Throughout 2023 we will be focussing on the theme of discipleship and there is much in these chapters to encourage and challenge us. Paul builds on his earlier doctrinal explanation of the Gospel (in chapters 1 – 8) to spell out its practical implications. Salvation includes (and is evidenced by) life transformation!
We begin in chapters 9 to 11 where Paul affirms God’s continuing faithfulness to Israel based on His covenant promises. Fulfilment of those promises is found in Christ; hence the salvation of the Gentiles is pictured as their being “grafted into” the Olive tree of Israel, by God’s sovereign grace. Believing Jew and believing Gentile are now one in Christ.
Chapters 12 to 15 provide practical instruction for those who are being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (12 v 2). Much of Paul’s teaching (such as loving our enemies and loving our neighbours as ourselves) echoes that later recorded of Jesus in the Gospel accounts. We may assume that Paul based some of his teaching on the verbal accounts of Jesus’ teaching already circulating within the apostolic community in advance of the later written records. He also instructs us about the use of spiritual gifts in the Church, our wider role in the world as good citizens, and the need for us to take special care not to cause others to stumble. Unity amongst the community of believers is a key theme of chapters 14 and 15. Generous giving and faithful prayer are also commended, before chapter 16 provides a glimpse into the considerable diversity of Paul’s network of supporters and other church leaders.
Click HERE for an outline of the series – chapter 9-16.
Our purpose here isn’t to describe the many values which should describe all Christians and churches, but to highlight the things that are core to the personality of Wycliffe. Imagine describing Wycliffe to a friend over coffee or drawing a picture that captures the heart of Wycliffe. These values are the things that describe our culture and we want them to be visible in all that we do. They go deep because they express our particular calling from God as a community of his people in East Reading.
The Core Values notes for Bible group study leaders are as follows: