These small group studies of Romans contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Romans 4:1-12 Inductive Bible Study
Title- Abraham Is Our Example of Justification by Faith By Jason Dexter
What did Abraham find out about justification?
If he was justified by works, he had reason to boast before men.
What does the Scripture say? Because Abraham believed God he received God’s righteousness.
If a person works, he receives wages as a right; they are not given to him as a gift.
However, to the man who puts his confidence in God instead of works this faith is credited to him as righteousness.
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of man, to whom God credits righteousness apart from any works:
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven and covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin against the Lord will never be taken account of against him.
Are these blessings just for the circumcised or are they also for the uncircumcised? We have already said that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Under what conditions did credit that righteousness to him? Was it before or after he was circumcised? It was not after, but it was before!
And because of the righteousness he had by faith while still uncircumcised he received the sign of circumcision. So Abraham is the father of all who believe but haven’t been circumcised so that righteousness may be credited to them.
And he is also the father of the circumcised who don’t rely on this, but who also walk in the way of faith that our father Abraham walked before he was circumcised.
Genesis 12:1-5 – The call.
Genesis 15:1-6 – The promise.
Genesis 17:1-11-. 24-27 – The circumcision.
Luke 7:40-43 (Master forgives two slaves. Correlation is that we don’t use the gift of justification by faith as an excuse to serve ourselves. But the natural response is to love and serve God in our thankfulness to Him.
Luke 17:7-10 (We have absolutely no reason to boast about our works. We are unworthy slaves and just doing our duty if we serve God. It is the natural response of our faith in Him.)
1 John 4:19 (The love we have for God and others did not come from ourselves. God loved us first and gave us His love so that we could love others. We must abide in Him.)
James 2:21-24 (When looking at this issue it is important to find a healthy balance. The fact is Abraham demonstrated his faith by his works. The faith comes first. Abraham believed God and showed it by his willingness to obey God. Then later God gave him the sign and he did the good deed of circumcision. First God loves us. Then He draws us. Next He saves us. Finally He changes our hearts and causes us to do good deeds. Every step is about God, not us.)
What was Abraham to the Jews?
Why did they hold him in such high regard?
Why do you think Paul chooses to use Abraham as an example of justification by faith?
In what way had the Judaism of Paul’s day diverted from the ways of the Jewish Patriarchs?
If the Patriarchs lived such clear lives of faith, why did their descendants have a works based approach?
Where does verse 3 come from? Genesis 15:6. What does it mean to be credited as righteous? How can someone’s faith make them be credited as righteous? How do we know Abraham believed God? In ways did he demonstrate his faith? What then does it mean to “believe”?
Explain verses 4-5.
What is the background of David’s life when he wrote these verses in 7-8? (penitent Psalm after his sin with Bathsheba). Psalms 32:1-2.
Why do you think Paul used David as an example? If Abraham and David could not earn their forgiveness through works, do you have any hope?
Why does Paul make the distinction that Abraham was credited with righteousness while still uncircumcised? How many years later was Abraham circumcised? (13)
Normally Jews consider that Abraham is their father. Is Abraham the father of Gentiles? Believers? In what way?
How can we follow in the steps of faith that Abraham had? List out some of the “leaps of faith” Abraham took. Are you willing to make the same leaps of faith and entrust yourself to God? Do you believe the promises God makes to us? What is an objective test to see if we really believe God’s promises? What are some of the most common reasons people don’t take these leaps of faith and entrust themselves to God and His promises? Can you think of one area in your life right now you need to take this leap of faith?
Verse by Verse Commentary–
1. Abraham’s place in Israel’s history. Abraham was the ancestor of all the Jews. He was the original Patriarch. He was revered as THE example of righteous living.
2. Abraham was not justified by works, and none of us are, so that he could have nothing to boast about.
3. God imputed righteousness to Abraham because of his belief.
4. Discuss true belief. Belief is not just a set of facts. It is entrusting yourself to someone or something, which Abraham illustrated continually when he put himself and the lives of his family into God’s hands and in obedience followed where God sent him. Tell Niagara falls example.
5. Paul is teaching from one end of the spectrum. Of course Abraham’s faith was demonstrated by action. Teach together with verse 12. Some of the steps of faith Abraham took include: leaving his home and country with all his family and possession to embark on a long journey into the unknown, unknown place, unknown culture, unknown future, allowing Lot to choose the best of the land knowing that the Lord would bless him wherever he went, trusting in God’s righteous character enough to bargain for Sodom, believing God’s promise that he would have a son, and giving up his son Isaac to be sacrificed. How can we follow in the steps of faith that Abraham had? List out some of the “leaps of faith” Abraham took.
Are you willing to make the same leaps of faith and entrust yourself to God? Do you believe the promises God makes to us? What is an objective test to see if we really believe God’s promises? What are some of the most common reasons people don’t take these leaps of faith and entrust themselves to God and His promises? Can you think of one area in your life right now you need to take this leap of faith?
6. God justifies the ungodly. If there were any godly people they wouldn’t need to be justified. The first step of repentance is to recognize that we are ungodly.
7. David’s place in Israel’s history, his sin with Bathsheba, and God’s forgiveness for him. From David we also learn that forgiveness isn’t the absence of consequences. What consequences did David face for his sin? How is it fair for other people to suffer for his sin?
8. Timetable of Abraham’s creditation with forgiveness and his circumcision. Also, a clear definition of the purpose of circumcision here is “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had”.
9. Abraham is the spiritual father of all who have the same belief that he had. True believers in God are more closely related to Abraham than those who claim his a physical ancestor, but make up their own works based salvation approach.
Abraham- He is the OT example of God’s enduring plan of justification by faith. He first demonstrated his faith by his actions. God credited him with righteousness. And then he received the sign of circumcision.
Justification- Justification is a free gift of God and one hundred percent as a result of faith in God, not works. After we are truly justified we will do works as a result of our changed heart?
Credited- God’s account is unlimited. He gives us fully out of it. Ephesians 1:6-8
Blessedness- We have great reason to be thankful for the blessings He gave to us. His love is unlimited and so are his blessings to us. Give an example of a way God has blessed you in the past week.
How were people saved in the OT? So does God’s plan for human’s justification ever change?
What is the significance that Abraham was credited with righteousness BEFORE he received circumcision? Which comes first, faith or works?
Do we have any reason to boast?
What type of people does God choose to justify? (verse 5)
What should our response be to God’s love and justification?
We want to help you study the Bible, obey the Bible, and teach the Bible to others. We have therefore created a library of almost one thousand (and growing) inductive Bible studies, which are available for free. This takes a lot of time and hard work.
Help us continue to create Bible study resources by supporting Study and Obey for as little as $1.