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
This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
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,
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.
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
Comparison to others can steal our joy.
While reading “Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning, I was introduced to the parable of the Cracked Pot and it spoke into my heart. Manning says, “Any attempt to measure the value of our lives by comparison and contrast to others belittles our gifts and dishonors God by our ungratefulness.” – Ned Campbell
The Parable of the Cracked Pot
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you”. The bearer asked, “Why? What are you ashamed of?” The Pot replied, “For these past two years I am able to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you don’t get full value for your efforts”.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion, he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it somewhat. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”