Encouraging hope of Scripture, the Holy Bible – Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 15:4 ESV

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 102:18
This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.

Psalm 119:50
This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Select Commentary

Gill: For whatsoever things were written aforetime,…. In the books of the Old Testament; the apostle says this, to vindicate the pertinency of the above citation, and to prevent any objection that might be made against it; since whatsoever was written in that psalm did not belong personally to David, but to Christ; and what is written concerning him, is designed for the use and instruction of his people; yea, whatever is written anywhere in the sacred Scriptures,

were written for our learning; to instruct in the knowledge of Christ, of his person, offices, grace, righteousness, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension; and of the great salvation and redemption he came to obtain, and has obtained; and to teach us the doctrines of grace, of pardon through the blood of Christ, atonement by his sacrifice, justification by his righteousness, acceptance in his person, and eternal life through him; as also to inform us of our duty, and how we ought to behave both towards God and men:

that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope; the Scriptures are not only written for our present instruction, but for the ingenerating, encouraging, and establishing, an hope of eternal Life in another world; which they are the means of, under the influence of divine grace; since they give us a clear account of eternal life; of the promise of it in Christ; of its being procured by him, and secured in him; of the means of enjoying it, through his blood and righteousness; of the declarations of God’s free grace and mercy to sinners, and of the various instances of persons who have been made partakers of it; all which encourage to hope in the Lord, and to rejoice in hope of the glory of God; believing we also may have and enjoy the thing hoped for, “through patience and comfort of the Scriptures”; both which are encouraged thereby: the “patience of the Scriptures” is not a stoical apathy, a stupid indolence; and is of a different kind from that patience the writings of the Heathen philosophers define and recommend: the Scripture gives an account of the true nature of patience, in bearing all sorts of evils for Christ’s sake; of the excellency and usefulness of it; and do strongly exhort unto it upon the best principles, and with the best motives; and are full of promises to the exercise of it, and furnish out the best examples of suffering affliction, and patience: “the comfort of the Scriptures” is such as is not to be met with elsewhere. These writings abound with exceeding great and precious promises, and excellent doctrines, big with consolation to the saints; and both serve much to cherish, support, and maintain an hope of eternal happiness; all which prove the divine authority, excellency, and usefulness of the sacred writings, and recommend the reading of them by us, and the hearing of them explained by others.

My pondering:

Gill’s commentary above is most excellent and detailed. Disciples of Christ can debate on the cannon and method of selection along with the variant styles of Scripture but if we are indeed born again and are sustained by the Word, then is no question as to its purpose and effectiveness. Let’s major on the majors rather than get caught up in the weeds of the minors. It’s not the difficult things of Scripture that challenge me most, rather the most simple, like love the neighbor and deny thyself.

One interesting theme I have noticed within the Bible are ‘ifs, mays and mights’. Here we see a ‘might’. There are indeed qualifiers to unleash the power therein. Like the ancient Jewish temple, let move from outside the gates into the outer courts then to the inner and finally to the holy of holies guided by none other than the precious Holy Spirit into the presence of Christ and bosom if our Father.

We must first be present which is out of our control because none of us chose to be born then we must will thyself by faith as we work and abide in the Spirit. This is what I gather by the ‘might’ herein. God’s sovereign will and our personal will must be in one accord.

For in Matthew 26:41 we read, “…The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” By dwelling in the Word we are strengthened, encouraged and comforted.

Then let’s go forth!

My prayer:

God, Your Word is precious. Enable me to grasp and apply this and the rest of my days. Amen

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