “many” (literally “the many”) means the same as “all men” in Romans 5:12 and 18. Note the “much more”; for the grace of Christ brings not only physical life, but also spiritual life and abundant life. Christ did conquer death and one day will raise the bodies of all who have died “in Christ.” If He stopped there, He would only reverse the effects of Adam’s sin; but He went on to do “much more.” He gives eternal life abundantly to all who trust Him (John 10:10).3

Respond: Who does Paul say Jesus’ work on the cross is for? What must one do to benefit from what Christ did? What is the result of receiving God’s gifts of grace and righteousness?


3 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 529.

Week of October 21 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Genesis 3:1-24

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 20 The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Reflect: What mistakes by Adam and Eve can you identify in this passage? (It might be helpful to read chapter 2 to remind yourself of the instructions God gave them regarding the garden.)

Consider: Genesis 3:1 is connected with 2:25 by a Hebrew wordplay: Adam and Eve were “naked” (‘ărûmmîm); and the serpent was more crafty (‘ārûm, “shrewd”) than all. Their nakedness represented the fact that they were oblivious to evil, not knowing where the traps lay, whereas Satan did and would use his craftiness to take advantage of their integrity. That quality of shrewdness or subtleness is not evil in itself (indeed, one of the purposes of the Bible is to make believers so, according to Prov. 1:4, where ‘ārmâh, shrewdness, is trans. “prudence”). But it was used here for an evil purpose.2

Respond: In your own life, what are your trouble spots for temptation and sin? What are things you need to avoid? How might have you twisted the word of God which led to sin on your part?


2 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), 32.

 

Week of October 21 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

Day 1 Read: Romans 5:12-14

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

Reflect: How does Paul sum up the “bad news” of the Bible? Think of a decision you made that affect others in a bad way. How does this help you understand verse 12?

Consider: No matter how devastating the sin of the first, the redemptive work of the second reverses the consequences of that sin and restores people to the favor of God. Only by grasping the seriousness of the first is one able to appreciate the remarkable magnanimity of the second.1

Respond: How did you first become aware that you needed God’s grace? Where have you seen God’s grace impact your life the most?

 


1 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 140.

Week of October 14 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Romans 5:1-11

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. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Reflect: How did Jesus accomplish the ministry of reconciliation?

Consider: As in verse 1, we have been justified presents our justification as an accomplished fact. Paul takes that as basic and reasons from it. Justification is by grace (3:24), by faith (3:28), and connected with the resurrection (4:25); it is in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:11), in the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11), in Christ (Gal. 2:17), and here it is by his blood. These are all facets of God’s great saving act, and the various ways of expressing it center impressively on the truth that it is all of God (8:33).5

Respond: What impact does Jesus’ reconciliation on our behalf have on our relationship with God? With others? According to 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, what does this look like practically speaking?


5 Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 224–225.