Romans

Who, When, Where

Written by Paulus (Paul). Paulus was originally a fanatical Pharisee, persecuting, imprisoning, and even killing Christians for teaching what he thought was heresy, that Yeshua was the Anointed, (The Jewish Messiah). After meeting Yeshua in a miraculous way on the road to Damascus, Paulus became not just a Christian but one of Christianity’s most fervent preachers and teachers. He spent most of his life as an itinerant missionary, with all the perils that that brought with it, to the towns and cities which lay along the route between Jerusalem and Rome. Paulus died in Rome somewhere in the 60’sAD, and wrote most of the letters which we have in the New Testament.
We’re pretty sure that Paulus wrote this letter in the mid to late 50’sAD while he was staying in Corinth on his way to Jerusalem. (Acts 20)
Paulus wrote to both the Jewish and non-Jewish Christians who were living in Rome in the mid first century. He hadn’t been there yet, and probably didn’t realise he would soon be there himself under house arrest.
There are quite a few clues that he might have written this letter while he was staying in Corinth on his way to deliver the gift from the churches to poor Christians in Jerusalem.

Summary

Romans lays out a very logical and methodical proof that Jews and non-Jews all have the same problem. They have all sinned. None of them are saved by “having the law”, or because they are God’s chosen. They are all saved by faith, or not at all.
Of course this is hard news to take for the Jews of his day, and the second half of Romans is more about whether the Jews have any future then as God’s chosen people?

Before You Read

How would you convince a non Jew that they need the good news of Yeshua? Would you use the same argument with a Jew?

How do you react when you see sin in others?

How will God judge some tribal guy who never even heard of Yeshua?

Are you a hypocrite? Do you do what you teach others? Or do you break it yourself?

How did you get to be a “sinner”?
How can you have peace with God?

Do you ever do things you wish you didn’t? Like, all the time?
Is there any way to stop doing that?

Key Verses

Romans 1:7

Grace to you, and peace, from God our father and from the lord Yeshua the Anointed.

Grace was the usual Greek speakers’ greeting. Peace was the usual Jewish greeting, Shalom.
The other greeting we see used often in the new testament is “Rejoice.”

Romans 1:16-17

For I’m not ashamed of the good news of the Anointed, for it’s the power of God for the salvation of everyone who trusts it. First to Jews, and also to Greeks. For the righteousness of God is revealed in it, from faith, to faith, as it’s been written, “The righteous one will live by faith.”

This is such a revolutionary and powerful statement. The good news is not just for the Jews, it is for everyone who trusts it. And it has a different kind of righteousness. The old covenant had a righteousness, that you could obtain by keeping the law. The new covenant has a righteousness that you obtain by faith. A righteousness, not from yourself, but from God.

This is the passage that Martin Luther read that made him realise that he wasn’t saved by being a member of the Catholic church, but by faith in Yeshua. 500 years ago, that moment of revelation lead to the Reformation, and what we call the Protestant churches.

Romans 1:26

Because of this, God handed them over to disgraceful passions, and even the women exchanged the natural ways for ways contrary to nature. In the same way, the men also abandoned the natural ways with women, and burned in their craving for one another. Men behaving indecently with men, and being paid back among themselves with the consequences for their going astray.

This chapter is a spiral. You reject God, he gives you what you wanted and hands you over to your wickedness. You keep rejecting him, he hands you over to more depravity. You still don’t reach out to him, you become filled with every kind of wickedness.

Despite the efforts of the modern media, it’s impossible to read this section and not conclude that homosexuality is a bad thing. It is well down the spiral, and as a nation it comes from rejecting God. Soon after, that nation will be filled with every kind of wickedness.

We must love homosexuals as people, just as God does. But we cannot accept their practices as normal or right.

Romans 1:29-31

They’ve become filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, greed and evil. They’re full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They’re gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boasters, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, void of understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, implacable, unmerciful.

Those wicked Gentiles. So depraved. They rejected God and they have spiralled to the bottom. These must be the worst of the worst when it comes to sin.
Do you do any of those things?
greed, envy, gossip, arrogant, disobedient to parents, … hmmm

Romans 1:32

Who, recognising the penalty of God that those who practise such things are deserving of death, not only do these same things, but they also endorse those who practise them.

