“Lesson 101: Romans 8–11,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Lesson 101,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Paul taught about blessings of being spiritually reborn and submitting to Heavenly Father’s will. He also taught about Israel’s rejection of God’s covenant and about spreading the gospel among the Gentiles.
Begin the lesson by asking the following questions:
What is an inheritance?
If you could inherit anyone’s possessions, whose possessions would you choose and why?
Who typically inherits someone’s possessions?
Ask students to consider the blessings someone could receive as an heir of all Heavenly Father possesses. Invite students to look as they study Romans 8:1–18 for what we must do to inherit all that Heavenly Father has.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Romans 8:1, 5–7, 13. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught about walking “after the flesh,” or yielding to the tendency to sin, and following “after the Spirit” (verse 5).
What does it mean to be “carnally minded”? (verse 6). (To be focused on satisfying the passions and lusts of the physical body.)
What does it mean to be “spiritually minded”? (verse 6).
What principle can we learn from verse 13 about what can help us overcome the tendency of the natural man to sin? (Help students identify the following principle: If we follow the influence of the Spirit, we can overcome the tendency of the natural man to sin. Write this principle on the board.)
Invite a student to read Romans 8:14–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Paul refers to those who follow the Spirit.
How does Paul refer to those who follow the Spirit? (Explain that the word sons in this context means both sons and daughters [see D&C 25:1].)
Point out the phrase “Spirit of adoption” (verse 15). Explain that “our spirit” (verse 16), meaning our spirit bodies, was created by Heavenly Father, making every person literally a spirit child of Heavenly Father. However, it is by making covenants with God through ordinances and then keeping those covenants that people are spiritually reborn, or adopted, as His sons and daughters in the gospel covenant. The companionship of the Holy Ghost indicates that such people are not only God’s spirit children by virtue of creation, but they are also His covenant children.
Invite a student to read Romans 8:17–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what God’s covenant children can become.
What can God’s covenant children become? (Write the following principle on the board, leaving a blank in place of the word faithful: If we are faithful covenant children of God, we can become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ of all Heavenly Father has.)
What is a joint-heir? (Someone who receives an equal inheritance with other heirs.)
According to verse 17, what must God’s covenant children do to become joint-heirs with Christ?
Explain that to “suffer with [Jesus Christ]” (verse 17) does not mean that we suffer what the Savior did as part of His atoning sacrifice. Rather, like the Savior, we are to deny ourselves of all ungodliness, keep the commandments, and faithfully endure opposition (see Matthew 16:24; Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 16:26 [in the Bible appendix]). Add the word faithful to complete the principle on the board. Draw a three-column chart on the board. Label the first column Requirements, the middle column Opposition, and the third column Inheritance. List students’ responses to the following questions in the appropriate columns.
What are some things we are required to do to be considered God’s faithful covenant children?
What are examples of opposition we might experience as we strive to live as faithful covenant children of God?
What blessings can we inherit from Heavenly Father if we strive to live as His faithful covenant children? (One possible answer is that we can become like Heavenly Father [see Romans 8:17, footnote a].)
Ask students to ponder the lists on the board.
After reading Paul’s teachings in verse 18, how do you think the requirements of being joint-heirs with Christ compare with the blessings? Why?
Explain that in Romans 8:19–30, we read that Paul taught that the Spirit helps us in our weakness and helps us know what to pray for. We also read that Jesus Christ was called in the premortal existence to be the Savior of God’s children (see Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 8:29–30 [in the Bible appendix]).
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Romans 8:28, 31–39. Ask the class to follow along, looking for truths Paul taught about God’s love as related to the opposition, challenges, and tribulations of mortality. Point out that the Joseph Smith Translation of Romans 8:31 replaces the phrase “be against” with “prevail” (see verse 31, footnote a).
What truths can we learn from these verses? (Students may identify a variety of truths, including the following: If we love God, all things will work together for our good. Through Jesus Christ we can overcome all the challenges and tribulations of mortality. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, which is manifest in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)
How can Jesus Christ and His teachings help us overcome the challenges and tribulations of mortality?
