Study Questions on Romans

Blaine Robison, M.A.


Published 27 October 2010; Revised 1 August 2015

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Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Besekh (New Testament), Torah (Law), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ).

Romans 1

· What is the significance of Paul calling Yeshua "Christ," which means "Messiah?" What did it mean to him as a Jew?

· What is the good news in its Jewish context? How does the good news save?

· What does Paul mean by "faith" in his quoting Habakkuk 2:4 in verse 17? What does this imply about his usage of "faith" in his letter?

· What does the wrath of God target? What truth do wicked men suppress? How does God express His wrath?

· Who do the pronouns “they/them” refer to in verses 19-32?

· What attributes of God does creation (nature) reveal?

· What does the rebellion against God's standards imply about God's intended purpose for men and women as originally created?

Romans 2

· Who are the ones doing the judging? Why were they condemned?

· What is the basis of God's judgment?

· What is Paul's view of the Law (the Torah)?

· How can Gentiles obey the Torah they've never been taught?

· Who is righteous in the sight of God?

· How does Paul define the term “Jew?” Why is this definition important?

· What do the idioms "written on the heart" and “circumcision of the heart” mean?

Romans 3

· What had been committed to the Jews?

· What misbeliefs does Paul reject with the phrase “may it never be”?

· What does Paul say about the nature of God?

· How does our unrighteousness demonstrate the righteousness of God?

· How does Paul use portions of the Psalms? What does he seek to prove from the Hebrew Scriptures?

· What value does Paul place on the Torah?

· What does this chapter teach about a right relationship with God?

Romans 4

· What does Paul seek to demonstrate by referring to Abraham?

· Why did God consider Abraham righteous?

· How does Paul use the word "faith" in this chapter? (Consider its combined meaning of "trust" and "faithfulness.")

· How does Paul use the word "Law" in this chapter?

· What evidence is there that Abraham was a righteous man?

· How does faith work? What are the benefits of faith?

· How can we be of the faith of Abraham?

· How was Abraham a father of many nations?

Romans 5

· On what basis is someone admitted to the company of the righteous? Whose "faith" is Paul referring to?

· What benefits accrue to the believer who has peace with God?

· How does God show his love for us?

· What is the means of our salvation?

· What is the future hope that believers enjoy who have been saved?

· What is the origin of sin in the human family?

· What was the chief consequence of sin?

· How did God's Law make transgression increase?

Romans 6

· What misbeliefs does Paul rebut?

· What is the significance of the analogy of believer's immersion? What does it symbolize?

· What is the significance of identifying with Yeshua's death?

· What does Paul mean by “body of sin?”

· How can one be “dead to sin, but alive to God.”

· What is the believer expected to do about sin in his life?

· How can the parts of one's body be "instruments of righteousness?”

· What is the significance of the analogy of slavery?

· What contrast does Paul make between the readers past, present and the future?

· What are the wages of sin? What is the gift of God?

Romans 7

· Paul addresses "brothers" who "know the Torah." What difference does this make for interpreting this chapter?

· The word "law" (Grk. nomos) occurs 23 times in this chapter (the most in the Besekh). What are the different ways that Paul uses the word "law?"

· What is significant about the analogy of marriage and remarriage to Paul's argument of 6:1-2?

· What does Paul reveal about the biblical design for marriage?

· Explain “released from the Torah.” Does that mean a disciple no longer has to obey God's commandments? (cf. 6:1-2)

· What does Paul intend by the contrast of “the newness of the Spirit," versus the "oldness of the letter?”

· Do verses 7-25 represent Paul's autobiography, his current experience or, the common experience of mankind? What difference in interpretation would it make if Paul is simply using a literary device or speaking rhetorically?

· How can one serve the law of God and the law of sin at the same time?

Romans 8

· How does Paul contrast the Two Ways of Life?

· How does Paul use the term "flesh" in this chapter?

· What does Paul say about the place of God's Torah in the disciple’s life?

· What does it mean to walk according to the Spirit?

· What does it mean to be "fleshly" minded?

· Why can't a "fleshly" minded person please God?

· What distinguishes those who belong to Yeshua from those who don't?

· What is the blessed hope? How is it accomplished?

· How does Paul describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit?

· What sovereign activities of God does Paul describe?

· In context what does the concept of predestination mean?

