Romans

The Book of Romans

God’s Good, Pleasing, and Perfect Will – Part Four

God’s Good, Pleasing, and Perfect WillRomans 12:1-2Theme: Trust and obey.This week’s lessons teach us that our happiness is to be found in following God’s will.
LessonWe need to prove by our experience that the will of God is indeed what Paul tells us it is, that is, that it is good, pleasing, and perfect. We need to check it out. Moreover, it is by checking it out that we will begin to find out what it actually is.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Standing in Grace – Part 1

Theme: Four Pivotal Words
This week’s lessons discuss the important benefits that come to every Christian because of their justification given by Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 5:2
“If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” Haven’t you heard this classic put-down of someone who has been acting arrogantly?

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Standing in Grace – Part 2

Theme: Peace with God
This week’s lessons discuss the important benefits that come to every Christian because of their justification given by Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 5:2

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Standing in Grace – Part 3

Theme: Union with Christ
This week’s lessons discuss the important benefits that come to every Christian because of their justification given by Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 5:2
Yesterday we looked at the first benefit of our justification, which is peace with God. We also began to look at the second benefit, which is our union with Christ. We saw that this doctrine, found in the teaching of the apostles, goes back to Jesus himself. Let me list a few analogies the Bible uses to describe this union.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Standing in Grace – Part 4

Theme: Joy in Suffering
This week’s lessons discuss the important benefits that come to every Christian because of their justification given by Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 5:2

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Standing in Grace – Part 5

Theme: Hope of Glory
This week’s lessons discuss the important benefits that come to every Christian because of their justification given by Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 5:2

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Abounding Grace – Part 1

Theme: John Bunyan’s Text
This week’s lessons show how the abounding grace of God triumphs over the sin of anyone who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Scripture: Romans 5:20, 21

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Abounding Grace – Part 3

Theme: No Reduction of Grace
This week’s lessons show how the abounding grace of God triumphs over the sin of anyone who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Scripture: Romans 5:20, 21

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Abounding Grace – Part 2

Theme: No Withholding of Grace
This week’s lessons show how the abounding grace of God triumphs over the sin of anyone who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Scripture: Romans 5:20, 21

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Abounding Grace – Part 5

Theme: Citizens of the Kingdom
This week’s lessons show how the abounding grace of God triumphs over the sin of anyone who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Scripture: Romans 5:20, 21
Yesterday we concluded by looking at the first two stages of the kingdom of grace. Now we need to see the last two.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Law and Grace – Part 1

Theme: Grace and Righteous Conduct
This week’s lessons teach that God’s grace, rather than leading to sin or even an indifferent attitude about it, actually leads to a holy life because we are now dead to sin and have been made alive in Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-14

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Law and Grace – Part 3

Theme: Our Old and Our New Life
This week’s lessons teach that God’s grace, rather than leading to sin or even an indifferent attitude about it, actually leads to a holy life because we are now dead to sin and have been made alive in Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-14
In yesterday devotional we looked at three mistaken ideas for the meaning of “dying to sin.” Today we begin by looking at two others.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Law and Grace – Part 4

Theme: The First and Great Imperative
This week’s lessons teach that God’s grace, rather than leading to sin or even an indifferent attitude about it, actually leads to a holy life because we are now dead to sin and have been made alive in Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-14

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Law and Grace – Part 5

Theme: Alive to God
This week’s lessons teach that God’s grace, rather than leading to sin or even an indifferent attitude about it, actually leads to a holy life because we are now dead to sin and have been made alive in Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-14
Yesterday we saw two changes that have occurred from our being made alive to God in Jesus Christ. Here are three more.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

The Heart of the Bible, Part 1

Theme: Three Views of the Human Condition
 
From this week’s lessons we learn that Romans 3 can be considered the heart of the Bible because of the clear and comprehensive way it shows us the depth of our sin, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done to save us from it. 
 
Scripture: Romans 3
 
Somewhere in my library I have a pamphlet by Donald Grey Barnhouse entitled How to Mark Your Bible.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

The Heart of the Bible, Part 2

Theme: Man’s Ruin in Sin: The Moral Dimension
 
From this week’s lessons we learn that Romans 3 can be considered the heart of the Bible because of the clear and comprehensive way it shows us the depth of our sin, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done to save us from it. 
 
