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We are about to study one of Paul's greatest bursts of praise in all of his ministry!

It truly magnifies the Lord.

It also gives us a glimpse of Paul's humility.

I am praying that some dear preacher will feel led to devour this material and proclaim these great truths verse by verse.

We critically need that kind of preaching.  Nothing feeds us like the Word of God.

                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 A Preacher in his Study



This week I feel led for us to study Paul's great praise passage in Romans 11:33-36.

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."

Isn't that a beautiful paragraph of Scripture?

Doctrine and prophecy have suddenly become poetry!

This is the second time in Romans where the pen of Paul has reached a climax of praise and adoration of God!  (The other being Romans 8:35-39.)

This is a "doxology."  The term is from the Greek words for "praise" (doxa = honor, glory and praise) and "word or utterance" (logos).

This is one of Paul's most sublime passages ever.

It is filled with awe and wonder.

It reveals the greatness of our God.

It illustrates His omniscience (His knowing of everything)!

It is just filled with Old Testament Scripture (Particularly Job and Isaiah).

And it proves so clearly the vital importance of "word for word" inspiration!  Even the "prepositions" herein are critical!  (OF Him ... THROUGH Him and TO Him!)

When the greatest mind of the New Testament (Paul himself) steps back and admits incapability ... bowing in worship to the ineffable God, what should we do?

Maybe "take off our shoes?"  For, surely, we are standing on Holy Ground.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we shall begin with the first verse of the paragraph.

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




ROMANS 11, VERSE 33 ...

Today we shall investigate the beauty of Romans 11:33 --- "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

Paul is at it again!

Another Doxology! Another burst of praise!

(It would be interesting if someone would study his life and catalogue his periods of praise to God! They come often and regularly! Iím thinking of one right now that happened to him in a jail late one night!)

The first word (or should I say letter) of the verse is an interjection! "O!" It expresses great emotion. Paul is thrilled!

The noun "depth" is a Greek term ("bathos") which means (obviously) deep or "profound!" It is believed to come from the word that gives us our English word "base." (It deals with the "foot" of something.) Paul only uses the word 3 times in all his writing ... each in an anthem of praise to God! (Romans 8:39 and Romans 11:33 and Ephesians 3:18! Now those three texts would make a great series of sermons!)

But to keep in context here, what is so deep?

The riches of God! The word for riches is "ploutos" and means wealth or abundance or plentitude. Now Paul uses the word "riches" 16 times! In the vast majority of these cases he is speaking of something about God that is filled with riches! (He further uses the word "rich" 9 more times!)

Paul literally says that Godís "riches" are in a bottomless treasury!

But what part of Godís great Essence is Paul so excited about here? The riches of the WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE of God!

Wisdom is the word "sophia" and has the idea of knowledge and skill ... but I just noticed it is derived from a root word that means "clear" (saphes)! It is the knowledge and understanding of God that is a result of His Absolute purity!

By the way, one will NEVER really get Bible wisdom apart from being pure and godly! The HOLY Spirit, Who IS The Teacher of spiritual things ... will NEVER instruct a filthy vessel (or student)! In Peterís list of traits for spiritual growth (2 Peter 1) ... first comes faith ... then virtue (purity) ... and only then knowledge ...! NO KNOWLEDGE UNTIL PURITY!

And the word "knowledge" ("gnosis") is a word for general intelligence and comes from a word that means "to know" absolutely! We as Christians believe that God is an all-knowing Heavenly Father and thatís exactly what Paul is about to say here. The theological word is "omniscient." (Itís from Latin. Omni means all. Scio means to know.)

Now we must look at the word "unsearchable." In Greek the word is spelled: anexereunetos. It is a combination of at least 3 words: "a" + "ek" + "ereunao." These mean: NOT + OUT OF + TO SEEK. (Things that cannot be sought out!) The verb "ereunao" comes from the verb that means to speak or to say ... so we could also be looking at a meaning that implies: something that cannot be expressed! This word only occurs once in all of Scripture!

Then Paul describes Godís ways: "past finding out!" The word is "anexichniastos!" It also combines 3 words! ("a" + "ek" + "ichnos") Meaning: NOT + OUT OF + A TRACK! When you put it together: Not able to be tracked! One lexicon says "untraceable!"

Paul had one of the greatest minds of all history! And even He was wise (and humble) enough to say ... WHAT A GREAT GOD WE SERVE!

I have found a few "nuggets" here today! I trust you have too!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




ROMANS 11, VERSE 34 ...

Our verse for today is found in Romans 11. Here Paul asks another of his great questions! Listen to the great Apostle.

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" Romans 11:34

It is believed that Paul here is quoting Isaiah 40:13.

"Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?"

God is omniscient, knowing all!

The verb "hath known" (ginosko in Greek) means to find out, to learn, to perceive! It is an indicative aorist active. No matter how much man studies ... he will NEVER know the fulness of the Mind of the Lord. And no one in the past has ever done so either! And this is stated as an absolute fact!

The word mind (nous) means the understanding, the reasoning of Someone! God is so far beyond us in intellectual capacity and spiritual understanding that we shall NEVER comprehend Him completely!

Paul once said that we believers do have the "mind of Christ!" (1 Corinthians 2:16) He is speaking either of the Word of God or the Spirit of God. YET even then we obviously do not have Godís full degree of omniscience! (A fact which Paul is clearly teaching in 1 Corinthians 2:16)

The great preacher Paul is just amazed at the Wisdom of God!

"Hath been" is a verb (ginomai) that speaks of becoming or appearing or even being born! Who has "arrived" Paul asks! Who has come to the place of understanding all of God? No one! Who has graduated to the level of instructing God? Again, no one!

