Paul’s Close to the Roman Epistle – Romans 15-16

Having already spoken to the Jews and Gentiles about their division over keeping feast days, eating certain meat, and other differences, Paul admonishes them further, as he did the brethren at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10, that they must think about their brethren and their souls as well as their consciences and help each other bear their own weaknesses.

English: It contains fragments of the "Ep...

English: It contains fragments of the “Epistle to the Romans” 8:1-13 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for the Old Testament Law, he says in verse 4 that “…whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” This was to say that we have much that is profitable to learn from the old Law. But while all should be sensitive to the consciences of others, this does not give those others license for imposing those matters on their brethren, but rather they should all live in harmony, and “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.” He finishes this section of the chapter in verses 8-13 by reminding them that “Christ became a servant” for the sake of Jews and Gentiles alike, according to God’s plan.

It is important to Paul, and it is important to the Gentiles themselves, as well as to their unity with Jewish brethren everywhere, as many will see it as symbolic of the entrance of the Gentiles into the kingdom (verse 17-18). Of that mission, Paul says in verse 19 that he had traveled preaching the gospel from Jerusalem to the Roman province of Illyricum (later called Dalmatia). Paul finishes this chapter in verses 22-33 by telling the brethren in Rome that he plans to finally come to visit them on his way to Spain after he goes to Jerusalem.

Paul finishes this letter to the Romans in chapter 16 by greeting many of them personally by name, as well as sending greetings from other brethren. he closes with a doxology: “to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

 

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 15, Romans 16, 1 Thess 1, 1 Thess 2, 1 Thess 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

How We Treat Our Brethren – Romans 13-14

Paul begins in chapter 13 by telling them that they should submit to the authority of the rulers. This tends to bring up a discussion of dealing with tyranny that is really beyond the scope of our discussion of the chapter. It can be noted, however, that Paul does say that “rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” So clearly he is speaking, there at least, about just rulers rather than those who are unjust. Christians also are to pay their taxes — and more. In verse 7, he says:

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

English: Fragments of the Epistle to the Romans

English: Fragments of the Epistle to the Romans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In chapter 14, he speaks of how Christians are to deal with one another. We are not to pass judgment on one another, but respect the differences that we may have without quarreling or hurting someone else’s pride. Above all, we are not to cause others to stumble. The example of not eating meat if it offends one’s brother may not seem relevant to us. But it means that we should not do or say things in the presence of our brothers that may make them believe that we are willfully doing wrong, as that would be a stumbling block to them.

If someone can show us that our behavior is wrong by way of the Bible, we should, of course, change that behavior. But if it is merely a matter of their passionate stance on a matter, we should still altar our behavior in their presence, so as not to offend or cause them to stumble. Being a Christian means realizing that it really isn’t “all about me.”

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 10, Romans 11, Romans 12, Romans 13, Romans 14

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Grafted – Romans 11-12

Paul follows up in chapter 11 with an assurance to the Jews that just because the Gentiles are welcomed into the kingdom, that does not mean that God has rejected them. He said that the Jews failed to obtain what they were seeking, but that trespass has meant salvation for the Gentiles.

He compares the inclusion of the Gentiles to a branch being grafted to the tree. The foreign body now becomes a part of the whole; and all of the branches share in the nourishment of the root. But he tells them that they should not be arrogant toward the other branches because it is not they who support the root, but rather the root supports them. He says in verse 25 that “a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved…” He then quotes Isaiah 59:20:

The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;  and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.

In chapter 12, he tells them all to present their bodies as “a living sacrifice” — to be transformed from the world by the renewing of their minds. he also lists some of the qualities that they, as Christians, need to exhibit. Among the many he speaks of are these:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 10, Romans 11, Romans 12, Romans 13, Romans 14

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

No Distinction – Romans 10

Paul continues his letter to the Romans in chapter 10 still addressing the fact that the church there is struggling with its mixture of Jews and Gentiles. It is a laborious task that he undertakes because the Jews especially have had a vested interest in being the children of the promise for thousands of years. Now Paul tells them that the children of Abraham’s flesh are not the only children of the promise.

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King...

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King James version, 1772. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He says in verses 12-13, he says that all who “call upon the name” of the Lord will be saved. He says that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. And then he quotes a couple of scriptures to show the Jews that none of this should be a surprise.

From Deuteronomy 32:21: I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.

