Romans 15:4


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

Paul just quoted the 69th Psalm. Now as a way of showing that the Old Testament still has value and is to be relied on and consulted, he begins with “for.” This ties us to the quote and is a way for him to remind us that we should rely on the wisdom found there in order to understand the work of Christ more fully.

In fact, the Old Testament Scriptures were the only Scriptures at Paul’s time and they are what he and the other apostles relied on to understand and explain the work of Jesus. Nothing has changed since the completion of the New Testament either. The Old Testament is not to be discarded in our pursuit of spiritual knowledge.

The quote from the 69th Psalm was speaking, in a large way, about the patient endurance of Christ during His ministry. In reading that, Paul’s mind may have suddenly thought something like, “And isn’t that what we are to find for ourselves as we search the Scriptures?” And so he equates our journey through them as a journey of spiritual understanding, particularly in how it relates to our relationship with Christ.

And so he notes that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning.” These Old Testament Scriptures which took hundreds and hundreds of years to come forth, didn’t lose their relevance when Christ came. Instead, they became relevant in an entirely new way. For us, they now, “through the patience and comfort” found in them might provide us hope.

Keeping this verse in context with the train of thought that he has been pursuing, this “patience and comfort” then is directly tied to our conduct among the brethren concerning “doubtful matters.” Paul isn’t suddenly jumping out of his previous discourse. Instead, he is tying this psalm and the application he has derived from it directly to the concept of the fraternal bonds of Christian fellowship. This will be evident from the coming two verses.

Life application: The Bible reveals a harmony between the New Testament and the Old . The two testaments contrast and yet they confirm each other. There is the law and there is grace. They contrast and yet they confirm the whole counsel of God. In order to understand the fullness of God’s intent for us, we need to study and apply the entirety of Scripture to our lives.

I look up and see the stars filling the night sky and a I wonder how I fit into Your great plan. I feel small and insignificant… surely you have more important matters to consider than me. But then, I remember, Jesus came for me – even for me. I don’t understand how I could be important in this universe full of other important things, but I know it is true. Jesus died for me too. Thank You for caring that much about me, O God. Amen.

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