Scripture: Romans 3
 
Verses 10 and 11 capsulize Paul’s whole theology on this subject when he writes, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

The Heart of the Bible, Part 3

Theme: Man’s Ruin in Sin: The Intellectual and Volitional Dimensions
 
From this week’s lessons we learn that Romans 3 can be considered the heart of the Bible because of the clear and comprehensive way it shows us the depth of our sin, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done to save us from it. 
 
Scripture: Romans 3
 
The intellectual dimension involves understanding, and the same principles apply.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

The Heart of the Bible, Part 4

Theme: God’s Remedy in Christ
 
From this week’s lessons we learn that Romans 3 can be considered the heart of the Bible because of the clear and comprehensive way it shows us the depth of our sin, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done to save us from it. 
 
Scripture: Romans 3
 
Propitiation comes from the world of ancient sacrifices and concerns the wrath of God. Most of us do not like the idea of wrath. We push it off.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

The Heart of the Bible, Part 5

Theme: By Faith Alone 
 
From this week’s lessons we learn that Romans 3 can be considered the heart of the Bible because of the clear and comprehensive way it shows us the depth of our sin, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done to save us from it. 
 
Scripture: Romans 3
 
Yesterday we looked at propitiation and justification. The third term is redemption. It is a business term. It has to do with buying something back.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

If God Be For Us, Section 1

When I was talking about the third chapter of Romans, I pointed out that Romans 3 is the heart of the Bible. If that is true, Romans 8 is the Bible’s climax.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

If God Be For Us, Section 2

You recall what is said in the third chapter of John’s gospel, the very chapter which contains that great verse beloved by Christians everywhere, beginning, “For God so loved the world . . .” The chapter talks about the gospel: that God sent Jesus Christ that we might have eternal life.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

If God Be For Us, Section 3

But how can that be that condemnation does not come to us? There should be condemnation for us because we are sinners. I think that in the days before Christ’s crucifixion no one really understood how that could be. Certainly the men who set out to trap the woman did not understand it.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

If God Be For Us, Section 4

Yesterday we concluded by looking at the first reason we might have for being defeated. The second reason is found in verses 17 to 25, where Paul talks about our present sufferings.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

If God Be For Us, Section 5

The second reason why there will be no separation from the love of God is the impotence of everything, when set over against the sovereign love of God toward us in Christ Jesus. What are things, when set over against God? Paul talks about a number of things that might tend to separate us from that love.

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Abounding Grace – Part 4

Theme: Grace Triumphant
This week’s lessons show how the abounding grace of God triumphs over the sin of anyone who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Scripture: Romans 5:20, 21
The third point Romans 5:20, 21 makes about grace is that grace is powerful and triumphant. Sin triumphed for a time, but although “sin reigned in death,” grace is destined to “reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Keep Reading
The Book of Romans

Law and Grace – Part 2

Theme: Dying to Sin
This week’s lessons teach that God’s grace, rather than leading to sin or even an indifferent attitude about it, actually leads to a holy life because we are now dead to sin and have been made alive in Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-14

Keep Reading
How Then Should We Live?

Monday: Doctrine Applied

With the start of chapter 12, we come in our studies of Paul’s letter to the Romans to the practical section of the book. Ours is a practical age and most people want “practical” teaching. But to call these chapters practical suggests that the doctrinal sections are not practical, and whenever we find ourselves thinking along those lines we are making a mistake and contributing to great misunderstanding.

Keep Reading
How Then Should We Live?

Wednesday: The Importance of “Therefore”

In Monday’s study I commented on Francis Schaeffer’s book How Should We Then Live?, saying that “then” is the all-important word. Now I note that when we come to the first verse of Romans 12 we discover exactly the same thing, only in this case the important word is “therefore.”

Keep Reading
How Then Should We Live?

Thursday: Connecting the Doctrine

“Therefore” is a linking word, as I have said. We have looked back to what it refers to. Now we should look forward to see what the doctrinal material of chapters 1-11 connects with. I am handling it in seven sections.

Keep Reading
How Then Should We Live?

Friday: The Difference True Conversion Makes

True conversion makes a difference in a person’s life. If there are no differences, there is no genuine conversion. But what are the differences? They are precisely those that are spelled out in the remaining chapters of this letter. Laws in themselves change nothing, or at least very little. It is changed people who change everything. And the only thing that ever really changes people is God Himself through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you have been called to faith in Jesus Christ, you are part of a radically changed community, the new humanity. It is your privilege to begin to make changes in our world.

