Week #140; Wed, Sep 02: Acts 14-19

Week #140; Wed, Sep 02: Acts 14:1–19:41


Acts 14:1, I. Paul and Barnabas at Iconium; II. Paul and Barnabas at Lystra; III. Paul Stoned at Lystra; IV. Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

I. KEY TEXT (Paul and Barnabas at Iconium): “Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.” (14:1)
A. INFERENCE: “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.” (14:2)
1. FINDINGS: “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” (14:3)
2. CRITERIA: “But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles.” (14:4)
3. CONDITION: “When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country and there they continued to preach the gospel.” (14:5-7)
4. CAUSE: “The Gentiles and Jews were at enmity with one another, yet united against Christians. If the church’s enemies join to destroy it, shall not its friends unite for its preservation?” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “God has a shelter for his people in a storm; he is, and will be their Hiding-place. In times of persecution, believers may see cause to quit a spot, though they do not quit their Master’s work.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Don’t quit.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul and Barnabas at Lystra): “Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked.” (14:8)
A. INFERENCE: “He listened to Paul speaking.” (14:9)
1. FINDINGS: “And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he sprang up and began walking.” (14:9-10)
2. CRITERIA: “And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” (14:11)
3. CONDITION: “Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” (14:12-15)
4. CAUSE: “In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (14:16-17)
5. EFFECT: “Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.” (14:18)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Fellowship with the Lord.

III. KEY TEXT (Paul Stoned at Lystra): “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.” (14:19)
A. INFERENCE: “But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.” (14:20)
1. FINDINGS: “When they had preached the gospel to that city and had many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (14:21-22)
2. CRITERIA: “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (14:23)
3. CONDITION: “It must have been sorrow indeed to awaken from such a vision to the suffering of his battered body. But that scene, no doubt, gave him the love and devotion of the young Timothy and his mother and grandmother. See Act_16:1-2.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “On Paul’s next visit to Lystra, this son, whom he had begotten in the sore anguish of that hour, was to become his devoted attendant.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “In spite of the treatment Paul had received, he returned to the city, Act_14:21. Back to the stones! Naught could stay his ardent spirit, if only disciples were to be won or confirmed in their faith for the Master, Act_14:22. ” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “All who love the Lord Jesus, will rejoice to hear that he has opened the door of faith wide, to those who were strangers to him and to his salvation. And let us, like the apostles, abide with those who know and love the Lord. Acts 14:19” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

I. KEY TEXT (Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria): “Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch. where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.” (14:24-26)
A. INFERENCE: “The praise of all the little good we do at any time, must be ascribed to God; for it is He who not only worketh in us both to will and to do, but also worketh with us to make what we do successful. Acts 14:19” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “See how restless the rage of the Jews was against the gospel of Christ: they could not bear that it should have footing anywhere.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “Those who but the other day would have treated the apostles as more than men now treat them as worse than brutes.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “How they went on with their work. All the stones they threw at Paul could not beat him off from his work.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “How they at length came back to Antioch in Syria, from which they had been sent forth because from there they had been committed to the grace of God.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “They thought they owed them an account of it, that they might help them by their praises, as they had been helped by their prayers.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Commitment.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

Acts 15:1, I. The Jerusalem Council; II. The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers; III. Paul and Barnabas Separate

I. KEY TEXT (The Jerusalem Council): “But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’” (15:1)
A. INFERENCE: “And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.” (15:2-3)
1. FINDINGS: “When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.’” (15:4-5)
2. CRITERIA: “The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.’” (15:6-11)
3. CONDITION: “And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, ‘Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’” (15:12-18)
4. CAUSE: “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.” (15:19-20)
5. EFFECT: “For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.” (15:21)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practiced, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence. Acts 15:7” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers): “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter:” (15:22-23)
A. INFERENCE: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.” (15:23)
1. FINDINGS: “Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements; that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.’” (15:24-29)
2. CRITERIA: “So when thy were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.” (15:30-31)
3. CONDITION: “And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.” (15:32-35)
4. CAUSE: “Being warranted to declare themselves directed by the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, the apostles and disciples were assured that it seemed good unto God the Holy Spirit, as well as to them, to lay upon the converts no other burden than the things before mentioned, which were necessary, either on their own account, or from present circumstances. Acts 15:22” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It was a comfort to hear that carnal ordinances were no longer imposed on them, which perplexed the conscience, but could not purify or pacify it; and that those who troubled their minds were silenced, so that the peace of the church was restored, and that which threatened division was removed. Acts 15:22” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The zeal and usefulness of others should stir us up, not lay us asleep. Acts 15:22” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Paul and Barnabas Separate): “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.’” (15:36)
A. INFERENCE: “Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.” (15:37-38)
1. FINDINGS: “And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.” (15:39-40)
2. CRITERIA: “And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” (15:41)
3. CONDITION: “Here we have a private quarrel between two ministers, no less than Paul and Barnabas, yet made to end well. Acts 15:36” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Barnabas wished his nephew John Mark to go with them. We should suspect ourselves of being partial, and guard against this in putting our relations forward. Paul did not think him worthy of the honor, nor fit for the service, who had departed from them without their knowledge, or without their consent: see 13:13.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Neither would yield, therefore there was no remedy but they must part. Acts 15:36” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We see that the best of men are but men, subject to like passions as we are. Perhaps there were faults on both sides, as usual in such contentions. Christ’s example alone, is a copy without a blot. Yet we are not to think it strange, if there are differences among wise and good men. Acts 15:36” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Acts 16:1, I. Timothy Joins Paul and Silas; II. The Macedonian Call; III. The Conversion of Lydia; IV. Paul and Silas in Prison; V. The Philippian Jailer Converted

I. KEY TEXT (Timothy Joins Paul and Silas): “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.” (16:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” (16:3)
1. FINDINGS: “As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” (16:4-5)
2. CRITERIA: “. . . in circumcising Timothy, “to the Jews he became as a Jew that he might gain the Jews.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “That he was a disciple, one that belonged to Christ, and was baptized, when his mother became a believer, as Lydia’s household was baptized upon her believing, Act_16:15.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible)
4. CAUSE: “Paul took to be his disciple, that he might further train him up in the knowledge and faith of Christ; he took him to be brought up for Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible)
5. EFFECT: “He had gained a very good character among the Christians: he was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium; he had not only an unblemished reputation, and was free from scandal, but he had a bright reputation, and great encomiums were given of him, as an extraordinary young man, and one from whom great things were expected.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The design of the decree being to set aside the ceremonial law, and its carnal ordinances, believers were confirmed in the Christian faith, because it set up a spiritual way of serving God, as suited to the nature both of God and man. Thus the church increased in numbers daily.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible)

II. KEY TEXT (The Macedonian Call): “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Hoy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.” (16:6-8)
A. INFERENCE: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” (16:9)
1. FINDINGS: “And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (16:10)
2. CRITERIA: “The removals of ministers, and the dispensing the means of grace by them, are in particular under Divine conduct and direction. We must follow Providence: and whatever we seek to do, if that suffer us not, we ought to submit and believe to be for the best.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “People greatly need help for their souls, it is their duty to look out for it, and to invite those among them who can help them. And God’s calls must be complied with readily.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And having gone through Phrygia – And spoken there what was sufficient, as well as in the region of Galatia, being forbid by the Spirit (probably by an inward dictate) to speak as yet in the proconsular Asia, the time for it not being come.” (John Wesley)
5. EFFECT: They went to Macedonia per Paul’s vision.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Do what He says.

III. KEY TEXT (The Conversion of Lydia): “So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days.” (16:11-12)
A. INFERENCE: “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.” (16:13)
1. FINDINGS: “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she prevailed upon us.” (16:14-15)
2. CRITERIA: “They were forbidden at this time to preach the gospel in Asia (the country properly so called), because it did not need, other hands being at work there; or because the people were not yet prepared to receive it, as they were afterwards (Act_19:10), when all those that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
3. CONDITION: “Christ would employ Paul in a piece of new work, which was to preach the gospel to a Roman colony at Philippi, for hitherto the Gentiles to whom he had preached were Greeks.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
4. CAUSE: “The Romans were more particularly hated by the Jews than other Gentiles; their armies were the abomination of desolation; and therefore there is this among other things extraordinary in his call thither that he is forbidden to preach the gospel in Asia and other places, in order to his preaching it there, which is an intimation that the light of the gospel would in aftertimes be directed more westward than eastward.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
5. EFFECT: “It was the Holy Ghost that forbade them, either by secret whispers in the minds of both of them, which, when they came to compare notes, they found to be the same, and to come from the same Spirit; or by some prophets who spoke to them from the Spirit.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Follow the Holy Spirit.

IV. KEY TEXT (Paul and Silas in Prison): “As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.” (16:16)
A. INFERENCE: “She followed Paul and us, crying out, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.’ And this she kept doing for many days.” (16:17-18)
1. FINDINGS: “Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.” (16:18)
2. CRITERIA: “But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, ‘These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.’” (16:19-21)
3. CONDITION: “The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.” (16:22-24)
4. CAUSE: “The charge they exhibited against them was that they were the troublers of the land, Act_16:20. They take it for granted that these men are Jews, a nation at this time as much an abomination to the Romans as they had long ago been to the Egyptians.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
5. EFFECT: “The general charge against them is that they troubled the city, sowed discord, and disturbed the public peace, and occasioned riots and tumults, than which nothing could be more false and unjust.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Comply with civil authority and pray; trust God. Recall the power of the vision that called them to Macedonia. Carry on.

V. KEY TEXT (The Philippian Jailer Converted): “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” (16:25-26)
A. INFERENCE: “When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.’” (16:27-28)
1. FINDINGS: “And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” (16:29-31)
2. CRITERIA: “And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” (16:32)
3. CONDITION: “And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” (16:33-34)
4. CAUSE: “But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, ‘Let those men go. And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, ‘The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.’” (16:35-36)
5. EFFECT: “But Paul said to them, ‘They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.’ The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed. ” (16:37-40)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Carry on to Thessalonica.

