painting of a family around a table

Questions for Reflection and Discussion – Romans 11 11-24

We are studying Romans 11:11-24 for Sunday, May 19. The text is a portion of Paul’s argument about ultimate hope for the redemption of all Israel; in this passage, primarily, what this all means for the Gentiles in the Roman church – and by extension, presumably, later Gentiles as well. [Study notes on this text are here.] Here are a few questions we might want to consider before or during class:

What do we think “stumbling” means in v11? Why has this stumbling brought “riches for the world,” according to Paul’s argument, do we think? What are the “riches” he is talking about?

In two places, Paul refers to the inclusion of Gentiles or the ministry to Gentiles as “making jealous.” Do we have thoughts or feelings about this relationship tactic? What are they? Do we have thoughts or feelings about associating it with the activity of God? What are they? Why?

Do we, ourselves, ever experience what Krister Stendahl and Barbara Brown Taylor have called “holy envy”? What has that been like for us? What might be positive about that? What might be negative?

In v15, Paul refers to the “reconciliation of the world” and the “resurrection from the dead.” Where else does Paul refer to these? (For instance, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Philippians 3:7-11) How do these other passages help us understand what Paul means here?

What are the lessons Paul seems to want his readers to learn from the image of olive branches grafted in? Why do we say this? (e.g., where is this supported by the text?) Are these lessons applicable to Christians today? How, do we think?

What do we notice about Paul’s reasoning in verses 12, 15, and 24? How does Paul’s logic and discussion here affect our thinking about Gentiles and Jews? Why is that?

[More personal] Can we describe our own attitude towards Judaism, and Jewish people? What is it or has it been? What has shaped that attitude, do we think? How has reading Paul here affected that attitude? Why is that?

an olive orchard as painted by Van Gogh

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