Keep Reading
Dying We Live

Monday: The Principle of Self-Sacrifice

I do not like the word “paradox” used in reference to Christian teachings, because to most people the word refers to something that is self-contradictory or false. Christianity is not false. But the dictionary also defines “paradox” as any statement that seems to be contradictory, yet may be true in fact, and in that sense there are paradoxes in Christianity.

Keep Reading
Dying We Live

Tuesday: Redeemed

The principle of sacrifice is so foundational to the doctrine of the Christian life that we must be very careful to lay it out correctly, and in order to do that we need to review the foundations for this foundation.

Keep Reading
Dying We Live

Wednesday: “Died to Sin”

Redemption from sin by Christ is not the only doctrine the Christian life of self-sacrifice is built on. A second foundation is our having died to the past by having become new creatures in Christ, if we are truly converted.

Keep Reading
Dying We Live

Thursday: The Blessed Life

So I ask, who are you willing to believe? Yourself, reinforced by the world and its way of thinking? Or Jesus Christ? I say “Jesus” specifically, because I want to remind you of His teaching from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. He speaks there about how to be happy. Indeed, the word is even stronger than that. It is the powerful word “blessed,” meaning to be favored by God.

Keep Reading
Dying We Live

Friday: Living Sacrifices

Paul’s words in Romans 12:1-2 are an urgent appeal to us to do something, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. This is not done for us. It is something we must do. This leads to the fourth and final foundational truth. It is the “obedience that comes from faith,” which Paul wrote about early in the letter, saying, “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith” (Rom. 1:5).

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice

Monday: Offering Ourselves to God

We are to sacrifice ourselves for Jesus, of course, if we love Him. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and He did it for us. He did it literally…Now, because He loved us and gave Himself for us, we who love Him are likewise to give ourselves to Him as “living sacrifices.”

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice

Tuesday: A Living Sacrifice

What exactly is meant by “sacrifice”? How are we to do it? The first point is the obvious one. The sacrifice is to be a living sacrifice rather than a dead one. This was quite a novel idea in Paul’s day, of course, though we have lost this by becoming overly familiar with it.

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice

Wednesday: Giving God Our Bodies

Sin can control us through our bodies, but it does not need to. So rather than offering our bodies as instruments of sin, we are to offer God our bodies as instruments for doing His will.

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice

Thursday: Holy Sacrifices

Paul uses the word “holy” to indicate the nature of the sacrifices we are to offer God. Any sacrifice must be holy. That is, it must be without spot or blemish and be consecrated entirely to God. Anything less is an insult to the great and holy God we serve. But how much more must we be holy who have been purchased “not with perishable things such as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice

Friday: Pleasing to God

The final word Paul uses to describe how we should present our bodies to God as living sacrifices is “pleasing.” But this is also a conclusion for what I have been saying this week since the point is that if we do what Paul has urged us to do, namely, to offer our “bodies as living sacrifices, holy…to God,” then we will also find that what we have done is pleasing (or acceptable) to Him.

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice Motive

Monday: Motivations

What is it that motivates people to achieve all they are capable of achieving or to “be all that you can be,” as the Army recruitment ads have it? There are a number of answers.

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice Motive

Thursday: Mercy to the Apostle Paul

Imagine yourself in Adam’s place, living through what I have described. God had told Adam and Eve that they would die, but they had not died. There had been judgments, of course, consequences. Sin always has consequences. But they had not been struck down; and, in fact, God had even announced the coming of a Redeemer who one day would crush Satan’s head and undo his work.

Keep Reading
Living Sacrifice Motive

Friday: God’s Mercy and Grace to Us

That is the nature of the goodness, love, grace and mercy of our great God. If you are a Christian, shouldn’t it motivate you to the most complete offer of your body to him as a living sacrifice and to the highest possible level of obedience and service?

Keep Reading
Service that makes Sense

Tuesday: Giving Ourselves to God

To understand this verse well we must understand the kind of service that is required. We have already spent a good bit of time exploring what this kind of service is about. It concerns what Paul calls “sacrifice.” When we were looking at it in detail earlier we saw that it involves three things.

Keep Reading
Service that makes Sense

Wednesday: God’s Work in the Past

God intervenes to save us by the work of Jesus Christ who died for us, and by the work of the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand what Jesus has accomplished, repent of our sin, and trust Him for our salvation. Then He has also joined us to Jesus Christ to make us different people from what we were before.