Acts 17:1, I. Paul and Silas in Thessalonica; II. Paul and Silas in Berea; III. Paul in Athens; IV. Paul Addresses the Areopagus

I. KEY TEXT (Paul and Silas in Thessalonica): “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead and saying, ‘This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.’” (17:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.” (17:4)
1. FINDINGS: “But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.’” (17:5-7)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore many of them believed—convinced that Jesus of Nazareth whom Paul preached was indeed the great Promise and Burden of the Old Testament. From this it is undeniable, (1) that the people, no less than the ministers of the Church, are entitled and bound to search the Scriptures; (2) that they are entitled and bound to judge, on their own responsibility, whether the teaching they receive from the ministers of the Church is according to the word of God; (3) that no faith but such as results from personal conviction ought to be demanded, or is of any avail. (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.” (17:8-9)
4. CAUSE: “He was sowing seeds of which others would reap the harvest. His one theme was the risen Lord, whether amid the less or the more cultivated, Act_17:3; Act_17:31. This is surely the true method of world evangelization-not to argue but to proclaim the glorious personality of our risen Lord. Notice the distinction in Act_17:3 between the human name, Jesus, and the royal name, Christ. As Jesus, our Lord lived, ministered, and died; as Christ, He was raised from the dead, and as such He is the crowned King of men, Act_17:7. However loyal we may be to the civil government, our first allegiance is to another king, Act_17:7.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “If only our people would love the Bible, saturating their minds with it and teaching it to their children, what different results would follow the preaching of the gospel!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Own the Word of God.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul and Silas in Berea): “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.” (17:10)
A. INFERENCE: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (17:11)
1. FINDINGS: “Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.” (17:12)
2. CRITERIA: “But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too agitating and stirring up the crowds.” (17:13)
3. CONDITION: “Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible they departed.” (17:14-15)
4. CAUSE: “The Jews in Berea applied seriously to the study of the word preached unto them. They not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Those are truly noble, and likely to be more and more so, who make the Scriptures their rule, and consult them accordingly. May all the hearers of the gospel become like those of Berea, receiving the word with readiness of mind, and searching the Scriptures daily, whether the things preached to them are so.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Follow the Holy Spirit’s provocations.

III. KEY TEXT (Paul in Athens): “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” (17:16)
A. INFERENCE: “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, ‘What does this babbler wish to say?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities’–because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.” (17:17-18)
1. FINDINGS: “And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.’” (17:19-20)
2. CRITERIA: “Athens was then famed for polite learning, philosophy, and the fine arts; but none are more childish and superstitious, more impious, or more credulous, than some persons, deemed eminent for learning and ability. It was wholly given to idolatry.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.” (17:21)
4. CAUSE: “The zealous advocate for the cause of Christ will be ready to plead for it in all companies, as occasion offers. Most of these learned men took no notice of Paul; but some, whose principles were the most directly contrary to Christianity, made remarks upon him.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The apostle ever dwelt upon two points, which are indeed the principal doctrines of Christianity, Christ and a future state; Christ our way, and heaven our end. They looked on this as very different from the knowledge for many ages taught and professed at Athens; they desire to know more of it, but only because it was new and strange. They led him to the place where judges sat who inquired into such matters. They asked about Paul’s doctrine, not because it was good, but because it was new.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Follow the Holy Spirit’s provocations.

IV. KEY TEXT (Paul Addresses the Areopagus): “So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’” (17:22-23)
A. INFERENCE: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” (17:24-28)
1. FINDINGS: “’Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’” (17:29-31)
2. CRITERIA: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, ‘We will hear you again about this.’” (17:32)
3. CONDITION: “So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.” (17:33-34)
4. CAUSE: “Great talkers are always busy-bodies. They spend their time in nothing else, and a very uncomfortable account they have to give of their time who thus spend it.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Time is precious, and we are concerned to employ it well, because eternity depends upon it, but much is wasted in unprofitable conversation.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Spend time in God’s Word.

Acts 18:1, I. Paul in Corinth; II. Paul Returns to Antioch; III. Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus

I. KEY TEXT (Paul in Corinth): “After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.” (18:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.” (18:2-4)
1. FINDINGS: “When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’” (18:5-6)
2. CRITERIA: “The sense is not, ‘Therefore went he to the Jews,’ because the Gentile Athenians were steeped in idolatry; but, ‘Therefore set he himself to lift up his voice to the idol city, but, as his manner was, he began with the Jews.’” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.’ And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” (18:7-11)
4. CAUSE: “But when Gallio was proconsul of Achala, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, ‘This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.’ But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, . . . ” (18:12-14)
5. EFFECT: “. . . ‘If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.’ And he drove them from the tribunal. And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.” (18:14-17)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Hold fast to your mission.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Returns to Antioch): “After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquilla. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When thy asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined.” (18:18-20)
A. INFERENCE: “But on taking leave of them he said, ‘I will return to you if God wills.’ and he set sail from Ephesus.” (18:21)
1. FINDINGS: “When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.” (18:22-23)
2. CRITERIA: “Paul’s arrival and labors at Corinth, where he is rejoined by Silas and Timothy, and, under divine encouragement, makes a long stay – At length, retracing his steps, by Ephesus, Caesarea, and Jerusalem, he returns for the last time to Antioch, thus completing his second missionary journey.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Such a city was a noble field for the Gospel, which, once established there, would naturally diffuse itself far and wide.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “the capital of the Roman province of Achaia, and the residence of the proconsul; a large and populous mercantile city, and the center of commerce alike for East and West; having a considerable Jewish population, larger, probably, at this time than usual, owing to the banishment of the Jews from Rome by Claudius Caesar (Act_18:2).” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “He was now instrumental in planting a church that became on many accounts considerable.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Preach far and wide.

III. KEY TEXT (Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus): “Now a Jew named Apollos a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.” (18:24-25)
A. INFERENCE: “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (18:26)
1. FINDINGS: “And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him.” (18:27)
2. CRITERIA: “Apollos was a man of excellent good parts, and well fitted for public service. He was an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures of the Old Testament, in the knowledge of which he was, as a Jew, brought up. ” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
3. CONDITION: “When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.” (18:27-28)
4. CAUSE: “He understood the sense and meaning of them, he knew how to make use of them and to apply them, how to reason out of the scriptures, and to reason strongly; a convincing, commanding, confirming power went along with all his expositions and applications of the scripture.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
5. EFFECT: “We have here the employment and improvement of his gifts at Ephesus; he came thither, seeking opportunities of doing and getting good, and he found both.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Seek opportunities to serve the Lord.

Acts 19:1, I. Paul in Ephesus; II. The Sons of Sceva; III. A Riot at Ephesus

I. KEY TEXT (Paul in Ephesus): “And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’” (19:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’” (19:4)
1. FINDINGS: “On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” (19:5)
2. CRITERIA: “And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.” (19:6-7)
3. CONDITION: “And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.” (19:8)
4. CAUSE: “But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” (19:9)
5. EFFECT: “This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” (19:10)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Speak boldly, reasoning and persuading about the kingdom of God.

II. KEY TEXT (The Sons of Sceva): “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” (19:11-12)
A. INFERENCE: “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this” (19:13-14)
1. FINDINGS: “But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.” (19:15-17)
2. CRITERIA: “Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.” (19:19)
3. CONDITION: “And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (19:19)
4. CAUSE: “When arguments and persuasions only harden men in unbelief and blasphemy, we must separate ourselves and others from such unholy company. God was pleased to confirm the teaching of these holy men of old, that if their hearers believed them not, they might believe the works.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.” (19″20)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christ’s name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (A Riot at Ephesus): “Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, ‘After I have been there, I must also see Rome.’ And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.” (19:21-22)
A. INFERENCE: “About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen.” (19:23-24)
1. FINDINGS: “These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, ‘Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.’” (19:25-27)
2. CRITERIA: No idolatry; false gods.
3. CONDITION: “When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (19:28)
4. CAUSE: They were only concerned over the potential loss of revenue from the sale of idols made with hands.
5. EFFECT: “So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging not to venture into the theater. Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, ‘Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.’ And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.” (19:29-41)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Week #141; Wed, Sep 09: Acts 20–24

Week #141; Wed, Sep 09: Acts 20:1–24:27


Acts 20:1, I. Paul in Macedonia and Greece; II. Eutychus Raised from the Dead; III. Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders

I. KEY TEXT (Paul in Macedonia and Greece): “After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.” (20:1-4)
A. INFERENCE: “These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.” (20:5-6)
1. FINDINGS: “Tumults or opposition may constrain a Christian to remove from his station or alter his purpose, but his work and his pleasure will be the same, wherever he goes.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Paul thought it worth while to bestow five days in going to Troas, though it was but for seven days’ stay there; but he knew, and so should we, how to redeem even journeying time, and to make it turn to some good account.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Paul gave a sermon before he departed. A young man named Eutychus was in the congregation, who slept during the sermon, was killed by a fall out of the window, but was raised to life again; his name means one who had good fortune, and he was true to his name.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Though the disciples read, and meditated, and prayed, and sung apart, and thereby kept up communion with God, yet they came together to worship God, and so kept up their communion with one another.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It interrupted the apostle’s preaching; but was made to confirm his preaching. Eutychus was brought to life again.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Sleeping when hearing the word, is an evil thing, a sign of low esteem of the word of God. We must do what we can to prevent being sleepy; not put ourselves to sleep, but get our hearts affected with the word we hear, so as to drive sleep far away.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Eutychus Raised from the Dead): “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” (20:7)
A. INFERENCE: “There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered.” (20:8)
1. FINDINGS: “And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from a third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, ‘Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.’ And when Paul had up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.” (20:9-12)
2. CRITERIA: But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.” (20:13-16)
3. CONDITION: “It is possible that Eutychus was not already dead, although believed to be so. In that case, Paul’s loving embrace and prayer restored him from the swoon that might easily have become death.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And as they knew not when they should have Paul’s company again, they made the best use of it they could, and reckoned a night’s sleep well lost for that purpose. How seldom are hours of repose broken for the purposes of devotion! but how often for mere amusement or sinful revelry!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “So hard is it for spiritual life to thrive in the heart of man! so naturally do carnal practices flourish there!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We must do what we can to prevent being sleepy; not put ourselves to sleep, but get our hearts affected with the word we hear, so as to drive sleep far away. ” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders): “Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them: ‘You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews/ how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.” (20:17-23)
A. INFERENCE: “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (20:24-28)
1. FINDINGS: “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away from them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.” (20:31)
2. CRITERIA: “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (20:32-32)
3. CONDITION: “I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (20:33-35)
4. CAUSE: “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.” (20:36)
5. EFFECT: “And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.” (20:37-38)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Paul never gave in to temptations to water down the message in order to escape conflict. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary). Don’t water down the gospel.

