Week of April 28 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Romans 16:17-18

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.  

Reflect: What warning does Paul give to his readers in these verses?

Consider: Paul could not resist giving a final word of warning that they watch out for spiritual enemies: those who are divisive and seek to hinder the Lord’s work (who put obstacles [skandala, “traps, snares] in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned). Believers are to keep away (“keep on turning away”) from such false teachers, who were not serving (douleuousin, “serving as slaves”) Christ, but were slaves to their own appetites (lit., “bellies”).[1]

Respond: Why do you think Paul changed gears abruptly at this point in the letter? What was he trying to emphasize by shifting from those who were stellar in the faith to those who were crafty and deceitful?


[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), 501.