04/03/2017 08:02

Romans (Part 01) – Introduction to the Letter

Our initial considerations when beginning study of a book are who wrote it and when was it written. For Romans, we conclude that the Apostle Paul wrote it. The letter itself says so, the style of the letter is Paul’s. The focus of the letter aligns with Paul. There is really no good reason not to...


04/24/2017 07:23

Romans (Part 02) – Paul’s Mission (1:16–17)

We have discussed who wrote this letter. There is not much debate out there. That Paul wrote it is the general consensus. We have discussed when he wrote it, which was in the late 50s, toward the end of his last (third) missionary journey. And we know why he wrote it rather than wait until he got...


05/08/2017 08:34

Romans (Part 03) – From Faith to Faith (1:17, 1)

Recapping the theme of Romans found in chapter 1 verses 16 and 17, we find that Paul is not ashamed of the good news which comes about from Jesus’s death because that death (and resurrection)—and therefore, the good news—is the power of God for salvation. And it is good news to everyone who...


05/28/2017 08:00

Romans (Part 04) – Jesus, the Son of God (1:2–4)

After explaining that he is the slave possession of Jesus, commissioned with a message to deliver, and informing that it is good news (the gospel), Paul in brief speaks of the subject of this message (which the message itself—the rest of this letter—will describe in detail): Jesus the Son of God,...


06/06/2017 07:28

Romans (Part 05) – Obedience of Faith (1:5–15, 18)

Paul continues in his opening by explaining further what his calling—his mission—is. He tells the Romans that he (and the others) have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith. Grace is translated from the Greek charis. We often think of the quick and common definition...


06/12/2017 06:03

Romans (Part 06) – Revelation (1:18–22)

The point in seeing death around us is not simply for us to quake at the awesome power of God. The wrath and punishment meted out are meant to show his displeasure—his incompatibility with sin. His wrath is juxtaposed with the truth, goodness, and beauty of God that Paul goes on to say are also...


06/26/2017 05:42

Romans (Part 07) – Cravings of the Heart: Sexual Impurity (1:22–25)

In studying an epistle such as Romans, in which Paul offers so much intricate explanation of the multi-faceted diamond of the gospel, it is easy in our concentration of one facet to forget the contextual arrangement of the whole. Often interpretations can skew because we see nothing but the...


07/03/2017 09:23

Romans (Part 08) – Cravings of the Heart: Believing the Lie (1:26–32)

In verses 24 and 25—the summary of God giving us up—Paul provided two categories of the cravings of our hearts; the first was sexual impurity, and the second was believing the lie. Paul goes into more detail of these two categories in the rest of this chapter. The first of these—sexual impurity—is...


07/10/2017 12:14

Romans (Part 09) – Judging Good and Evil (ch 2 intro)

To ensure we keep a solid hold on the handrails as we move along, I want to review our outline so far. (Don’t worry if you see slight changes of wording now and then. We are refining as we go.) Part 1 covered the introduction to the letter.   Romans Outline   Part 1: Introduction...


07/17/2017 08:07

Romans (Part 10) – Judgment of Works (2:1–11)

Paul began chapter 2 saying that anyone who charges others with and condemns them for wrongdoing should realize that they too do wrong and are guilty of condemnation. Paul is presenting (on the basis of chapter 1) the fact of universal guilt (which he will sum up at the end of this entire...


07/24/2017 07:40

Romans (Part 11) – Judgment of Works Continued (ch 2 aside on Sinful Nature)

Paul’s insistence on being judged for our works may create a troubling splinter stuck in the skin of our overall structure of belief. We have been born in sin, correct? We have inherited this sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve, correct? We are then guilty before God for that very first sin...


08/07/2017 05:56

Romans (Part 12) – The Failure of Israel (2:12–24)

That God came in the flesh to do what we could not do—conquer sin by not falling to its oppressive and seductive manipulation—was our rescue. Without guilt Jesus went to the cross, giving his pure life as the death consequence for our guilt. But notice carefully what happened next: Jesus rose from...


08/14/2017 06:13

Romans (Part 13) – The Advantage of Israel (2:25–3:8)

Our modern misunderstanding of how the Jews considered works of the Law has led to much further misunderstanding about Paul’s arguments in Romans. To follow the development of Paul’s argument against the Jews requires us to truly understand the mindset of the Jews. We will, therefore, again walk...


