Before the Session

Facilitator: In advance of the session

  • Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
  • Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
  • Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media).

Context

Start by asking:

  • Which laws are you willing to admit that you have broken at some time in your life?
  • Given the complexities involved, how much do you think it’s possible for a person to live completely lawfully and why?
  • To what degree is ignorance of a particular law an excuse and why?
  • If the Bible’s “day of judgment” worked the same way as earthly courtrooms, how might we fare and why?

Content

Read Romans 4:1-17, then watch the Bible Background Video.


Then ask questions like these:

  • What is the difference, according to Paul, between getting a paycheck for our work, and being made right with God because of our trust (verses 4-5)?
  • In what ways does Paul’s quotation (in verses 6-8) from Psalm 32 help make his point? Who is blessed – by whom, and why?
  • Some people in Paul’s time believed that their obedience to the Law made them right with God. How does Paul counter this belief using Abraham’s story (verses 9-10, 13)?
  • What did it mean, according to Paul to be circumcised and to keep God’s many commands (verses 11-12)?
  • In what sense do we become “children” of Abraham (verses 16-17)?
  • How does Paul describe God in verse 17, and how does this relate to Abraham’s story… and to ours?

Closure

Continue by asking:

  • What do you think the word “righteousness” means as it is used here, and how does Paul say we receive it?
  • What did it mean for Abraham to trust God, and what do you think it means for us to do so?
  • If our works for God and our attempts to keep his commands don’t make us right with God, why do we even try?
  • Why do we sometimes slip back into old ways of thinking we can be made right with God by the things we do and how can we change it?
  • How could someone simplify the message of this passage so that others might more readily understand it?

Close with prayer.

Writer: Jon Parks

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