This shows how we humans think! We recognise that God says those who do these things deserve death, and yet, we do them!
And…
We say it’s OK for others to do them too!
Is that like abortion? How is abortion not killing a baby? How is it OK when it’s in the womb, but not OK when it’s out? Who are we kidding! And then we say, “Well I wouldn’t do it, but other women have the right to choose.”
How does that not put us at the bottom of the spiral?
Watch the 180 video.

Romans 2:1

That’s why you’re without defence, honourable person – every one who judges. Because when you judge others you condemn yourself, because you, the one who judges, practise the same things.

So how about you. Did you read chapter 1 and think… oh those wicked people, they are so caught in depravity.
You must hate this verse. Read it, it says, “You are the same as them.”
Yes, you, self righteous you who goes around judging homosexuals and people who have abortions. You’re the same. When you point your finger at them your other three fingers are pointing back at you!
Read that list in chapter one again. Admit it, you do some of those things. You have not given God 100% access and total control of your life. To some extent you are rejecting God. And you will have the consequences of that come to fruit in your life.

Romans 2:4

Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, and tolerance, and patience – being ignorant that the kindness of God leads you into repentance?

When we see sin we judge.
When God sees your sin, he tries to kindly, lovingly lead you to repentance.
Who needs to change the way they react to sin in others?

Romans 2:11

Because there’s no partiality with God.

The Jews would have been struggling with this. “We are God’s favourite. And now you’re telling me we’re not!”
Certainly the Jews are God’s people. He chose them thousands of years ago and he’s not going to walk away from that. But the rest of us are his people too, and he’s not going to treat us any less just because we were adopted into the family later.

Romans 2:12

For those who have sinned without law, will also perish without law. And those who have sinned in the law, will be judged by the law.

This is a powerful verse. God is going to judge everyone. According to their situation. You knew the law but didn’t obey it? You’re being judged by the law. You didn’t know it, then you won’t be judged by it. But you knew God existed and didn’t do anything about it. God wrote your conscience on your heart and you didn’t even obey that.
This whole chapter even seems to be saying, “You didn’t know about Yeshua? No problem, what did you know God will judge you on that.”

Romans 2:28-29

For a person isn’t a Jew who’s one outwardly, neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But the one who’s one inwardly is a Jew, and circumcision is of the heart, in spirit, not by writing. The praise of whom doesn’t come from people, but from God.

So. You’re a Jew!
And maybe your Jewish neighbour… isn’t!
This is not saying that the church is the new Jewish nation, it is not saying that the church has all the promises God ever made to the Jews are now ours.
Being God’s people is a spiritual thing.

Romans 3:5

But if our unrighteous demonstrates the righteousness of God, then what will we declare? God isn’t unrighteous when he brings his wrath on us, is he? I’m speaking in human terms.

How’s that for an argument! When I sin I make God look good for forgiving me. So I should sin as often as possible.
I’m sure you see that as absurd. But, this is the kind of thing that can creep into our theology and mess up how we live. We need to constantly review our ideas and measure them up against the Bible, against what God actually said.
What is your wackiest idea regarding the Bible?

Romans 3:10-11

Just as it’s written, “There’s nobody who’s righteous – not even one; there isn’t one who’s understanding; there isn’t one who seeks out God;

This seems to be a quote of Psalm 14.
There is nobody who is righteous. Not even you. Not even me. Nobody.
The Pharisees thought they were. They didn’t read Psalm 14 enough.
Don’t kid yourself. There is nobody righteous.

Romans 3:21-22

But now, the righteousness of God, apart from the law, has been manifested, being testified to by the law and the prophets - the righteousness of God through faith in Yeshua the Anointed into all and on all those who trust.

There is nobody righteous.

Until now.

Well, until the death of Yeshua. Then people could be declared righteous regardless of what they had done themselves. A righteousness from God.

Now you’re righteous. So am I. 100%
Does that rock your mind a bit? You, of all people, are 100% righteous. When God looks down on you he sees Yeshua, his totally righteous son.

