Romans 8:28-39

1.    Scholarly debate continues about whether it is God who works or “all things” that work and, secondly, if it is God then is it “God” or “the Spirit.” There are arguments for and against all three. How have you understood it? Does it matter?

2.    What do you make of the sequence of God’s actions for God’s people (foreknew, predestined, called, justified, glorified)? According to verse 29, what is the purpose of predestination?

3.    The Greek word behind “spared” in verse 32 is the same as the Greek word behind “withheld” in Genesis 22:12, 16. What might Abraham’s experience tell us about God’s purposes?

4.    Some commentaries sort of skip over verses 31-39, sometimes assigning the name “rhetoric” as if it’s just Paul’s overkill to sum and add persuasion to his argument. Okay, let’s say it’s rhetoric meant to give the final bombastic persuasion to this part of his reasoning. Let’s study how he did it. Review the two themes of the book of Romans (Romans 1:16-17). Review the first movements along that theme (Romans 1:4). Review the core piece of Paul’s reasoning (Romans 6-8). Review  Romans 5:1; 6:1-2; 8:1 as steps toward this final doxology. What part of the persuasion is finished now with chapter 8?

5.    What joy or excitement comes to you from this text? 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?

Further Sources

8:29    Daniel 2:28
8:31    Numbers 14:9; Psalm 118:6
8:32    Genesis 22:12, 16 (see LXX)
8:33    Isaiah 50:8
8:34    Psalm 110:1
8:36    Psalm 44:22; 2 Corinthians 4:11
8:38    Ephesians 1:21; 6:12