Keep Reading
Service that makes Sense

Thursday: The Blessings of God’s Will

Let me make what I have been saying personal. Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Are you trusting Him for your salvation? Has the Holy Spirit made you alive in Jesus Christ? If he has, what can be more reasonable than to give yourself to Him? What is more logical than to serve God wholeheartedly in this way?

Keep Reading
Service that makes Sense

Friday: Worthy of Our Best

It is reasonable because God is worthy of our very best efforts. In the fourth chapter of Revelation we read, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Rev. 4:11).

Keep Reading
Pattern of this Age

Monday: Worldviews

There are some verses in the Bible that are enriched when we read them in other translations. Romans 12:2 is one of them. In the New International Version the first part of Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.”

Keep Reading
Pattern of this Age

Tuesday: The Secular Worldview

Secularism is an umbrella term that covers a number of other “isms,” like humanism, relativism, pragmatism, pluralism, hedonism and materialism. But it, more than any other single word, aptly describes the mental framework and value structure of the people of our time.

Keep Reading
Pattern of this Age

Wednesday:  Philosophical Humanism

In yesterday’s study I said that there is a proper concern for secular things but that secularism as a worldview is wrong. I need to say the same thing about this next popular “ism,” humanism.

Keep Reading
Pattern of this Age

Thursday: Relativism and Materialism

Since we’ve been talking about humanism this week, we also have to talk briefly about relativism. Because if man is the focal point of everything, then there are no absolutes in any area of life, and everything is up for grabs.

Keep Reading
Pattern of this Age

Friday: Not Conformed, but Transformed

I want to look ahead one phrase to what Paul says we are to be: not “conformed,” but “transformed” by the renewing of our minds. There is a deliberate distinction between those two words, as I am sure you can see. Conformity is something that happens to you outwardly. Transformation happens inwardly.

Keep Reading
This Mindless Age

Monday: Mindless Times

In our time there is no longer a distinctly Christian way of thinking. There is to some extent a Christian ethic and even a somewhat Christian way of life and piety. But there is no distinctly Christian frame of reference, no uniquely Christian worldview, to guide our thinking in distinction from the thought of the secular world around us.

Keep Reading
This Mindless Age

Tuesday: The Triumph of Images

Television is certainly capable of imprinting “the pattern of this world” on us. An academic study of the negative impact of television on culture has been provided by a man named Neil Postman, a professor of communication arts and sciences at New York University. It is called Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

Keep Reading
This Mindless Age

Wednesday: An Attack on Thinking

A great deal of what Postman develops in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, is reinforcement for what I have been describing as mindlessness. And “the pattern of this age” today is certainly mindless. So let me review two specific areas of bad influence, as he sees it.

Keep Reading
This Mindless Age

Thursday: Religion as Entertainment

Was Jesus amusing? Were Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley or Jonathan Edwards entertainers? We must learn to seek truth, and avoid being caught up in the search for entertainment which has so permeated our culture.

Keep Reading
This Mindless Age

Friday: Our Minds Matter

This week we’ve looked at different ways that “the pattern of this world” eases its way into our worldview. And this is the point at which we also need to talk about genuine mind renewal for Christians, which is what I will continue with next week.

Keep Reading

Monday: Thinking Christianly

As believers we need to reject the world’s thinking and begin to think as Christians. This is what the apostle Paul is writing about in our text from Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This means that our thinking is not to be determined by the culture of the world around us, but, rather, we are to have a distinctly different and growing Christian worldview.

Keep Reading

Tuesday: Beginning with God

Where do we start if we want not to conform to this world? There is a sense in which we could begin at any point, since truth is a whole and truth in any area will inevitably lead to truth in every other area. But if the dominant philosophy of our day is secularism (which means viewing all of life only in terms of the visible world), then the best of all possible starting places is the doctrine of God, for God alone is above and beyond the world and is eternal.

Keep Reading

Wednesday: God Has Spoken

To avoid being conformed to the world we must also understand the doctrine of revelation. The God who exists has revealed Himself. Do you remember how Francis Schaeffer put it in the title of one of his books? He called it, He Is There and He Is Not Silent. That is exactly the point. God is there, and He has not kept Himself hidden from us. He has revealed Himself in nature, in history and especially in the Scriptures.

Keep Reading

Thursday: The Answer to Materialism

If there is a God and if he has made us to have eternal fellowship with him, then we are going to look at failure, suffering, pain and even death differently. For the Christian these can never be the greatest of all tragedies. They are bad. Death is an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). But they are overbalanced by eternal matters.

