The Bible: Hope for all - 7 September 2020
By Xanthe Hancox
- Romans 15:4-6
4Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. 5And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus, 6so that all of you together may praise with one voice the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul interrupts his train of thought about how the strong should love the weak in Romans 14 and 15 to comment on the role of Scripture in Christian life (Romans 15:4). What about Scripture could be so important?
He writes in Romans 15 is that everything in the Scripture—by which he means what we call the Old Testament—was written to produce and sustain hope. Throughout the Old Testament we see God’s faithfulness despite our sin. We see prophets, kings, psalmists, and ordinary people going through times of suffering and discouragement. We see the Israelites exiled to the wilderness, with no apparent future. But we also see that in time, God brings them back for greater service than before. The kingdom of God never shrinks; it may flow underground for a season, but it always emerges mightier than before.
With the encouragement of the Bible in our hands (Old and New Testaments), we should have hope. Christ has come and carried our sin and sorrows to the cross and into the grave, and left them there, and he rose so that now we have unshakable hope.
Paul’s own uses of Scripture show us what we should do with our Bibles. Read it, meditate on it, memorize it, and then get hope and joy and endurance and love from it.
We end our month of hope with an excerpt from the Bible Society’s prayer of thanksgiving. You can download the full prayer and other resources here.
Prayer: Gracious God, We thank you for 200 years of Bible Society work in South Africa. We thank you for your gracious provision. May your Word be “a lamp unto our feet”, “a light unto our path” and a beacon of hope for all. Amen