"The Big Picture" Weekly Study

Community Groups

Introduction to "The Big Picture"

So many people see the Bible as puzzle pieces scattered on a table without the box.


They can tell you bits and pieces of stories they have heard in church, but rarely do they see the Bible as a whole, because we rarely just sit back and look at "The Big Picture".


Each week, we will take a book of the Bible and simplify it's main message, in order to help you understand the Bible as a whole. We will also mention a few main themes / lessons found in each book of the Bible. We are not trying to get too deep or even focus on one particular story, but rather tie the puzzle pieces together, so your personal study is more clear and enjoyable.


We will be using the book, "What the Bible is all About" by Henrietta C. Mears to gather our notes.


We recommend you purchase this book and use it for study - Click Here!

Romans, Part 1, March 19, 2019

AUTHOR: Romans 1:1 identifies the author of the book of Romans as the apostle Paul. Romans 16:22 indicates that Paul used a scribe named Tertius to write this letter.


DATE: The book was likely written AD 56-58.


PURPOSE AND SUMMARY:


This letter, the first in canonical order but not the first of Paul’s epistles, is the longest and the most influential of all the apostle Paul’s letters. Writing to Christians at Rome, Paul presents to them his core teachings on faith in Christ: the universality of sin; the powerlessness of the law to make us righteous before God; the power of God’s saving act in Christ’s death and resurrection; and believers receiving that power and forgiveness of sins by faith in Christ.


We now begin a study of the Epistles (letters) in the New Testament. Paul wrote 13 of the 21; hence, they are called the Pauline epistles. He wrote his letters to the churches at Thessalonica, Galatia, Corinth and Rome during his missionary journeys. While he was a prisoner in Rome he wrote his letters to the church at Ephesus, one to the Colossians, one to Philemon and one to the Philippians.


After his imprisonment, he wrote two letters to Timothy and one to Titus.




LIFE OF PAUL


Paul was born at Tarsus, “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5). His teacher was Gamaliel, the great teacher of the Pharisees. Like all Hebrew boys, he learned a trade—he was a tentmaker. At Jerusalem, he was present at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. No doubt this scene made a tremendous impression on the young Saul. On the way to Damascus, on a mission to persecute Christians, the young Pharisee had a head-on collision with Jesus Christ! After his miraculous conversion, he was baptized and received his commission to preach the gospel. He spent three years studying and preparing in Arabia.


After laboring for three years in Tarsus and one year in Antioch, Paul was directed by the Holy Spirit to become the great missionary to the Gentiles. On his three missionary journeys, he founded many churches and wrote his epistles. The combination of Roman citizenship, Greek education and Hebrew religion wonderfully qualified him for his great work, but you will find that he trusted alone in the “grace and apostleship” he received directly from Jesus Christ (Romans 1:5).


After a life filled with sacrifice and suffering, he sealed his testimony with his own life’s blood. Tradition says he was beheaded at Rome, and his body buried in the catacombs.



THE CHURCH AT ROME


Who founded the church at Rome we do not know. Peter did not found it. Peter’s ministry was to the Jewish people (see Galatians 2:9). Visitors from Rome, in Jerusalem for the Passover and converted at Pentecost, went back to the capital, carrying the “seed of the gospel and established a new center in Rome. During the 28 intervening years, many Christians from all parts of the East had migrated to Rome, some of them Paul’s own converts.


Paul was eager to visit this church, and sent them this letter from Corinth, from the home of Gaius, a wealthy Corinthian Christian, while he was on his third missionary journey. It was written in the fourth year of Nero, then the emperor of Rome. In this epistle, he sets forth his gospel (see Romans 1:16-17).


Paul, “a servant” (Romans 1:1), writes to the saints at Rome (see Romans 1:7), concerning the Savior (see Romans 1:3-4). As a servant, Paul reveals several things about himself:


• Set apart for the gospel—Romans 1:1

• Serving in the gospel—Romans 1:9

• Saved by the gospel—Romans 1:16



After Paul states the subject of the book of Romans, in 1:16-17, he then reveals people’s need of this righteousness. All people have sinned and all the world is guilty before God. From his elevated pulpit, Paul looks around and sees zealous Jews, proud Greeks, boastful Romans and a multitude of ordinary, common sinners like ourselves. What a terrible picture he presents in Romans 1:18-32!


First the unrighteousness of the Gentiles is portrayed; then, that of the Jews.

Fortunately, Paul tells us how God makes guilty people good. The keys to this are found in Romans 1:16-17:


• The person of the gospel—Christ

• The power of the gospel—“power of God” (verse 16)

• The purpose of the gospel—“salvation” (verse 16)

• The people to whom sent—“to every one” (verse 16)

• The plan of acceptance—“to every one that believeth” (verse 16)

• The particular result—“the just shall live by faith” (verse 17)”



Good news! These words will command the attention of anyone. When you say to someone, “I have good news for you!” you can always get that person to listen. The real value of good news depends on the source—who said it. That is why the gospel Paul presents is so welcome. The news comes from God. Romans is Paul’s shout of joy to a lost world.


