Sunday School

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adultssThe Adult Sunday School class meets every Sunday during the school year from 10:10 to 10:55 am.  The discussion leader develops questions around one or more of the readings from the services that week.  People who have expressed an interest in the class are sent the verses and questions several days before class.  However, no previous knowledge or information is necessary to attend.  Our goal is that folks feel very comfortable dropping in and joining the conversation. This is a dynamic and interactive class taught not by a single teacher but by the whole class.  We discuss the verses and questions, explore what we don’t understand and discuss what the verses mean to us.  This approach deepens our understanding of the Bible, fosters a desire to learn more, and results in a deeper, faith-based relationship among those in the class and inspires us toward action.  All are welcome.  For more information please contact Steve Allenby (sallenby@aol.com) with any questions.

Sunday Morning Coffee With Seekers –

Adult Sunday School – February 19, 2017 – Review of Romans Chap 8   

Romans 8:5-8

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires: but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace, the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  (NIV)

First,  How do I position myself to live in accordance with the Spirt and what the Spirit desires?   What are practical ways to set your mind on “things of the Spirit”?  Did Jesus do this himself?  Did Paul in his life?  What actions and motivations in today’s world would be compatible with their examples and advise?

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  (NIV)

  1. According to this verse is sanctification God’s work or ours? For more research and verification look at 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:12-13; and Colossians 1:29. And see if they are consistent with this one and your interpretation.

In the discussion of Romans 8:12-17  Wright writes about right (Ha Ha   sorry couldn’t resist!!) and he writes about debt and it’s power.  Paul does not say that we are in debt to “the flesh”; it has done us no favors and we owe it none in return.

“ we are called to a life of saying ‘No’ to all kinds of things that our physical bodies tell us they want: here and in Colossians 3:9 Paul refers to this saying ‘No’ as a kind of ‘putting to death’.  This is bound to be hard and painful, but it must be done.  A Chrisitan life that does not involve putting to death that which drags us down into the world of the ‘flesh’ is not worthy of the name.”

  1. What are the parallel stories and themes that Wright points to in the Old Testament and the Gospels which are in agreement with his claims of God’s unerring and unstoppable faithfulness to us and resultant unearned grace?
  1. As we read in Romans 8:12-30 I conclude that I need to listen and search within myself and within others for the Holy Spirit.  Why?  Why search for a thing the ‘world’ considers a made up theoretical  construction?

Paul defines several powers and actions, that come thru the Holy Spirit, by which we receive benefits that are necessary for our living and walking in the Kingdom of God which I honestly did not and cannot earn or deserve.   Did you see them in this scripture?  Do you see them in our present lives?

Adult Sunday School Feb 12, 2017   the study of Romans marches onward 

At our last meeting, we discussed some of the vocabulary used in describing our relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  The terms are descriptive of large portions of the dialog Paul presents to those believers in Rome who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.  Terms such as:  justification, condemnation, sanctification, atonement, righteousness, consecrated, glorified, or even saints.   In January we spent the most time around “justification” and to a lesser degree “sanctification”.   This Sunday, by 10:15 we need to make a decision as to whether to continue to discuss those terms and their meanings then bring those concepts back to Romans with a goal of having a clearer understanding of the text or we need to move directly forward in the text.   Going to the scripture, examples of possible questions might include:

Romans 8:1-2   Why are these very important verses to a Christian?  What is Paul saying for God here? Is this re-enforced elsewhere in the Gospels?  What are the implications in 21st century America?

Romans 8:1-2 in Three different translations:

Therefore,   there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (NIV)

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the lifegiving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  (NLV)

So, therefore, there is no condemnation for those in the Messiah, Jesus!  Why not?  Because the law of the spirit—the one who gives life in the Messiah, Jesus—released you from the law of sin and death.  (Wright’s translation)

“Therefore”, figures prominently in two of these translations and in others (King James etc).  As others, much more knowledgeable than myself have reminded me, we should ask. . . .

What the ‘Therefore’ is there for?”

I suggest It could be there for a reminder:   that is, on the basis of all that Paul has written to this point. . . . .there is now no condemnation. . . .

Therefore, what general logic has Paul explained previously in this letter?

Has he argued that neither Jew or Gentile or anyone for that matter can be justified by. . . . .?

Who has he argued are really sinners?

What does he say being a sinner earns you?

