Romans Sunday Morning Bible Study
Textual and Topical
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Our Sunday morning Bible class has concluded the study of worship, which also included weddings and funerals. We have now started the book of Romans. The plan is to take our time going through the text that the Holy Spirit inspired St. Paul to write so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. As Romans 1:16 proclaims, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Additionally, we will be taking intentional breaks or excursions from the text to discuss in more depth some of the topics that are brought up in Romans, such as Law and Gospel, sinner and saint, unionism and syncretism, office of the ministry, closed communion, and eternal election to name a few. I plan to utilize our Lutheran Confessions and other solid study materials to aid in our understanding of Romans and to apply it to ourselves today.
My hope is that all members, especially those in leadership, will be able to attend this class, along with the Divine Service, every Sunday if possible. On this point, I include an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Large Catechism on the 3rd Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it Holy.”
Note, therefore, that the force and power of this commandment lies not in the resting, but in the sanctifying, so that to this day belongs a special holy exercise. For other works and occupations are not properly called holy exercises, unless the man himself be first holy. But here a work is to be done by which man is himself made holy, which is done (as we have heard) alone through God’s Word. For this, then, fixed places, times, persons, and the entire external order of worship have been created and appointed, so that it may be publicly in operation.
95] Since, therefore, so much depends upon God’s Word that without it no holy day can be sanctified, we must know that God insists upon a strict observance of this commandment, and will punish all who despise His Word and are not willing to hear and learn it, especially at the time appointed for the purpose.
96] Therefore not only those sin against this commandment who grossly misuse and desecrate the holy day, as those who on account of their greed or frivolity neglect to hear God’s Word or lie in taverns and are dead drunk like swine; but also that other crowd, who listen to God’s Word as to any other trifle, and only from custom come to preaching, and go away again, and at the end of the year know as little of it as at the beginning.
97] For hitherto the opinion prevailed that you had properly hallowed Sunday when you had heard a mass [Divine Service] or the Gospel read; but no one cared for God’s Word, as also no one taught it. Now, while we have God’s Word, we nevertheless do not correct the abuse; we suffer ourselves to be preached to and admonished, but we listen without seriousness and care.
98] Know, therefore, that you must be concerned not only about hearing, but also about learning and retaining it in memory, and do not think that it is optional with you or of no great importance, but that it is God’s commandment, who will require of you how you have heard, learned, and honored His Word.
Luther gives us all some stern Biblical warnings that we ought to take to heart. However, don’t take his warnings and then turn attending preaching and Bible class into a work you do for God. On the contrary, we attend worship and Bible class so that God can work faith in us through His Word alone—showing us our sins and declaring us Holy for the sake of Jesus alone.
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