· What is Paul’s viewpoint on suffering?

Romans 9

· Why is Paul sorrowful? What was he willing to do for the sake of his fellow Jews?

· What are the eight advantages that belong to the Jews? Explain each one.

· What does Paul mean by "they are not all Israel who are from Israel?"

· Through whom were the chosen people determined? Why is this important?

· Who are the "children of the flesh?" Who are the "children of the promise?" What promise?

· What do Sarah and Rebekah have in common?

· What does Paul emphasize about the nature of God?

· What was God's will concerning Jacob and Esau? (How should we view Isaac's intention to give "the blessing" to Esau instead of Jacob in light of God's will?)

· What was God's attitude toward Jacob and Esau? How should God's attitude toward them guide our attitude?

· What is the point of the parable of the potter and clay?

· Who are the vessels of wrath? The vessels of mercy?

· How does Paul apply Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 in a new way?

· What is Paul's point in quoting Isaiah 1:9; 10:22-23? Who is the remnant?

· How did the Gentiles attain righteousness? Why didn't Israel attain to the "law of righteousness?"

· What does the idiom of "stumbling stone" refer to?

Romans 10

· What is Paul's desire? What does he pray for?

· What was wrong with the zeal of the Jews?

· Why does Paul say that the Messiah is the "end of the law" when in 8:4 he says that the Torah is to be fulfilled in our lives? What might Paul mean?

· What did Moses teach? What is the point of Paul's quotation of Deuteronomy 30:12-14?

· What is absolutely essential for salvation? What exactly are we to confess and believe?

· What produces righteousness?

· What does Paul affirm about the nature of God?

· How does Paul describe the process that results in trusting God for salvation?

· What does Scripture say about those who speak for God?

· How did Israel respond to the message of the prophets?

· What produces faith? (Consider that "faith" includes trust and faithfulness.)

· What does Paul say about those who have never heard the good news?

· How and why did God provoke Israel?

· How does God describe his behavior toward the people he loves?

Romans 11

· What does Paul say about God's attitude toward Israel? How does Paul citing himself prove his point?

· When God says He has not rejected Israel, what should the disciple of Yeshua conclude? What lesson should we draw from Paul's opening repetition?

· Define "Israel" in the context of Elijah. Why does Paul say that Elijah pleaded with God "against Israel?"

· What was Elijah's complaint? How did God answer him?

· What conclusion does Paul draw from the example of Elijah?

· What does Paul mean by "grace' and "works?"

· Who are the "chosen" in contrast with the "hardened?"

· Why does Paul quote from Moses and David?

· How can the transgression of Jews mean salvation for Gentiles? If the salvation of the Gentiles was supposed to make the Jews jealous, why haven’t they become jealous? (How would translating "jealous" with "zealous" change the meaning?)

· Who was the apostle to the Gentiles? Does he mean that this apostle was the only one who had a right to speak to Gentiles for God?

· What metaphors does Paul use to depict the people of God? Who are the branches? How do Christians fit into this word picture?

· What warning does Paul give Gentile disciples? Why were branches broken off?

· How does Paul contrast the "goodness" and "severity" of God?

· What does the “fullness of the Gentiles” mean?

· What does "all Israel" mean? How will "all Israel" be saved? How does Paul's LXX quotation of Isaiah 59:20 differ from the Hebrew text? How does this difference affect the meaning?

· Who are the "enemies" of the good news? How does God view these "enemies?"

· What does Paul say about the gifts and calling of God? How is this significant for Christian theology?

· What does Paul teach about the great plan of God?

Romans 12

· What spiritual progress is Paul expecting of Roman disciples?

· What is a living sacrifice?

· How does transformation take place? What is the purpose of such transformation? What does Paul mean by the "will of God?"

· How does God treat each person differently?

· What is the purpose of comparing the people of God to a physical body?

· How does Paul view the community of faith?

· What is the purpose of spiritual gifts?

· What ministries does Paul identify as important to the Body of Messiah? Why are these ministries called "gifts?" What does the distribution of gifts say about individual roles in the Body of Messiah?

· What differences exist in Paul’s list of gifts here from his list in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14?

· How are we to regard evil?

· What should characterize relationships between disciples?

· What virtues does Paul identify that a disciple should strive to exhibit in his life?