Romans 3:30

Since there’s only one God. And he’ll declare the circumcised righteous by faith, and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

There is only one way to be saved. Whether you’re a Jew or not, whether you keep the law or not, whether you sin or not…
faith.

Romans 4:19-22

And not being weak in faith, he didn’t consider his already dead body, (he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. And he didn’t doubt the promise of God through unbelief, but he was empowered by his faith, giving glory to God. And he was fully convinced that God is able to do as he’s promised, that’s why it was accounted to him as righteousness.

So, Abraham.
Foolish old man or man of faith?
He’s almost 100 and starting to feel old and frail. He’s never had any children, neither has his almost 90 year old wife. And a messenger from Yahweh tells him he’s going to have a son.
Sarah laughed when she heard it. Abraham thought… “Awesome!”
Imagine you are their friend and spiritual counsellor. What would you say?
“Are you sure you heard from God?”, “Are you sure that’s what he said?”, “Maybe he meant ‘spiritually’?”
Or do you actually have faith in God? Like Abraham, that God is able to do what he’s promised.

Romans 5:6, 8

For while we were still weak, at just the right time, the Anointed died on behalf of the ungodly.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this – while we were still sinners, the Anointed died on our behalf.

This is such a powerful verse. While we were still weak, powerless, ungodly, … Yeshua died on our behalf.
Yahweh doesn’t require us to get our act together first. He is willing to be the one who sacrifices himself to save us. Because of his love.
How about your love? Is it like that? Or do you expect others to be the ones who change before you’re willing to be loving towards them? Do they have to say “sorry” before you forgive them? Is your love really love at all?

Romans 6:1

So what’ll we say? That we’ll continue to sin so that grace will abound?

So… we’re saved by Yeshua, and the more we sin, the more his grace abounds, and we’re still saved. So let’s sin!
If you think that’s a good argument, then read on in Romans.
Don’t you hate sin? Don’t you hate what it has done to your life? Don’t you hate what it’s doing to your children, and those you care about?
How can you even think about sinning!
Martin Luther once got into a lot of trouble for preaching that “Christians can do whatever they want.”
He wasn’t proposing that we go off and sin. He was saying that if we’re really Christians then we won’t want to sin.
How about you? Do you want to?

Romans 6:3-4

Or are you unaware that all of us who’ve been immersed into Anointed Yeshua, have been immersed into his death. We’ve therefore been buried with him, (through the immersion), into death, so that, just as the Anointed has been raised from the dead by the glory of the father, in the same way we should also walk in newness of life.

You’re dead.
In fact, you died 2,000 years ago. When Yeshua was executed you died right there with him.
This is an amazing spiritual truth. This is true liberation. This is why you are free from the tyranny of sin and why you are able to choose to live for God.

Romans 6:14

For sin won’t have lordship over you, because you aren’t under law, but under grace.

We see this kind of statement throughout the new testament. The new covenant. We are not under the law. We are not part of the covenant God made with the Jews through Moshe. We are part of the covenant God made with everyone through Yeshua.
It seems a bit obvious, but the new covenant supersedes the old covenant.
Christians do not need to keep the ten commandments. They need to live by the spirit.
Christians should do the right thing, but not because there is a rule. They should do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do and that is their nature.

Romans 6:23

For the rewards of service to sin is death, but the endowment of God is everlasting life in Anointed Yeshua our lord.

When you serve sin you are rewarded for your service. With death.
But in Yeshua, God is offering you everlasting life as an endowment. A completely undeserved, unmerited gift.
Tough choice?
No brainer?

Romans 7:7-8

… I wouldn’t have been aware of desire if the law hadn’t said, “You- won’t desire.” But sin took the opportunity through the command and produced in me all kinds of desire. …

The law only brings death, but the law isn’t bad. Without law we wouldn’t know what sin is.
But it actually goes deeper. Without law we wouldn’t be sinning. But sin in us grabs hold of the law and deliberately breaks it. That’s how we’re wired.
Making a rule for yourself like, “I won’t eat chocolate.”, will only have one effect. You will crave chocolate like never before. Rules cannot stop you sinning. In fact in Colossians Paulus says exactly that, those kinds of “don’t” rules appear to have some kind of righteousness, but they don’t have any value at all in controlling gratification of the flesh.