Acts 21:1, I. Paul Goes to Jerusalem; II. Paul Visits James; III. Paul Arrested in the Temple; IV. Paul Speaks to the People

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Goes to Jerusalem): “And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” (21:1-4)
A. INFERENCE: “When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.” (21:5-6)
1. FINDINGS: “When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemals, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” (21:7-11)
2. CRITERIA: “When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’” (21:12-14)
3. CONDITION: “After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.” (21:15-16)
4. CAUSE: “Paul was urged not to go to Jerusalem.” (21:16)
5. EFFECT: “His purpose was inflexible. An unseen hand was beckoning; a voice which only he could hear was calling. He had no doubt as to God’s purpose, and went straight forward; though he was not insensible to the love and sympathy of friends.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Emulate Paul.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Visits James): “When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed.’” (21:17-20)
A. INFERENCE: “They are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (21:21-22)
1. FINDINGS: “Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.” (21:24)
2. CRITERIA: “But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.’” (21:25)
3. CONDITION: “Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them.” (21:26)
4. CAUSE: “Paul ascribed all his success to God, and to God they gave the praise. God had honored him more than any of the apostles, yet they did not envy him; but on the contrary, glorified the Lord. They could not do more to encourage Paul to go on cheerfully in his work. Acts 21:19” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The religion Paul preached, tended not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. He preached Christ, the end of the law for righteousness, and repentance and faith, in which we are to make great use of the law. Acts 21:19” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Do likewise as Paul.

III. KEY TEXT (Paul Arrested in the Temple): “When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, ‘Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.’” (21:27-28)
A. INFERENCE: “For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.” (21:29)
1. FINDINGS: “Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.” (21:30-31)
2. CRITERIA: “He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.” (21:32)
3. CONDITION: “Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done.” (21:33)
4. CAUSE: “Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks.” (21:34)
5. EFFECT: “And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, for the mob of the people followed crying out, ‘Away with him!’” (21:35)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “But God seasonably interposes for the safety of his servants, from wicked and unreasonable men; and gives them opportunities to speak for themselves, to plead for the Redeemer, and to spread abroad his glorious gospel. Acts 21:27” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Paul Speaks to the People): “As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, ‘May I say something to you?’ And he said, ‘Do you know Greek? Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?’” (21:37-38)
A. INFERENCE: “Paul replied, I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.’” (21:39)
1. FINDINGS: “And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying:” (21:40)
2. CRITERIA: “The commander had thought Paul was the Egyptian rebel leader who had led Jewish rebels out to the Mount of Olives. Felix, the Roman procurator, had put down that revolt. The Jewish historian Josephus recorded the incident about the Egyptian (Josephus, Jewish War, 2.261-263). Paul’s knowledge of the Greek language (21:37) proved to the Roman commander that Paul could not have been that Egyptian rebel (21:38). The “Assassins” (21:38) was a reference to the “sicarri,” from sica, Latin for a “curved dagger.” This radical group of Jews mingled with crowds at festivals and stabbed their pro-Roman opponents with hidden daggers.(Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “What nobler spectacle than that of Paul at this moment! There he stood, bound with two chains, ready to make his defense to the people. The Roman commander sits by, to enforce order by his presence. An enraged populace look up to him from below. Yet in the midst of so many dangers, how self-possessed is he, how tranquil!” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The informers against him were the Jews of Asia, not those of Jerusalem – the Jews of the dispersion, who knew him best, and who were most exasperated against him. Those who seldom came up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem themselves, but contentedly lived at a distance from it, in pursuit of their private advantages, yet appeared most zealous for the temple, as if thereby they would atone for their habitual neglect of it.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
5. EFFECT: “Those are fittest to be employed against Christ and Christianity that are governed least by reason and most by passion; therefore Paul described the Jewish persecutors to be not only wicked, but absurd unreasonable men.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Take up a righteous defense.

Acts 22:1, I. Paul Speaks to the People (cont.); II. Paul and the Roman Tribune; III. Paul Before the Council

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Speaks to the People (cont.)): “’Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.’ And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said: ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.” (22:1-5)
A. INFERENCE: “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’” (22:6-7)
1. FINDINGS: “And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.” (22:8-11)
2. CRITERIA: “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight,’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’” (22:12-16)
3. CONDITION: “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him. And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” (22:17-21)
4. CAUSE: “To the story of his conversion, as given in Act_9:1-43, the Apostle here adds a detailed account of that memorable interview in the Temple, when he questioned the advisability of the Lord’s command that he should leave Jerusalem, and received his final and irrevocable commission to go to the Gentiles. It is a great privilege to be permitted to overhear this dialogue! How close and intimate is the disciple’s relationship with his Lord!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But there is a point beyond which we may not go, when we must accept without question the final instructions of our Captain.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “There are various social and political advantages which we can turn to account in our service of the gospel, but they cannot carry us very far, and ultimately we are better off if we step out upon the unwonted waters, simply because Jesus says, Come!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Paul and the Roman Tribune): “Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow for the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.’ And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this.” (22:22-24)
A. INFERENCE: “But when they had stretched him out for the whips Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, ‘Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?’ When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, ‘What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.’” (22:25-26)
1. FINDINGS: “So the tribune came and said to him, ‘Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ The tribune answered, ‘I bought this citizenship for a large sum.’ Paul said, ‘But I am a citizen by birth.’” (22:27-29)
2. CRITERIA: “So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.” (22:30)
3. CONDITION: “This at once put a stop to his trouble. Thus many are kept from evil practices by the fear of man, who would not be held back from them by the fear of God. The apostle asks, simply, Is it lawful? He knew that the God whom he served would support him under all sufferings for his name’s sake. But if it were not lawful, the apostle’s religion directed him, if possible, to avoid it.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “He never shrunk from a cross which his Divine Master laid upon his onward road; and he never stepped aside out of that road to take one up. Acts 22:22” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “depart for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles—that is, “Enough; thy testimony is not to be thrown away upon Jerusalem; the Gentiles, afar off, are thy peculiar sphere.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Don’t shrink from thy peculiar sphere . . .

III. KEY TEXT (Paul Before the Council): “But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.” (22:30)
A. INFERENCE: “. . . commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear—that is, the Sanhedrim to be formally convened. Note here the power to order a Sanhedrim to try this case, assumed by the Roman officers and acquiesced in on their part. (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Paul received the same accusations from the Jewish leaders as Stephen had earlier (cf. 21:28 with 6:14). And only rescue by the Roman troops saved Paul from the same fate. Paul was falsely accused by the Jews of bringing Gentiles into the temple area. There were strict prohibitions against Gentiles entering beyond the barrier that separated the Court of the Gentiles from the courts that only Jews could enter. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Notices around the barrier read, “No foreigner may enter within the barricade that surrounds the temple and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death.” The “Roman regiment” (21:31) was a unit of six hundred Roman soldiers. One regiment was stationed at Antonia Fortress, just north of the temple area, at all times. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “To the story of his conversion, as given in Act_9:1-43, the Apostle here adds a detailed account of that memorable interview in the Temple, when he questioned the advisability of the Lord’s command that he should leave Jerusalem, and received his final and irrevocable commission to go to the Gentiles.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “A free-born Roman was Paul. More than once he had asserted his rights as a Roman citizen, as at Philippi. There are various social and political advantages which we can turn to account in our service of the gospel, but they cannot carry us very far, and ultimately we are better off if we step out upon the unwonted waters, simply because Jesus says, Come!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “This Roman, who was a military man, kept Paul in custody, and appealed from the rabble to the general assembly. We may hope that in this way he intended Paul’s safety, as thinking the chief priests and elders would do him justice, and clear him; for their court governed by rules of equity. That which he is here said to aim at is the gratifying of his own curiosity.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

Acts 23:1, I. Paul Speaks to the People (cont.); II. A Plot to Kill Paul; III. Paul Sent to Felix the Governor

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Speaks to the People (cont.)): “And looking intently at the council, Paul said, ‘Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.’ And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck? Those who stood by said, ‘Would you revile God’s high priest?’ And Paul said, ‘I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (23:1-5)
A. INFERENCE: “Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.” (23:6-7)
1. FINDINGS: “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.” (23:8)
2. CRITERIA: “Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, ‘We find nothing wrong in this man.’ What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?’ And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.” (23:9-10)
3. CONDITION: “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (23:11)
4. CAUSE: “See here the character of an honest man. He sets God before him, and lives as in his sight. He makes conscience of what he says and does, and, according to the best of his knowledge, he keeps from whatever is evil, and cleaves to what is good. Acts 23:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is the will of Christ, that his servants who are faithful, should be always cheerful. He might think he should never see Rome; but God tells him, even in that he should be gratified, since he desired to go there only for the honor of Christ, and to do good. Acts 23:6” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be a faithful servant.