What’s wrong with the  Law of Moses, given from God,  why doesn’t following it save us or does it?

What has he proved or shown happens through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ?  Is there any other assurance that this substitutionary death idea is reliable???

Has he argued that the Law was never meant to be the means of either our justification or sanctification or on-going relationship with God?  If he has made that argument, then what was accomplished by giving mankind the Law passed thru Moses?

Has he confessed that all of us with all of our good intentions, are, in ourselves, incapable of deliverance from death, and find this deliverance only where?

Therefore. . . . .

8:1” There is now no condemnation…. “

What tense does Paul use and what is the significance?

Is this an absolute statement?  Isn’t there a maybe?

What is the meaning of condemnation?

Am I still living with condemnation?  Or conversely am I heaping condemnation on others?

 

8:1   for those who are in Christ Jesus. . .

What are some of the details that Paul has presented previously of ‘those who are in Christ’?  Which of these things can be applied to the Pope the same as the members of FBC?

 

What is the ‘law of the spirit’? and conversely, what is the ‘law of sin and death’?

 

In the Old Testament, what was a sin-offering and why was it appropriate to Paul’s explanation of Christ God and man?

 

In the NIV  Life Application Study Bible notes for Romans 8:9 a question is posed and answered:

“Have you ever worried about whether or not you really are a Christian? (continuing on this answer is offered)   A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him or her.  If you have sincerely trusted Christ for your salvation and acknowledged him as Lord, then the Holy Spirit has come into your life, and you are a Christian.  You won’t know that the Holy Spirit has come if you are waiting for a certain feeling; you will know he has come because Jesus promised he would.

(my note: WOW! Is that the “faith” part? If that’s real and true I need to go back and take yet another look at what has been explained and reasoned thru in the first 8 chapters of Romans!!!  Is the devil in me still standing on my shoulder saying the exact same thing the serpent said to Eve in the Garden of Eden   Genesis 3:1  “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”. . . . and following up in (Genesis3:4) “ You will not surely die”  The implication is God is smaller than he claims and maybe not trustworthy.   Am I wrong to think and pose questions about the real meaning of scripture?

For me Romans is getting less didactic and more and more applicable in the real and present life!

Copies of   Paul for Everyone   Romans part 2  Chapter 9-16  are in if we wish to proceed with them.

JANUARY 22, 2017 My Answers Continuation of Romans Chapter 7 and 8

Carried forward from last week are the following:

In Greek, Paul used the words ‘kata sarka’– according to the flesh, and ‘kata pneuma’– according to Spirit.  These terms figure prominently in his explanations of our natures and God’s relationship with us.  Paul presents and contrast these two states as a tension in 7:13-25 .  Martin Luther explained the relationship as  “simul Justus et peccator” : at the same time justified and a sinner.

Rosemary Bardslee in Godswordforyou.com presents the following observation about Chapters 6 and 7.  Does she adequately describe the state of a human that Paul is describing?

“We must also keep in mind that the Christian exists in an overlap of the ages, in what could be called an ‘ESCHATOLOGICAL TENSION’ a tension between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’, between the ‘now’ and the ‘then’, between the ‘are’ and the ‘shall be’.

  • We are still in the world, but we no longer belong to the world
  • We are still under the moral standards of God’s law, but we are no longer subject to the condemnation and penalty of the law.
  • We still sin, but we are no longer held accountable for our sin.
  • In our humanness we are still in the flesh, but we are also in Christ

In the Christian person this eschatological tension, intensifies an already existing tension.  Any person with any knowledge of law is in the tension of knowing what is right/doing what is wrong.  The Christian person not only has this conscience based inner struggle common to mankind, but also has the additional conflict of knowing that he now belongs to an entirely different kingdom and relates to God on an entirely different basis (vs?).  He knows more than any other person, that sin is utterly incongruous with his new identity and his new relationship to God.

The Christian knows that ‘in himself’ all that Paul has said is still true.  But the Christian also knows that there is another, deeper, more powerful truth: that he is no longer viewed by God ‘kata sarka’ according to the flesh – ‘in himself’ or ‘in Adam’—he is viewed only, and ever ‘kata pneuma’ according to the Spirit—‘in Christ’….”

Paul’s last question in Chapter 7: “who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”

Answer:

Before we go further:

What is the meaning of “justification”?  and what is the opposite of “justification”?

 What is “ Sanctification”?

 What is “Atonement”?

