Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Welcome to Home Bible Study© and our verse-by-verse breakdown of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. Just so you’re aware, we’re not a group of Church attending nerds; we’re merely a group of ordinary people; Believers intent on understanding what God has revealed to us through His written word. So if you’re interested grab a cola or a latte and join in.
If you don’t have a Bible handy, the Bible verses appear in the lessons, word-for-word, just as they are translated in the New American Standard Bible. This is the Bible I use most often. However, I employ multiple Bible translations while studying my Bible.
One of my goals is to promote Bible study amongst Believers or at least get them interested in spending more time in God’s Word. To that end, my persistent prayer is that you will use these lessons side-by-side with the written word of God and get in the habit of doing so regularly because it’s not about me, it’s not about what I say; it is all about what God has revealed to those who return His love!
Bible Translations are not equal
Some Bibles are suited for reading purposes but are not useful as a Bible study tool. This is where sites such as crosswalk.com come into play. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or collect a library of Bibles, when they are available on the internet for free! In addition, this site offers many useful tools for the Bible student. One of these is the Parallel Bible. You can search for a Bible verse and then see how it appears in two different Bible translations at the same time - check it out.
I recommend the New American Standard Bible, the King James Version, or the New King James Version translations for both your Bible reading and your Bible study.
Let’s begin. Please open your Bible to Romans 10:15.
15: How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” (NASB)
Paul references the Old Testament again and the prophet Isaiah in verse 15.
I think it’s a good idea to review Isaiah’s statement, so let’s turn to Isaiah 52:7.
“How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Paul takes the two whoever’s from verses 11 and 13 and uses them to address the Jew, in light of how God is presently dealing with His chosen people, who continue to not only rely on their Law-keeping instead of on simple faith to save them, but then also deny that Paul or any of the apostles have any right to proclaim salvation by a simple “message” that omitted the Law and Judaism.
Paul returns to the Old Testament and quotes one of Israel’s renowned prophets (Isaiah) to remind his brethren of their rather long history of refusing God’s news of salvation in order to communicate that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
The nation of Israel has always been a stiff-necked and unbelieving assembly. The LORD God had Isaiah relay this message to His people: Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew And your forehead bronze, Therefore, I declared them (the LORD God’s prophecies) to you long ago, Before they took place, I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them, And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’ “You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? (Isaiah 48; Exodus 33:12-17; Proverbs 29:1).
Isaiah was fully aware of Israel’s stubborn attitude toward the LORD God. He ministered for approximately 60 years to the nation of Judah (the southern kingdom) and to Jerusalem their capital city urging his countrymen to repent from their sins and return to the LORD. Isaiah also foretold the coming of the Messiah 700 years before it occurred and of His suffering and death. But he mainly preached on the salvation of the LORD. Isaiah’s name meant: the salvation of the LORD.
But Israel rejected God’s message.
After reading the previous lessons, conceivably the Spirit of God encouraged you to share God’s gospel with an individual or with a group of people. Perhaps you are picturing how this will turn out. In your mind you’ve already seen these folks listening attentively to you, being convicted of God’s Truth, and seeking conversion. And a few will, but the reality is many will not respond favorably. The result you hoped and quite possibly prayed for will not come about. Instead of acknowledgement and agreement, you’ll be labeled a “Jesus Freak;” and some may turn against you.
Isaiah (and the other prophets) experienced this kind of abuse first-hand. He preached to his countrymen concerning God’s salvation and the coming Messiah but few believed his message (Isaiah 6:6-7). The best evidence of this is Scripture itself. When Jesus Christ was born, who came to welcome Him? (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2) Not one religious leader, not one scribe, not one political leader of His day was looking for the Messiah even though they were aware of the many messianic prophecies. Why not?
These folks didn’t really want to see the Messiah arrive and disrupt their profitable business arrangements (Matthew 21:12; John 2:13-19). Remember, I mentioned last week that Satan permits people to build their own “little kingdoms of self” within his kingdom of darkness. The father of lies (the great deceiver) intends to keep them distracted to prevent them from seeking the Light. This plan works.
Jesus Christ didn’t meet the expectations of others. The Messiah in a manger - I don’t think so! These people pictured their messiah as a Samson and a King David combined. If He appeared on the scene riding a white stallion, leading a vast Israelite army, defeating one Roman legion after another, then that would have pleased these people.
The truth of the matter is they should have known who Jesus was. They could have recognized Him – it was written in the Scriptures. But instead of a glorious moment in history manifested for all time, we have recorded for us in Scripture the nation of Israel’s lowest point, in my opinion. When asked if they would accept Jesus as their King they said NO! Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he (Pilate) said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” So they (the Jews) cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:14-15).
Let’s go to verse 16 where Paul follows up on the fact that Israel has a protracted history of rejecting God’s good news and His messengers.