II. KEY TEXT (A Plot to Kill Paul): “When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, ‘We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul.’” (23:12-14)
A. INFERENCE: “Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.’” (23:15)
1. FINDINGS: “Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of the ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions and said, ‘Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.’ So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, ‘Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.’ The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, ‘What is it that you have to tell me?’ And he said, ‘The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him.” (23:16-20)
2. CRITERIA: “But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent.’” (23:21)
3. CONDITION: “So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, ‘Tell no one that you have informed me of these things.’” (23:22)
4. CAUSE: “Paul knew that the Divine providence acts by reasonable and prudent means; and that, if he neglected to use the means in his power, he could not expect God’s providence to work on his behalf. He who will not help himself according to his means and power, has neither reason nor revelation to assure him that he shall receive help from God. Acts 23:12” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Believing in the Lord, we and ours shall be kept from every evil work, and kept to his kingdom. Heavenly Father, give us by thy Holy Spirit, for Christ’s sake, this precious faith. Acts 23:12” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Abide in Jesus, do what He says. To abide is better than to do; it glorifies the Father. See John 15:1-11

III. KEY TEXT (Paul Sent to Felix the Governor): “Then he called two of the centurions and said, ‘Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.’ And he wrote a letter to this effect:” (23:23-25)
A. INFERENCE: “’Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen.” (23:26-27)
1. FINDINGS: “And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment.” (23:28-29)
2. CRITERIA: “And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” (23:30)
3. CONDITION: “So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him.” (23:31-33)
4. CAUSE: “On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, ‘I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.’ And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.” (23:34-35)
5. EFFECT: “God has instruments for every work. The natural abilities and moral virtues of the heathens often have been employed to protect his persecuted servants. Even the men of the world can discern between the conscientious conduct of upright believers, and the zeal of false professors, though they disregard or understand not their doctrinal principles. All hearts are in God’s hand, and those are blessed who put their trust in him, and commit their ways unto him. Acts 23:25” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Acts 24:1, I. Paul Before Felix at Caesarea; II. Paul Kept in Custody

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Before Felix at Caesarea): “And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case agains Paul. And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:” (24:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “’Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.’” (24:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.’ The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.” (24:5-9)
2. CRITERIA: “And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:” (24:10)
3. CONDITION: “’Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia–they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them; It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’” (24:10-21)
4. CAUSE: “Paul gives a just account of himself, which clears him from crime, and likewise shows the true reason of the violence against him. Let us never be driven from any good way by its having an ill name. It is very comfortable, in worshipping God, to look to him as the God of our fathers, and to set up no other rule of faith or practice but the Scriptures. This shows there will be a resurrection to a final judgment. Acts 24:10” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Prophets and their doctrines were to be tried by their fruits. Paul’s aim was to have a conscience void of offense. His care and endeavor was to abstain from many things, and to abound in the exercises of religion at all times; both towards God. and towards man. Acts 24:10” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “. . . abound in the exercises of true religion at all times” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Kept in Custody): “But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, ‘When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.’” (24:22)
A. INFERENCE: “Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.” (24:23)
1. FINDINGS: “After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, ‘Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.’” (24:24-25)
2. CRITERIA: “At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him.” (24:26)
3. CONDITION: “When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” (24:27)
4. CAUSE: “The apostle reasoned concerning the nature and obligations of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come; thus showing the oppressive judge and his profligate mistress, their need of repentance, forgiveness, and of the grace of the gospel. Justice respects our conduct in life, particularly in reference to others; temperance, the state and government of our souls, in reference to God. He who does not exercise himself in these, has neither the form nor the power of godliness, and must be overwhelmed with the Divine wrath in the day of God’s appearing. Acts 24:22” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “A prospect of the judgment to come, is enough to make the stoutest heart to tremble. Felix trembled, but that was all. Many are startled by the word of God, who are not changed by it. Many fear the consequences of sin, yet continue in the love and practice of sin. In the affairs of our souls, delays are dangerous. Felix put off this matter to a more convenient season, but we do not find that the more convenient season ever came. Acts 24:22” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Do not delay, come to Jesus now before the judgment.



Week #142; Wed, Sep 16: Acts 25–Romans 2

Week #142; Wed, Sep 16: Acts 25:1–Romans 2:29


Acts 25:1, I. Paul Appeals to Caesar; II. Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Appeals to Caesar): “Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem–because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.” (25:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. ‘So,’ said he, ‘let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.’ After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, ‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.’” (25:4-8)
1. FINDINGS: “But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, ‘Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?’ But Paul said, ‘I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.’ Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council answered, ‘To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.’” (25:9-12)
2. CRITERIA: “See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar favor to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the end of the law, was no offense against the law. In suffering times the prudence of the Lord’s people is tried, as well as their patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent, to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law, and to let that take its course. If he deserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none of the things whereof they accused him were true, no man could deliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither released nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both of our hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “How inveterately must these Jews have hated Paul, when after two years they still thirsted for his blood! It would never have done for the trial to be transferred to Jerusalem, as the Jews had requested. If Paul had been brought thither, many plots might have been set on foot for the purpose of ending his life, especially if Festus proved as amenable to a bribe as had his predecessor. Festus was quite prepared to humor the Jews by granting such a transference, and there was no way of averting it other than Paul’s availing himself of his right as a Roman citizen to be tried by the emperor himself.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It would not be agreeable to him to have his jurisdiction superseded on this the first occasion of holding a public inquiry. But there was no question that the appeal was admissible, and Festus had therefore no alternative. How strangely God was fulfilling His own word, ‘So must thou bear witness also at Rome!’ Paul had always desired to visit the imperial city, to bear thither the message of the Cross; but he never expected to go under the safeguard of Roman soldiers and at Roman expense. “Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill” God fulfills His purposes.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The “Appeals to Caesar” (25:11) was one of the most ancient and cherished rights of a Roman citizen. The right applied only to extraordinary cases, that is, those not specifically defined by statute laws. It was usually used to appeal the verdict of a lower court but could be exercised at any stage in the proceedings. The case would then be transferred to Rome and a verdict rendered by the emperor. This allowed Paul to realize his ambition to witness in Rome. At this time, the ruling Caesar was Nero.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Press on under adverse conditions; abide in Jesus and trust the Holy Spirit.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice): “Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, ‘There is a man left prisoner by Felix, and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews, laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.” (25:13-16)
A. INFERENCE: “I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed.” (25:17-18)
1. FINDINGS: “Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.’ Then Agrippa said to Festus, ‘I would like to hear the man myself.’ ‘Tomorrow,’ said he, ‘You will hear him.’” (25:19-22)
2. CRITERIA: “So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. And Festus said, ‘King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.” (25:23-24)
3. CONDITION: “But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” (25:25-27)
4. CAUSE: “The questions about God’s worship, the way of salvation, and the truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest, to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. Acts 25:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this question of Christ’s resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Acts 25:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be in the world, but not part of the world.

Acts 26:1, I. Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa; II. Paul Tells of His Conversion

I. KEY TEXT (Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa): “So Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You have permission to speak for yourself.’ Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: ‘I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.’” (26:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “’My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O King! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (26:4-8)
1. FINDINGS: “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” (26:9-11)
2. CRITERIA: “He (Paul) was sound in the faith. He always had a holy regard for the ancient promise made of God unto the fathers, and built his hope upon it. The apostle knew very well that all this would not justify him before God, yet he knew it was for his reputation among the Jews, and an argument that he was not such a man as they represented him to be.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “See here what Paul’s religion is; he has not such zeal for the ceremonial law as he had in his youth; the sacrifices and offerings appointed by that, are done away by the great Sacrifice which they typified. Of the ceremonial cleansings he makes no conscience, and thinks the Levitical priesthood is done away in the priesthood of Christ; but, as to the main principles of his religion, he is as zealous as ever.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Christ and heaven, are the two great doctrines of the gospel; that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. These are the matter of the promise made unto the fathers. The temple service, or continual course of religious duties, day and night, was kept up as the profession of faith in the promise of eternal life, and in expectation of it. The prospect of eternal life should engage us to be diligent and steadfast in all religious exercises. Yet the Sadducees hated Paul for preaching the resurrection; and the other Jews joined them, because he testified that Jesus was risen, and was the promised Redeemer of Israel.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Paul acknowledged, that while he continued a Pharisee, he was a bitter enemy to Christianity. This was his character and manner of life in the beginning of his time; and there was every thing to hinder his being a Christian. Those who have been most strict in their conduct before conversion, will afterwards see abundant reason for humbling themselves, even on account of things which they then thought ought to have been done.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Tells of His Conversion): “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for your to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles–to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” (26:12-19)
A. INFERENCE: “’Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” (26:20)
1. FINDINGS: “For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (26:21-23)
2. CRITERIA: “And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.’ But Paul said, ‘I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.” (26:24-25)
3. CONDITION: “For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.’” (26:26-27)
4. CAUSE: “And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (26:28)
5. EFFECT: “And Paul said, ‘Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am–except for these chains.’ Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, ‘This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.’ And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’” (26:29-32)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Speak truth as the Holy Spirit reveals it.

Acts 27:1, I. Paul Sails for Rome; II. The Storm at Sea; III. The Shipwreck

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Sails for Rome): “And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board.We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.” (27:1-8)
A. INFERENCE: “Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, ‘Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.’” (27:9-10)
1. FINDINGS: “But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.” (27:11-12)
2. CRITERIA: “It was determined by the counsel of God, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go to Rome; for God had work for him to do there. The course they steered, and the places they touched at, are here set down. And God here encourages those who suffer for him, to trust in him; for he can put it into the hearts of those to befriend them, from whom they least expect it. Sailors must make the best of the wind: and so must we all in our passage over the ocean of this world.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “When the winds are contrary, yet we must be getting forward as well as we can. Many who are not driven backward by cross providences, do not get forward by favorable providences. And many real Christians complain as to the concerns of their souls, that they have much ado to keep their ground.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Every fair haven is not a safe haven. Many show respect to good ministers, who will not take their advice. But the event will convince sinners of the vanity of their hopes, and the folly of their conduct.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The we indicates that the good physician, Luke, had rejoined the party. Separated from Paul by the Apostle’s imprisonment, he now accompanied him on the ship to Rome. The centurion was indulgently disposed toward Paul. He may have been one of the brilliant crowd who had listened to Paul’s last address. The season for navigation with sailing vessels was drawing to a close, and Paul counseled delay, but his words were unheeded. The man who knew God was wiser than the men who knew the sea.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Trust in the Lord.

II. KEY TEXT (The Storm at Sea): “Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.” (27:13-15)
A. INFERENCE: “Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. Since we were violently storm tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. ” (27:16-20)
1. FINDINGS: “Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” (27:21-26)
2. CRITERIA: “When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.” (27:27-29)
3. CONDITION: “And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.’ Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.” (27:30-32)
4. CAUSE: “As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.’” (27:33-34)
5. EFFECT: “And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.” (27:35-38)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let us never expect to be quite safe till we enter heaven.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Shipwreck): “Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.” (27:39-40)
A. INFERENCE: “But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape.” (27:41-42)
1. FINDINGS: “But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.” (27:43-44)
2. CRITERIA: “The ship that had weathered the storm in the open sea, where it had room, is dashed to pieces when it sticks fast. Thus, if the heart fixes in the world in affection, and cleaving to it, it is lost.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Satan’s temptations beat against it, and it is gone; but as long as it keeps above the world, though tossed with cares and tumults, there is hope for it. They had the shore in view, yet suffered shipwreck in the harbor; thus we are taught never to be secure.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Though there is great difficulty in the way of the promised salvation, it shall, without fail, be brought to pass. It will come to pass that whatever the trials and dangers may be, in due time all believers will get safely to heaven. Lord Jesus, thou hast assured us that none of thine shall perish. Thou wilt bring them all safe to the heavenly shore.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And what a pleasing landing will that be! Thou wilt present them to thy Father, and give thy Holy Spirit full possession of them for ever.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Blessed assurance.