Considering the challenges and tribulations of mortality you have experienced, which statements in these verses stand out to you? Why?
How have you experienced God’s love amidst your challenges and tribulations?
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals what they feel prompted to do so that, through Jesus Christ, they can overcome their challenges and tribulations. Encourage them to apply what they wrote.
Ask students to ponder how they would respond in the following scenarios:
You accompany your bishop to visit a young man whose family is active in the Church, but he is not. When your bishop kindly tries to help the young man understand the consequences of not living the gospel, the young man says, “Don’t worry. I’ve been baptized, and my parents are active. God won’t withhold any blessings from me.”
You recently befriended a young woman of another faith. She asks about the standards you live by. After you describe some of the Lord’s standards, she says, “I don’t understand why you do all that. All you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus Christ.”
Invite students to look for truths as they study Romans 9–11 that can help them understand what is required to receive the blessings of the gospel.
Invite a student to read the following explanation about Paul’s teachings in Romans 9–11:
As recorded in Romans 9–11, Paul used the terms Israel and Israelites instead of Jews in discussing choices many Jews had made. God’s covenant children are sometimes referred to as the house of Israel. In Old Testament times, God chose the descendants of Jacob, or Israel, to be part of His covenant with Abraham (see Romans 9:4–5), which included great blessings such as the gospel, priesthood authority, eternal life, eternal posterity, a land of inheritance, and the responsibility of blessing the world with the gospel.
Invite a student to read Romans 9:6, 8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught about members of the house of Israel.
What do you think Paul meant by “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”? (verse 6). (Many Jews falsely trusted that their lineage through Abraham guaranteed them the blessings of the covenant.)
Explain that in Romans 9:25–30, we read that Paul taught that Gentiles who joined the Church could receive all the blessings of the covenant and become righteous by exercising faith in Jesus Christ.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Romans 9:31–33; 10:1–4. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how some Israelites in Paul’s day sought to become righteous before God. Explain that “the law of righteousness” (Romans 9:31) refers to the law of Moses; the “stumblingstone” (Romans 9:32, 33) is Jesus Christ; and “the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3) refers to Jesus Christ and His gospel.
According to Romans 9:31–33, how had some Israelites sought to become righteous before God? (By strictly performing the works of the law of Moses.)
According to Romans 10:3–4, what had these Israelites rejected? (Jesus Christ and the righteousness made possible through Him.)
Explain that as recorded in Romans 10:8–13, Paul expounded on how “the righteousness which is of faith” (Romans 9:30) can be obtained. Invite several students to take turns reading Romans 10:8–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how to obtain this state of righteousness.
What must someone do to obtain the righteousness that comes from faith?
Explain that the Greek word translated as confess in verse 9 denotes an open acknowledgment of acceptance, or covenant, and the Greek word translated as believe denotes a trusting commitment. This deep trust in the Savior leads people to openly acknowledge their acceptance of Him in ways He has appointed. These ordained ways include obedience to God’s commandments, repentance, and receiving saving ordinances such as baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
According to Paul’s teachings, what must we do if we desire to receive the blessings of God’s covenants, including salvation? (Help students identify the following principle: If we accept and obey Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can receive the blessings of God’s covenants and be saved. Write this principle on the board.)
Point out that some people have used Romans 10:9, 13 to claim that all we must do to be saved is verbally confess our belief in Jesus Christ. Remind students of the scenarios presented earlier in the lesson.
How could the truths in this lesson help you respond in these scenarios?
Summarize the remainder of Romans 10–11 by explaining that Paul taught that hearing the word of God is essential to developing faith in Christ. He used an analogy of grafting branches from a wild olive tree into a tame olive tree to represent the adoption of Gentiles into the house of Israel (see also Jacob 5:3–14). He also taught that the gospel will again be offered to the Jews.
Conclude by testifying of the truths discussed in this lesson.