Romans 7:15, 19

For I don’t perceive what I’m producing. Because I don’t practise what I want, but I do what I hate.

For the good that I want – I don’t do. But the evil which I don’t want – that I practise.

It’s not just you. We all struggle with this, even your most honoured and revered Pastor. Even Paulus.
The law is spiritual and good, but we are fleshly, and we keep doing things we don’t want to do.
My mind is at war with my body. Thank God that Yeshua has rescued us.

Romans 8:1

So then, there’s now not even one condemnation for those who are in Anointed Yeshua – those who don’t walk according to flesh, but according to spirit.

Not even one. Awesome.
How does that make you feel?
Other people might condemn you all the time, but God never will.
Not even one.

Romans 8

… live by the spirit and not by the flesh …

This is a key chapter in Romans. Because we live by the spirit we are 100% righteous. Based on what Yeshua did 2000 years ago, not based on what we do today. We cannot lose it, we cannot reduce it. We cannot increase it.
Live by the spirit.

Romans 8:21

So that the creation itself will also be set free from the slavery of decay, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

This is why there is so much suffering in the world. The whole of creation is in slavery to sin, not just us. The whole of creation is decaying slowly away, and anticipating the day it will be set free into a new glory.

Romans 8:26-27

In a similar way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. For we aren’t aware of what we should pray, but the spirit itself pleads for us on our behalf, with groanings which can’t be spoken. But the one who searches hearts is aware of the disposition of the spirit – who according to God, pleads on behalf of the holy.

Ever felt like that? That you need God but you just don’t know what to pray?
Just groan. He will know what you mean, he will know what you need. He will answer.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God, all things work together to result in good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

That’s you right?
The end result of everything that happens to you is … good.
But remember, God is concerned about the end result, and he is prepared to put you through whatever is necessary to maximise the end result. Do you have the same attitude?
Or are you always focused on now? Do you just want comfort and an easy life, and to be left alone to do things your own way?
Maximising the outcome of now will not yield you the same outcome of maximising the end result. But if you’re willing to leave all that in God’s hands, it will work out well.

Romans 8:35

Who’ll separate us from the love of the Anointed? Duress? Distress? Persecution? Famine? Nakedness? Danger? Sword?

This is where you say, “Nothing.”
Nothing, nobody, no way, no how, will ever be able to separate you from God’s love no matter how long or how hard they try.
Nothing.

Romans 8:37-39

But in all these things we more than conquer through the one who loves us. For I’m convinced that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor authorities, nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, neither height nor depth, nor any other thing in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Anointed Yeshua, our lord.

Nothing.

Romans 9:20

… who are you- to answer back to God? Will what’s moulded say to the one who moulded it, “Why’d you make me this way?”

This is an important truth to understand. God is the potter, you are only the clay. As much as he loves you, he has the total right to do whatever he wants with you, or even to you. You are his clay. You have no rights.

Romans 9:25

As it also says in Hosea, “I’ll call those who aren’t my people – my people; and the one who isn’t loved – loved.”

Saving the non-Jews wasn’t plan B. It was part of plan A. God has always intended to save us as well as the Jews.

Romans 9:30-33

So what will we say? That the nations who didn’t pursue righteousness actually overtook it, even a righteousness that’s by faith. But Yisrael, who pursued the law of righteousness, didn’t overtake it. Why? Because they didn’t pursue it by faith but by works of law. For they’ve tripped up on the obstacle. As it’s been written, “Look! I place in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock snare, and all those who trust in him won’t be put to shame.”

The Jews didn’t achieve righteousness because they pursued it by works, not by faith. They tripped up on the stumbling block.
How about you? Are you tripping up? Are you pursuing righteousness by faith, or are you still trying to earn it? Some people get it that they are saved initially by faith in Yeshua, but then they try to earn it themselves after that. You are no more able to do that now than you were when you were completely lost and an enemy of God living for sin and pleasure.