Acts 28:1, I. Paul on Malta; II. Paul Arrives at Rome; III. Paul in Rome

I. KEY TEXT (Paul on Malta): “After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.” (28:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.’ He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.” (28:4-6)
1. FINDINGS: “Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.” (28:7-10)
2. CRITERIA: “Accidents are not punishments. The clinging of the viper to Paul’s hand was not an evidence of the anger of God, but was permitted in order to give these simple-hearted people an evidence which they would appreciate of God’s care for His own.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Let us not judge by appearance, but righteously. Because Paul cast off the viper, they accounted him divine; if he had died, they would have thought him a felon. Let us also shake off temptation. We cannot prevent its attacking us, but we need not take the viper into our heart.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “But though little dependence is to be placed upon the tradition that Publius became bishop of Malta and afterwards of Athens, we may well believe the accredited tradition that the beginnings of the Christian Church at Malta sprang out of this memorable visit.” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Christians found honor and respect (28:10) on Malta. That is, they did nothing to support the accusations that they were criminals.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: God’s plan for Paul would not be hindered by a shipwreck or a viper.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Arrives at Rome): “After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.” (28:11-15)
A. INFERENCE: “On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. ” (28:15)
1. FINDINGS: “And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him.” (28:16)
2. CRITERIA: “Good men often are greatly afflicted in this life, for the trial and increase of their faith and patience. Observe Paul’s deliverance from the danger. And thus in the strength of the grace of Christ, believers shake off the temptations of Satan, with holy resolution.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “When we despise the censures and reproaches of men, and look upon them with holy contempt, having the testimony of our consciences for us, then, like Paul, we shake off the viper into the fire. It does us no harm, except we are kept by it from our duty. God hereby made Paul remarkable among these people, and so made way for the receiving of the gospel. The Lord raises up friends for his people in every place whither he leads them, and makes them blessings to those in affliction.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Paul’s unfailing influence for good shows what a blessing even one Christian man can be wherever he goes, if he lives in the power of God.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “When God does not soon deliver his people out of bondage, yet makes it easy to them, or them easy under it, they have reason to be thankful.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Give thanks at all times.

III. KEY TEXT (Paul in Rome): “After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, ‘Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.” (28:17-18)
A. INFERENCE: “But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.’ And they said to him, ‘We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.’” (28:19-22)
1. FINDINGS: “When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: ‘The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: ‘Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears the can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’” (28:23-27)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.’” (28:28)
3. CONDITION: “He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hinderance.” (28:29-30)
4. CAUSE: “A few were convinced; the rest disagreed. Probably the debate toward its close became somewhat stormy, and the Apostle felt at liberty to quote Isaiah 6:9-10.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “He, thereafter, turned to the Roman Christians, who had already been addressed in his memorable Epistle, in the last chapter of which is a list of names of those whom he loved in Christ. They were constantly coming in to cheer his loneliness and to hear his words, while Tychicus, Epaphras, Epaphroditus, and others brought news, greetings, and gifts from the churches he had founded.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Preach to all who will listen.

Romans 1:1, I. Greeting; II. Longing to Go to Rome; III. The Righteous Shall Live by Faith; IV. God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

I. KEY TEXT (Greetings): “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1-7)
A. INFERENCE: “The doctrine of which the apostle Paul wrote, set forth the fulfillment of the promises by the prophets. It spoke of the Son of God, even Jesus the Savior, the promised Messiah, who came from David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God, by the Divine power which raised him from the dead.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “The Christian profession does not consist in a notional knowledge or a bare assent, much less in perverse disputing, but in obedience. And all those, and those only, are brought to obedience of the faith, who are effectually called of Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The privilege of Christians; they are beloved of God, and are members of that body which is beloved.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The duty of Christians; to be holy, hereunto are they called, called to be saints.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Because both Jews and Gentiles were used to thinking of salvation in terms of religious merit through works.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The subject of the gospel is Jesus from two perspectives. He was the human seed of David (1:3) and the divine Son of God (1:4). As such, he is the ultimate King according to Davidic promise (2 Sam. 7)—eternal, divine, and exalted at God’s right hand (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:33–35). But he is also the Son of God in the flesh. Christ’s identity as a human being will be foundational for the comparison between Adam and Christ in Romans 5 and the role of the Spirit in the Christian’s life (Rom. 6–8).” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Paul describes himself as a bond-servant.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary) Be like him.

II. KEY TEXT (Longing to Go to Rome): “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” (1:8-10)
A. INFERENCE: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (1:11-12)
1. FINDINGS: “I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” (1:13-15)
2. CRITERIA: “We must show love for our friends, not only by praying for them, but by praising God for them. As in our purposes, so in our desires, we must remember to say, If the Lord will, James 4:15. Our journeys are made prosperous or otherwise, according to the will of God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “We should readily impart to others what God has trusted to us, rejoicing to make others joyful, especially taking pleasure in communing with those who believe the same things with us. If redeemed by the blood, and converted by the grace of the Lord Jesus, we are altogether his; and for his sake we are debtors to all men, to do all the good we can. Such services are our duty.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Long before Paul saw the faces of these Christians in Rome, he had been led out in prayer for them. He had won the battle before entering the battle-field. How noble it was on the Apostle’s part to say that his faith was strengthened by their faith, as theirs by his! Romans 1:12. There is a wonderful give-and-take in the service of God. Each of us helps or hinders. None is neutral.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is quite evident that prayer counted for much with the Apostle. This journey of his was the subject of continual supplication. He knew that much was to be obtained through prayer, which would otherwise be missed. Romans 1:10.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Remember that your journeys must also be in the will of God” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Righteous Shall Live by Faith): “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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (1:16-17)
A. INFERENCE: “In these verses the apostle opens the design of the whole epistle, in which he brings forward a charge of sinfulness against all flesh; declares the only method of deliverance from condemnation, by faith in the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ; and then builds upon it purity of heart, grateful obedience, and earnest desires to improve in all those Christian graces and tempers, which nothing but a lively faith in Christ can bring forth.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners. It is necessary that we have a righteousness to appear in before him: there is such a righteousness brought in by the Messiah, and made known in the gospel; a gracious method of acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. It is the righteousness of Christ, who is God, coming from a satisfaction of infinite value. Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “We owe everything to our Lord, but since we can make Him no direct return, He has made men His residuary legatees. We are to think of others as having a claim upon us for His dear sake. In helping them, we repay Him.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The high culture of the Roman world was appreciated by the student of Gamaliel for what it was worth; but he was not ashamed to preach the gospel in its capital because it carried with it the divine dynamic. It was power unto salvation. The Stoic, for instance, had a high ethical code, but it was ineffective for want of the driving power of Pentecost.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The one condition is faith-to everyone that believeth.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness): “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (1:18)
A. INFERENCE: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (1:19-20)
1. FINDINGS: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (1:21)
2. CRITERIA: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (1:22-23)
3. CONDITION: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (1:24-25)
4. CAUSE: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (1:26-27)
5. EFFECT: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (1:28-32)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Acknowledge God. Do what He says.

Romans 2:1, I. God’s Righteous Judgment; II. God’s Judgment and the Law

I. KEY TEXT (God’s Righteous Judgment): “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (2:1)
A. INFERENCE: “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God?” (2:2-3)
1. FINDINGS: “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (2:4-5)
2. CRITERIA: “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” (2:6-8)
3. CONDITION: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.” (2:9-10)
4. CAUSE: “For God shows no partiality.” (2:11)
5. EFFECT: “Nothing speaks more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that Christ shall be the Judge. Secret services shall be rewarded, secret sins shall be then punished, and brought to light.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Remember conscience is a witness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (God’s Judgment and the Law): “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” (2:12)
A. INFERENCE: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.” (2:13-14)
1. FINDINGS: “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thought accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (2:15-16)
2. CRITERIA: “But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth–you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” (2:17-20)
3. CONDITION: “While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” (2:21-24)
4. CAUSE: “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.” (2:25)
5. EFFECT: “So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” (2:26)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Seek praise from God.

Week #143; Wed, Sep 23: Romans 3–10

Week #143; Wed, Sep 23: Romans 3:1–10:21


Romans 3:1, I. God’s Righteousness Upheld; II. No One Is Righteous; III. The Righteousness of God Through Faith

I. KEY TEXT (God’s Righteousness Upheld): “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means? Let God be true through every one were a liar, as it is written, ‘That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.’” (3:1-4)
A. INFERENCE: “But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)” (3:5)
1. FINDINGS: “By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?–as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (3:6-8)
2. CRITERIA: “In every willful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God. And though the branches of man’s disobedience are very various, all spring from the same root. But in true repentance, there must be hatred of former sinfulness, from a change wrought in the state of the mind, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the evil.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “. . . we are to vindicate the righteousness of God, at whatever expense to ourselves.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It shows also a sense of inward wretchedness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Such is the great change wrought in repentance, it is conversion, and is needed by every human being. The ruin of sinners is their walking after a hard and impenitent heart.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation. Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (No One Is Righteous): “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” (3:9-18)
A. INFERENCE: “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” (3:19)
1. FINDINGS: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (3:20)
2. CRITERIA: “A number of quotations are advanced-mostly from the Septuagint or Greek version of the Old Testament-establishing the hopeless evil of man’s condition. These apply, in the first place, to God’s peculiar people, the Jews; but if true of them, how terrible must be the condition of the great heathen world! Every mouth will be stopped and all the world brought in guilty before God, Romans 3:19.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “What need for salvation! What can atone for such sin, or cleanse such hearts, save the redeeming grace of God?” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Law here is obviously employed in the wide sense of conscience as well as Scripture. It is God’s ideal held up before our faces, to show us from what we have fallen. The looking-glass is intended, not to wash the face, but to show how much it needs washing.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “You may commend your soap, and no one will use it; but if you reveal the discoloring filth, people will be only too glad to avail themselves of the cleansing power which otherwise they would neglect and despise.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Look intently into the mirror and scrub with grace.

