At this point into Romans, let’s stop and go back over what we’ve learned, because initially I was writing this in short, almost devotional kind of writing. Romans really shouldn’t be treated at all like this. Serious attention needs to be paid to this book, as CAREFUL study of it will set you right doctrinally.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again – by studying Romans in context, by reading a verse in the setting its found, and by endeavoring to understand every verse for what it is in relation to the verses around it, will refute almost every heresy and false teaching there is. most of what I spent 2013 and half of 2014 talking about would never have happened if the originators of those false systems had taken the time to read this book and understand it in context.
Here’s the thing – study of the Bible will yield exactly what you’re looking for. If you want to prove the existence of Bigfoot, I’m sure you’ll find the proof in the bible, through poor eisogesis. After all, people have imagined a New Age Christ, “proof” of Christ living in India, a Law teaching Christ, a Roman Catholic Christ, a hippie Christ, etc.
But if you really want to know what God wants you to know and believe, we need to be like those newly saved people that have not a clue. They’re saved, the burden of their sins are gone, and they’re reading the Bible with enthusiasm, wanting to know quite simply:
“what does God want to teach me? What does He want me to believe and understand?”
The bible is quite lengthy, at 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and over 53,000 verses. A four year seminary will give you a good grasp of the Bible – but that’s about it. A good grasp. I understand Bible doctrine because men have spent their entire lives reading the Bible, endeavoring to understand it, writing down their insights, and passing them on. Seminaries were put together and curriculums designed by men who understood the 12 major areas of doctrine.
There’s a lot of little subdivisions of doctrine we still need to grasp. Like the guy who decided he wanted to study the bible and all 365 references to money in it. I suspect he was a follower of the health and wealth, name it and claim it word faith system, because I can’t imagine a Baptist doing it! However, he put it together and made the Rainbow study Bible.
So, say what you like about it, at the very least, it identifies all the verses about money in the Bible. Is that a bad thing? Well, I don’t think so. How many Christian men have risked money in bad financial endeavors (usually with other Christians) and lost it all…. because they didn’t pay attention to the Bible?
Then there’s the advocates of “read a chapter of Proverbs a day.” That’s great advice there. My wife and I did that for a year or so. I can’t see that being your entire devotional reading for the rest of your life – it would be like someone to decide to read nothing but the Song of Solomon every day for the rest of your life. Prolongued study of only one book does not give a balanced view of the Bible.
Anyway, I’m rambling, which I understand I’m prone to do. Rereading Romans 1, the introduction (versus 1-7) alone merits study. Paul is describing first of all the status of an apostle. The office of Apostle has passed from this earth. The word itself in Hebrew would be Shaliach, “sent one”. In the odd usage of Chassids, it’s usually used in the Plural form to designate – a single person. It’s what’s known as “plural intensity” or “plural magnification” if you remember that from your first year of Hebrew Study. It’s a plural form of the singular, to show how important the office is. A Sh’luchim is one sent from one synagogue to another, sometimes with a message, sometimes to perform a specific function or task.
The difference is, the apostles were all permanently designated as “shluchim”. Paul explains that concept in the very first verse of Romans!
With apologies to everyone in the word faith movement that have named themselves Apostle, here’ s how you get to be an apostle. It’s not a special ceremony with oil anointing or what have you. To be an Apostle, one must have seen a physical manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ after the Resurrection. If He appeared in a vision, I’d say first test the spirits, because the Bible makes it clear in the first verses of Hebrews and Jude that in these Latter times, the Lord speaks to us through the Bible. Why does the Lord need to come to YOU? Who the heck are YOU that the Lord Jesus Christ needs to come to YOU in a vision???
The office of Apostle was designated as one permanently put aside and separated (notice the wording Paul uses…)
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, Romans 1:1 (KJV)
Apostles don’t live n fancy houses and drive fancy cars. They don’t have big screen TVs – matter of fact, in the lifetime of the last living apostle, the canon of the Bible was once for all sealed. Done. Apostles were designated and separated unto God, to spend their entire lives in service. They slept in homes on the floor, or on a spare bed if they had them – but mostly on the floor. And went hungry a lot. And understand this, the Apostles all knew they had limited time, because all of them – ALL of them – knew they were going to die for the sake of the gospel.
so, if you’re going to call yourself an Apostle, because you were calling yourself pastor but everyone calls themselves Pastor and you wanted to feel important so you called yourself bishop (even though its an interchangeable term for pastor) and now everyone calls themselves Bishop, but you REALLY wanted to magnify yourself and call yourself Apostle – watch out. God may well honor that, and you may find yourself being judged as an apostle. You may have had great rewards as a pastor, but now you’re an apostle, and God may judge you according to that standard.
And God may well require your life, which was the price all the Apostles paid. Every Apostle died in the service of the Lord, were beaten, etc. They didn’t have 150 acre estates.
Anyway, that’s all from a study of the first verse of Romans. I’ll spare everyone the very in depth study of EVERY verse of Romans in that manner, because even in the pulpit I wouldn’t subject a week-long sermon over every verse in the bible, as you could understand, it would take 50,000 weeks – which means since Christ ascended into heaven, the entire Bible would have been preached – twice. That’s how long we’re talking to analyze every verse in the Bible in that manner. Almost 962 years through the Bible like that.
Anyway, I’m asking that if you want expositional study of the Bible – which is how the voting is tending so far! – then do yourself and me the favor – as I teach through each chapter of the Bible, you have to read the verses.