Romans 10:2-4

For I testify that Yisrael have a zeal for God. But it isn’t according to knowledge, for, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, they sought to erect their own righteousness, and weren’t subject to God’s righteousness. For the Anointed is the fulfilment of the law, in order for there to be righteousness for all who trust.

They are zealous for God. But totally wrong. Zeal doesn’t save you. Faith in what you think doesn’t save you. Faith in what God says is what saves you. If you’re wrong about what you think God said, you’re still wrong, and still lost.
How about you? Are you SURE?

Romans 10:12-13

For there’s no distinction between Jews and Greeks, for the same lord of all is rich towards all those who are calling on him. For everyone – whoever calls on the name of the lord [Yahweh], will be saved.

This is Paulus’ message over and over again in Romans. There is not one system for Jews and one for the rest of us. There is one system. One God. One way to be saved - Yeshua.
Paulus quotes the Old Testament here. It has always been the case that if you call on the name of Yahweh you will be saved. Still is.
We have never been able to earn it ourselves by keeping rules. It has always been by faith, and faith alone.

Romans 10:14,15

How then will they call on him in whom they haven’t trusted? And how will they trust in him of whom they haven’t heard? And how will they hear unless someone proclaims? And how will they proclaim if they haven’t been sent out?

This is usually used as a guilt trip to make us individually feel guilty for not being evangelists. But the bottom line here for Paulus is… they need to be sent out. Are you sending people out? Is your church sending people out? How will anyone hear if you don’t.
This is a mission for the whole body of the church. Some will be sent. Some will stay. Some will proclaim. Some won’t. But we are all part of the team that has sending and proclaiming as it’s mission.

Romans 11:1

I say then, “God hasn’t rejected his own people, has he?” May it never be!

About 4,000 years ago Yahweh chose Abraham and his descendants as his people. About 400 years later he gave them the Law through Moshe.
But now through Yeshua there is a new covenant. The old covenant (the Law) is gone. Yeshua fulfilled it.
But that doesn’t mean God is going back on his promise to Abraham. They are still his people. He will still fulfil everything he ever promised them.

Romans 11:25

For I don’t want you to be ignorant about this secret brothers, so that you may get above yourselves – a hardening of a part of Yisrael has come until the fullness of the nations has entered in.

One day the fullness of the nations will have entered in. Everyone who will ever become a Christian will have become a Christian. The “Age of the Gentiles” will be over.
And then?
Then Yahweh will graft Yisrael back in.
This will be the beginning of the end times.
Ready?

Romans 11:33

Oh the depth of the riches, and of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and how untraceable are his ways.

Romans 11:35

Who gives first to God so that it’ll be repaid to them?

“God owes me.”
Don’t kid yourself. God doesn’t owe you anything. You owe God. Do you ever pat yourself on the back for giving to God? You had better read this again.
Nobody, ever, anywhere, ever gave to God. All you can ever do is give something back to God that he already gave to you.
You’re not giving God 10% of your money. You’re keeping 90% of his money.

Romans 12:1

I entreat you then brothers, because of the compassions of God, to present your= bodies to God as a living, holy, pleasing sacrifice – your logical service.

Are you willing to die for God?
Are you willing to live for him?

Romans 12:2

And don’t be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you discern what the will of God is – good and pleasing and perfect.

Conforming to this age is pretty easy. The media, your friends, everything around you is trying to influence you to do that. (Even if they’re not aware of it).
Not conforming is way harder. It takes a conscious effort on your part. Your thinking defines your behaviour. So you must keep letting God renew your mind. You must choose to let God change the way you think about things.

Romans 12:4-8

For even as in one body we have many parts, but the body parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, although we’re many, in the Anointed we’re one – and so each one of us are body parts of one another. And having differing endowments according to the grace which has been given to us: whether it’s prophecy – use it according to the proportion of faith; whether it’s a service – use it in service; whether it’s teaching – use it in teaching; whether it’s entreating – use it in encouragement; giving – use it in oneness ; leading others – use it diligently; being merciful – use it cheerfully.