III. KEY TEXT (The Righteousness of God Through Faith): “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (3:21-22)
A. INFERENCE: “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” (3:23-25)
1. FINDINGS: “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (3:26)
2. CRITERIA: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (3:27-28)
3. CONDITION: “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one–who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (3:29-31)
4. CAUSE: “The sacrifice Jesus made in “sacrificing his life for us” (3:25) is a satisfactory sacrifice (1 John 2:2; 4:10). Such a sacrifice has God’s wrath in full view. The need for the sacrifice and the cause of God’s wrath were painfully explained in Romans 1:18–3:20. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “God sent Christ to satisfy that need of a sacrifice. The atoning sacrifice or propitiation contemplates mankind’s liability to God’s wrath against sin and is God’s gracious provision to deliver them from that wrath. Christ is the believer’s atoning sacrifice, satisfying with his blood God’s holy demand that sin be judged.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Come to Christ; believe in Jesus Christ.

Romans 4:1, I. Abraham Justified by Faith; II. The Promise Realized Through Faith

I. KEY TEXT (Abraham Justified by Faith): “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” (4:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (4:4-8)
1. FINDINGS: “Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” (4:9-12)
2. CRITERIA: “In Abraham’s case it is clear that he was justified when he was still a Gentile. The initial badge of Judaism was stamped upon him long after he had believed God. The Apostle lays great stress on this order of time: first faith, then obedience, and afterward circumcision, that made him the father and founder of the Jewish people.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Justification is imputed to him in the first stage-not in circumcision, not even in obedience, but in the simple act of believing God, as we have it in Genesis 15:6. We do not hear of circumcision till Genesis 17:1-27.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Clearly, then, if we Gentiles have Abraham’s faith, we may also claim the same justifying righteousness, though we have not received any outward rite. And also, we may be reckoned among his children.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “If we enter into the meaning of these earlier stages of the patriarch’s life, we may claim the promises made to him in uncircumcision. Count them up; they are yours. We, too, may become heirs of the world; in us also, because we are his seed, all mankind may be blessed.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Believe first.

II. KEY TEXT (The Promise Realized Through Faith): “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” (4:13)
A. INFERENCE: “For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.” (4:14-15)
1. FINDINGS: “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’–in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. ” (4:16-17)
2. CRITERIA: “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.” (4:18-19)
3. CONDITION: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (4:20-21)
4. CAUSE: “That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.” (4:22)
5. EFFECT: “But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (4:23-25)

Romans 5:1, I. Peace with God Through Faith; II. Death in Adam, Life in Christ

I. KEY TEXT (Peace with God Through Faith): “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:1)
A. INFERENCE: “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (5:2)
1. FINDINGS: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (5:3-5)
2. CRITERIA: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (5:6-8)
3. CONDITION: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (5:9-10)
4. CAUSE: “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (5:11)
5. EFFECT: “We stand in grace; we look for glory. Our standing is sure, although apart from our feelings or deserts. It is ours forever, through union with the living Christ. It is our admission to the home of God’s elect. We have passed the threshold and have received, in the antechamber, the new white robe.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Claim your white robe with full faith in Jesus Christ.

II. KEY TEXT (Death in Adam, Life in Christ): “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned–for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.” (5:12-13)
A. INFERENCE: “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” (5:14)
1. FINDINGS: “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” (5:15)
2. CRITERIA: “And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” (5:16)
3. CONDITION: “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (5:17)
4. CAUSE: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” (5:18)
5. EFFECT: “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (5:19-21)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Die to sin.

Romans 6:1, I. Dead to Sin, Alive to God; II. Slaves to Righteousness

I. KEY TEXT (Dead to Sin, Alive to God): “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (6:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (6:4)
1. FINDINGS: “For if we have been united with in in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (6:5-6)
2. CRITERIA: “For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.” (6:7-10)
3. CONDITION: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (6:11)
4. CAUSE: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” (6:12-13)
5. EFFECT: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (6:14)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be dead to sin; alive in Christ Jesus. Abide in Him.

II. KEY TEXT (Slaves to Righteousness): “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (6:15-16)
A. INFERENCE: “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (6:17-18)
1. FINDINGS: “I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” (6:19)
2. CRITERIA: “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?” (6:20)
3. CONDITION: “For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (6:21-22)
4. CAUSE: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (6:23)
5. EFFECT: “Our real owner and master, whatever we may say to the contrary, is indicated by our life. We belong to the one whom, in a crisis, we obey. Service to sin leads to uncleanness, iniquity, and death. Service to God leads to righteousness, and that to sanctification, and that to eternal life.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Run your life into the mold of holy precept, as the obedient metal into the sand-cast, Romans 6:17” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 7:1, I. Released from the Law; II. The Law and Sin

I. KEY TEXT (Released from the Law): “Or do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to those who know the law–that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.” (7:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she live with another man while her husband is alive.” (7:3)
1. FINDINGS: “But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.” (7:3)
2. CRITERIA: “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (7:4)
3. CONDITION: “For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.” (7:5)
4. CAUSE: “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” (7:6)
5. EFFECT: “The law, and the greatest efforts of one under the law, still in the flesh, under the power of corrupt principles, cannot set the heart right with regard to the love of God, overcome worldly lusts, or give truth and sincerity in the inward parts, or any thing that comes by the special sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Nothing more than a formal obedience to the outward letter of any precept, can be performed by us, without the renewing, new-creating grace of the new covenant.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Grace alone. Christ alone. Faith alone. Scripture alone. Glory to God alone.” (per the Reformed Faith)

II. KEY TEXT (The Law and Sin): “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” (7:7)
A. INFERENCE: “But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.” (7:8)
1. FINDINGS: “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” (7:9)
2. CRITERIA: “The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” (7:10)
3. CONDITION: “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.” (7:11)
4. CAUSE: “So the law is holy, and the commandment, is holy and righteous and good.” (7:12)
5. EFFECT: “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (7:13-25)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “There is no way of coming to that knowledge of sin, which is necessary to repentance, and therefore to peace and pardon, but by trying our hearts and lives by the law.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Romans 8:1, I. Life in the Spirit; II. Heirs with Christ; III. Future Glory; IV. God’s Everlasting Love

I. KEY TEXT (Life in the Spirit): “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (8:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (8:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (8:5-6)
2. CRITERIA: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (8:7-8)
3. CONDITION: “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (8:9)
4. CAUSE: “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (8:10)
5. EFFECT: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (8:11)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We are set free to enter into marriage union with the blessed Lord, and He, by His indwelling Spirit, effects in us what our own energies have failed to produce. We are joined to Him that was raised up from the dead, and bring forth fruit unto God.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Heirs with Christ): “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (8:12-13)
A. INFERENCE: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (8:14)
1. FINDINGS: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (8:15)
2. CRITERIA: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (8:16-17)
3. CONDITION: “The Spirit here is of course the Holy Spirit, by whom Christ our Lord lives within us. It is passing wonderful that as the life which throbs in the heart beats also in the pulse, so the very life which is in Christ in glory is also in our hearts.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Our main task is to put aside every barrier to its full expression. This is what the Apostle means by doing to death the practices, stratagems, and lawless promptings of the body, which are ever calling for ease and self-indulgence.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “There is no stage of our earthly pilgrimage at which we can dispense with the power of the Spirit of God for deliverance from the deeds of the body.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “But there is another most blessed function of the divine Spirit, Romans 8:14. He is willing to lead us, to prompt our actions, to inspire our purposes, and to mold our characters. The more we yield to Him, the deeper becomes our awareness of that filial relationship with God which breathes in the cry, Abba, Father. But note the wonderful climax, Romans 8:17. If we yield to the Holy Spirit, He will conduct us into the divine treasure-house and bid us avail ourselves of the infinite resources which are there stored for our use, not in the next life, but in this.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Future Glory): “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (8:18)
A. INFERENCE: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (8:19-21)
1. FINDINGS: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (8:22-23)
2. CRITERIA: “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (8:24-25)
3. CONDITION: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself interceded for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (8:26-27)
4. CAUSE: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (8:28)
5. EFFECT: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (8:29-30)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The saints groan for the resurrection of the body and their full admission into the complete enjoyment of redemption. The Spirit also groans for the speedy accomplishment of God’s purposes-the salvation of the lost, the unity of the Church, and the advent of the Father’s kingdom. His yearnings express themselves through the prayers of the saints.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (God’s Everlasting Love): “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (8:31-32)
A. INFERENCE: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (8:33-34)
1. FINDINGS: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (8:35-37)
2. CRITERIA: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:38-39)
3. CONDITION: “This is the close of the Apostle’s argument. He has shown that believers are dear to God because they are in Christ; that their every need has been anticipated and provided for; that their guilt has been canceled and provision made for their holy and victorious character; that the Holy Spirit is in them and with them forever; that sin is under their feet and heaven over their heads-what, then, have they to fear?” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Paul then goes on to show that the love of God is unaffected by even the most extreme changes of our condition-neither death, nor life, Romans 8:38. That it is undiverted from us by any other order of beings, whether angels, principalities, or powers. That it is universally present throughout creation.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And finally, that this love is in Christ Jesus our Lord. But in order to know and experience this love, we must be united to the Lord Jesus by a living faith. Then we shall be more than conquerors, that is, we shall not only be victorious, but shall get spoil out of the very things that have hurt us.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Give thanks to God.

Romans 9:1, I. God’s Sovereign Choice; II. Israel’s Unbelief

I. KEY TEXT (God’s Sovereign Choice): “I am speaking the truth in Christ–I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit–that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (9:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” (9:4-8)
1. FINDINGS: “For this is what the promise said: ‘About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.’ And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls-she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” (9:9-13)
2. CRITERIA: “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’” (9:14-17)
3. CONDITION: “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” (9:18)
4. CAUSE: “You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory–even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, ‘Those who were not my people I will call my people, and her who was not beloved I will call beloved. And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.’” (9:19-28)
5. EFFECT: “And as Isaiah predicted, ‘If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and became like Gomorrah.’” (9:29)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Jesus is a stone of stumbling to the blind, but all who confide in Him and rest on Him shall not be put to shame. God has laid the foundation of our salvation deep in the waters of death and judgment. In the death of Christ He condemned sin in the flesh, and now we who are built into Him, as a stone is clamped to the foundation, shall rest secure when the last great storms sweep over land and sea.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Israel’s Unbelief): “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why?” (9:30-32)
A. INFERENCE: “Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, . . .” (9:32)
1. FINDINGS: “. . . ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’” (9:33)
2. CRITERIA: “There has been a notable transference of privilege from the Jew to the Gentile believer. This is not due to fickleness on God’s part, but to a fatal defect in the Hebrew people. The vessel that was marred in the potter’s hand suffered not from the clumsiness of the potter, but from some inherent flaw in the clay. The Chosen People stumbled over the law of faith and rejected their Messiah.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The Gentiles, on the other hand, have exercised faith in Him, and have thereby attained a justifying righteousness. There is no caprice with God, “neither shadow that is cast by turning,” James 1:17. Any apparent change in His dealings is determined by our attitude toward Him.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Jesus is a stone of stumbling to the blind, but all who confide in Him and rest on Him shall not be put to shame. God has laid the foundation of our salvation deep in the waters of death and judgment.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “In the death of Christ He condemned sin in the flesh, and now we who are built into Him, as a stone is clamped to the foundation, shall rest secure when the last great storms sweep over land and sea.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Our anchor holds.

