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.

 

Week of September 16 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: 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.”

Day 1 Read: Romans 2:12-16

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Reflect: How is God going to judge those who knew the Law? How will God judge the people who never had the opportunity to hear the Law of God?

Consider: In the previous verse Paul has concluded that all men, both Jews and Gentiles, are equal before God. However, there is one evident difference: the Jews possess the Law, and the Gentiles do not. Paul deals with this problem in verses 12–16. He points out that God has spoken to all men, some through the Jewish Law and some through the law of conscience, and so all men must answer to him. The Greek text of this verse reads literally: “Whoever sinned without having the law will be lost without having the law; and whoever sinned in the law will be judged by the law.”1

Respond: What does it mean for the law to be written on your heart? How can reminding ourselves that we are law-breakers help us to grow in grace? How can it keep us from being too judgmental of others?


1 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), 38.

Week of September 9 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Romans 2:1-11

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Reflect: What is your biggest takeaway from studying this passage further this week?

Consider: Chapter 2 begins with “therefore,” a term that normally introduces the result of that which immediately precedes. In this case, however, the connection with chap. 1 is not clear. The final section of that chapter (vv. 18–32) established the need for righteousness among Gentiles. By the time we reach 2:17 it is obvious that Paul was addressing his remarks to Jews. But to whom were the intervening verses directed? Some think Paul was for the moment addressing his remarks to certain Gentiles known for their superior morality. Others think the verses refer to anyone, Jew or Gentile, who was inclined to judge others. Stott says Paul “seems to be confronting every human being (Jew or Gentile) who is a moralizer, who presumes to pass judgment on other people.” However, the entire second chapter probably was a warning to the Jews not to assume that their national identity was sufficient to provide them a right standing before God.5

Respond: What can you do to be more consistently aware of the kindness and patience God has shown you? How might such and awareness change the way you relate to the lost people God has placed in your life?

 

 

5 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 87–88.

 

 

Week of September 9 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: 2 Peter 3:8-13

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Reflect: Why isn’t God slow to fulfill His promises? How did Peter describe God’s sense of time?

Consider: When the Lord does come, it will be both surprising and catastrophic: like a thief. This simile was used by Jesus (Matt. 24:42–44) and repeated by others (1 Thes. 5:2; Rev. 3:3; 16:15). The day of the Lord describes end-time events that begin after the Rapture and culminate with the commencement of eternity. In the middle of the 70th week of Daniel the Antichrist will turn against the people of God in full fury (Dan. 9:24–27).4

Respond: Why has God delayed Christ’s return even to this day? How can Peter’s description of the cataclysmic events related to Christ’s return encourage believers to passionately pursue the character of Christ?

 

 

4  Kenneth O. Gangel, “2 Peter,” 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), 876–877.

 

Week of September 9 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 2:9-11

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Reflect: What judgment awaits the people whose works reveal their faithlessness? What judgment awaits the people whose works reveal their faith in God? Why are each of these eternal rewards good news for the Christian?

Consider: …for there is no partiality in God. Lit., “for there is no face-uplifting on God’s part,” i.e., he lifts up the face of both Jew and Greek alike or he looks with equity on both; he has no favorites. This verse provides the basis for what Paul said in v 10 about everyone “who does good” and in v 9 about everyone who “does evil.”3

Respond: How does God’s impartiality speak good news into the bad news of this world? How can you demonstrate your gratitude that God is impartial?

 

 

3 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), 303.

 

Week of September 9 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 2:3-8

Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Reflect: What words or phrases indicated good news in these verses? In what way does God’s kindness lead to repentance?

Consider: Paul was not teaching salvation by character or good deeds. He was explaining another basic principle of God’s judgment: God judges according to deeds, just as He judges according to truth. Paul was dealing here with the consistent actions of a person’s life, the total impact of his character and conduct.2

Respond: How have you experienced God’s kindness, restraint, and patience? Why is God patient with us?

 

 

2 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 520.

 

Week of September 9 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 2:6-8

He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Day 1 Read: Romans 2:1-2

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.