Romans 12 is a powerful chapter. It teaches us what it means to be a church. A church is a body of Christians, all different, all with different gifts and abilities, all working together for a common purpose - to glorify Yeshua.
It also teaches us what it is to be a Christian. A Christian is part of a church. You can’t be an effective Christian unless you are a properly functioning part of a body. You cannot be an effective Christian and not be part of a church! Christians are NOT individuals. That is the thinking of this age, but the Bible teaches us very differently. You were chosen to be part of a church.
You need to find out which part you are, and be the best you can be. Whether you’re a leader, a teacher, a prayer, a giver, or a servant. Maybe you “only” put out the chairs. Maybe you “only” make the tea. Maybe you only preach. All the parts of the body are important and necessary. Don’t forget that. Your church needs you. God sent you there to be the best you you can be. Don’t try to be someone else, and don’t let anyone else put you down for being you. God knew what he was doing when he chose you for his team.

Romans 13:1

Let every life be subject to higher authorities, for there’s no authority except under God, and the authorities that do exist have been set up by God.

That’s a bit hard to hear sometimes. Especially in a “democratic” country where the current government is not the one you voted for.
But this is a bit like deciding who would win a war in the Old Testament. You would think that a huge army would defeat a tiny one every time. You would think that well trained and equipped soldiers would defeat an army of misfits with pitchforks.
But the Old Testament teaches us something very clearly. Yahweh decides who wins wars. Always.
It looks like it’s the same with elections. Yahweh gives us the leaders we deserve. Based on his judgement.
So when you resist them, you are resisting him. When you deride and mock them, you are deriding and mocking him.
Are you sure you want to do that?
Even if your leaders are weak, or misguided, or even if they’re corrupt. You are still required to be subject to them because God put them there. By all means talk with him about them and ask him to give you new ones, but they are his chosen leaders until he does.
This goes for church too. If you don’t like the leaders at your church then you can go to God about it, but you have to obey them and do what they say in between. You have to do things their way.

Romans 13:8

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except to love one another.

Do you think that includes banks?
Do you remember Romans 12:2?
Are you satisfied with the house God provided for you?
Is your choice limiting how much you can give away?
Do you owe God?

Romans 14:1

And accept those who are weak in faith, so that you don’t have separation over arguments.

Which one are you? Weak or strong?
Read on.
The weak have rules and regulations, lists of things they don’t do. The strong don’t. The strong recognise that God has given Christians incredible freedom. And with it, responsibility to choose wisely.
The weak are constantly judging others against their own made up list of rules. The strong judge only themselves.

Romans 14:12

So then each one of us will give an account of themselves to God.

Just yourself. No need to give an account for me, or for anyone else. You just worry about your own judgement. I’m sure that is more than enough to keep you busy.
So much harm is done in churches by people who are so intent on judging others. And then gossiping about it.
If that’s you - stop.
Now.

Romans 14:21

It’s better not to eat meat, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything in which your brother trips up, or in which he’s stumbled or is weak.

This verse is often misused by the weak to get everyone to conform to their rules. They say, “I have this rule, when you break it, I don’t feel good and you’re making me stumble.”
But that is not what Paulus is saying here.
By “stumble”, Paulus means that acting against what you believe is sin.
So, to use his example. If you’re weak and you have some rule about Christmas being a special holy day. But I’m strong and I recognise my freedom in Christ, and that Christmas is just a man made religious thing and nothing important. Then, if I pressure you into not doing Christmas this year, and as a result you act against your belief and you stay away from church on Christmas, even though you actually still think it is a special day. Then you have just sinned, and I contributed to you doing that.
So to help keep you from sinning, maybe I should just do my Christmas non-celebration quietly and keep it to myself.
The point Paulus is making is that it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. (Which seems to obsess most churches, and most Christians). It’s not even about me recognising that you are the weak one who is still living by rules and regulations. It’s about me being loving towards you.

Romans 15:7

Therefore accept one another, just as the Anointed also accepted you, in order for the glory of God.

It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about who is loving.
As hard as it might be to accept, … you are not perfect.
If you want me to patiently put up with your imperfections as God works in you to build and correct you, then you need to do that for me too.
Imagine a church where there were no factions and infighting, where everyone genuinely loved one another. Imagine the message that would send to the world.

