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How to Study the Bible

with Nicole Unice

Romans Week Thirteen: Love Does No Harm to a Neighbor

00:00 24:03
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Questions We Ask Every Time We Read the Bible:

1. What do the verses say?
2. What's the backstory? What's the context?
3. What does it mean? What are the principles of this passage?
4. What does it mean for me?

1. What do the verses say? (We’ll be looking at two verses in particular)

Romans 13:1
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Romans 13:10
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

2. What’s the backstory? What’s the context?

Before we get to our own authorities, we’ve got to ask what it would have first meant to the first hearers of Paul’s letter. The civil rulers were most likely all pagan. Christians might have been tempted to ignore their civil leaders because of the corruption that influenced their government. The Christians of that day would have been looking for guidance on how to live as oppressed people under a morally bankrupt government. There is no doubt that the morality of the Roman Empire was darker than the morality of today.

3. How do we wrestle through principles together?

(Remember the principle test: principles are timeless, transcend culture, and are harmonious throughout scripture).

4. What does it mean for me?

Rather than a heart of violence or a critical spirit, what does it look like for me to say “love does no harm to my neighbor?”

Think about the fact that Jesus deliberately came into the world during a morally dark time but did not come to overthrow the authorities of the day. What might that teach you about how to live today?

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Resources:
Help! My Bible Is Alive

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Episode Image Credit: GettyAleksei Morozov
November 29, 2021
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Meet Your Host
Nicole Unice is a Bible teacher, author, and passionate communicator who delights in bringing God’s Word to life in a personal and relevant way. Her training as a counselor informs her work, as she emphasizes the importance of facing our own reality and embracing the transforming power of God’s grace. Nicole is ordained as a teaching elder in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Her latest book, “Help, My Bible is Alive” is a 30-day experience designed to help people experience God through the Bible.

Nicole has spent twenty years serving the local church, first in student ministry (where she’s never lost her love of a great group game) and then leading start-ups of all kinds, from leadership development to capital campaigns. She now teaches and consults with churches and ministries to strengthen their stories and cut through confusion to discover the next right steps for success.
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