Reflect: Why are we not to judge others?

Consider: The word translated have no excuse is often used in a legal sense. It means “without reasoned defence”. Paul has already used it of the Gentiles (1:20; see the note in Earle), and his use of it now with respect to the Jews shows that there is no difference. The Jew is in just as indefensible a position as are the Gentiles. When he condemns somebody else he condemns himself.1

Respond: What do we communicate about ourselves when we judge other people for their sins? What do we communicate about God?

 

 

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), 109.

 

Week of September 2 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Reflect: Is homosexuality greater than any other sin? How do you think most Christians would answer this question? How do you think most non-Christians would expect a Christian to answer this question? Is homosexuality an unforgivable sin?

Consider: The word adikoi (“the wicked”) in 1 Corinthians 6:9 was used in verse 1, there translated “the ungodly.” The verb form adikeite (“do wrong”) however, was used in verse 8 to describe the Corinthians’ behavior. Their future role should have radically affected their practice in the present (cf. 1 John 3:3). If they thought otherwise, Paul warned, they were deceived (cf. 1 Cor. 5:11; Rev. 21:7–8; 22:14–15).5

Respond: Why might it be important for us to remember who we were before coming to Christ (v. 11)?

Why might doing so be particularly important when sharing the gospel with homosexuals?

 

 

5 David K. Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” 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), 516.

 

 

Week of September 2 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 1:26-32

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Reflect: Describe the downward spiral of sin depicted in Romans 1:18-32. What is God’s verdict against humanity’s sinful condition? How did the people about whom Paul wrote show they were ignoring God’s verdict?

Consider: It seems that Paul has chosen homosexuality as the nadir of sinful expression because of its complete reversal of God’s natural order. Some forms of sexual immorality (perhaps that referred to in v. 24?) at least falls within the natural order of male-female relations. But homosexuality (vv. 26–27) so totally moves out of the realm of what is natural that it indicates a total throwing off of the revealed will and design of God. It is as if those practicing it have said, “There is no order, reason, or logic associated with anything. We are free to experiment and create at will. We have become as gods, creating new orders and practices of our own.” Homosexuality, while perhaps not the most hurtful of sins (as say, compared to murder), is certainly the ultimate in arrogance and sinful rebellion against the order of God. It is frightful to consider what happened to the Roman Empire after reaching a point of immorality, which championed homosexuality (not tolerated, but championed), and then to look at modern cultures which have devolved to a similar place morally.4

Respond: How can the power of the gospel affect the depraved condition of those described in Romans 1:18-32? In what ways can we be more alert to the sin in our lives and more committed to rejecting sinful ways of living? How can we encourage one another in this pursuit?

 

 

4 Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 55.

 

 

Week of September 2 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 1:24-25

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Reflect: As a consequence for people’s failure to accept the truth, how did God respond (vv. 24, 26, 28)?

What two wrong actions did the people take in verse 25?

Consider: God’s wrath mentioned in Romans 1 is not an active outpouring of divine displeasure but the removal of restraint that allows sinners to reap the just fruits of their rebellion. F. Godet writes that God “ceased to hold the boat as it was dragged by the current of the river.” God has “abandoned them to impurity.” Moral degradation is a consequence of God’s wrath, not the reason for it. Sin inevitably creates its own penalty.3

Respond: Why would someone worship something created, rather than the Creator? What are you most tempted to worship other than the Creator?

 

 

3 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 80–81.

 

Week of September 2 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 1:21-23

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Reflect: Which words or phrases in this passage describe the life of someone who refuses to worship God?

According to this passage, what happens when we don’t acknowledge God’s authority in our lives?

Consider: They know God in Greek is actually a participle indicating concession, that is, “even though they know God”. However, a number of translations render this by a finite verb. The knowledge referred to here is the recognition of God’s existence, not the knowledge of a personal relationship with God. It is important in the selection of a term for “know” to indicate that this is knowledge about and not intimate relationship with.2

Respond: Why do people trade God’s truth for the lies of the enemy? What lies are you most susceptible to?

 

 

2 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), 24.

