The Encouragement of God

Notes for Oct. 29, 2017
Romans 15:1-13

Biblical Background

  • “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me”: This quote from Psalm 69:9 is applied to a righteous sufferer – and Paul makes it clear that this applies specifically to Jesus the Messiah who was without sin and yet suffered on our behalf.

  • Christ is our model: We are to imitate Christ who sought to build up his neighbor, not please himself – this is an extension and part of the Golden Rule and the command to love our neighbor as ourself.

  • Scriptures written for our instruction: Jesus believed that the Hebrew Scriptures were God’s word and thus it is God’s instruction book for life for all of us. One of the most important arguments for the idea that the Bible is without error and is God’s Word is that is what Jesus believed and taught. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and choose not to believe parts of the Bible, then how can you be faithfully be a disciple of Jesus and reject parts of the Bible?

  • Being of one mind – living in harmony: This is an idiom which signifies the unity of believers. It doesn’t mean that we will agree on everything, but will be united in our identity as followers of Jesus Christ.

  • Glorifying God as one voice: This is another picture of the unity in the body of Christ as we praise God together.

  • Jews and Gentiles part of God’s plan and people: Paul makes it clear that God’s plan for the Jews (the circumcised) was to point the way to the Messiah so that both Jew and Gentile could become part of God’s kingdom and people.

  • Paul’s quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures: Paul puts together a series of biblical citations to confirm his point that the Gentiles all along were to eventually become a part of God’s people along with the Jews. These include: 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 12:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10.

  • Prayers at the end of a letter – v. 13: Verse 13 is an example of a common way writers would wrap up a letter with a prayer for the person or people that they are writing to.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who are the strong in this passage? The weak?

  2. When have you been the strong person? The weak? Share examples.

  3. Who is the best example to show us what it means to please our neighbor and build them up? How can we imitate this model?

  4. When have you experienced insults or ridicule for your faith? Share examples.

  5. How did it make you feel to be ridiculed for your belief in Jesus?

  6. What is it that gives us the ability to endure and stand strong in faith in the midst of pain, persecution, ridicule, and other difficult experiences?

  7. Define hope.

  8. What was Jesus’ view of the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament)?

  9. Why is unity important for us to have in the body of Christ? What are some examples of unity in the church that have been encouraging to you?

  10. What does it look like when Christians are not united? Give examples.

  11. How does the example of Jesus promote unity among followers of Jesus?

  12. How can you and I welcome others as Christ welcomed people? Give examples.

  13. What should the relationship between Jews and Gentiles be in the church? Describe this relationship through biblical history through today.

  14. Knowing that Jesus wants a relationship with people from all nations, cultures, etc… how does that change the way you view the world and the people around you?

  15. Pray the prayer in verse 15 together. Then pray it one-on-one for each other.

  16. How are we able to live out unity of faith in Christ? Give examples.