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 7:1-12 Inductive Bible Study


  1. Brothers, don’t you know- I am speaking to those that know the law- that the law has authority over someone only while he is living?

  2. I will give an example. A married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if here husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage.

  3. So if she marries another man while her husband is still alive she is an adulteress, but if she marries another man after her husband dies she is free from the law and is not an adulteress.

  4. So brothers, you also died to the law through Christ, and you now belong to someone else, that is Him who was raised from the dead. This happened so that you can bear fruit to God. Galatians 5:22-23,Matthew 3:8-12Matthew 7:19, Matthew 13:40, John 15:1-2, Galatians 2:19-20, Php 1:11.

  5. Before we were controlled by the old sinful man and committed sins because we were aroused by the law. This was bearing fruit for death. Galatians 5:pre22

  1. But now, we are dead to the sin that bound us and have been set free from the law so that we serve in the way of the new way of the Spirit, instead of the old way according to the law. 1 John 4:18-19

  2. So what is our response to this? Is the law sin? Of course not! Without the law I would not have known sin. I only know what coveting is because the law told me, “Do not covet.”

  3. But sin, took advantage of this opportunity that came because of the command and produced all kinds of coveting in me. For apart from the law, sin is dead. Proverbs 9:17

  4. Once I was alive apart from the law, but when the command came sin sprung forth and I died.

  5. I realized that the commandment intended to bring life in really brought death instead. Leviticus 18:5 (If obeyed the law brings life. If it is disobeyed it brings death.)

  6. For sin jumped at the chance given it by the command tricked me, and through the command put me to death.

  7. Then we know that the law is holy and the command is holy, righteous, and good.


I. The Law’s Relation to the Believer (1-12)

A. Jurisdiction of the Law (1-6)

1. Ends at Death (1)

2. Example from Marriage (2-3)

3. Through Christ, the Believer is Dead to the Law (4-6)

B. Practical Effects of the Law (7-12)

1. Brings Knowledge of Sin (7)

2. Stirs up Evil Desires that Bring Death (8-11)

3. It is Holy (12)

Key Words

Law- Paul expects a question people might ask: “What is the relationship of a Christian to the law?” First, he explains a basic principle of the law. That principle is that it doesn’t govern people’s lives after they die. Then he explains that the Christian died to the law through Christ’s death, who acted as a representative for us. No one can serve two masters. The law, or the covenant, in the Old Testament no longer has jurisdiction over believers. Instead of following the law out of fear of punishment they serve Christ with their whole hearts out of love and thanks. It is a complete reversal of direction. Then he explains what the purpose of the law was for us before we believe. As mentioned before it brings us knowledge of sin. This is the most important purpose of the law. It brings conviction of sin. This is the first step that is necessary before repentance. If someone repents it will bring life. If they don’t an indirect result of the law will bring death to that person. That is it will give them new ideas to sin. When someone’s “freedom” is restricted often the first response is to stretch the limits, break the boundaries. Tell someone not to do something and a lot of the time they will do it. So for the person that does not repent the law has a bad side-effect of increasing their sin and also the punishment that would come because of that sin.

Dead- When the law comes a person knows they are condemned. The wages of sin is death. The law also increases sin for the unrepentant person. Therefore they are relatively more dead and more sinful when the law comes than before they knew of it.

Alive- Several meanings here. Without the law we are relatively alive because sin is relatively dormant and we don’t have the conviction or guilt that comes as a result of the law. But in Christ we are completely alive, living a new life and serving God in a new way.

Discussion Questions

What is the relationship of a Christian to the law?

Does verse one mean we are under the law until we die?

Are we dead to the law now? If so, how did we die to the law for we have not died yet?

What does this passage teach us about marriage? In the world’s eyes how long is a marriage for? What effect does knowing marriage has for life have on you single ones here? How about on the married ones?

What is the world’s view of marriage? What are they normally hoping to get from marriage?

What about God’s design for marriage?

What does the Christian hope to accomplish in marriage?

How are the two ways different?

How are we made to “die to the law?” Who made us die to the law? Does that mean we don’t have to obey God’s principles? Then what does it mean?

What is the purpose mentioned for why we were made to die to the law? (to bear fruit) Define fruit.

Then what is the purpose for a believer? (to bear fruit) Does a dead tree have any value to God? What will He do with it?

In verse 6 what is the “new way” that we serve God?

Now we aren’t under the authority of the law, the old covenant. So what or whose authority are we under? Remember that the Jews had a problem with being legalistic and following the law. We still are under the authority of the principles Christ gave us in the NT.