 

 

Week of September 2 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 1:19-20

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Day 1 Read: Romans 1:18-20

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Reflect: What does Romans 1:18-20 teach us about God and His relationship with mankind? In verse 18, what did mankind do when given “the truth” about God?

Consider: These verses declare that knowledge concerning God is available to all. This knowledge is called natural revelation because it is seen in the created world, is accessible to the entire human race, and is not soteriological, dealing with salvation effected by Christ. Paul called this knowledge plain (phaneron), which means visible or clear. This is true because God has made it plain (ephanerōsen, the verb related to the noun phaneron).1

Respond: What in nature hints of God’s love and grace? What about His wrath or judgment? What are the most common excuses people have for not accepting Christ in our country? In other countries? Why are these excuses invalid?

 

 

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), 442.

 

Week of August 26 - Day 5

Day 5  Read: Romans 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Reflect: What do you normally think of when you think of God’s power? How is the gospel a display of God’s power?

Consider: Paul’s eagerness to evangelize sprang also from his estimate of his message, the gospel. (This is the fourth of five times Paul used the word “gospel” in these opening verses: vv. 1, 9, 15–17.) Many consider this the theme of the letter, which it is in one sense. At least Paul gladly proclaimed it as God’s panacea for mankind’s spiritual need. He identified it as the infinite resources (dynamis, “spiritual ability”) of God applied toward the goal of salvation in the life of everyone who believes regardless of racial background.5 

Respond: Where might we be today if Paul had been ashamed of the gospel? What fears might prevent you from telling the gospel to others? How can we overcome these fears?

 

 

5 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), 441.

 

Week of August 26 - Day 4

Day 4  Read: Romans 1:14-15

I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Reflect: How does Paul understand his specific calling? Who is his audience?

Consider: Paul may decry worldly wisdom (as he does, e.g., in 1 Cor. 2), but he is deeply interested in true wisdom. He often reverts to the subject as he distinguishes between the wisdom of this world which he sees as foolishness (1 Cor. 1:20) and the true wisdom that comes from God. Here he is thinking of those the world counts as wise, but he is not contrasting their kind of wisdom with that which comes from God. He is accepting it for what it is and agreeing that it has its values. It is only when people use it to reject the divine wisdom that it is to be condemned.4

Respond: How certain are you of the audience God has given you to share the gospel? Who (specifically) is included in that audience. Pray for those people by name.

 

 

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), 64.

 

Week of August 26 - Day 3

Day 3  Read: Romans 1:11-13

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.

Reflect: What are Paul’s goals for his desired visit with the Roman church?

Consider: “I long to see you!” This is the pastor’s heart in Paul the great missionary. Some of the saints in Rome were very dear to Paul, such as Priscilla and Aquila (Rom. 16:3–4), who risked their lives for him; “the beloved Persis” (Rom. 16:12); and others who had labored and suffered with Paul. But he also loved the believers that he did not know, and he longed to be able to share some spiritual gift with them. He was looking forward to a time of mutual blessing in the love of Christ.3

Respond: How do we mutually encourage one another with our faith? In what ways can such encouragement help us utilize our unique talents for the sake of the gospel? What does it mean to reap a harvest among others? Is this a harvest we should seek in this world or the next?

 

 

3 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 515–516.

 

Week of August 26 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 1:8-10

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.

Reflect: How does Paul specifically bless the recipients of his letter?

Consider: Paul follows his opening greeting to the Christians of Rome with an expression of thanks. In many of Paul’s letters the section that follows the opening praescriptio is a thanksgiving. Such a section can be found in 1 Thess 1:2–5; Phil 1:3–8 (or 11); 1 Cor 4:9; and Phlm 4–7. In this thanksgiving, Paul prays in typically early Christian fashion: to God “through Jesus Christ.” He utters his gratitude to the God of the OT whom he still worships, though he writes as a Christian apostle. The reason for his utterance of thanks is that he realizes that the faith of Roman Christians is known worldwide.2

Respond: How do you practice encouraging your fellow believers in Christ? In what ways can you do better?

 

 

2  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), 243.