 Romans 8:1-2    in Three translations 

Therefore,   there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (NIV)

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the lifegiving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  (NLV)

So, therefore, there is no condemnation for those in the Messiah, Jesus!  Why not?  Because the law of the spirit—the one who gives life in the Messiah, Jesus—released you from the law of sin and death.  (Wright’s translation)

 “Therefore”, figures prominently in two of the translations and in others (King James etc).  As others, much more knowledgeable than myself have reminded me, we should ask “What the ‘Therefore’ is there for?”

It could be there for a reminder:   that is, on the basis of all that Paul has written to this point. . . . .there is now no condemnation. . . .

Therefore, what general logic has Paul explained previously in this letter?

Has he argued that neither Jew or Gentile or anyone for that matter can be justified by. . . . .?

Who has he argued are really sinners?

What does being a sinner earn you?

What’s wrong with the  Law of Moses, given from God,  why doesn’t following it save us or does it?

has he proved or shown happens through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ?  What happens to us if we were a spouse and our partner dies?

Has he argued that the Law was never meant to be the means of either our justification or sanctification or on-going relationship with God?

Has he confessed that all of us with all of our good intentions, are, in ourselves, incapable of deliverance from death, and find this deliverance only where?

Therefore. . . . .

8:1 There is now no condemnation….

What tense does Paul use and what is the significance?

Is this an absolute statement?  Isn’t there a maybe?

What is the meaning of condemnation?

Am I still living with condemnation?  Or conversely am I heaping condemnation on others ?

8:1   for those who are in Christ Jesus. . .

What are some of the details that Paul has presented previously of ‘those who are in Christ’?  Which of these things can be applied to the Pope the same as the members of FBC?

Adult Class – Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part I with Conrad Boulton in Downstairs Activity Room

DECEMBER 11 , 2016 – Notes for study of Romans 5:12-21

During previous Sunday’s we have examined the first 4 chapters of Romans.  The verses graphically and logically have acknowledged the unavoidable number of short fallings all people suffer.  Paul has explained in more detail than l can totally understand and share, the nature of the absolute righteousness of God and how he has manifest his love and care for us, providing more than his share of sacrifice to enable a relationship with him.  In 5:6-11 per NT Wright Paul explains how Jesus’ death reveals God’s love and guarantees final salvation.  Vs 12-17 Wright describes as “the big picture in shorthand:  Adam and the Messiah”

Maybe I understand the comparison and the illumination of the contrast, but still

How can we be declared guilty for something Adam did thousands of years ago?  

How do you explain to a person who doesn’t really accept or believe that the Bible real and true that:  An Adam, from a story, a story that doesn’t seem to exactly square with my knowledgeable 21st view of the world, does something that really doesn’t seem that bad and now, I am barred from a relationship with God and someone in my life has to die for me or I die.   Can you tell me how Paul explains this?  Is he really moving huge blocks of logic, care, and loving with a simple pen and an inspired breath from God?

Is a “righteous” God “right” to judge us for Adam’s sin?   

NOVEMBER 13, 2016 – Romans 3:21-31 and possibly beyond. 

As I read these verses and NT Wright‘s commentary and interpretations several useful questions come to mind.

From these verses:

Can I understand and explain the ways that God is faithful to us and enables us to overcome the problem of sin, a problem each and everyone of us must knowingly or unknowingly deal with?

Is Paul’s writing logical and truthful or clever lawyerly rationalization?  Truthfully, at its heart, is it just another improved pharisaical argument? Does Paul provide persuasive arguments for his view point, ones that I can understand, adopt and use in my world?

Imagine a scene where you buy a cup of coffee for Paul and maybe a couple of your friends on a Wednesday morning and all of you sit down in the local Dunkin to talk about the weather and the family.  Paul, somewhere about 5 mins into the conversation, says:  “ So. . . .(and about now I can feel the eyes moving toward me and the room going absolutely stone cold quiet!) What do you think about my letter to the Romans?   Anything left out?  Or any questions come to mind so far?   “ I mean are you getting’ what I’m layin’ down?” he asks with a smile in his eyes.

NOVEMBER 6, 2016 – NO ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL

There will be one service held at 10:00 a.m. this morning. 

Therefore the adult Sunday school classes will not be meeting.

