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romansA DOUBLE-EDGED BIBLE STUDY
TH1NK BOOKSCopyright © 2005 The Navigators
All right reserved.
Chapter Onethe big picture
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
It would be difficult to study individual parts of a painting by Picasso without having seen the entire work. Can you imagine being asked to answer questions such as "What was Picasso communicating through his Two Women Running on the Beach?" when all you can see is the section showing a foot, or "How would you analyze his blue period?" when all you're given is a scrap of a blue painting? It would be a frustrating exercise because although you could make assumptions based on pieces of the paintings, you still wouldn't have the big picture.
Similarly, the first thing you've got to do before studying the book of Romans is read it-the whole thing. Like analyzing Picasso's art, unless you've experienced the entire work, your attempts to study the book will be frustrating at best.
It may take you a while to get through all sixteen chapters of Romans, so this first lesson is devoted entirely to that objective. You'll have opportunities to make comments as you read, but just concentrate on getting through the book. If you're feeling particularly ambitious, read it in a couple of different translations. Try, perhaps, the NIV (New International Version) and then The Message. That way, you'll connect with both the meanings and the feelings of the text.
Read Paul's letter to the Romans.
1 As you read, write down your first impressions of the book. Consider the following questions and take notes in the space that follows each.
a What themes show up? Do you notice one unifying topic throughout the book? b What is Paul's tone? Is he friendly, compassionate, funny, dry? c What words does Paul repeat? (Repetition often clues us in to the author's focus.) d What kinds of language does Paul use? Metaphors and pictures? Stories? Commands?
2 How does your first reading of Romans affect your ideas about God?
3 If you haven't already, read the introduction on pages 11-16. This will further acquaint you with Romans and show you how the book fits in with God's great gospel.
4 As you read the book of Romans, what affected you most? Did anything speak to a current issue in your life or to any theological struggles you may be working through? Did it help you with these issues or confuse you?
5 What questions have been prompted by your reading?
6 Write down any goals you have for your study of Romans.
Talk with your group about your hopes and expectations for this study. Have someone write them down so that as you go through the study, your leader can remind you of your goals and help you hold each other accountable. Then pray together, asking God to lead your group to a deeper understanding of Him through this incredible, critical book of Scripture.
Paul carefully organized his message to the Romans. Observe the natural breaks in his thoughts and make an outline based on what you discover. Then write a short summary for each division.
Here are the divisions the NIV suggests, but you can divide the book differently if you'd like:
1:1-7 4:1-25 8:18-27 12:1-8 1:8-17 5:1-11 8:28-39 12:9-21 1:18-32 5:12-21 9:1-29 13:1-7 2:1-16 6:1-14 9:30-10:21 13:8-14 2:17-29 6:15-23 11:1-10 14:1-15:13 3:1-8 7:1-6 11:11-24 15:14-22 3:9-20 7:7-25 11:25-32 15:23-33 3:21-31 8:1-17 11:33-36 16:1-27
memory verse of the week
Did a particular verse make you think? Is there a verse you can't get out of your head? Write it down and memorize it. Allow God's Word to permanently brand itself in your head and your heart.
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