Romans 10:1, I. The Message of Salvation to All

I. KEY TEXT (The Message of Salvation to All): “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (10:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (10:3)
1. FINDINGS: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (10:4)
2. CRITERIA: “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.” (10:5)
3. CONDITION: “But the righteousness based on faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saves. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (10:6-10)
4. CAUSE: “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” (10:11-12)
5. EFFECT: “’For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those preach the good news! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for ‘Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’ But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.’ Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, ‘I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’ But of Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'” (10:13-21)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “All have sinned, and the same Lord is over all, rich to those who call upon Him, of whatever nationality.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Week #144; Wed, Sep 30: Romans 11:1–1 Corinthians 3:23

Week #144; Wed, Sep 30: Romans 11:1–1 Corinthians 3:23


Romans 11:1, I. The Remnant of Israel; II. Gentiles Grafted In; III. The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

I. KEY TEXT (The Remnant of Israel): “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! for I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.” (11:1)
A. INFERENCE: “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?” (11:2)
1. FINDINGS: “’Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” (11:3)
2. CRITERIA: “But what is God’s reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’” (11:4)
3. CONDITION: “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (11:5-6)
4. CAUSE: “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’” (11:7-8)
5. EFFECT: “And David says, ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.’” (11:9-10)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The few seek and find, because they stoop to seek in God’s predetermined way and along His lines. But when men set themselves against these, they become hardened and overwhelmed by a “spirit of stupor,” Romans 11:8, R.V.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Gentiles Grafted In): “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” (11:11)
A. INFERENCE: “Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” (11:12)
1. FINDINGS: “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentile, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” (11:13-16)
2. CRITERIA: “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” (11:17-18)
3. CONDITION: “Then you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’” (11:19)
4. CAUSE: “That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. so do not become proud, but fear.” (11:20)
5. EFFECT: “For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.” (11:21-24)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let us see to it that we Gentiles understand our position as being permitted to partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree, Romans 11:17. Christ was the root of that tree, and it is from His rich nature that all the freshness and fatness, all the quickening and energy, all the love and grace of the Hebrew Scriptures and heritage of promises were gained. Whatever Israel had, we may have. Let us go up and possess the land!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation): “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (11:25)
A. INFERENCE: “And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’” (11:26-27)
1. FINDINGS: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” (11:28)
2. CRITERIA: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (11:29)
3. CONDITION: “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.” (11:30-31)
4. CAUSE: “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (11:32)
5. EFFECT: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (11:33)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We may go a certain distance in the devout understanding of the ways of God, but there is a point beyond which we cannot advance; and as we gaze down into the profound abyss of the divine dealings, we must cry, O the depth! Romans 11:33. The origin, the maintenance, and the ultimate end of creation, providence, and redemption, is God. To Him must be the glory! ” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 12:1, I. A Living Sacrifice; II. Gifts of Grace; III. Mark of the True Christian

I. KEY TEXT (A Living Sacrifice): “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (12:1)
A. INFERENCE: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (12:2)
1. FINDINGS: Therefore links this practical appeal to the whole of the sublime argument, which reaches its climax in the previous chapter. It is easier to die once for God than to live always the surrendered life. But nothing so pleases God as daily surrender, the sacrificed and yielded will tied by cords to His altar. Such an attitude is the only reasonable one we can assume.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “If God be all we profess to believe, He is worthy of all we are. But we are reminded that the world is ever seeking to mold us to its will, and we need the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may withstand its baleful influence. We need to be transformed-that is, transfigured-by the renewing of our mind. Please God, and you will be pleased with the will of God.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Notice in Romans 12:3 that God deals out according to the measure of our faith. Let us ask that it may be “pressed down and running over.” In proportion as we are united to the head, we are members of one another. We may not recognize each other, or be recognized by the world as one, but in His sight there is only one body, Romans 12:5.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the Head of the body, and the common Center of their unity. In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. Romans 12:3” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretense of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Romans 12:3” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let each learn what he can do best, and devote his best to it. To give or rule aright is equally a gift with teaching.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Gifts of Grace): “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (12:3)
A. INFERENCE: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (12:4-5)
1. FINDINGS: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (12:6-8)
2. CRITERIA: “True worship is seen as a presentation of the self to God. The body is the vehicle of presentation” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The specifics of mind renewal (12:1) involve the proving of God’s will (law) in everyday experience (12:2). Rather than being conformed to the world’s mold, the believers are to be transformed (lit., “metamorphosis”) from the inside out.” (Tyndall Concise Bible Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “This call to humility links back to Jewish (Romans 2–3) and Gentile (11:18, 25) tendencies toward arrogance. Paul desired that believers find their proper place in the body of Christ, using the gifts of God’s salvation, 1 Cor. 12–13. (Tyndall Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “They are to be interdependent. Their exercise of gifts is limited (12:6–8). The exercise of gifts needs to be done without envy or pride; believers should not seek to get gifts in order to stay within God’s measure of grace. God gives the different gifts according to his will. (Tyndall Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come. Romans 12:3” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Mark of the True Christian): “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (12:9-10)
A. INFERENCE: “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (12:11-13)
1. FINDINGS: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never bee wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (12:14-18)
2. CRITERIA: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (12:19)
3. CONDITION: “To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (12:20)
4. CAUSE: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (12:21)
5. EFFECT: “The professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind and useful. We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. This denotes the love of parents to their children; which is more tender and natural than any other; unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal for the gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all his worldly business, and in gaining superior skill. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “God must be served with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. He is honored by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for him, but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God’s sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Romans 13:1, I. Submission to Authorities; II. Fulfilling the Law Through Love

I. KEY TEXT (Submission to Authorities): “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (13:1)
A. INFERENCE: “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (13:2)
1. FINDINGS: “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” (13:3-4)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” (13:5)
3. CONDITION: “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (13:6-7)
4. CAUSE: “Human government, like the existence of the family relationship, is a divine institution. It is part of the order of the world and rooted in the original conception of the race. It was never intended that we should live as individual units, but as members of family and state.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is but mock love, which rests in words of kindness, while our brethren need real supplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labor as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Do not mind it; be not in love with it. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Fulfilling the Law Through Love): “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (13:8)
A. INFERENCE: “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (13:9)
1. FINDINGS: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (13:10)
2. CRITERIA: “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” (13:11)
3. CONDITION: “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” (13:12-13)
4. CAUSE: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (13:14)
5. EFFECT: “Four things are here taught, as a Christian’s directory for his day’s work. 1. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time. 2. Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mend our pace, we are nearer our journey’s end. Also to make ourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore it is time to dress ourselves. 3. Observe what we must put off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works of darkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress our souls. 4. Put on the armor of light. A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this armor, to secure the soul from Satan’s temptations, and the assaults of this present evil world. Put on Christ; that includes all. Romans 13:11” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must be checked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is our duty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat for our lusts, is provoking God, Psalm 78:18.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Romans 14:1, I. Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another; II. Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

I. KEY TEXT (Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another): “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.” (14:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” (14:3)
1. FINDINGS: “Who are you to pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you t pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (14:4)
2. CRITERIA: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his won mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (14:5-6)
3. CONDITION: “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” (14:7)
4. CAUSE: “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” (14:8-11)
5. EFFECT: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (14:12)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Take heed of acting against a doubting conscience. We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment. A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them. Romans 14:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Do Not Cause Another to Stumble): “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” (14:13-14)
A. INFERENCE: “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” (14:15)
1. FINDINGS: “So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.” (14:16)
2. CRITERIA: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (14:17)
3. CONDITION: “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (14:18-19)
4. CAUSE: “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (14:20-21)
5. EFFECT: “The faith that you have, keeep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (14:22-23)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We must be careful of one another’s faith. Unkind criticism or ridicule, or the strong pressure of our arguments and reasons may impede the divine life in weaker natures by leading them to act in defiance of their own conscientious convictions. We must not flaunt our greater liberty or urge men to act against their conscience. We may, of course, temperately and lovingly explain why we are not held by minute scruples. We may show, as Paul did repeatedly, that Christ has called us to liberty; but we must not attempt the regulation of one another’s conduct from without.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 15:1, I. The Example of Christ; II. Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles; III. Paul the Minister to the Gentiles; IV. Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome

I. KEY TEXT (The Example of Christ): “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (15:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’ For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (15:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (15:5-6)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (15:7)
3. CONDITION: “Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our neighbor, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humoring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ’s whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree among themselves. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles): “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’ And again it is said, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’ And again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.’” (15:8-12)
A. INFERENCE: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (15:13)
1. FINDINGS: “This chapter is remarkable for its threefold designation of God. The God of patience and comfort, Romans 15:5; the God of hope, Romans 15:13; and the God of peace, Romans 15:33. Our character may be deficient in these things, but His fullness is there for us to draw upon. There is no stint or lack for those to whom He says, ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.’” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Where such conditions are realized, life becomes a dream of heaven actualized in flesh and blood. But we must fulfill the injunctions of Romans 15:9-13, rejoicing in praise and abounding in hope. The outlook on the earth-side may be dark and depressing, but uncurtain your windows toward God-see, the land is light.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And the whole plan of redemption is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our own power will never reach this; therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory. “All joy and peace;” all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:8” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Christ was a servant to both Jew and Gentile (15:8–9). Paul used a series of quotations from the Old Testament to demonstrate God’s plan to include Gentiles in his plan for world blessing (Ps. 18:49; Deut. 32:43; Ps. 117:1; Isa. 11:10). (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The apostle here lays down two precepts, showing the duty of the strong Christian to consider the weakest. 1. We must bear with the failings of the weak. We all have our failings; but the weak are more subject to them than others. 2. We must not please ourselves, but our neighbor.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The first lesson we have to learn is to deny ourselves.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