OCTOBER 30, 2016

Included sections from Wrights book: Romans 2.25-29 The Badge, the Name and the Meaning, Romans 3.1-8 Gods Determined Faithfulness, Romans 3.9-20 Jews as well as Gentiles Are Guilty of Sin

Romans 2:25-3:20New International Version (NIV)

25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

God’s Faithfulness

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”

But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!

No One Is Righteous

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written “There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Possible Questions:

  1. What do you think of Wright’s discussion concerning truthful labeling in names and badges?  Does it adequately describe the passages reviewed?
  1. What is meant by the term ‘a circumcised heart’?
  1. Do the verses 3:9-19, references from the Old Testament, describe present day Christians as well as they did first century Jews??

Even the most charitable of us, the most faithful?

  1. ‘Entrusted’  God’s faithfulness in Israel.  Does Paul think God found Israel a faithful messenger?  Does God have a similar faith in us today?  Why or why not?
  2. Has Paul made his case that all have sinned and are not righteous before God?

OCTOBER 23, 2016

In N T Wrights Paul for Everyone– Romans Part 1 you will find the 2nd chapter discussed and reviewed in pages 27-42.

In Rom2:1 why does Paul say that when we judge others we condemn ourselves?  What does that mean?

Are there contemporary parallels to the tendency of the Jews in Paul’s day to think of their inherited birthright as a basis for salvation?

How can we understand Paul’s claim that a person might inherit eternal life by doing good (Rom2:7)?

If justice will come to every evildoer, first to the Jews and then to Greeks (chap2:9) and peace to everyone who does good, first to the Jews and then to the Greeks (chap 2:10), how can Paul say God shows no partiality (Rom2:11)?

In Romans 2:12-14 Paul appears to say that obedience will justify Gentiles.  When we interpret any biblical text, we have to keep it in its context.  How does Rom2:15-19 help to clarify what Paul is saying?

Through your reading and reviewing of Romans Chap 2; what do you understand to be the values and limits of the covenant that God made with Israel?

OCTOBER 16, 2016  (Mollay Jallah – Facilitator)

I thank God for you and the amount of time and thought you have put in our attempt to conduct an overview of the Book of Romans with the help of the text, Paul – For Everyone, by N.T. Wright. In retrospect and in my imagining our conversation last Sunday, 10-09-2016, as well as the theological depth to which Paul goes in this letter to the Romans, I am convinced as all or most of you are, that the current opportunity we have would suffice to only allow us to scratch the surface of the content of the Book of Romans. So, out of respect for your time and the need to move forward to other important topics in the following chapters, let us spend the entire time today, 10-16-2016 sharing our thoughts on the topic of homosexuality as asked in the two questions below.

Paul opens the Book of Romans with the following statements:

Paul, aa servant1 of Christ Jesus, bcalled to be an apostle, cset apart for the gospel of God, which dhe promised beforehandethrough his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, fwho was descended from David2 gaccording to the flesh and hwas declared to be the Son of God iin power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom jwe have received grace and kapostleship lto bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name mamong all the nations, including you who are ncalled to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

oGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…

…And he concluded the chapter by exclaiming…

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

26 For this reason wGod gave them up to xdishonorable 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,ymen 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, zGod gave them up to aa debased mind to do bwhat 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 cGod’s righteous decree that those who practice such things ddeserve to die, they not only do them but egive approval to those who practice them.

I thank God for you and the amount of time and thought you have put in our attempt to conduct an overview of the Book of Romans. In retrospect and in my imagining our conversation last Sunday, 10-09-2016, as well as the theological depth to which Paul goes in this letter to the Romans, I am convinced as all or most of you are, that the current opportunity we have would suffice to only allow us to scratch the surface of the content of the Book of Romans. So, out of respect for your time and the need to move forward to other important topics in the following chapters, let us spend the entire time today, 10-16-2016 sharing our thoughts on the topic of homosexuality as asked in the two questions below.

  1. What does the Bible say about homosexuality (Old and New Testament)?

 

  1. In Light of what scripture says about the topic of homosexuality, what is your thought and why?

OCTOBER 9, 2016

Paul opens the Book of Romans with the following statements:

Paul, aa servant1 of Christ Jesus, bcalled to be an apostle, cset apart for the gospel of God, which dhe promised beforehandethrough his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, fwho was descended from David2 gaccording to the flesh and hwas declared to be the Son of God iin power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom jwe have received grace and kapostleship lto bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name mamong all the nations, including you who are ncalled to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

oGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…

…And he concluded the chapter by exclaiming…

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

26 For this reason wGod gave them up to xdishonorable 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,ymen 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, zGod gave them up to aa debased mind to do bwhat 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 cGod’s righteous decree that those who practice such things ddeserve to die, they not only do them but egive approval to those who practice them.

