Bible Readings for February 28-March 6

Romans 13

Why do some people find it a challenge to submit to governing authorities? How does Christian beliefs—either yours or the governing authority’s—help or hinder this desire to submit?

Do you act as if you believe that God has instituted those in authority? In what ways?

How does loving others fulfill the law?

Romans 14

How well do you accept the weak? The strong? Why is this the case?

How might some be guilty of causing others to stumble?

Romans 15

What specific action might be considered “bearing with the weak?” In what ways do you act like this?

What has Christ accomplished through you to win others to him?

Romans 16

Why do you think Paul wrote this list of names to conclude this letter?

Ephesians 1

Verses 3-14 are one sentence in the original Greek. Summarize this “sentence” in your own words.

How has your life changed by being adopted as a child of God?

Who do you remember in prayers of thanksgiving and why? Have you told them this lately?

What does it mean for you faith that Christ is the head of the church?

Prayer for the week: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1.18-21, NIV)

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 21-27

Romans 8

If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, why are there so many Christians who fear they are going to miss out on eternal life due to sin in their life?

What does it mean to walk by the Spirit and not by flesh? What examples can you give from your life that demonstrates this?

What are ways you remind yourself that the present sufferings you face cannot compare to the future glory that is to be revealed?

If God is for you, who can be against you?

Romans 9

Would it be difficult for you to say you wish you could be cut off from Christ for the sake of your kin or family? Why or why not?

Romans 10

How have you seen the truth of the following verse: “Everyone who believes in [Christ] will not be put to shame”?

In what ways are you the “beautiful feet” that share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ?

Romans 11

Why do you think Paul was concerned to show God’s love not only for the Jews—Paul’s own people—but for the Gentiles, as well?

Romans 12

What does “present your bodies as living sacrifices” look like for followers of Jesus today?

What specific actions do you take not to be conformed to the pattern of this world?

What gifts have you been given by God and how are you using them for the body of Christ?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we always offer ourselves to you as living sacrifices, loving others, rejoicing in hope, and in constant prayer to you.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 14-20

Romans 3

While we know that Paul as quoting the Old Testament when he writes “none is righteous,” what is your initial thinking as you read it? Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

How does the fact that “all have sinned” but “are justified by grace” affect what it means to live a life following God?

Romans 4

From what you know about the story of Abraham, how easy was it for him to have faith that the promise of God would come through Abraham’s offspring? What does this tell you about God’s promises?

Describe a time that you have “hoped against hope” for a promise of God. How did you waiting ultimately play out?

Romans 5

How has being justified through faith given you peace with God?

Is there anything else that is more certain that our hope in God? Why do we at times not act like this is the case?

What is your reaction to knowing that Christ died for the ungodly, that while we were sinners, Christ dies for us?

Romans 6

If you have died to sin, why do you continue to live in it?

Romans 7

Do you ever feel like the person Paul describes here, doing the very things you do not want to do? Why is it so easy for this to be a reality in our lives?

Who rescues you from this sort of life? How?

Prayer for the week: “God, we give you praise for sending your son to die for us, even though we were sinners. May we live in the faithfulness of him.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 7-13

Matthew 26

Are you surprised at Jesus’ response to the disciples’ reaction against the woman who anointed him? What response might you have thought him to make?

Do you think the disciples understood what it meant for Jesus to have his blood shed for them? How do you understand his shedding of blood for you and more specifically, your salvation?

How do you think you would have responded to those arresting Jesus if you were one of his disciples in the garden? In what ways do we react in the same way as these disciples when our own faith in Jesus is tested or challenged?

Matthew 27

How does Jesus’ response to his accusers compare to how we respond to someone accusing us, especially someone who accuses us falsely? What can you or should you change in your own life as a result of Jesus’ example?

If you had been a casual observer of Jesus’ crucifixion and heard all of the things that happened when he died, how do you think you would have been impacted?

Why is the message of the centurion at the cross so crucial to Matthew’s message?

Matthew 28

What did the women come to the tomb to find? Do you think the women were afraid? What reason would Jesus have to tell them not to be afraid?

What are ways you are going about making disciples? How can you make doing so more a priority in your day-to-day life?