Keep Reading

Friday: Our Highest Aim

In 1989, Westerners were astounded by the political changes in Eastern Europe. Country after country repudiated its seventy-two-year Communist heritage and replaced its leaders with democratically elected officials. We rejoiced in these changes, rightly. But, though the American media with its blindness to things spiritual will not tell us, the changes in the Eastern bloc have not come about by the will of one person, Mikhail Gorbachev or any other, but by the spiritual vitality of the people.

Keep Reading
God's Good, Pleasing and Perfect Will

Monday: The Better Way

I find it significant that this is where Paul’s statements about being transformed by the renewing of our minds, rather than being conformed to the patterns of this world, end. They end with proving the way of God to be the best way and the will of God to be perfect.

Keep Reading
God's Good, Pleasing and Perfect Will

Tuesday: God’s Will for Every Christian

In this verse “will” is to be interpreted in its context, and the context indicates that the will of God that we are encouraged to follow is the general will of offering our bodies to God as living sacrifices, refusing to be conformed to the world’s ways, and instead being transformed from within by the renewing of our minds. It is this that we are to pursue and thus find to be good, pleasing and perfect, though, of course, if we do it, we will also find ourselves working out the details of God’s specific will for our lives.

Keep Reading
God's Good, Pleasing and Perfect Will

Thursday: Living in God’s Way

We need to prove by our experience that the will of God is indeed what Paul tells us it is, that is, that it is good, pleasing, and perfect. We need to check it out. Moreover, it is by checking it out that we will begin to find out what it actually is.

Keep Reading
God's Good, Pleasing and Perfect Will

Friday: Proving the Lord’s Will

The Lord Jesus Christ took it upon Himself to prove that God’s will was indeed good, pleasing and perfect, even though it involved the pain of the cross, which in itself hardly seemed good, pleasing or acceptable.

Keep Reading
First Things First

Tuesday: Thinking Too Highly

In discussing right relationships, there are two possible errors in self-evaluation, and Paul suggests both of them in what he says: first, to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think; and second, to think too lowly of ourselves, which is to have a false humility. Today I want to spend time talking about the problem of thinking too highly of ourselves.

Keep Reading
First Things First

Wednesday: Thinking Too Lowly

One of the problems we have is that we usually think about ourselves too much. Yet the solution Paul offers is not to stop thinking about ourselves entirely but instead to start thinking about ourselves in a right way. We are to think of ourselves “with sober judgment.”

Keep Reading
First Things First

Thursday: “With the Measure of Faith”

The second phrase Paul uses in Romans 12:3 for thinking rightly about ourselves is “in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” This is a little bit more than simply seeing ourselves as made in the image of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God and having part in the overall plan of God. It involves what each one of us is uniquely, that is, as different from other people, and it leads to the discussion of spiritual gifts that follows in this chapter.

Keep Reading
First Things First

Friday: Serving and Working for God’s Glory

A proper humility in which we learn to think soberly about ourselves does not lead to self-abnegation or inactivity, which honors no one. Instead it leads to the energetic use of every gift and talent God has given, knowing that they have come from Him— that no glory is ever due to us— but because they do come from Him, they must be used faithfully and wholeheartedly for His glory.

Keep Reading
One Body in Christ

Monday: The Church as Christ’s Body

Anyone who is interested in the doctrine of the church and senses its importance must be a bit surprised to notice how little the word “church” actually occurs in the Bible. The word is not found in the Old Testament at all. The first time it occurs is in Matthew 16:18, then again in Matthew 18:17. But it is not in the other gospels. It is scattered throughout Acts, of course (about eighteen times), but it is only found five times in Romans, all in chapter 16 (vv. 1, 3, 5, 16, 23). There are quite a few instances in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians (eighteen and nine times respectively), but then the references become infrequent again.

Keep Reading
One Body in Christ

Tuesday: Called by God

Paul’s image is very helpful at this point. For when he speaks of the body of Christ, obviously he is speaking of those who belong to Christ, who are joined to Him in exactly the sense in which he speaks about our being joined to Christ in Romans 5 and elsewhere. This is a spiritual reality, invisible but supremely real.