Given the depth and width of all the key topics relative to the sinful state of mankind, judgement, and the redemptive power of God revealed through His son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, it is clear that we could spend the good part of an extended period of time and still only be scratching the surface of the first chapter of the Book of Romans. Hence, in hopes of exploring the whole Book of Romans by the time we go to recess from Sunday School beginning June 2017, we will do our best to conclude the first chapter today, October 9, 2016. Let us consider the following inexhaustive steps (questions) to help us achieve that goal today:

  1. Share examples of things you will or will not do if you are not ashamed of the gospel.
  1. What does the Bible say about homosexuality (Old and New Testaments)?
  1. In light of what scripture says about the topic of homosexuality, what is your thought and why?

 SEPTEMBER 25, 2016  (Mollay Jallah – Facilitator)

Now that we have had two sessions reviewing the history of Rome  and Paul’s letter to the believers there , I think it is time to return to the meat of the matter for the edification of the body. In an attempt to do so let us first consider what serious Biblical scholars and theologians think about the Book of Romans in order to aide our effort for a deeper understanding and to accelerate the application to our lives.

Matthew Henry’s synoptic view of the Book of Romans was expressed in his commentary as follows:

This epistle to the Romans is placed first, not because of the priority of its date, but because of the superlative excellency of the epistle, it being one of the longest and fullest of all, and perhaps because of the dignity of the place to which it is written. Chrysostom would have this epistle read over to him twice a week. It is gathered from some passages in the epistle that it was written Anno Christi 56, from Corinth, while Paul made a short stay there in his way to Troas, Acts 20:5, 6. He commendeth to the Romans Phebe, a servant of the church at Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1), which was a place belonging to Corinth. He calls Gaius his host, or the man with whom he lodged (Rom. 16:23), and he was a Corinthian, not the same with Gaius of Derbe, mentioned Acts 20:4. Paul was now going up to Jerusalem, with the money that was given to the poor saints there; and of that he speaks, Rom. 15:26. The great mysteries treated of in this epistle must needs produce in this, as in other writings of Paul, many things dark and hard to be understood, 2 Pet. 3:16. The method of this (as of several other of the epistles) is observable; the former part of it doctrinal, in the first eleven chapters; the latter part practical, in the last five: to inform the judgment and to reform the life. And the best way to understand the truths explained in the former part is to abide and abound in the practice of the duties prescribed in the latter part; for, if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, John 7:17.

In his preface to the epistle to the Romans in 1552 Martin Luther said,

“This Epistle is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel, and is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.”

And Philip Schaff stated in his “History of the Christian Church (1910) that,

“It is the most remarkable production of the remarkable man. It is his heart. It contains his theology, theoretical and practical, for which he lived and died. It gives the clearest and fullest exposition of the doctrines of sin and grace and the best possible solution of the universal dominion of sin and death in the universal redemption by the second Adam”

Given the above shared views, your reading of our text by N.T. Wright and based on your own understanding of the Book of Romans let us consider the following questions:

  1. What do you think is the central message of the letter to the Romans and why?
  1. What captures your attention in the verses we have discussed as you consider the truths to apply to your life?
  1. Share examples of things you will (or will not) do if you are not ashamed of the gospel.

September 18, 2016 – Study Notes Romans 1.1_23 (Conrad Boulton, facilitator)

Good News (besides the Gospel Good News!)

12 copies of the text Paul for Everyone Romans Part 1 by N T Wright have arrived in the church office and are available  for $12.50.

In addition, this week only there is attached to this message a scanned copy of the first 19 pages of the book to provide easy access to the material without a trip to the church office prior to Sunday.

Romans,     Why Romans?   What questions have come to mind reading the passages this week?  Here are some of mine.  Can you share your views? 

What is the Purpose of this letter to the Romans?  Last week we examined some of the background focusing on Paul’s circumstances and focusing on the Church as it existed in Rome approximately 57AD.

  1. Can you summarize last week’s meeting as a background to this week’s study?
  2. Given that your imagination can take you back to that time in Rome, and if you were fortunate enough to read or hear the letter read in a language you could understand. . . .    As I sit in my neighbor’s house for a small group meeting and listen to this letter for the first or second time, what are my thoughts of the introduction?