Romans 1

What reasons might someone give for your faith?

In what ways is the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ power for salvation in your life?

What does it mean to live by faith? Does this describe your life? How can you do this better?

Romans 2

When you had a time in your life where you had to repent, what brought you to that moment? How much did God’s kindness move you to repentance? Why is his kindness important to moments of repentance in your life?

Paul writes that it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous, but those who are doers of the law. What does “doing the law” look like for us today in 2021?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we be always seeking to make disciples.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Romans 8.28 – August 12, 2020

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28 , NIV)

“Romans 8:28 is my all time all circumstances all everything verse of choice in good and challenging seasons. I memorized it when I was about 10 years old and I’m 63 years old now. God knows what I’m going through when I’m happy and when I’m sad. He IS going to make things work out for good. I love him and he’s going to work it out. I will never be collateral damage in the war of good and evil, light and dark, earthly and heavenly. I’ll experience loss, which is Satan’s realm. I’ll experience death, which is Satan’s realm. I’ll experience pain, disappointment and heartache, which are Satan’s tools, BUT my God is stronger. My God will comfort me and those around me who suffer Satan’s attacks. Satan and his darkness cannot have me because I have been called according to God’s infinite Grace, and all things will work out for good in me.”

Thought Questions:

What situations in your life have most caused you to ask whether God cares about the struggles you are going through?

How can you continue to focus on God even in the midst of those times of struggle or hardship?

In what ways have some of those situations turned into positive moments in which you were (later) able to talk about God’s goodness and faithfulness to you, even though it may not have seemed that way at the time?

Romans 8.38-39 – June 10, 2020

Romans 8:38–39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39, NIV)

This passage was a favorite of many at South Plains.

Thought Questions:

When you think about your life, what are those things you fear, the things that can totally sidetrack the plans you have and are living out? In what ways are these things out of our control, in spite of our attempts to manage them?

How afraid are you that you may be separated from God, that his love is not enough to take care of you? Why do you think this is a common fear, even among people who are believers?

How do you live your life differently knowing that nothing can separate you from God’s love?

Romans 3.21-31 – May 20, 2020

Romans 3:21–31

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,  through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21–26, NIV)

We often quote Romans 3.23 (“All have sinned…”) but we need to remember the next verse: “And all are justified freely by his grace.”

Thought Questions:

What are the different ways you can identify that people try to justify themselves, that is, try to determine they are in good standing with God? Why do so many of these ways involve our own doing and our own power?

How does being justified freely by God’s grace through Jesus affect how you approach trying to live for God? In what ways does it make living for him easier?

How do you have faith in Jesus to redeem you, a redemption that comes from no effort of your own?

Romans 5.1-9 – March 25, 2020

Romans 5:1–9

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
 (Romans 5:1–9, NIV)

We have been justified by faith and the result is we can have peace!

Thought Questions:

Think about times in your life when you have attempted to live perfect a perfect life, without any mess-ups. How much peace did you feel during these times?

In the midst of trying times, what–or who–gives you hope?

How does it make you feel to know that someone died for you when you were most powerless? What sort of response does this make you want to have?

Romans 8.37-39 – March 23, 2020

Romans 8:37–39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37–39, NIV)

What things have you being trying to win on your own terms and with your own power? Have you allowed God to fight those battles for you?

Thought Questions:

What are some things in your life that seem to conquer you more than you conquer them? What are you doing to try overcome those things?

Why do we think that life, death, angels, demons, etc. conquer us versus thinking the other way around?

How does knowing that whatever you can think of that might be stronger or more powerful than you comes nowhere close to the power of God’s love? How can you demonstrate this confidence to someone today?

Romans 8.35-39 – March 19, 2020

Romans 8.35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: 

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39, NIV)

This may be one of the most cherished questions in all of Scripture: Who can separate us from the love of Christ? No one, of course!

Thought Questions:

Why do you think so many people have a hard time understand that God loves them, instead thinking God is “out to get them?”

What does it mean to be a conqueror? How does the love of God help us conquer?

In what ways do you assume something or someone can separate you from God’s love? How can you live differently now that you have read this passage?