The noun "counsellor" is a Greek word thatís spelled "sumboulos." Sun in Greek means "with." Boule means "will or desire." Paul is literally asking here, "Who knows God well enough to help Him decide His will? To be an advisor to Him? To counsel Him?" Answer: no one!

Similar passages as this appear in such places as Job 15:8 --- "Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?"

Or Isaiah 55:8-9 which states --- "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Or even Jeremiah 23:18 --- "For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?"

The question is often asked in Scripture in the context of Godís unusual dealings with men or nations! And, in keeping with that form ... here Paul is concluding the great Romans text (Romans chapters 9-11) on Godís plan for Israel! (By the way, God has a plan to you, too!)

Well, then, who is Godís "counsellor?" Wisdom is ... according to the Book of Proverbs.  And ... Wisdom is GOD Himself!  One could well make the case that based on the Book of Proverbs Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!  Our Lord is the totally Self-contained Self-existent One. He is GOD!

All I know to say is "Praise His dear Name!"

And .. pass the "nugget" bag, please.

                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




ROMANS 11, VERSE 35 ...

We this week are looking a a few verses from Romans 11.  (To be exact, verses 33-36)

Today our verse is Romans 11:35.  Paul is quoting the Old Testament.  

"Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?"

It is believed that he is using something from the Book of Job.

In Job 41:11 God says --- "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine." 

In this verse the Lord (and Paul) are saying that no one will ever be indebted to God! Who could give to God anything that He does not already have, anyway!  He owns the whole world! 

Paul's rendering of the verse goes so far as to say ... Who can ever give anything to God ... and God not repay the debt?  No one will ever be able to say that God is indebted to them!  God has no leans against His dear Name.  He has a perfect record in the accounting area (and every other area for that matter)! 

The verb "given" (really translated "first given") is a Greek term, "prodidomi."  It means to give ("didomi") first, in front of, in the fore of ("pro").  In the light of this verb alone ... we can easily see that NO ONE has EVER first given anything to God! (We even love Him because He first loved us!  1 John 4:19)  Of course it is an aorist active verb (action completed in the past with the subject initiating it). 

The second verb in the sentence ... "shall be recompensed" ... translates the Greek word "antapodidomi."  It combines the words "anti" and "apo" and "didomi."  It means:  to give back!  The idea is one of two things here.  "If you give to God ... he will repay" ... may be one thought.  And "since you can't first give anything to God ... you'll never have to worry about repayment" is another possible meaning.  Either way ... God is clear in the matter!  And this fact magnifies the GREATNESS of God!  God cannot be indebted to anyone anytime!

It is just amazing to watch Paul use the Old Testament Scriptures.  He sure did know his Bible.  Every preacher should.

Our study today is a little shorter, but it is preparing us for tomorrow's "grand finale!" This Romans 11 doxology ends with a glorious set of prepositions that I can hardly wait to describe for you!

Lord willing, see you tomorrow. 

You will either have to empty today's "nugget" bag ... or bring another one for Friday!

I believe Paul just may be near his most eloquent level ever in Romans 11:36.

We'll find out soon.

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




ROMANS 11, VERSE 36 ...

Today we come to the final verse in Paul's great paragraph of praise in Romans 11. It is indeed one of the "high points" of Scripture.

"For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."   Romans 11:36

We must delve into a study of three great "prepositions" this Friday!

The first preposition "of," when used with a "genitive" case noun or pronoun (as it is here) means: from, out from, away from, by, by means of, by reason of, because, or simply of! Paul is teaching us that Jesus IS the One Who is responsible for all things. Then ... He is the Creator! Look with me at Colossians 1:16. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him." (Wow!)

And John 1:3 says --- "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

But not only that ... our very Salvation is "of" Him too! So is our "joy!" So is our "peace!" He is indeed our everything!   ALL things are from Him as the Source!

However, not only OF Him are all things ... THROUGH Him are all things too! This preposition is "dia" and (when with a genitive pronoun) means: by means of, during, among or with! It carries the idea BECAUSE OF! He is the channel through which all things flow! But I best like what another lexicon says: Used of motion through a line ... through, right through. Guess what? All our blessings (and everything else too) have come to us from eternity past ... right up through Genesis and Exodus and Psalms and Malachi and the Gospels and the Epistles and the past 2,000+ years of history to this very second ... ALL are through Jesus Christ! This thought demands that HE is the same forever! "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8

Then ... all things are TO Him! The preposition here is "eis" and is used with an accusative object (Him). These circumstances give it these meanings: in, to, at, into, upon, near or by! It is used spatially, denoting motion toward a Person! Wow! All things are headed toward the Lord Jesus Christ! (He is the Judge! John 5:22 says --- "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.")

I believe also the idea here is that Jesus is the goal of all things! Listen to Philippians 2:10 and 11 --- "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Or even Ephesians 1:10 --- "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him." (Glory to God!)

These little inspired prepositions place Jesus Christ at the "forever" points of both eternity past and eternity future! He is a BIG God! He is an eternal God! Heís the Creator of all things! Heís the Consummator of all things! Heís the Continuator of all things! ("By Him all things consist!" Colossians 1:17)

Then Paul just loudly proclaims one word: GLORY!

This little term ("doxa") may be a word representing all the Essence of God. The sum total of all His Attributes (Righteousness, Justice, Love, Omnipotence, Truthfulness, etc.) may well be called His GLORY!  Paul is ascribing Godís very Being back to Him! God, you are Unchangeable! Thou art Eternal! Thou art the only One Who knowest all! Thou art everywhere! GLORY! GLORY! GLORY!

And ... after a burst of praise like that ... whatís one to do?

Exactly what Romans chapters 12-16 tell us to do. Live godly lives ... again, to His Glory!

Iíve sure seen some "nuggets" today. I pray you have too. (Iím taking some of them home with me too ... all the way to Atlanta!)

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



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