Summary: Bible study with questions for application
Verse 1- Verily, verily, verily, verily, verily
Paul is absolutely adamant that he is telling the truth:
1. “I tell the truth (positive)
2. “in Christ” (outer authority)
3. “I am not lying” (negative)
4. “my conscience also bearing me witness” (inner authority#1)
5. “in the Holy Spirit” (inner authority#2).
And yet Jesus (Matt. 5:34-36) and James (5:12) both prohibit swearing oaths. Paul is not swearing, and he is not implying that the other things he’s written are false, but he really wants his readers to know how sincerely he means what he’s going to say next. Jesus does a similar thing when he says “verily verily” throughout the Gospel of John (in the righteous KJV, dude!).
Check out John 3:3, 5:24, 6:47, 8:58, 10:7, 12:24 for some examples.
Underline the reference you looked up. Write here why you think it merits the double verily:
In what circumstances ought we to say
• “I tell the truth in Christ…” etc.?_____________________________________________________
• merely “Yes” or “No” _______________________________________________________________
And why are we tempted to ‘swear’?_____________________________________________________
Verse 2- Powerful heaviness and sorrow without ceasing in my heart
Not only is Paul factually accurate, but he is passionately heartfelt too. His conscience tells him he is telling the truth, and his heart beats this truth into him without interruption. He is completely gutted about this truth, totally weighed down by it.
Read Jeremiah 4:19-22 and 9:1-6. What comparisons can be drawn between Jeremiah and Paul?
Is there anything that has weighed you down this much?
Is there anything that should?
Verse 3- I could even pray that I became a thing doomed to destruction, cut off from Christ without hope of being redeemed, so that my kin would not be
Like all of us, Paul had non-Christian relatives, Jews who had rejected their Messiah. This is the thing he was so tortured by, but it was something that unavoidably true, confirmed fivefold. Clearly, Paul wants to swap places, so dear are his ‘long-lost cousins’ to him.
Post Golden Calf. Read Exodus 32:9-14, 30-34. What comparisons can be drawn between Moses and Paul?
We have a number of choices facing us: a) try to ignore the reality of hell; b) care less; c) be agonised even to the point of trying to do deals with God, whose decrees have been set before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
How are we going to pray for our non-Christian relatives in the light of this?