The questions for this week’s study were written by Russell Hollingsworth.
- As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His word in your life as the Psalmist says in Psalm 25:5 to, “Lead me in your truth, and teach me.
- Read Romans 3:1-8
- STUDY NOTE: As we saw last week at the end of Romans 2, Paul made the provocative point that Jews and Gentiles are on equal footing – both are under the power of sin and in need of the gospel. Expressly, a right standing with God made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection. In verses 1-8 of Ch. 3, Paul takes the opportunity to answer the challenges that He knows will arise from saying that even though outwardly you may be a Jew, you are not really a Jew and that some Gentiles can really be a right with God even though not circumcised (2:25-27).
- In 3:1-2, Paul asks (or uses an imaginary objector/challenger to ask) – “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?” Paul answers by saying, “Much in every way!…they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” How did this “advantage” shape the Jew’s view of their relationship with God? How has this “advantage” given the Jews a feeling of security in their relationship with God?
- What is the great benefit of being entrusted with the very words of God? As Christians, what does it mean to us that we have been entrusted with the oracles of God- The Bible?
- In 3:3, Paul brings about the second objection/challenge – “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?” Is God’s faithfulness dependent on man’s faithfulness? (See 2 Tim 2:13) How is God’s punishment of Israel’s sin and unbelief consistent with His promises and righteous character?
- In 3:4 Paul answers the second objection, “ Not at all! Let God be true and every man a liar.” Paul also quotes Psalm 51:4 to support that God is still faithful and true even if He judges the Jews along with all other sinners. Read Psalm 51:4. What is the reason David uses in saying that God would be just to judge him? How does this reasoning apply to us?
- STUDY NOTE: Many commenters have expressed that 3:1-8, and in particular 3:5-8, are an extremely difficult passage to wrap our minds around. John Piper stated, “I found this passage to be about as hard a paragraph to deal with as any in this letter. The difficulty of following the train of thought in this paragraph is enormous.” I tell you this as an encouragement as you dig in deeper to God’s word. As Paul presents the final objections in vs. 3:5-8, it is good to remember that at this point in Paul’s ministry he has had countless debates with Jews and Gentiles and knows what they will say at this point in the argument and he wants to present a final answer leading into his summary in vs. 9.
- To the best of your understanding, summarize in your own words the objections/challenges that are presented by Paul’s objectors in vs. 5-8.
- What are Paul’s answers in vs. 6 and at the end of vs. 8? How does this coincide with what Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-21, 32?
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