III. KEY TEXT (Paul the Minister to the Gentiles): “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.” (15:14-17)
A. INFERENCE: “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentile to obedience-by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God–so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (15:18-21)
1. FINDINGS: “A superficial judge of the Apostle’s life at the time to which he refers might have supposed him to be a mere Jewish traveler, hurrying to and fro, under circumstances of extreme poverty and with no special results. But, in fact he was laying the foundations of the Christian commonwealth.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “His one ambition was to present the Gentiles as a whole burnt-offering to God; see Rom_15:16. The phrase there is suggestive of the supreme sacrifice which was nobly realized in the strength of purpose that led those churches, shortly afterward, to yield holocausts of martyrs under Nero’s persecutions.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “All this was due to Christ working through the Apostle. Anything that was not wrought through the power of the indwelling Christ was not worth recounting. The work which really told was not what Paul did for Christ, but what Christ did through Paul.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It is noticeable how careful Paul was to break up new ground. This is especially characteristic of all the best and highest forms of work.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is a poor and mean church which recruits itself from the labors of others, but has no power to secure converts from the world!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The conversion of souls pertains unto God; therefore it is the matter of Paul’s glorying, not the things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God accompanied his labors. He principally sought the good of those that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does it by us. Romans 15:14” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome): “This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.” (15:22-24)
A. INFERENCE: “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.” (15:25-26)
1. FINDINGS: “For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” (15:27)
2. CRITERIA: “When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.” (15:28-29)
3. CONDITION: “I appeal to you, brothers, y our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all.” (15:30-33)
4. CAUSE: “The Apostle felt that it was in the line of the divine will that he should visit Rome, Romans 1:10. Relying, as he did, on the efficacy of prayer, it is not surprising to find him urging his Roman friends to unite with him in asking, as in Romans 15:31-32, that his way may be made plain.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The prayer was not answered quite as he expected. He little thought that he would come as a prisoner, bound to a soldier, and at the expense of the Roman Empire. Yet he came with joy, and found refreshment and rest with the beloved circle of disciples . . .” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The love of the Spirit is a very delightful phrase. It bears witness to the personality of the Holy Spirit, for love cannot be attributed to an influence. It also shows the confidence with which we may commit ourselves to His gracious indwelling and prompting.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 16:1, I. Personal Greetings; II. Final Instructions and Greetings; III. Doxology

I. KEY TEXT (Personal Greetings): “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” (16:1-16)
A. INFERENCE: “Here is a window into Paul’s heart. He was apparently disowned by his own kindred, yet, as the Lord had promised, He had mothers, sisters, and brothers a hundred-fold.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Women are here-Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Junia, Persis, Julia, and others. The Apostle realized the immense help that holy women could furnish in the ministry of the gospel. Men are here-old and young, fathers, brothers, and sons. Lovely titles are given with a lavish, though a discriminating hand-succorer, helpers, beloved, approved in Christ, saints. How especially beautiful the appellation, the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “This church in Rome was a model for other churches. Would that we could realize the same spiritual unity that presided over the gatherings of these early saints!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Christian love” (16:16; cf. 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26) is often translated as “a holy kiss” (KJV, NIV) and was a culturally accepted Christian greeting that corresponds in Western culture to the handshake. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Everyone in his place should serve the church, for in so doing he serves Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “In a way worthy of the saints to receive, who love Christ, and therefore love all who are his for his sake; or, in a way worthy of the saints to be received, with love and honor.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “In Christian congregations there should be smaller societies linked together in love and converse.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (Final Instructions and Greetings): “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (16:17-18)
A. INFERENCE: “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” (16:19)
1. FINDINGS: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (16:20)
2. CRITERIA: “Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.” (16:21-23)
3. CONDITION: “Here he adds an affectionate remembrance of them from some particular persons who were now with him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Not many mighty, not many noble are called, but some are. It is lawful for believers to bear civil offices; and it were to be wished that all offices in Christian states, and in the church, were bestowed upon prudent and steady Christians. Romans 16:21” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: The plea for greetings toward Paul’s cohorts by the church supports unity of the believers and magnifies the work of the church.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Bring together believers in harmony and brotherhood.

III. KEY TEXT (Doxology): “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith–to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (16:25-27)
A. INFERENCE: “The mystery or secret with which the Epistle closes refers to the redemption wrought out by Jesus during His earthly ministry, 1Ti_3:16. But this was no new thing, as it had been in the mind of God from times eternal, Revelation 13:8.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “That which establishes souls, is, the plain preaching of Jesus Christ. Our redemption and salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, are, without controversy, a great mystery of godliness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “This doxology centers in God’s ability or power to strengthen the readers. God’s strengthening is in accordance with Paul’s gospel and the preaching about Jesus Christ.” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel, and the Sun of Righteousness is risen on the world. The Scriptures of the prophets, what they left in writing, is not only made plain in itself, but by it this mystery is made known to all nations. Christ is salvation to all nations.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And the gospel is revealed, not to be talked of and disputed about, but to be submitted to. The obedience of faith is that obedience which is paid to the word of faith, and which comes by the grace of faith.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “All the glory that passes from fallen man to God, so as to be accepted of him, must go through the Lord Jesus, in whom alone our persons and doings are, or can be, pleasing to God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “. . . we are called to the obedience of faith, and that every degree of wisdom is from the only wise God, we should, by word and deed, render glory to him through Jesus Christ; that so the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with us for ever.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

1 Corinthians 1, I. Greetings; II. Thanksgiving; III. Divisions in the Church; IV. Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

I. KEY TEXT (Greetings): “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “Christians are distinguished from the profane and atheists, that they dare not live without prayer; and they are distinguished from Jews and pagans, that they call on the name of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “To all who called upon Christ, the apostle gave his usual salutation, desiring, in their behalf, the pardoning mercy, sanctifying grace, and comforting peace of God, through Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Sinners can have no peace with God, nor any from him, but through Christ. He gives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; that grace was given them by Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “He gives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; that grace was given them by Jesus Christ. They had been enriched by him with all spiritual gifts. He speaks of utterance and knowledge. And where God has given these two gifts, he has given great power for usefulness. These were gifts of the Holy Ghost, by which God bore witness to the apostles.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Those that wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be kept by him to the end; and those that are so, will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by rich and free grace.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan’s temptations!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Thanksgiving): “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge–even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:4-8)
A. INFERENCE: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1:9)
1. FINDINGS: “How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan’s temptations! 1 Corinthians 1:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Paul’s call as “an apostle by the will of God,” while constituting the ground of the authority he claims in the Corinthian Church (compare Ga 1:1), is a reason for humility on his own part (1 Co 15:8, 10). (Brown, Fausset, & Jamison Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)
3. CONDITION: “In assuming the ministerial office a man should see he does so not of his own impulse, but by the will of God (Je 23:21); Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle (Ro 9:16). (Brown, Fausset, & Jamison Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)
4. CAUSE: “Paul first visited Corinth in March of A.D. 51, during his second missionary journey after his visit to Athens (Acts 18:1). There he met Aquila and Priscilla and joined them in their trade of tentmaking while he ministered in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was later joined in this Corinthian ministry by Silas and Timothy (Acts 18:5). Paul had a very successful ministry for a year and a half at Corinth (Acts 18:8, 11). It was during this time that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Paul left Corinth in A.D. 52 for Jerusalem (Acts 18:18–19). Apollos (Acts 18:26) was invited by the Corinthian believers to minister in Corinth, and he helped the church there in a significant way (Acts 18:27–19:1). Apollos later joined Paul in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:12) and reported to him about the situation at the church in Corinth.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Minister in place.

III. KEY TEXT (Divisions in the Church): “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1:10)
A. INFERENCE: “For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.” (1:11)
1. FINDINGS: “What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ ” (1:12)
2. CRITERIA: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)” (1:13-16)
3. CONDITION: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1:17)
4. CAUSE: “Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all the oratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. 1 Corinthians 1:17” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way to destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favorite pursuits. 1 Corinthians 1:17” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in their effects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there is foolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such, overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Christ the Wisdom and Power of God): “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1:18)
A. INFERENCE: “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (1:19)
1. FINDINGS: “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1:20-21)
2. CRITERIA: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1:22-24)
3. CONDITION: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1:25)
4. CAUSE: “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1:26-29)
5. EFFECT: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1:30-31)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians:2, I. Proclaiming Christ Crucified; II. Wisdom from the Spirit

I. KEY TEXT (Proclaiming Christ Crucified): “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (2:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (2:3-5)
1. FINDINGS: Faith should not rest in the wisdom of men . . . (2:5)
2. CRITERIA: “Christ, in his person, and offices, and sufferings, is the sum and substance of the gospel, and ought to be the great subject of a gospel minister’s preaching, but not so as to leave out other parts of God’s revealed truth and will. 1 Corinthians 2:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Paul preached the whole counsel of God. Few know the fear and trembling of faithful ministers, from a deep sense of their own weakness They know how insufficient they are, and are fearful for themselves.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “When nothing but Christ crucified is plainly preached, the success must be entirely from Divine power accompanying the word, and thus men are brought to believe, to the salvation of their souls. 1 Corinthians 2:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: ““So I” [Conybeare] as one of the “foolish, weak, and despised” instruments employed by God (1Co_1:27, 1Co_1:28); “glorying in the Lord,” not in man’s wisdom (1Co_1:31). Compare 1Co_1:23, “We.”” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “. . . make a show of no other knowledge than this, to preach nothing, to discover the knowledge of nothing, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible)

II. KEY TEXT (Wisdom from the Spirit): “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.” (2:6)
A. INFERENCE: “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” (2:7)
1. FINDINGS: “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’–these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (2:8-10)
2. CRITERIA: “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (2:11)
3. CONDITION: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit whom is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” (2:12)
4. CAUSE: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit of God, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” (2:13)
5. EFFECT: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (2:14-16)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Abide in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians:3, I. Divisions in the Church

I. KEY TEXT (Divisions in the Church): “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, and you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?” (3:1-4)
A. INFERENCE: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (3:6)
1. FINDINGS: “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (3:7)
2. CRITERIA: “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” (3:8)
3. CONDITION: “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (3:9)
4. CAUSE: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (3:10-11)
5. EFFECT: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. ” (3:12-17)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thought of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present of the future–all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (3:18-23)