NOTE: The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.
1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth. Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24. “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
2. Read Romans 1:9-14
3. STUDY NOTE: In 1:11, we see Paul’s desire to visit the Roman Christians (“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you . . .”). It is clear that Paul sees great benefit in being in fellowship with other believers Of this, Calvin writes, “He has here strikingly pointed out the use of gifts by the word, imparting: for different gifts are distributed to each individual, that all may in kindness mutually assist one another, and transfer to others what each one possesses.”
4. In 1:12 Paul says, “That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” It is amazing to see how Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was willing to learn from unexperienced Christian “beginners.” From the youngest to the oldest, each one in the Church has gifts which they are able to contribute to others. We can sometimes be hindered from benefiting from this blessing of Christian fellowship by our high-mindedness and our belief that we possess all that we need and are sufficient of ourselves. (See 1 Corinthians 12)
- When have you been eager to fellowship with other believers, so that you may “impart” to them what they may lack and thus encourage their faith?
- What gifts do you impart to other believers?
- Since by God’s design, we are not sufficient by ourselves, what gifts do you receive from other believers?
5. This mutual giving and the resulting encouragement is also true of the believers in our own household.
- For those who are married, do you have this desire to “impart” your gifts to your husband or wife?
- Are you thankful for and eagerly receive the gifts your spouse gives to you?
- How do you encourage your spouse to impart his/her gifts to you?
6. In 1:14, Paul says, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” John Stott, in his commentary on Romans, gives a helpful illustration of this obligation or indebtedness. “There are two possible ways of getting into debt. The first is to borrow money from someone; the second is to be given money for someone by a third party… It is in this second sense that Paul is in debt. He has not borrowed anything from the Romans which he must repay. But Jesus Christ has entrusted him with the gospel for them.”
- Do you consider yourself, like Paul, having received the Gospel, to now be indebted to others?
- How are you discharging this debt?
7. In offering the gospel to the wise of this world, every kind of science and philosophy and the arts will be brought under the Lordship of Christ and under the simplicity of the gospel. By declaring himself to be a debtor to the unlearned and foolish Paul is committing to be patient with their ignorance so they too might enjoy the benefits of the gospel.
- Are we patient in teaching the gospel to those who consider themselves wise in this world?
- Are we also patient in teaching the gospel with those whom we would consider foolish or unlearned?
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