Advent Day 10 Bridging The Gap: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Who is Paul writing to and what is he referencing when stating, “as it is written”, in verse 10?

2) Why does Paul include Old Testament references in verse 10-18?

3) Why does Paul make a point of calling everyone a sinner in verse 23?

Romans 3:10-18, 23

10 as it is written:
There is no one righteous, not even one.
11 There is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away;
all alike have become worthless.
There is no one who does what is good,
not even one.
13 Their throat is an open grave;
they deceive with their tongues.
Vipers’ venom is under their lips.
14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,
17 and the path of peace they have not known.
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;

Original Intent

1) Who is Paul writing to and what is he referencing when stating, “as it is written”, in verse 10?
Paul is writing this letter to the Christian believers who were living in Rome. The church in Rome consisted of both Jewish and Gentile believers. The Jewish believers would have been familiar with the Scripture Paul referenced, which is why he says, “as it is written” as means of reminding them of the prophecies they had grown up learning. Paul is looking backwards to what was written in the books of Psalm and Isaiah generations ago to support his primary statement that neither Jew nor Greek are excused from sin and its consequences. (verse 9) He begins by taking his audience back to Psalm 14:1-3 in verses 10-12, pointing out that even the famed King David wrote of all people being under sin. He then moves to Psalm 5:9  and Psalm 10:7 in verses 13-14 to showcase the deadly result of sin. Paul then switches to Isaiah 59:7-8 in verses 15-17 and finally Psalm 36:1 in verse 18 to emphasize the severed relationship between God and sinner, “the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God in their eyes.” Paul’s usage of familiar Old Testament texts are the grounds he uses to build his argument to the self-righteous Jews that all are sinners, including themselves, regardless of their so-called “holy” lineage as God’s chosen people.

2) Why does Paul include Old Testament references in verse 10-18?
Romans 3 begins by reminding the Roman believers of an unchanging reality; while they are unrighteous and sinful, God is, and always will be, faithful and righteous. (verses 3-5) With this foundation, Paul begins referencing the Old Testament passages where he reminds believers of what has always been true of the Jews’ lost spiritual state before God, even long before Jesus’ arrival as an infant. He reminds his audience they are all sinners just like those who had gone before them. Of their own merit, it was absolutely impossible to attain a “good status” before a perfectly righteous God, because true goodness only originates with God Himself. Any “good” we do is already tainted by sin by the time we even conceive it in our minds. It was absolutely essential that Paul’s listeners understood the fundamental truths of humanity’s sin-nature and God’s divinely good and righteous nature. If we continue reading in Romans 3:21-26, Paul reminds his audience of the only One who is good and the only One who provides hope, Jesus. However, in order for the sacrifice of Jesus to hold value, the Roman believers must first understand they can never be good enough, or do enough good, to earn salvation for themselves. Salvation is the gift of Jesus because of God’s good love for His creation.

3) Why does Paul make a point of calling everyone a sinner in verse 23?
Verse 23 is included in Paul’s writing about Jesus and the gift found in Him because it is a critical component to truly accepting that gift. It is here that Paul calls his audience exactly what they are, sinners. There is no other way to word it and there is no beating around the bush. Paul wants his audience to be well aware of who and what they are: sinners. Verses 10-18 provide a few examples of the sins which have been committed and reminds them they can never live up to the perfection and holiness of God. Verse 12 summarizes it best, “All have turned away”. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, all are counted as sinners. If this were Paul’s conclusion, he would leave his audience in utter hopelessness. However, if we continue reading, verse 24 brings Good News, “they are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Paul wants his audience to fully embrace the reality of themselves as sinners that they might fully see Who they need as their Rescuer: Jesus.

Everyday Application

1) Who is Paul writing to and what is he referencing when stating, “as it is written”, in verse 10?
Paul’s words, circling back to ancient texts, may not carry the same immediate, weighty significance to us as they did to his first audience, but they still carry heavy implication for all of us today.  When Paul writes, “as it is written”, he is placing weight on the veracity of all Scripture. God’s Word can be trusted for every generation, and its message remains applicable to all people regardless of background or ethnicity. We may not have these particular Old Testament passages memorized as the Jews did, but we should be prompted to regard all of Scripture as wholly profitable and necessary for our spiritual growth. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Just as the prophet’s words were not originally written for Roman believers, neither were Paul’s words originally written to you and I. However, Paul’s tactic of bringing old passages to mind underscores the reality that God’s Word is living and active and should be applied to our everyday lives, regardless of the century in which we live. (Hebrews 4:12) Consider your own practice of Bible reading and evaluate how you are doing in reading all of Scripture and letting it change you in real life.

2) Why does Paul include Old Testament references in verse 10-18?
Paul uses Old Testament references to remind his audience of who they are before God; it’s significant to note that he used Scripture as the mirror. Just as they were reminded they were not good, and could never do enough good, we too are reminded of the same. Likewise, it is the truth of Scripture that teaches us about ourselves as well as about God and His divine nature. As believers we can never accomplish enough good works to earn salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9) We need the sacrifice of Jesus, who paid the penalty of our sin, which is death, when He died on the cross that we might be forgiven. Without understanding the truth from Scripture that we are not good enough and cannot earn our way to salvation, the sacrifice of Jesus will never be fully understood or fully appreciated. We will never see the true love shown to us by God if we do not first see who we are apart from it. (Romans 5:8) The only good inside of us as believers comes from God, the source of all goodness. (Philippians 3:9)

3) Why does Paul make a point of calling everyone a sinner in verse 23?
If I’m honest this verse strikes a nerve when I read it. Paul is calling me (and you) a sinner. It isn’t comfortable to sit in the reality of who we are. As a matter of fact, the fleshly reaction to such an accusation is to become defensive. However, Paul, and ultimately God, wants us to acknowledge exactly who we are in the eyes of a perfectly Holy God. There is no ranking of sins or comparing whose sin is worse than another’s. Sin is sin. We are each sinners. These truths must be embraced for ourselves for it is only in this acceptance, and the desperation that comes from sitting in this reality, that the sacrifice of Jesus becomes the freeing gift it is. I am thankful Paul did not leave us sitting in the pits of despair but reminded us Jesus came to provide the fullness of grace. (verse 24) Without the reality of Romans 3:23,For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, Romans 6:23,…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” would be meaningless. What an unbelievable gift we are offered in Jesus! Through this gift, we see the sinner cleansed in the blood of Jesus and become a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I encourage us, sisters, to first sit in the truth that we are sinners, and then live out the truth that we have been redeemed and saved from the sin that once bound us if we surrender fully to Him!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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