Stumbling Stone


When we think about stumbling, we often think about falling—falling into temptation, personal propensities toward pride, lust, and greed. But have you ever considered Christ as a stumbling block? All of us have been tripped up over Christ at one point or another. In today’s passage, we will see how Israel tried to establish a pathway to righteousness through works, stumbling over Christ and true righteousness.

  • What makes you stumble?


30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
    and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How did the Gentiles attain righteousness, if they themselves did not pursue it (vs. 9:30)?
  2. How was Christ the stumbling stone for Israel (vss. 31-33)?
  3. How did Paul feel toward the Israelites (vs. 10:1)?
  4. “As you come to [Jesus], a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). How does this living stone, Jesus, build up the body of believers?
  5. How might you be like Israel, trying to attain acceptance and righteousness through your actions? What does it look like to let Christ be your righteousness?


Jesus can be the living stone to you, or a stumbling stone. If you decide your goodness is dependent on your actions, then Christ will serve as a direct confrontation to that which is truly perfect and good in life. But if you pursue the righteousness of God through faith in Christ, you personally encounter something you would never find on your own. You find the capstone, the stone that is the stabilizing life force that allows all of us to stop faking life and be more authentic receivers and givers of love.

  • Think through the intricate pathways you have established in your life to gain acceptance and rightness on your own and confess them to God.
  • Ask God and others in your life how those well-worn pathways can be left for neglect. Pray that you can allow grace through faith in Christ to work on your behalf.