The Letter to the Romans



43. Doxology


Romans 11:33-36

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.

34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"

35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.


Key Words

Wisdom of God

Unsearchable judgments

Mind of the Lord


Paul has finished his examination of the history of Israel's calling, of Israel's hardened condition at the time of his writing, and of the people's eventual "unhardening" and re-entry into God's people. He ends, now, with a hymn of praise to God (again borrowing from the Old Testament) for His sovereign, inscrutable wisdom that brought about salvation to both the Jews and the Gentiles.


1. As Paul summarizes God's sovereign faithfulness to His promises, what does he understand the riches of God's wisdom and knowledge to be? (see Romans 2:4; 9:23; Ephesians 1:7-8; 18-19; 2:6-7; 3:8-12; 16-17; Colossians 2:2-3; 1 Corinthians 1:20-21; 25; 27-31)



2. Paul uses language evocative of several Old Testament writers when he calls God's judgments "unsearchable" and "his paths beyond tracing out." What have God's people always understood about His role in creation and in the lives of humans? (see Job 5:9; 11:7-9; Psalm 139:1-10; Ecclesiastes 8:16-17; Isaiah 40:27-28; 55:8-11)



3. Paul begins a series of three rhetorical questions in verse 34. Again, these questions are echoes of Old Testament passages. In Isaiah 40:13, the word translated "mind" in the NIV version of this Romans passage is instead translated "Spirit" in the NASB. What does the Bible teach about our ability to know God's Spirit or mind, and what does it say about God's obligation to us? (see Isaiah 40:13; 29:14-16; Job 41:11; 35:7; Romans 9:22-24; John 14:16-17; 1 Corinthians 1:20-22; 2:6-7; 2:9-10; 11-12; 14-16; Romans 8:26-27)



4. "Whohas been [God's] counselor?" Paul now asks, quoting from Isaiah 40:13. What human weakness is Paul emphasizing given the Biblical statements about God and the concept of "counselor"? (see Isaiah 40:13-14; Job 15:7-13; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Isaiah 9:6; 27:28-29; Psalm 16:7-8; John 14:16-17, 25-27; 15:26-27; 16:5-11)



5. "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" Paul quotes next from Job 41:11. What common human idea is Paul exposing and debunking in this question? (see Job 41:1-11; 35:5-8; 22:2-3; Luke 17:7-10; 1 Corinthians 9:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-9; Deuteronomy 9:4-6; Romans 4:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7)



6. In verse 36 Paul praises the sovereign provision of God: "For from him and through him and to him are all things." What is significant about those three prepositions, "from", "through", and "to"; and what sorts of things come "from" and "through" God that are also "to" God? (see 1 Corinthians 8:5-6; 11:12; 12:4, 11; Colossians 1:16; 19; Hebrews 2:10; Ephesians 1:4-6; 7-8; 2:18; 3:16; 20-21; 4:4-5; 5:25-27)



7. Paul ends this doxology with these words: "To him be the glory forever! Amen." How will God be glorified forever? (see Romans 16:25-27; Ephesians 3:20-21; 1 Timothy 1:15-17; 1 Peter 5:10-11; Jude :24-25; Revelation 5:13-14; 7:11-12)



8. Based on what we have learned about God's election, sovereign plans, calling, faithfulness, and patience, for what "big picture" reality is Paul praising God?




9. How have God's wisdom and unsearchable judgments affected your life?



10. In what ways do you find yourself trying to "repay" God or to be worthy of His blessings?



11. Praise God for His intervention in your life; for His faithfulness, His provision, His revelation of Himself.



12. Ask God to awaken your heart to the miracle of His mercy and provision. Ask Him to put a song in your heart and to teach you to praise Him, "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 4:20).



Copyright (c) 2006 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted June 21, 2006.
Send comments and questions to