08/21/2017 06:06

Romans (Part 14) – Revelation of God’s Righteousness (3:9–23)

We now move to chapter 3 verses 9 through 20—the last subsection of our Part 2 discussion labeled “God’s Righteousness: Judging TGB” (Romans 1:18–3:20). This last subsection is a summation of sorts, concluding (or reiterating) that the Jews were as guilty of sin before God as were the Gentiles....


08/28/2017 05:49

Romans (Part 15) – Works Versus Faith (3:24–31)

It is not until verse 24 that we begin to see righteousness in connection to believers. In this verse, we learn that the believing sinners can be justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption of Jesus. We must recall again that to justify means to declare righteous. Therefore, it is based...


09/11/2017 05:17

Romans (Part 16) – Abraham, the Example (4:1–8)

By the end of chapter 3, Paul has made his point that boasting in the flesh (being a Jew) has no merit in showing Covenant of Life relationship with God. You are not in right covenant standing with God simply because you are a Jew. Therefore, holding up markers of being a Jew (circumcision and the...


09/18/2017 07:15

Romans (Part 17) – The Promise of Faith (4:9–5:2)

We continue in Part C of Section 2 of our outline. Recall that Section 2 concerns God’s Righteousness. Paul has been emphasizing this idea from the first chapter and will continue with it through chapter 5. We are in the portion of his discussion concerning justification by faith (3:21–5:3). Paul...


09/25/2017 08:06

Romans (Part 18) – Hope That Does Not Disappoint (5:1–11)

As Paul is speaking of the results of justification in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 5, it appears he realizes that, while the truth of these glorious concepts may flood his readers’ vision, they will eventually get back to looking about them and seeing the persecution on the church by the Jews and by...


10/02/2017 09:43

Romans (Part 19) – The Gift That Is Greater Than the Trespass (5:12–21)

After expressing the strength of God’s gracious gift of reconciliation (which is the new life given through the death payment by Jesus and the faithful embrace for justification) in verses 5 through 11 of chapter 5, Paul goes back all the way to Adam to discuss how much greater is this gift than...


10/09/2017 09:00

Romans (Part 20) – Baptized into Christ (6:1–3)

Although we are now moving into a new section, we cannot forget the line of thought that is propelling Paul forward. Let’s briefly summarize. Paul began in 1:16–17 with his theme—the gospel: Jesus is Lord. Jesus became Lord because humanity was dead—separated from God with no hope to overcome the...


10/16/2017 08:07

Romans (Part 21) – Life: Following God’s Essence (6:4–23)

Paul continues in the first half of chapter 6 speaking of this change in status that we have undergone by dying with Christ. Not only have we been baptized into his death, but “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life” (6:4). The...


11/06/2017 09:53

Romans (Part 22) – The Marriage Illustration (7:1–6)

We have covered a lot of ground since last we listed our outline, so let’s take a look: Section 1: Introduction (1:1–17) Section 2: God’s Righteousness (1:18–5:21)             Part A: In COE: Judging TGB...


12/11/2017 08:34

Romans (Part 23) – The Law Awakens Sin (7:7)

Romans 7 is one of those difficult chapters that force you into such a struggle to understand that you easily forget where Paul has been going in his argument up to this point. The marriage illustration of the first six verses seems to put the Law in a bad light. And therefore, verse 7 opens again...


12/18/2017 15:35

Romans (Part 24) – The Mind Agrees with the Law (7:7–25)

We can understand God’s interaction with Israel mirroring his interaction with the human race better as we understand what Paul already spoke of in chapter 5 verses 13 and 14. There Paul argued that even though the Law had not yet been given, people from Adam to Moses all still died because of sin....


01/22/2018 09:31

Romans (Part 25) – No Condemnation (8:1–4)

To recap the post-marriage illustration of chapter 7, we find Paul ask a question in verse 7: is the Law sinful? He immediately answers, “No!” and follows in the next five verses with an explanation. His explanation is basically that rather than being sinful itself, the Law points out sin. And then...


01/29/2018 08:40

Romans (Part 26) - The Spirit in Us (8:5:25)

Paul goes on to explain this salvation in light of his discussion. We need to remember that over the past several chapters, he has not only been discussing the gospel in terms of how Christ provided his death for ours and justification through faith but all this against the insufficiency of the...


02/12/2018 08:31

Romans (Part 27) - Predestined to the Image of His Son (8:26–36)

Verses 26 and 27 provide a familiar set of verses which are often, maybe, slightly misunderstood. Verse 26 tells us that the Holy Spirit helps in our weakness. He intercedes with unspoken groanings when we do not know for what or how to pray as we should. Verse 27 says that the heart-searcher (God)...