Keep Reading
One Body in Christ

Wednesday: One Church

There is a second important truth about the Church taught by Paul’s image of it as Christ’s body. Not only does that image define the Church as the community of those who have been joined to Christ. It also teaches that there is but one Church. That is, there are not multiple churches, even less mutually competing churches. There is but one Church, because Jesus has but one body.

Keep Reading
One Body in Christ

Friday: Working for Unity

Since we are part of a body with many members, what is the challenge we face in an individualistic age like ours? Well, the answer is not the ecumenical movement. Our task is not to create the unity of the body, above all not from the top down. The unity of the body is a given for those who are “in Christ.”

Keep Reading
God's Gifts

Monday: A Diversity of Gifts

Different gifts! It is hard for many of us to recognize this and accept it, because we are always wanting other Christians to be like ourselves and function like ourselves, or be cogs in our machine rather than contributing to another Christian work. Paul knew Christians who had this trouble too, but he tells everyone that we must accept this diversity if the church is to function as it should.

Keep Reading
God's Gifts

Tuesday: Prophesying

How many gifts are there? Nineteen are mentioned in the New Testament. But the number is not absolute. Different words may describe the same gift, for example, serving and helping, and there are probably gifts that could be mentioned but are not. In Romans 12 there are seven items, and we’ll look at all of them as the week goes on.

Keep Reading
Greatest Thing in the World

Monday: The Preeminent Christian Virtue

After the first two verses of Romans 12, which establish the principles by which sound doctrine is to be applied to godly living, Paul has begun to write about the church. Yet his words are no abstract theologizing.

Keep Reading
Greatest Thing in the World

Tuesday: Two Characteristics

Romans 12:9 states two specific things about love. First, true love is genuine. “Love must be sincere,” says Paul. Second, love must be discriminating. “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good,” is how the apostle puts it.

Keep Reading
Greatest Thing in the World

Thursday: What Love Does

Today we’re continuing our look at Paul’s commentary on love from 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…”

Keep Reading
Greatest Thing in the World

Friday: Showing God’s Love

Today we will look at the section of 1 Corinthians 13 which says that love will endure even when things like prophecies, tongues and the quest for knowledge have ceased. And we’ll see why love is more important even than such enduring things as faith and hope.

Keep Reading
Love in Action

Monday: God’s New Family

There are times in Bible study when an examination of the Greek text is very helpful. This is not always so, because most Bible translations convey the meaning of the original languages accurately and a person who does not know Greek can get along very well with the English. But sometimes the Greek is helpful, and one of those times is now.

Keep Reading
Love in Action

Tuesday: Being a Christian

As we continue our study of how love functions, we come to the second of Paul’s dative cases, which is about honor and is closely related to what we studied yesterday about brotherly love. This is why the two ideas are combined in verse 10. A literal translation might be, “And in respect to honor, lead the way for each another.” In other words, “Don’t wait around for people to recognize your contributions and praise you. Instead, be alert to what they are contributing and honor them.”

Keep Reading
Love in Action

Wednesday: Spiritual Fervor

In our study of how love functions, we come today to the sentence which reads, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (v. 11). The word “fervor” (NIV) or “fervent” (KJV) is from a verb meaning “to boil.” So a literal translation of this phrase would be: “In respect to the spirit (or Spirit), boiling.” Unfortunately, since boiling suggests heat and we think of heat as having to do with anger, it would be better to think of this as a Christian “bubbling over” or even, as the Revised Standard Version has it, “being aglow with the Spirit.”

Keep Reading
Love in Action

Thursday: The Hope of Glory

As we continue to learn about love in Romans 12, verse 12 introduces three more items, and these three go together. This might be paraphrased, “In so far as we have cause to hope, let us be joyful; in so far as we have cause of pain, let us hold out; in so far as the door of prayer is open to us, let us continue to use it.”

Keep Reading
Love in Action

Friday: Applied Christianity

Did you know that someone who loves is also someone who prays consistently? It’s right here in verse 12. A literal translation of this verse might be “and in regard to prayer, continuing.” Isn’t “continuing” an interesting word to use? We might have expected any one of a number of other words. But Paul says “continuing” because he was aware that this is just the problem. It is not that we never pray. We almost have to, if we are Christians. But we get tired of praying, our minds wander and we neglect prayer precisely when we most need it.

Keep Reading

Subscribe to the Think & Act Biblically Devotional

Alliance of Confessional Evangelicals

About the Alliance

The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

Canadian Donors

Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
PO Box 24087, RPO Josephine
North Bay, ON, P1B 0C7