The questions for this week’s study were written by Russell Hollingsworth.


  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 3:9-18
  3. In 3:9, Paul summarizes everything he has been teaching from 1:18-3:8. “What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.” Paul answers his analysis of what is wrong with the human race. The answer is sin.  In your own words, write a summary of Paul’s statement about humanity’s desperate condition before God described in 3:1-9? (This is a doctrine often described as “total depravity”)  What does this indicate about our “earthly nature”? (See also Ephesians 2:3 and Colossians 3:5-6.
  4. Tim Keller says, “If you believe in the doctrine of total depravity, and you think it out, and you take it to the center of your life, it re-humanizes the human race.”  What do you think he meant by this?  As a follower of Christ, what are some practical ways this would play out in our attitudes toward and relationships with Christians and non-Christians?
  5. STUDY NOTE: In 3:10-18, Paul uses a collection of 6 Old Testament sections to drive home 3:9 and give a final summary of the affliction that affects all of humanity (both Jews and Gentiles): Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 5:9, Psalm 140:3, Psalm 10:7, Isaiah 59:7-8, Psalm 36:1.
  6. In 3:10-18, Paul gives a great and vivid description of being “under sin”. List 8 characteristics of being “under sin” found in these verses.
  7. As many commenters have noted, in 3:10-18, Paul shows that being “under sin” has ruined our relationships. First, it has ruined our relationship with God. John Piper says, “Fix this firmly in your mind, sin is mainly a condition of rebellion against God…sin is, first and foremost, a resistance to finding joy in God.” How does Paul depict our ruined relationship with God in verses 10-11 and verse 18?
  8. Secondly, it has ruined our relationships with other people. John Calvin says, “…so inhumanity commonly follows where there is ignorance of God, as every one, when he despises others, loves and seeks his own good.”  How does Paul depict our ruined relationships with other people in verses 12-17?


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