02/25/2018 19:12

Romans (Part 28) - God's Choosing (9:1–12)

We have come through three major sections of Romans so far: The Introduction (1:1–17), God’s Righteousness (1:18–5:21), and Messiah’s Renewal of Life (6:1–8:39). Section 4, which covers chapters 9 through 11, we will call “God’s Israel.” The name Israel comes from two Hebrew words: sarah and El....


03/05/2018 06:45

Romans (Part 29) - Jacob Have I Loved (9:6–15)

As we discussed last time, the key to understanding Paul’s topic discussion of Chapter 9 lies in the flow from the first few verses of the chapter. If we pluck verses out from the chapter in isolation, it may tend to make us think Paul is talking about election regarding the individual eternal...


03/12/2018 07:12

Romans (Part 30) - God's Desire to Display His Wrath (9:13–33)

Romans 9:14 through 29 discusses God’s justice in his election. We must be careful to remember that the election spoken of here is not the choosing of individuals for heaven or hell. Paul has been discussing God’s interaction with humanity—especially through Israel—to bring about his redemption...


03/19/2018 08:36

Romans (Part 31) – Righteousness That Comes from Faith (10:1–8)

To illustrate Israel’s failure in pursuing the righteousness of the law, Paul quotes from Isaiah. His first point indicating their stumbling is from Isaiah 8:14. God is a rock, but as a rock, it can be a stumbling stone to those who are not watching it, blithely going along their paths focused on...


03/26/2018 07:50

Romans (Part 32) – Justified by Faith (10:8–13)

So far through chapter 10, we have discussed how the Jews misunderstood salvation’s righteousness and the right relationship of good works to righteousness. The Jews’ misunderstanding placed works (obedience to command—following the Law) as a means to show righteousness. It was a works-based...


04/09/2018 05:50

Romans (Part 33) – The Remnant (10:14–11:10

As we have discussed, the first part of chapter 10 relates to Israel the Nation’s failure to prevail because of their ignorance of the faith condition as what made true relationship possible with God—and the faith is not merely that God exists, but since God is source of truth, goodness, and beauty...


04/16/2018 08:51

Romans (Part 34) – Redemption Plan (11:11–36)

Chapter 11 will conclude the main thrust of Romans that Paul began back in chapter 1. He is discussing the Gospel, or as a whole, the redemption plan of God. However, he has been doing so particularly concerned with setting it against the Jews’ faulty idea of what God’s rescue and relationship with...


04/23/2018 07:48

Romans (Part 35) – The Israel of God (11:11–36)

Our redemption discussion started with understanding the nature of our infinite, creator God. He created for relationship because he is a relational God, existing in Trinitarian multiple-in-oneness to base relationship on his one essence of truth, goodness, and beauty while expressing it in love....


04/30/2018 07:15

Romans (Part 36) – Rightly Apprehending (12:1–13)

Paul has ended the major discussion of redemption’s plan, but he’s still writing. And that means that although a topic change of sorts is coming up, it is a flow from what he has said—not simply opening a new door. Romans isn’t built as a topical series (although some of his other letters are)....


05/21/2018 07:51

Romans (Part 37) – Relationship is Key (12:1–13)

We are going to return briefly to the opening of chapter 12 to ensure we have a comprehensive hold on Paul’s direction. As mentioned earlier, when Paul says in verse 1 of chapter 12 to present our bodies as living sacrifices, his emphasis is not on the performance of dutiful obedience to God. In...


06/04/2018 08:39

Romans (Part 38) – Relationship is Key — Part 2 (12:1–16)

We had begun last time to talk about God’s infinite compassion but became somewhat stuck on the point of the seeming absence of (or rather defeat of) compassion when it came head to head against his justice. God is truth, goodness, and beauty, we argue. And absolute justice is involved in TGB. So,...


06/11/2018 07:36

Romans (Part 39) – Submitting to Government (12:17–13:14)

Beginning in verse 17 of Romans 12, Paul begins a subtle change to the attitude and action of the Christian to others. The first part of the chapter so far concentrated on the Christian family—people sharing the redemptive transformation of Christ’s atonement. In verse 17, Paul’s “anyone” and...


07/16/2018 07:21

Romans (Part 40) – Atonement Part 1 (13:14)

Paul had concluded Romans 13 with a call to wake up. In our slumbering movement through life, we easily become prey to those sinful influences he describes. He urges instead to walk in realization of new life, and he does so by telling us to put on Christ. How do we put on Christ? And . . . didn’t...