(Side Question: what language was the letter written in?  What language was used by the followers in Rome?  If the letter were presented to me in a language other than English, how might that affect my understanding and doubt? The degrees and nuances of the new concepts.  After all, this is a bit of a seditious letter.)

From the first introductory verses 1.1_7,

  1. What can you say about who Paul writes that he is? First off is he creditable if I am an imagined Jew, or a Roman? Does Paul have references and connections to his audience?  Can he be trusted to not get me into trouble with the law officers walking the street in front of my house?  To not get me in trouble with the neighbors I trade with?  Or does that matter at this stage of my belief?  After all I live in a country with a state recognized religion.  There is NO separation of government authority and religious authority!  You are a Roman citizen or you are not.

From verses 1.8_13

  1. What are the reasons Paul presents for establishing a relationship with the believers in Rome and what are the characteristics of that connection? Is a similar audience present today?
  2. How might these verses read if Paul were coming to Manchester to make a missionary trip to New England and beyond into the Canadian Maritimes?

From verses 1.14_17

  1. What does Paul see in the appearance of a living Jew named Jesus after a punishing sentence and brutal murder?
  2. Several phrases appear here. What do they mean?
  • ‘God’s covenant justice is unveiled’
  • ‘In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed’
  • The grouping of words: Right, righteous, Righteousness, justice, justify
  • The grouping of words: Belief, believe, faith, faithfulness
  • A righteousness that is by faith from first to last——what?
  • From faithfulness to faithfulness?
  1. What is the significance of the Habakkuk quote from 700 years prior to the letter? ‘ The righteous will live by faith’

Verses 1.18_23

Questions   What is Paul commenting on?  Where is he going with these observations?

September 11, 2016 (Conrad Boulton, facilitator)
Who:  Adults of all ages

What: Welcome Back!   Following the 9:00 Service grab a cup of Java, say Hello to Friends upstairs, and then run for the stairs and more Friends in the basement!

Where: The Room Down Under

When: Beginning September 11, 10:15-10:55

Why:  Friends, Romans, and Christians!  I appeal to you for your help.  Lend me your ear, your reasoning, your voice, and your thoughts.  The question:

Can a review of the great epistle to the Romans help me understand and improve my relationship with God and with my neighbors?

How:  Review and share discovery of the book of Romans.  The chosen text is Paul for Everyone:  Romans, Part 1   by NT Wright.  It is available for about $12 in the church office ahead of time or at the class.

What exists in a 2000-year-old letter to an unfamiliar group of people, many of whom Paul had never met, that could possibly be of importance to me?  What could we learn?

Many of them were illiterate and did not own a “Bible” as we know it.  A snail-mail letter written by hand some 20 years after the death of Jesus and hand copied and walked across the world— That is worth looking at!

The intent of the letter may not have not changed in the intervening time since its composition but our understanding of the context of its writing, its author, and its audience has definitely changed, and therefore our understanding of the intended message has changed.  Just look at the changes in our understanding of the world and of God since the writing of the first King James version!  New archeological discoveries, new language development and an ever changing “personal 2016 context” provide a need to review and re-hike the path God has placed before us.  He may be constant but we appear to be less so.  Our need for reminders from teachers, prophets, and inspired writings continues to this day.

Let’s start by reviewing Romans 1:1-17   The introduction to the letter by Paul to the believers in Rome.

Who was Paul writing to in Rome?  What were their views, their backgrounds, and their concerns?  Can we know?

What was Paul’s purpose in writing a letter to these people? What were his views, his background, his goal and aspiration, his inspiration?

Sunday  Morning Women’s Book Study

Women gather each Sunday at 10:10 for a time of fellowship and discussion in the chapel/music room on the second floor.

Fall 2016 –  A book study of Come With Me by Suzanne Eller with Lisa Glidewell in Music Room/Chapel

Tuesday Morning Ladies Book Group

Pastor’s Bible Studies – Wednesdays

The Pastor’s Bible Study meets each Wednesday morning at 10:00 and Wednesday evening at 7:00.   Our first priority at Bible study is to expect what we read to transform us.  Our goal is to not only become more familiar with what the Bible says, but to consider how these timeless texts apply to the church and our lives today.  For more information please contact the church office at 526-6511.