1. Have you had a “coming of age” point in your life when you considered yourself committed and accountable to a new way of living? Time permitting, tell your story of whether you were able to live out your new life—or not!
    1. A bar mitzvah or confirmation class (“I confess….”)
    2. An adult believer’s baptism (“I repent of my sins and vow to….”)
    3. My marriage vows (“For better or worse, I vow….”)
    4. Giving up drugs or alcohol (“I’ll quit tomorrow when….”)
    5. Other initiation or graduation event


In Romans 7:7-25, Paul could be describing either a Christian or a non-Christian experience. Whichever the case, this subject has been hotly debated for centuries. In either event, Paul seems to be using the first-person pronoun, not in an autobiographical way, but as a representative of humanity in general (vv. 7-12) and of Christians in particular (vv. 13-25). The case for Paul speaking of his pre-Christian struggles is suggested by phrases such as “sold as a slave to sin” (v. 14) and “What a wretched man I am!” (v. 24). The case for Paul speaking of the Christian’s experience is supported by Paul’s use of present tense verbs throughout this chapter; Paul’s humble opinion of himself (v. 18); his high regard for God’s law (vv. 14,16); and the context of Romans 7:1-7, which speaks of Jesus’ deliverance.

God’s Story

Have someone read aloud Romans 7: 1-25, giving due emphasis to Paul’s struggles. Listen closely to discern who Paul is speaking to and who he is speaking for, even yourself!

Finding My Story in God’s Story

2. Paul speaks of struggling with the sin of coveting. Perhaps you can identify or perhaps you rebelled against a different rule or commandment as you were growing up. Can you tell a story of when you “coveted” something that belonged to someone else, or perhaps a different sin you struggled with. How did you try to resist that urge?

3. Again, considering your own life story, how do you relate to Paul’s phrase, “sin sprang to life, and I died?”

    1. My innocence evaporated and I felt shame.
    2. I am created in God’s image, but the flesh is a wall between us.
    3. Every time I’m weak and give in, I die a little bit.
    4. The Bible’s rules are a powerful guardrail that I need for holy direction.
    5. Other __________.


4. Paul talks about how we need the “law” (biblical guidelines) to help us distinguish good from evil. How does that jibe with your life experience?

    1. I agree–right is right and wrong is wrong, no room for compromise.
    2. Life is gray for me. Doing wrong can turn out for good and doing wrong can turn out alright.
    3. The commandments are clear, but we keep falling short of them.
    4. I’m having trouble with how Paul keeps defining “death.”
    5. Other __________.


5. Paul gets to the meat of the matter in verses 14 through 20: He’s a “slave to sin,” doesn’t understand his actions, sin is his natural state, and he keeps screwing up even when he doesn’t want to. Imagine you’re his coach. What would you say?

    1. Hey, man, join the crowd. I’ve been there.
    2. We’ve just gotta keep moving forward and do better the next time.
    3. Are you saying it’s your fault, but somehow not? I’m confused.
    4. I can see that your heart is in the right place but your head’s holding you back.
    5. Other __________.

6. Think about something that you don’t want to do but “keep on doing.” What about Paul’s mention of “sin living in me” makes that struggle easier, or harder, to deal with?

7. Toward the end of this passage, Paul talks about evil as “right there with me,” riding shotgun, or trying to push him off the road and into the ditch of doom, which makes him call himself “wretched.” If you were in his dusty sandals, what would keep your eyes on the road and foot on the gas pedal and/or brake pedal?

    1. The knowledge that, deep down, I’m still a good guy.
    2. I’m trusting Jesus to help me stay on the right road.
    3. God’s law is hard, even unattainable in this life, but it’s worth the struggle.
    4. Sometimes I feel utterly powerless, and I just give up and hope for the best.
    5. Other __________.

Our Story

8. How do you relate to Paul’s story of the never-ending fight with our inner demons?

    1. I need help to overcome that same sin struggle in my current life. Who will help me?
    2. I don’t like the hopelessness of this passage. That sounds like my pre-Christian life.
    3. Romans 7 would be bleak indeed without landing on 7:25, which leads to Roman 8.
    4. So grateful for the Cross, the Resurrection, and Holy Spirit—or I would be hopeless.
    5. Other __________.


9. As fellow strugglers and hope-filled believers, what can we do to help one another on the way and let the “good law” of God shine through and keep the “bad law” of sin at bay?

  1. Love each other unconditionally, warts and all, no judgment.
  2. Just acknowledge that we’re all fighting in the same war.
  3. Be bold enough to hold each other accountable and ask for help.
  4. Be that “3 a.m. call” buddy, armed with a good ear and a gentle word.
  5. Other ___________.

10. Pray as a group about any “sins” holding you hostage, suppressing your experience of God’s love and mercy.

11. In keeping with v. 25, offer thanks for all the ways that we can be there for each other in tough times.