“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
One of the most unfortunate tragedies in the Body of Christ today is the ubiquitous ignorance of the Word of God. The fact of the matter is that most Christians do not really know much of what the Bible says and very few really even care. While there is a great deal of activity going on in the average church, solid Bible teaching is seldom part of the program. We have our potluck dinners, our men’s and women’s meetings, our song services, and our fundraisers; but where is the teaching of God’s Word? Sure, we typically have a brief message given by our pastors where one or two verses are pulled (sometimes seemingly at random) from Scripture as a sort of “introduction” to something that may or may not have much to do with the topic of the context, but a systematic examination of the Bible is entirely absent from most churches today.
Yet the Bible, God’s Word, is the vehicle through which the Lord communicates patience, comfort, and hope. The God of patience and comfort (as Romans 15:5 is better rendered; consolation in the KJV is translated from the same word in the Greek as comfort in Verse 4) conveys to us patience and comfort through the Scriptures. The Bible should be read, re-read, studied, examined, dissected, and applied to the heart of every child of God. It has been written for our learning. Even portions of the Word which have fallen into obscurity from neglect and desuetude were originally included in the Canon of Scripture for the express purpose of the spiritual education of the believer. Many Christians question what relevance the Old Testament holds for those in Christ, since we are no longer under the Law of Moses, but the truth is that it has much and in many ways. We must remember that the Old Testament was exactly what the Apostle Paul was referring to when he said, whatsoever things were written aforetime. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul tells them concerning the events of the journey out of Egypt recorded in Exodus that:
“…these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
We can learn much about God and how He cares for us by looking at how He interacted with those who came before us. By studying the lives of people such as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Ruth, and David, we can learn about the provision of the Lord during our own trials and triumphs. The writer to the Hebrews lists a “Hall of Fame” of great heroes of the Old Testament in Hebrews 11. Why?
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Ultimately, it is the Lord Jesus Christ Whom we should see behind all of the examples given to us throughout the Bible. And that is precisely what we are being shown in our text here in Romans, as well. What was written aforetime should lead us to glorify God and to be like-minded toward one another as Jesus is toward all of us. He is our Great Example of how we are to treat one another, as Verse 3 of Romans 15 showed us concerning the relationship between “strong” and “weak” believers, and Jew and Gentile. For though the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus was directed primarily to the Jews (verse 8; cf. Matthew 15:24), the ramifications of His sacrificial death and resurrection are efficacious for the Salvation of the Gentile also, as verses 9-12 confirm.
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself…And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:27, 32)
As He did for Cleopas and the other, unnamed disciple travelling with him, the Lord Jesus will open up the Scriptures and teach each of us the things which pertain to Him. God wants us to understand His Word and learn from it the wondrous truths and promises He has for us. But we must spend the necessary time getting His Word before us and letting the Holy Spirit apply it to our lives. The purpose of this website is to study and examine the Word of God by moving methodically through it, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse. Because it is all relevant to us and is beneficial for our spiritual growth and learning. I am grateful to all of you who regularly read these studies and I pray that they serve as a thought-provoking resource for your own personal study of the Bible.
May the Lord richly bless you in your study of His Word. To God goes all glory. In service to Him,