Romans 15:26

For it delighted Macedonia and Achaia to make some contribution for the poor of the holy in Jerusalem.

Does your church help poor Christians in other countries?
Do you think the Bible teaches that we should help the poor everywhere? Or just those who are among us?
What does “among us” mean for Christians? Physically among us, or those in our family, other Christians?
Does the Bible say we should help the non-Christian poor in other countries?
Does your church help the poor in this country?
Does your church help the poor in your church?

Romans 16:1

And I commend our sister Phoebe to you, a servant of the assembly in Cenchrea.

There is a lot of fuss made about this verse because the NIV translated the Greek word servant as “deacon”. In Acts 6 those appointed to help were called servants. In Greek this was “deaconos”. And it sort of reads there like it was a title, like apostle, elder, … But it is an ordinary Greek word, and that doesn’t mean that everywhere we see the word it is being used as a title.
In my view, Paulus is only saying that Phoebe was a servant of the assembly. A wonderful thing, and something we should all be striving for. But regardless of whether women can be in church leadership or not, it is not valid to use this verse to argue that they can.

Romans 16:17

And I entreat you brothers, to take note of those who cause divisions and snares, contrary to the teaching which you’ve learned, and keep away from them!

On the surface this seems quite opposed to “it’s not about who is right and who is wrong”. But it is actually the same thing. Paulus isn’t saying to keep away from anyone who is wrong. He is saying, keep away from anyone who is divisive. They are trying to get everyone to focus on who is right and who is wrong. They are totally not focused on being loving and encouraging others to do the same.
Do you know anyone trying to get people in your church to take sides? Gossips, backstabbers, you know the type… Stay away from them.

Romans 16:19

… I want you to be wise indeed regarding good, but pure and untainted regarding evil.

You already know more than enough about the ways of evil. There is a fascination with hearing someone’s sinful past. There is a fascination with hearing about demons and the occult.
If you don’t already know that, then you most likely don’t need to know that. You are better off not knowing that. Spend your time learning about good. About Yeshua. About how to build your own character and to conform to his.

After You Read

What verses really stood out to you?

How would you summarize this book in a sentence or two? What is it about? What is God trying to say to us?

Paulus began by showing the non Jews that they were in a downward spiral of deepening sin because they had rejected the knowledge of God. Do you see that spiral anywhere today? How about your nation?

Hopefully you’re not caught up in it yourself. But even on an individual level, once you give in to sin, it just gets worse and worse. Until you get to the end of chapter 1 where you not only do it, you stop condeming others who do it, and even endorse them. How far down that spiral are you?

How do you feel about the way you judge sin in others? Have you changed your view at all? Do you think you should?

There is some key history brought out as we travel through Romans. And we see how it all fits in with the whole story of the creation, fall and redemption of mankind.
Almost exactly 6000 years ago Adam introduced sin into the world. 2100 years after that Yahweh made a covenant with Abraham, who was credited with righteousness by faith. About 400 years after that Moshe was given the law, which condemned everyone who ever tried to live by it. And a little over 1400 years after Moshe, (4000 years after Adam condemned us all to slavery), Yeshua, son of Yahweh, sacrificed himself once and for all to liberate humanity from that bondage of slavery to sin, and to bring us back to a position of peace with God, and to bring the righteousness by faith of Abraham to everyone who trusts in Yeshua.

Make sure you get this. The law has not passed away, it has been fulfilled. Yeshua fulfilled it, and if you have faith in him, that is credited to you as well. From God’s point of view, you have fulfilled the law. Completely.
This is why you are righteous.

Romans 12 gives us a picture of the church as a body working together. It also warns us agaist conforming to the world. Which of those two best describes your church? Is it running like a body or like a business?

There is a lot in Romans!
Some people think of Romans as the gospel for Christians. It certainly has a very clear explanation of the good news and what it actually means for different groups. It also teaches us what daily life as a Christian can be like, wanting to live by the spirit, constantly drawn to living by the flesh.

Many famous Christian leaders of the past memorised the whole book of Romans. How far do you think you would get? You might surprise yourself.

PDF Version