Romans: Deeds


Scripture verse: “(He) will render to each one according to his deeds.”


  1. Students should memorize the verse and understand its meaning.
  2. Students should understand the concept of heaven and hell.


Background on the book:

The letter to the Romans was written by the Apostle Paul around AD 55-57 while he was in Corinth on his 3rd missionary journey.  Since there was no public post office in the Roman Empire, Paul used the upcoming visit of a Christian in Corinth, Phoebe, to Rome by ship to send his letter. He addressed his letter to all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, living in Rome.  Paul had not yet visited Rome, but he wanted to share a detailed explanation of the Gospel message.  He hoped to visit Rome after he went to Jerusalem; in fact, he did visit Rome but not in the way he had planned. (How?) Find Rome, Corinth, and trace Paul’s 3rd missionary journey on a map.



As WB Bolmer summarizes in his history of the Western Church: “As soon as the infant Church possessed a mind capable, by reason of scholastic training, of forming a system of theology, that great work was begun. Saul of Tarsus, bringing to bear upon the new revelation the trained acuteness of a ripe intellect, immediately commenced to compare, and combine, and analyze, until he evolved the theology which guided his preaching throughout his entire ministry. If a definite and logically-exact system does not underlie the argument of the Epistle to the Romans, it may be boldly affirmed that no human intellect has ever yet shown itself equal to the sublime undertaking of evolving systems of anything.”


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Review the background of the book of Romans, our first epistle.
  3. Have each student briefly read silently a single chapter and summarize it for the class. The teacher can summarize the chapters for which there are not enough students (suggest teacher do chapters 4, 7,8 – 4 is easy and 7,8 particularly hard). See if students can find the main theme of the chapter and use some general discussion questions to enhance understanding:
    • Chapter 1: the gospel of Christ vs. the wrath of God – How can all people, believers and non-believers, discover God? What are the results of living without God? How do we live in the righteousness of God? (by faith) What evidence do we see in today’s world of people living without God?
    • Chapter 2: Our own conscience condemns us when we try to live by the law – What is the basis of God’s judgment? What is the purpose of the law for the Jews? How can the Gentiles (non-Jews) know the law of God? (their own conscience)
    • Chapter 3: All are unfaithful – What was the purpose of the Jewish people? Who is justified by obeying the law? What is “grace”? (unmerited favor) What is a propitiation? How are we justified when we all sin? Is God only for Jews? Only for Orthodox Christians?
    • Chapter 4: Abraham is a model of faith for us all – Review the story of Abraham.
    • Chapter 5: We are all justified by the death of Jesus – How did sin enter the world? (Adam and Eve) How are we justified before God? Who died for us? What hope do we have through the blood of Jesus? Is all suffering bad and to be avoided? What is the spiritual result of suffering?
    • Chapter 6: The baptism chapter – What is the meaning of baptism? How are we “born again”? Before baptism, we were slaves of what? How should we live now that we are willing servants of God?
  •      Chapter 7 and 8: The will of the soul vs. the will of the flesh – As Christians, what is the greatest desire of our souls? (to do good) What is the desire of the flesh – our still-  present passions? Can we, on our own, defeat the desires of the flesh? Do Christians continue to sin even after baptism? Can the students identify some things that they know they should not do, and yet find themselves doing? (lying, cheating on a test) Do we groan confessing the same sins over and over without victory no matter how hard we try? How can we walk in righteousness? WHO is our helper? (Holy Spirit) Read to the students two very important verses in chapter 8: 28 and 38-39. God’s faithfulness through His Spirit in our lives is repeated over and over, ending with the proclamation in Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • 4.  Read today's verse out loud, in the context of vs. 2-16.  Read also Romans 1:18-21, James 1:21-27, Romans 3:9-19. Can you find examples in the Old Testament of God’s judgment? (Adam and Eve, Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife, Passover, David/Absalom, Belshazzar…)


5. Discuss the concept of God’s judgment: What do you say to the person who asks, “If God is loving, how could He send people to hell?” Is this even the right question or should we ask instead, “Why would anyone reject God’s love?” Does God really want anyone to go to hell? (John 5:24, II Peter 3:9) What about predestination? Do we really have any free will? What about the people who have never heard of Jesus? How does Paul argue that all men are without excuse? (No one can look at nature without knowing there is a God.) How does God judge? Can we fool God? Is it enough to look good on the outside? Is it enough to feel good about God in one’s heart, no matter how one lives? Karl Marx said that religion is the opiate of the people and that dwelling on heaven and a reward in the afterlife keeps us from seeking justice on earth? Comment. If all have sinned, how then can we escape God’s judgment? (blood of Jesus) What was the purpose of sacrifice in the Old Covenant Temple? Who is the Lamb of God?



  1. Discuss the concept of heaven and hell: Is there any reason to believe in hell? What about reincarnation; do we get a second chance, or third…? What is heaven like? Boring? What is hell like? What do you think about when you think of the afterlife? Should we think more about the here and now or about the afterlife? Will the afterlife be more or less real than our earthly lives? (I Corinthians 13:12) Will we scare people into heaven by talking about hell? For references, read Matthew 25:46, Luke 16:24-26, I Cor. 1:18, Phil 1:23-24, and II Peter 2:4-9.
  2. Close with prayer.