NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies for Life curriculum.
Bible Passages: Romans 14:1-4, 13-19
Discussion Questions: How do you decide what’s not worth arguing about?
Food for Thought by Ben Mandrell:
In a perfect world, everyone would agree with me, everyone would bring up their kids like I do, and everyone would vote for the candidates I endorse. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. People don’t always see eye-to-eye.
So the question for each of us is this: How should we behave when we disagree? This question is especially important for Christians seeking to serve God and live together in unity.
In the Book of Romans, Paul taught us to remain humble when we have differences of opinion. Clearly, there are times we need to stand our ground. But Paul’s instructions help us see where to draw the line. His words guide us to maintain strong relationships in spite of our differences and disagreements.
Romans 14 indicates rival groups were popping up inside the church. Members were joining forces according to their personal persuasions and preferences. Sound familiar?
Rather than running each other down and resenting one another’s opinions, Paul challenged the members of the church to accept one another. That word “accept” carries the idea of welcoming other people and being generous toward them. The world defines acceptance as a full affirmation, even endorsement, of a person’s beliefs and practices. The Bible doesn’t use “accept” as a command to condone sin. Instead, it’s the desire to stay close relationally, even when two or more parties see things differently.
In Romans 14 specifically, Paul was addressing some “gray areas” in the Christian life. Still, in verse 4, he made it plain that each of us will have to answer to God for the way we live: “Who are you to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Notice that God isn’t going to ask what you thought about another person’s actions. God — not you — is the Lord and Judge over your neighbors.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life is a life-stage focused family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults and students. Consisting of seven curriculum lines developed for various life and generational stages plus two others designed for deeper study, all of these resources focus on the same Bible passage for each week. Information about the seven curriculum lines and more information can be found on the Internet at LifeWay.com/BibleStudiesforLife.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.