The first three chapters describe the hell of sin. The last five chapters describe the heaven of holiness. The intervening chapters describe Christ, the Way. When you look at Jesus, you see the righteousness God requires.


ROMANS 1–3:20—WHAT WE ARE BY NATURE


Why do we need salvation? Because we are sinners. God has the human heart, and Paul shows us what God finds in all of us. I know your X-ray is the same because Paul says, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). Read every word of Romans 3, a picture of a person without God. You will believe then that the natural state of the human heart is desperately wicked.


Paul presents a courtroom scene: God, the judge of all the earth, summons Jews and Gentiles before the bar of justice. Prisoner after prisoner is brought up. Both Jews and Gentiles are given the opportunity for a hearing (see Romans 2:1-16; 2:17–3:8).


The general charge is stated: “We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9).


We get an awful picture of sin in these first three chapters of Romans. Remember, “sin” is a marksman’s word. It means “missing the mark”—the standard God has set for us. God’s Word says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Fall short in our good deeds? No—of the glory of God. Do not measure your life by any other standard but this. Do not compare yourselves to others like you. Of course you may not have fallen as short as some others you know, but you are short as far as God is concerned.

We are all sinners because we were born into a sinful race.


We are all children of Adam. Adam, the head of our race, was not created that way (see Genesis 1:26). He deliberately sinned and his sinful nature was passed on to us all. And we were not only born into sin, but we also have sinned ourselves, for “all have sinned.” Remember this: We sin because we are sinners. This is our nature. A plum tree bears plums because it is a plum tree. The fruit is the result of its nature. Sin is the fruit of a sinful heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9).


Christ not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but He is also able to free us from the consciousness of guilt and the power of sin. Sin makes us feel guilty. A person who has broken the law feels guilty and seeks to hide. This is what the first man, Adam, did. A guilty conscience causes a fear of punishment. The sinner is always trying to flee from the consequences of the broken law. The person fears the judge and what he will pronounce. This is why a person’s sins and guilty conscience banish him or her from the presence of God. God does not need to banish the sinner. The person flees of his or her own accord. This is what will happen on the day when the wrath of God will be revealed (see Revelation 6:15-16).


The first thing that is necessary for the sinner to be free is that the dreadful consequences of the person’s guilt have to be taken away. The sinner needs more than pardon, for that would leave the person with his or her sense of guilt. A president or governor or king can pardon a criminal, but no human has the power to remove the sense of guilt. Proper punishment for the deed must be pronounced and carried out. This is what Christ accepted for us. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and because all of us “have sinned,” Christ came to die and bear the penalty for the sins committed against a holy God.


From: Dr. Henrietta C. Mears. “What the Bible Is All About KJV.”


What is the Bible?

The Bible is a book, written by men, inspired by God, tested through time and verified by our faith.



II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 


  • Estimated 40 Different Authors
  • Covers 3600 Years of Man's History
  • 1500 Years in Writing



The Bible was written in different countries and cultures, without a single contradiction.


The Bible was written by kings, fishermen, poets, teachers, prophets, government officials, doctors, and underprivileged people. 


The Bible contains the oldest and most reliable records of ancient history ever written.


Some doubt the Bible:


If you doubt the validity of something, the most common solution to resolving the question, is to study and test it's message.


This is exactly what generations have done over and over, and yet still today, millions of Christians trust all 66 books of the Bible to be the actual Word of God!


Time and again, its narratives have been shown to contain a remarkably accurate account of people, places and events of bygone ages. 


The Bible is published in over 2,000 languages and dialects, and the number of Bibles produced far surpasses anything ever printed and published in the history of mankind. It remains the world’s best- selling book every year. 



The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek:


The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, the Jews original language.


Bible historians tell us that the Jews language changed from primarily Hebrew to Greek, due to the hundreds of years of foreign invasion.


Therefore, the New Testament was originally written in Greek, the most common language in the time surrounding Jesus and His church.


The King James Bible:


In the year 1611, one of the most popular and accurate Bible translations was published into English.


This was a literal word transfer, as well as why so many have a hard time reading in the King James Version, in comparison to some of the more modern versions.


We recommend using the KJV for study, along side more modern versions, for simple comprehension.


Think of it like this -


Reading a modern version, is like paraphrasing the King James Version to your friends, so they will understand it better.


The problem with the paraphrasing, is that it puts all interpretation in the hands of the paraphraser.


This is why we study the Bible and not just read the Bible . . .


In order to extract the truth from the Bible, we must -


  1. Use Hebrew and Greek study tools to help reduce any errors that may be caused in translations. Remember that the translators were attempting to find the closest word in the english, but their definition of the closest word was based on their interpretation of that scripture.
  2. Look for patterns in scripture, context, and consistency, before we accept emphatic truths. We are always safer when we test any truth we see in scripture, against all scripture, to ensure it does not conflict.
  3. Have a great desire to know the truth and not build the truth. The truth is present, but it's more revealed through your desire to know truth, than any other method.
  4. Discuss the Bible together. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. If what you believe is true, you should be able to defend it among your spiritual family.
  5. Consult our church leadership for clarity, when confused.