· What moral and practical contrasts does Paul identify and how would they be fulfilled in a disciple's life?

· What should characterize the disciple's thinking? Is Paul suggesting that disciples should agree on everything?

· How are disciples to respond to those who do evil against them? What should a disciple's attitudes and actions be toward nonbelievers?

· Who has the right to render vengeance?

· Why does Paul quote from Proverbs 26:21-22? How would this be accomplished in a practical sense?

· What principle does Paul suggest for living in an evil world?

Romans 13

· Where does the civil government get its authority?

· What is the responsibility of the disciple toward the civil government?

· What are the consequences of rejecting civil authority?

· What is a major responsibility of government? How can the government be a "minister of God?"

· What should serve as motivation for a disciple's submission to the government? Are there any exceptions to this submission?

· What four things are to be rendered to the civil government?

· What does it mean to "owe no man anything?" What one thing should we owe to others?

· What four commandments from the Torah does Paul repeat? Does he imply these are the only commandments that have to be obeyed?

· How does Paul describe the duty and activity of love?

· What does Paul say about salvation?

· What metaphors does Paul use to contrast the present age with the age to come? What metaphors does Paul use to describe the Two Ways?

· What type of behavior does Paul exhort disciples to avoid?

· What two commands does Paul issue that sums up discipleship?

Romans 14

· Why were certain disciples judging others? How is Paul using the word "faith" in this section? Why is judging condemned here when Paul authorizes judging in 1 Corinthians 6?

· What criteria was used to identify someone "weak" in faith? What characterizes the "strong" in faith? Why would members of the Roman congregation desire to eat "only vegetables?" Does Paul imply that eating meat makes one spiritually superior?

· What is God's attitude toward the meat-eaters and the vegetable-eaters? What difference should this fact make in relationships between believers?

· What different opinions about observing "days" existed in the congregation?

· What spiritual interpretation of the two approaches to food and calendar does Paul offer?

· What is the core value that should typify discipleship?

· In all matters who should disciples try to please?

· What is a stumbling block? Does Paul contradict individual responsibility for sinning? (Deut 24:16)

· What does Paul mean by "nothing is unclean in itself?"

· What duty of care do disciples have toward one another?

· What matters are crucial to the kingdom of God?

· How does one balance avoidance of offending others and maintaining personal convictions?

· What kind of faith are we to have?

· How does Paul define sin? How does this definition not conflict with the definition of sin in 2:12; 5:13; and 7:7? How does this definition not provide a license to judge one another?

Romans 15

· What duty do the "strong" have toward the "weak?" How is Paul employing the term "strong?" (cf. Phil 3:15)

· How does Paul interpret loving one's neighbor?

· What example did Yeshua provide that disciples are to copy?

· Why were the Scriptures written? What Scriptures is Paul talking about?

· What is the purpose of the congregation being of "one mind?"

· How does Paul describe the mission of Yeshua and contrast its benefits for Jews and Gentiles?

· What is the point of Paul's extensive quotation of Scripture from the Psalms, the Torah and the Prophets?

· What is Paul's prayer that they would receive from God?

· How does Paul's compliment and exhortation concerning admonishing (or "instructing") one another not contradict his rebuke against judging?

· What purpose does Paul identify to explain his writing this letter?

· How does Paul describe his ministry?

· Where did Paul hope to go after passing through Rome? Why does he want to make this trip?

· Why was Paul going to Jerusalem?

· What do Gentile disciples owe the Jews?

· What appeal does Paul make? What is his prayer?

Romans 16

· In this section Paul names 26 persons. How did he know them if he had never been to Rome?

· Why would he include so many greetings in a theological letter?

· How does Paul express his affection for these disciples?

· How is Phoebe described? What did she do? What did Paul expect the congregation to do for Phoebe?

· What were Priscilla and Aquila known for?

· Who was Paul's first disciple in Asia?

· How are Andronicus and Junia described?

· What is a holy kiss?

· How should the congregation respond to those who cause divisions? How does Paul describe those who cause strife?

· What compliment does Paul pay the Roman congregation? What concern does he express?

· What great victory does Paul describe?

· Who wrote the letter for Paul?

· How does Paul describe those in the Corinthian congregation?

· What is the "revelation of the mystery"?

· Why have the Scriptures been revealed?

· What does Paul reveal about the nature of God?

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