Romans 3:1-8

1.    Read the first nine verses in a paraphrased version (Living Bible, Message, Clear Word). Identify four different but connected heckling questions in these verses.

2.    These heckling questions are based on the deuteronomistic principle (see Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15, 58-61; see also Leviticus 24:17-22; Exodus 21:24; Deuteronomy 19:21; Matthew 5:38; 7:12). That means that in general and in each specific instance, people get here on earth what they have coming to them. Both Ecclesiastes (time and chance happen to everyone) and Job (though He slay me yet will I trust Him) take issue with that principle. So does Jesus (do not resist evil, Matthew 5:39-42; different from resist the devil, James 4:7).

3.    Is there a common theme or manner in the way Paul answers the hecklers? If so, what is it? or what are its characteristics?

4.     Read Psalm 51, then read 1 Samuel 11 and 12, and finish with Psalm 32:1-2. Why do you think Paul quoted only one verse of this entire back-story? Does the back-story help to explain his point?

5.    Ponder the function of this passage in the outline of the letter. Look for images and echoes from the Old Testament. Look for similarities in Paul’s other letters. Look for echoes of Jesus. What questions arise for you out of the reading of this text? What did you learn that was new to you, or a new way of looking at something? What does this text tell you about God and about yourself? About humans in general?

Wilma’s Notes:
3:2    Deuteronomy 4:7-8; Psalm 103:7; 147:19-20;
        Romans 9:1-6
3:4    Psalm 51:4; 1 Samuel 11 and 12; Psalm 32:1-2