Can we see how Romans 5:1-11 supports “confident hope”? “Confident hope” is allegedly the stated theme of all the texts we are studying this quarter, but Romans 5:1-11 really brings that theme into focus. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a few more questions about the text we might want to think about or discuss in class:
We noticed last week that the word translated “justified” (in v1, and v9) can also be translated “made righteous.” Does the term “justified” mean something different to us from “made righteous”? Can we describe or talk about that difference? Does it affect the way we understand this text? How?
It’s also possible to translate “we have peace with God” in v1 as “let us have peace with God.” What difference would that make to the way we understand this text? Why?
Paul writes that “we boast [alternatively, exult; rejoice]” in three things: the hope of the glory of God (v2); sufferings [alternatively, tribulations, afflictions] (v3); and God (v11).
How do we feel about that word “boast”? Is that a problem for us – and if so, why? Does the problem go away if we think “exult” or “rejoice”? Why? What are some examples of things people “boast” about, or that we ourselves have boasted about? “Exult” or “rejoice” about? How are those things similar to the things Paul lists here? How are they different? Does thinking about that give us some additional insight into what Paul means here? What insight?
Why do we boast or exult or rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (v2), do we think? Why do we think that? (e.g., something in the text? Some other source? What source?)
Why do we boast or exult or rejoice in sufferings [tribulations, afflictions] (v3)? [Here it would probably be a good idea to work through the logic in verses 3-5. What is the process Paul is describing here? Can we think of any examples of how that process has worked in our own lives, or in anyone else’s?]
Why do we boast or exult or rejoice in God (v11)? [Here it would probably be a good idea to work through the argument in verses 6-10, and notice exactly what Paul says in these verses. We could also relate this back to Romans 4:3. That is, Abraham believed something that was “reckoned to him as righteousness.” What is Paul presenting here for belief that is reckoned to believers as righteousness? Specifically, do we notice the role “reconciliation” plays in Paul’s description, and in “our” boasting in God?]
[More personal] What thoughts and feelings do we have in reading and studying this text? What do we seem to have learned from reading this text through this time?
Image: “Figures in Conversation – Étaples,” Leslie Hunter, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons