Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 12:20-13:4
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 12:20
v20: Not only should we resist the impulse to seek revenge, we should actively watch for opportunities to show kindness. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you” says one of Solomon’s proverbs (Pr 25:21, 22). Having just assured us that there is a terrible eternity awaiting those who hate Jesus and His people, Paul uses this proverb (Septuagint) to challenge us to engage in a form of spiritual warfare. He wants us to reflect the heart of God rather than the spirit motivating those who attack us.

Monday: Romans 12:20
v20 (continued): Whereas those who severely abuse believers may deny them food and water or other basic human needs, believers should watch for the opportunity to meet their enemies’ practical needs. In doing so we function as agents of God’s grace. Instead of giving them the justice they deserve, we give them kindness. Instead of stirring up further hostility, we refuse to participate in a “cycle of revenge” by showing genuine concern for them as human beings. This, says the proverb, will “heap burning coals on their heads,” which was an ancient saying, apparently originating in Egypt, which meant they would change their minds (in this case about wanting to hurt believers further).

Tuesday: Romans 12:21
v21: Paul describes such kindness as an act of war. He literally says, “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil by good.” By replacing revenge with kindness we refuse to allow the spirit that motivates revenge to defeat us. Instead we unleash a powerful witness of God’s love which can break the hardness that grips an enemy’s heart. Paul’s goal isn’t to make us passive when persecuted. He’s teaching us how to effectively fight back using God’s “weapons” rather than the world’s weapons.

Wednesday: Romans 13:1
v1: Having just told the Roman church how to live among family and neighbors who are hostile, Paul now takes this discussion a step further by instructing believers on how to live peaceably with civil government. His goal, apparently, is to help them avoid unnecessary conflict. They were facing enough trouble without being seen as a rebellious religious movement who arrogantly considered themselves to be too good to submit to governing authorities or pay taxes. That kind of reputation would be sure to bring state-sponsored violence and to chill any interest unbelievers might have in joining the church.

Thursday: Romans 13:1
v1 (continued): The way Paul argues his case tells us much about the problem developing in the Roman church. Apparently, some claimed that their submission to Jesus superseded their submission to non-church authorities. As citizens of God’s kingdom they no longer needed to submit to the civil laws of Rome or pay taxes to Caesar. Paul confronts this line of reasoning with a blunt command, “Let every living being be in submission to superior authorities….” He corrects their faulty thinking with a general principle of life: Every “living being” is called to submission, not just to God but to those human leaders placed in authority. By choosing the word “soul” for the subject of this command he expands its application to include all living beings. The word is used in the creation account in Genesis (Ge 1:20, 21, 24, 30; 2:7, Septuagint) for both animals and humans. It essentially means those beings which draw breath.

Friday: Romans 13:1
v1 (continued): Paul adds, “…for there is no authority, if not from God, and those which exist have been set in order by God.” In other words, God is the One who gave humans the right to rule. The principle of humans exercising authority over other humans is not evil, it is a gift of God. And He also established different levels of authority. The first level of authority which existed was in the family, and then as families multiplied there were tribes and cities, and then as these multiplied there were nations (Ge 10:5, 20, 32; 12:2; 17:20; Ex 18:13-27; 20:12; Ac 17:26).

Saturday: Romans 13:2-4
vs2-4: Anyone who rejects the right of civil government to exercise authority is actually defying God’s command and will be judged. People who have good character and live fruitful lives don’t need to be afraid of government officials. It’s those who do evil that need to be afraid. Then, so there will be no doubt about what he is telling the church, Paul adds, “Do you want to live without being afraid of those in authority? Do the right thing and they will praise you, for that person is God’s minister, who He put in that position, to do good for you. But if you choose to do evil, you should be afraid because that person is also God’s minister of vengeance who has been placed in that position to punish, and even execute, those who continue to practice evil.”

Return to Daily Bible Studies