16: However, they (the nation of Israel) did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS (what) BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” (Isaiah 53:1)
No matter how gracious God’s messenger may be overcoming mankind’s stubbornness and their unbelief is a challenge and quite often it is an insurmountable one. The nation of Israel heard God’s multiple messages through Moses and the prophets and in unbelief rejected them. Here are a few examples:
- Israel told Moses, “You take too much upon yourself!” (Numbers 16:1-3);
- they told Ezekiel “Is he not a speaker of parables?” (Ezekiel 20:49);
- Jeremiah was told, “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of Jehovah, we will not hearken to you” (Jeremiah 44:16-19);
- they told the prophet Amos, “The land is not able to bear all your words: Flee away to Judah and eat bread” – you are just looking for money! (Amos 7:10-13).
Rejecting God’s message and killing His messengers was business as usual for the nation of Israel and the prophet Isaiah was no exception. Tradition holds by order of the Jewish king Manasseh he was placed in the hollow of a tree and then sawed in half.
Jesus Christ remarked on Israel’s history of abusing His prophets:
34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
35: “Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ”BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!” (Psalms 118:26)
In verse 16 Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1 to indicate that the Scriptures predicted that most of the Israelites would not believe God’s good news. The entire Old Testament supports this truth for it shows the majority of the Israelites chose to go the “wrong” way time and time again regardless of what the LORD God said.
By the way, we see America following this same pattern today, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s go to verse 17.
17: So (Paul concludes) faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Paul’s message to his brethren and to us in this era is this: to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ faith is required and this faith must come about by preaching God’s gospel.
faith comes from hearing – this means someone has to speak the good news and I’m not talking about a person’s personal testimony, although this is a good place to start because it can open doors previously nailed shut. But salvation can only come about from hearing the word of Christ or the gospel in its entirety (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In this way, the person has the opportunity to perceive themselves as God the Father sees them apart from Jesus Christ. Unless the individual is made fully aware of their lost, sinful state before God they won’t understand the need for Christ’s righteousness. They then are able to recognize who God is, and what God has done to save them.
For salvation to occur, for both Jew and Gentile, faith is required in the gospel. I’m not talking about any message delivered on a Sunday morning or at any other time for there is only one gospel by which a person is saved today and that is Paul’s gospel – not my words; this is what your Bible and mine says. Go to Romans chapter 2, please.
16: on the day when, according to (what) my gospel, God will (do what) judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (Galatians 2:2; Romans 16:25)
This is what God has revealed to us Now He expects us to believe it and obey it. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Let’s turn back to Romans chapter 10.
18: But I say, surely they (Israel) have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;
“THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.” (Psalms 19:4)
Was there information in the Old Testament pertaining to the Messiah’s first advent?
You bet there was. There were hundreds of Bible prophecies concerning His coming and the Israelites read them all or heard them. The LORD God even gave them signs so that they would know the time was approaching. But the truth is while they read the Scriptures they failed to understand what the LORD God was actually saying to them.
People are no different today, especially with the Apostle Paul’s letters. If they read them at all, they read them (like the Israelites) without understanding his stewardship of the grace of God or a true appreciation for his ministry to the gentiles re: the divine mystery revealed in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:1-12). Israel wasn’t any different. They read the prophecies or heard them over and over again. But they didn’t understand. So, Jesus Christ came, performed many miracles, signs, and wonders to prove who He was and they still would not believe He was the Messiah.
Before we adopt a negative attitude towards Israel let’s fast forward to today.
Let’s talk about America for a minute. No other nation other than Israel has been so blessed by God. America has been saturated with His Word. There’s a Bible in almost every home, a church on almost every street corner, and yet Americans have no concept whatsoever that the End Times are approaching, although it’s been preached from sea to shining sea. Furthermore, the majority deny the authority of Scripture. They believe CNN but not God.
Although the Bible remains a top selling book with over 5 billion copies sold world-wide, few take the time to read it and fewer still take the time to study what God has said.
We will be moving from a parenthetical period of God’s exceptional love and grace to a 7 year period of world-wide judgment where God pours out His righteous wrath on the world’s population that chose darkness over the Light; and the world-at-large has blinders on. The Bible has prophesied all this and more and the majority of people are outwardly obstinate and rebellious. They refuse to accept on faith what God has revealed to them through His written word, and Israel responded the same way.
Next verse please.
19: But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU.” (Deuteronomy 32:21)
Paul reminds his countrymen of Moses’ words in verse 19. He was Israel’s greatest leader and is still respected today. He spoke to them about their unfaithfulness to the LORD and that God would turn to another nation because of their unbelief. In doing so Moses hoped to make them jealous so that they would return to the LORD GOD.
20: And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I (God) WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME, I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME.” (Isaiah 65:1)
Paul quotes Isaiah again in verse 20 implying it was bold of him to attack Israel’s national pride as the LORD God’s separate nation telling them that He would consider replacing them with another nation who had been in the shadows.
21: But as for Israel He says, “ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.”
This is the LORD God Himself speaking and you can sense the sorrow as He speaks from His heart. Here His hands and arms were open wide to bring His people close to Him “ALL THE DAY LONG.” This doesn’t mean a single day. This refers to the entire time He knew them. God took every opportunity to bless the nation of Israel, but the only response He received was broken promises, opposition, and rebellion.
Therefore, God put His chosen people aside, for a time, but not permanently. In Romans chapter 11, we’re going to discover that God hasn’t closed the book on Israel.
(To be continued)
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