07/23/2018 08:28

Romans (Part 41) – Atonement Part 2 (13:14)

Before moving on to step 3 in our building blocks of the atonement, I want to make a couple more points about our human existence before sin. The multiple-in-one construct we talked about for God (and thus extended to his created image bearers) is a necessity of being. We have talked about his...


07/30/2018 06:47

Romans (Part 42) – Atonement Part 3 (13:14)

We often hear that the bruising of the heel and the crushing of the head involves Satan himself. Satan bruises Christ’s heel by driving him to the cross, but Christ destroys Satan in a stunning turnaround as the cross and resurrection defeat Satan and death. However, my conclusion was that it was...


08/13/2018 05:32

Romans (Part 43) – Atonement Part 4 (13:14)

Ruth is the Bible’s extended metaphor for the idea of the Kinsman Redeemer, and the Kinsman Redeemer, of course, in the actual sense for world restoration is Christ. Therefore, in this metaphor we see each of the characters symbolizing the various players in the overall redemptive history of the...


08/20/2018 06:14

Romans (Part 44) – Atonement Part 5 (13:14)

In our last discussion, we learned that redemption and forgiveness have a close relationship. Regarding the former, as evidenced all through the biblical record, redemption rescues material possession. Therefore, because of the curse on our essence, our redemption involves rescuing our essence from...


08/27/2018 05:18

Romans (Part 45) – Atonement Part 6 (13:14)

The Christian understanding of the atonement, then, has suffered from the confusion of the world’s faulty ideas. Both progressives and evangelicals (biblically conservative Christians) assimilate those wrong death-gift-for-blessing ideas. So the progressives shun the whole idea of sacrifice as a...


09/17/2018 07:29

Romans (Part 46) – Atonement Part 7 (13:14)

The picture—the image—of what occurs in the Day of Atonement sacrifice informs our understanding of Christ’s sacrifice. The goat upon which sins are placed is not scorned or punished. In fact, nothing is done to the goat (indicating that the goat’s body and blood are not the focus of the symbol....


09/24/2018 06:17

Romans (Part 47) – Relating in Righteousness (14:1–15:13)

Regarding the righteousness involved with New Covenant living, Paul had seemed to start his discussion of interchurch relationship in the first half of chapter 12. He moved from that to those outside the church (last part of chapter 12) and then to duties to the state in chapter 13. He seems to...


10/01/2018 07:00

Romans (Part 48) – Unity and Humility (15:7–13)

Before continuing on with our Romans 14 discussion, there is another point regarding the atonement that I want to clear up. We understood God to forgive us (our spirits) for sins we have committed, but the cross was required to cleanse our essence (what I have consistently called our physical...


10/14/2018 08:46

Romans (Part 49) – The Blood (Addendum to Atonement Series)

In our atonement series, we failed to discuss the particular role or emphasis of the Bible on the blood. Verses such as Hebrews 9:22, which tells us, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” indicate that an intricate and seemingly necessary relationship exists of blood shed to the...


10/22/2018 08:31

Romans (Part 50) – Travel Plans (15:14–24)

We begin now our last section of Romans—Section 6: Ending Comments. In the first part of this last section, Paul discusses his travel plans. But he begins in verses 14 through 24 of chapter 15 with a transition, explaining the reason he had written to them and how that interacted with his view of...


10/29/2018 07:01

Romans (Part 51) – The Offering (15:14–33)

So Paul’s mission goal, as apostle to the Gentiles, was to present the gospel to Gentiles and incorporate them in the believing church. As Paul discovered, incorporating them into the church was a struggle. A clash occurred with the Jews who often misunderstood their heritage and its Law to be...


11/12/2018 08:46

Romans (Part 52) – Commendation and Greetings (16:1–7)

With the topical discussion of the letter over, Paul turns in chapter 16 to final greetings. In the first two verses, however, he commends a woman named Phoebe to them. Why? Phoebe is designated in verse 2 a prostatis. This Greek word appears in the New Testament only once. However, it appears...


11/19/2018 06:49

Romans (Part 53) – Greetings and Doxology (16:8–27)

Paul mentions several other people in his greetings. The next three appear to be close. He calls them dear friends and coworker. And that seems to contrast with Apelles who is mentioned as “approved in Christ,” showing appreciation without that close tie. Some have wondered whether Apelles is...