If God Is For Us, by Trillia Newbell, is an excellently-written and well-organized Bible study of Romans 8. Different from other studies which utilize recorded teaching sessions and require group discussion, If God Is For Us stands alone and allows for more flexibility. This study would be very helpful for a missionary, student, full-time employee, or stay-at-home-mom whose location or schedule does not allow them to reach their local church for a mid-week teaching and discussion-based study. Your church’s women’s ministry may even want to recommend this study to women seeking to study scripture during the “down-times” of ministry (summer, Christmas, etc.). Though great as an individual study, Newbell organized the study in such a way as to include "Respond" sections, which could prompt group discussion quite easily should a group choose to meet weekly for accountability purposes during their study. The material also provides several jumping-off points for those within the local body gifted in teaching to be able to utilize the book as a resource for their own teaching time within a group meeting.
Regarding content, Newbell focuses on the text of Scripture. She uses the first week of study to walk quickly through Romans 1–7 in order to provide the context necessary for understanding the message of Romans 8. Due to the breadth of Romans 1–7, week one is quite time-consuming, but incredibly beneficial. I found that it was easier for me to divide week one into 2 weeks in order to really be able to meditate on the richness that is found in Romans 1–7. After that, each week begins with an overview and response section, before diving into a 5-day study. I found that the response section could be a bit lengthy to complete time-wise, but it provides valuable tools for those looking to dig in a little deeper to the text. As mentioned above, I think this section could be used in a group session if that is fitting. In weeks 2–6, each day can be completed in about 20–30 minutes, depending on how long it takes the reader to contemplate and write out each answer. I appreciated Newbell providing real-life examples and applications of the text, while also encouraging the reader to dig in, read the text, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal how it applies specifically through probing questions that she asks at the end of each day of study.
If you are like me, a women's study or devotional can sometimes make you wary, feeling like it may be overly girly, emotional, and even fluffy. Not so with this study! If God Is For Us is rich with Scripture and life-changing truth! It challenges both the brain and the heart, and will leave you spiritually full and refreshed. Prayerfully apply yourself to this study, and you will receive encouragement to keep following and knowing more deeply the God who is for us.