Romans 15:4 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.
- Instruction: learning, doctrine
- Endurance: cheerful and patient constancy
- Hope: expectation of obtaining good
In the summer time during my middle and high school years, both my parents headed off to work before I would wake up. My mom always left instructions for me on the kitchen counter. It was my chore list that needed to be finished before I could leave the house. It was written in former minutes, and for my instruction. I knew that if I, through patient endurance, pressed through and finished my chores, I could bike the five miles to town and go golfing with friends. The instruction gave me hope that what I deemed as good would soon come through my endurance.
When the apostle Paul wrote this text in Romans, he was referring to the Old Testament. We now have the entire Scriptures (both Old and New) for our instruction. The Scriptures are intended for our doctrinal learning, and to be our source of encouragement. It is the source of truth the Lord gave us so that we might not be tossed around in this world like a ship lost at sea.
In one sense, whatever was written, emailed, sent in a text, or tweeted in the past was written down for someone’s instruction. But only the Scriptures promise to give encouragement and true hope to those who read with endurance.