And from Isaiah 65:1: I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 10, Romans 11, Romans 12, Romans 13, Romans 14

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Children of the Promise – Romans 9

In Romans 10, Paul tells them that not all who are children of Abraham actually descended from Abraham, as did the Jews. In verse 8, he says that it is not children of the flesh (Abrahams’s flesh) that are children of God, but rather children of the promise that are counted as offspring.  And in verse 25, he reminds them of Hosea’s words:

Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’
And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called m‘sons of the living God.’

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King...

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King James version, 1772. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So how does Paul say that Gentiles, who previously did not seek righteousness now attained it? And why Israel “who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law?” His answer in verses 32-33 is that it is:

Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 5, Romans 6, Romans 7, Romans 8, Romans 9

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Law, the Spirit, and the Flesh – Romans 7-8

In Romans 7, Paul makes an analogy of sin and the law by using marriage. He points out that as long as a man is alive, his wife is bound to him by law. But once he is dead, she is free to marry again. The analogy is more for the understanding of the Jews at Rome that he was addressing, but it had relevance for the Gentiles as well.Paul tells them that they likewise had died to the Law of Moses and now they were bound to another, through Jesus Christ. We are free from the death of sin.

The Romans of the Decadence

The Romans of the Decadence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In chapter 8, he tells them that they are now in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. Those who set their mind on the Spirit live accordingly. But those who set their mind on the flesh are hostile to God. What he means by someone like this is that those are the people who are slaves to sin, and to whom fleshly, worldly pleasures are the most important things in their lives. Such people are hostile to God because serving Him would mean denying themselves. Paul says not only will those people not submit themselves to God, they simply cannot do so. Those who are in the flesh in this way cannot please God — not until they change their hearts.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 5, Romans 6, Romans 7, Romans 8, Romans 9

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

By Grace, We are Slaves? – Romans 5-6

In chapter 5, Paul compares the transgression of Adam and its consequences to the cure for it- – Jesus and his sacrifice — and the consequences of that action. In the case of the former, sin reigned in the “death” that came from that. But grace reigns in the wake of the sacrifice of Jesus.

English: Fragments of the Epistle to the Romans

English: Fragments of the Epistle to the Romans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But in chapter 6, Paul makes it clear that this “free gift” of grace does not give us a license to continue to live in sin. We serve the Lord, and in doing so, we become slaves to righteousness. Otherwise, we are slaves to sin. There is no third choice. We are slaves to one or the other.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Romans 5, Romans 6, Romans 7, Romans 8, Romans 9

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Move From the Law to Faith -Romans 3-4

In Romans 3, Paul tells them that Jews are no better and no worse than the Gentiles. All, he says, have sinned. He says that the Gentiles are now true Jews by way of the Spirit, Paul then addresses the question that would naturally come from the Jews.  Was there no advantage or value of being a Jew, or of being circumcised?  Paul says that indeed there was.  The Jews had been the keepers of the “oracles of God” (verse 2) – the Scriptures; and in that capacity at least, they had remained faithful.

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most...

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul, a Hellenistic Jew, was very influential on the shift of Christianity to Gentile dominated movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God’s word, as He would make certain, had been preserved; and just as importantly, God had remained faithful to His promises to them, despite the unfaithfulness they had shown to Him. In chapter 4, he speaks about faith throughout the chapter. The point he makes is that the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. It is this transition from the law to faith that is causing contention and division among the Jews there and the Gentiles. They must move past this.

 

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 28, Romans 1, Romans 2, Romans 3, Romans 4

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul’s Opening words to the Romans – Romans 1-2

Paul opens this letter affirming his apostleship, as was his custom with letters to churches that were not so familiar with him. He reinforces that in verses 4-6 by stating that, through Jesus, he and the other apostles “received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ…” The long introduction also affirms that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he was descended from David, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy (verse 4); and he declares the mission to the Gentiles (verse 13). He also expresses, at some length, his eagerness to go to Rome for fellowship and sharing the gospel with them.

English: page with text of Epistle to the Roma...

English: page with text of Epistle to the Romans 1:1-7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not much is known for certain about the church at Rome. But by virtue of it being in Rome, its fame would have been considerable and, like the other churches, it was composed of both Jews and Gentiles. The remainder of this chapter focuses on the need for righteousness on the part of the Gentiles, and Paul does not mince words in pointing out the history of unrighteousness on their part.

Though verses 18-24 are here specifically directed at those Gentiles, they contain some of the most profound (and certainly definitive) statements applicable to all people everywhere concerning God’s existence, and thus they provide the very basis of sound apologetics. The “wrath of God” in verse 18 represents his holiness, judgment, and yet loving response to the unrighteousness of mankind. When Paul says that all mankind knows God, he is not speaking of the concept of a god or of deity in general. Man knows the one true and living God because the evidence abounds in everything He created, yet he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. His attributes, including His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world, so that everyone is without excuse.