How does the Law arouse sinful passions in us? Can you give any examples where a command itself stirred someone up to sin in the Bible? Eve. Tell Briar Rabbit story. Give example of buying a present for a kid “Don’t look in the closet to see the gift I bought for you.”

 Why do you think Paul spends so much time discussing the relative merits and effects of the Law? Going back to the previous example, Should a parent refrain from giving many commands to the kid so that the kid will not be tempted to disobey?

What does it mean, apart from the Law sin is dead? Explain verse 9.

Explain verse 10.

What can we see about sin from verses 8-11?

Verse by Verse Commentary

Intro: What is the main point of this passage? We, as Christians, are freed from the Law, its condemnation (wages of sin is death) and its penalties. We are freed from its jurisdiction and power. If the Law has jurisdiction over us, then the good deeds we do are likely out of a motivation to satisfy the demands of the law rather than out of a motivation to serve a loving God. Imagine that a wife made a list of all the ways a husband should love her. She threatened to divorce him if he didn’t fulfill each part of the list. Although he may follow each step of the list so that his wife won’t leave him, it will be very hard to do so out of genuine love. It would be more likely a legalistic action. But if she then took away the list, in his freedom he would still likely do the things on the list, but he would so out of genuine love for her. In Romans we have moved from the bad news of sin and judgment and hell to the good news of justification and then the result of justification, sanctification. Now that we are justified our position has changed and we are no longer under the law. This has a direct relationship to what we do and our motivations now. Much of this passage is talking about bearing fruit for God and this should be the chief goal of justified saints.

1. Once under the law, you cannot escape it by yourself. Chinese are under Chinese law and can’t escape it except through death. Americans are under American law and can’t escape it except through death. Those who have heard the commands of God’s law are under it and can’t escape it unless they die. Once Eve heard the command not to eat the fruit, she couldn’t ever go back to that naive state of ignorance (ignorance is bliss). While some earthly laws have a statute of limitation, God’s laws never do. Paul uses the example of marriage taught in the law to illustrate his point.

2. A married person is bound to his/her spouse as long as he/she is living. Paul uses this argument to prove his “can’t escape the law except through death” argument. At the same time we can learn an important principle about marriage.   What does this passage teach us about marriage? In the world’s eyes how long is a marriage for? What effect does knowing marriage has for life have on you single ones here? How about on the married ones?

What is the world’s view of marriage? What are they normally hoping to get from marriage?

What about God’s design for marriage?

What does the Christian hope to accomplish in marriage?

How are the two ways different?

There are several clear principles of Christian marriage given in the Bible. Name as many as you can. Remember, God’s design of marriage is sacred, a picture of Christ and the church.

  1. Christians must not marry non-believers. 2 Corinthians 7:14-16

  2. The husband must love his wife as himself (complete unselfishness, give, not get). Ephesians 5:25

  3. The husband must provide for the needs of his wife and care for her and protect her. Ephesians 5:23

  4. The wife must submit to and respect her husband, follow his leadership. Ephesians 5:22

  5. The two become one. (Complete sharing. Unselfishness.) Ephesians 5:31

  6. Once they are joined together only death should separate them. Romans 7:2-3.

  7. Two are more powerful than one. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

The main point here on marriage is that a married person is bound to his spouse. This is a bond that only death can break and it is why most weddings have a “until death do us part” vow. It is meant for life. It is a lifelong commitment. For single people, I think this means you should be careful. Don’t make hasty decisions or decisions you may regret later. Follow the Biblical principles before you get married. Make sure the prospect is committed the Lord fully. Make sure you understand the real person and not the facade that some people put up. Don’t make decisions based on emotion or romantic feelings. It is healthy to have just a little bit of fear at the prospect of marriage, enough fear to make you think long and hard about it before you commit, because once you do you can’t back out.

For those of us who are married, we are stuck. Our fate is sealed :D. Hopefully we took care first so that we are “stuck” in the middle of a fulfilling and loving relationship. All of us who are married are still in the relative beginning and hopefully have many many years in front of us. So we should take the time to invest in our marriage and keep making it stronger for the future. Do your part to make it grow day by day and not grow stagnant. Weather any storms that you face and make sure you do keep your vows to stick together for better or for worse.

3. We were made to die to the Law. As we discussed in the last chapter, we figuratively died with Christ. This is God’s work in us, meaning He made us die to the law and we were resurrected to new life. It is not something we could escape on our own. We died to the law, not because it was bad, but because there is something better we can be joined to. What?

4. We are joined to Christ for the purpose of bearing fruit. And here we get to the crux of the passage. You might ask why God made us die to the Law when He Himself made the Law. He made t