For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through perseverance and through encouragement and comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope.Romans 15:4
While Paul is here speaking about the writings that we would today call the Old Testament, in truth for believers today, the collective apostolic writings of the New Testament would also be included within the torah, or instruction of God. Paul’s admonition is that our learning should be based on this instruction of God. These writings have been designed for instructing us in wisdom. From this wisdom stems steadfastness, constancy, and cheerful endurance. This wisdom provides hope, expectation, or confidence.
For the first century believers, their hope was that they would be protected and spared through the rampant persecution of the Jews against their sect. Their hope was in the soon and coming judgment upon the wickedness of that generation that was to be poured out in the impending war with Rome. The writings of their forefathers were being fulfilled before their eyes, and they could draw encouragement and comfort to help them endure the troubling times they were living through. In like fashion today, we can also draw hope and encouragement through the writings of our spiritual forefathers in the Bible that have been handed down to us through the centuries.
Additionally, Paul’s admonition is that, based on the wisdom of the writings, we should be building one another up, not segregating ourselves further from one another.
We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. … May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 15:2, 5-6
Believers today have been entrusted with the most valuable commodity there is in a world of falsified news and social unrest: the truth of God’s instruction. If we lived like we really believed that, like we really trusted in the God of the Bible, the world would, for better or worse, take notice. The results would be dependent on how steadfast we would remain; to be tested if we could endure their onslaught with the cheerful endurance of our spiritual forefathers.
If we would, as Paul envisions, “join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the impact on this generation could have similar effects that the faithful of that generation had, effects which are still resonating with believers down to our day thousands of years later.
Our faithful handling of God’s word is magnified when we actually live out what we say we believe. The best demonstration of faith is in living out the wisdom of God.
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.