Man has always tended to be full of himself because of the material knowledge he acquires, only made possible by God; and “claiming to be wise, they became fools…” Man’s desire for sin and all that is an abomination to his Creator moves him to exchange the truth about God for a lie (verse 25) and worship the creature rather than the Creator even to this day. People who deny Him do so by conscious choice in a futile attempt to justify their own unrighteousness. The “shameful acts” Paul lists as driving this begins with unnatural relations of men and women with others of the same gender, and in verse 29 runs from liars to murderers and “all manner of evil” in between – as God makes no distinction between what man considers “small” or large sins.

In chapter 2, Paul addresses the Jews of the church at Rome, as their self-righteousness threatens the unity of the church – just as it did in Galatia and elsewhere.  But here again, the applications to all people are clear.  He again states that the Gentiles are without excuse, for just as the evidence for God abounds, he also says “the law is written on their hearts.”  So even though they did not have prophets who wrote the law as the Jews knew it, the Gentiles knew enough “to do what the law requires” (verses 14-15).

But the Jews, who had the law and were circumcised, were warned that they who pass judgment on others are not without sin themselves.  So they should not boast and be judgmental because if they know the law and additionally are circumcised, but still live in sin they are just as guilty – for God shows no partiality.  They are not favored of God for their knowledge of the law or for their circumcision.  Though it is still admirable that they keep the law of circumcision, it is no longer required anyway, and it is of no value to them in their sin.

Christians today would do well to remember this when it comes to others.  Being “raised in the church,” knowing and even reading their Bible, and even having been baptized are all of no value if they live in sin anyway.  In that case, they will be just as lost as those who never obeyed the gospel.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 28, Romans 1, Romans 2, Romans 3, Romans 4

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul in Rome – Acts 28

After the shipwreck, they learned that the island they had safely reached is called Malta. He said that the natives were kind and welcoming, and even helped them with a fire. But a snake came out because of the heat, and fastened himself to Paul’s hand. The sight of the deadly creature hanging from his limb just after he had been rescued from a life-threatening shipwreck made them suppose that he must be a murderer, getting his just reward (Greek and Roman tales had long spoken of just such events – “The Argonautica”, for example). But God was certainly not going to let anything happen to him. When he neither died nor showed any ill effects from the bite, they then thought Paul himself to be a god.

Showing Castor and Pollux fighting at the Batt...

Showing Castor and Pollux fighting at the Battle of Lake Regillus. Woodcut from Engraving by John Reinhard Weguelin (1849 to 1927). Drawing is signed “JRW1880” in bottom right corner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Publius in verse 7, is described as a “chief man” – the Greek term for which is “protos,” of which term several inscriptions have been found. Several references to Publius and this chapter, along with photographs can be found in this article at BiblePlaces.com. Publius’ father was ill with fever and dysentery (the description of which ills fit those of an infection caused by goat’s milk called “Malta fever”). Paul healed him, as well as others of the island with diseases that were brought to him afterward (verses 8-9).

After three months, they again set sail in a ship from Alexandria that had been wintering there. Luke describes the ship as having a figurehead of the “twin gods” (Castor and Pollux, the mythological twin sons of Zeus and Leda, were seen as the protectors of seamen). They put in at Syracuse for three days, then ended up in Puteoli, where they stayed with brethren they had found for seven days, then to Rome. The brethren there heard, and came from as far away as “The Three Taverns” and the “Forum of Appius” (hence, the name, the Appian Way) (verses 12-16).

Paul spent considerable time preaching and trying to convince the Jews there of the good news of Jesus through the words of Moses and the prophets. Some believed, but others did not – the latter leaving disagreeably (verses 23-25). Paul quoted Isaiah 6:9-10 to them in verses 26-27; and then told them that now this news of the salvation of God will be brought to the Gentiles, for they will listen.

Verses 30-31 close out the book of Acts with the word that Paul remained there two full years, at his own expense, “teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” No further word is given of Paul’s appearance before Caesar, or any confirmation of secular writings that suggest he fulfilled his desire to go and preach in Spain, nor of a second imprisonment before his martyrdom. As much as we would like to know of the rest of Paul’s story, the inspired word of God does not tell us because the book of Acts is not Paul’s biography, but the word “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

 

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 28, Romans 1, Romans 2, Romans 3, Romans 4

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.