Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 15

The Bible teaches, encourages and gives us hope

Romans 15:4

Most of the apostles (first Christian leaders) had remained with Christ for a period of 3 years. All of them, including Paul, saw often that the Holy Spirit was working powerfully in their lives (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4).

However, the apostles spoke and wrote very little about their own personal experiences. Instead, the constant subject of their books, letters and public speeches was the Bible. They referred constantly to the Old Testament (the older books of the Bible).

At the time of the apostles, those books were already ancient: between 400 and 1500 years old. Still, the first Christians did not believe that the Old Testament had lost its importance. They taught that the whole Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is Godís word (2 Peter 1:20-21 and 3:15-16). Godís word cannot lose its importance - it achieves Godís purposes (Isaiah 55:11).

So, the first Christians studied the Bible carefully (2 Timothy 3:16); and by it, God himself became their teacher (Psalm 119:97-102). They had many enemies, and their lives were often very difficult (1 Corinthians 4:9-13). So they needed very much the comfort that God gives (2 Corinthians 1:3-10) - and often, he gave them that comfort from the Bible. From it, they learned that God is carrying out his plans in the world (see, for example, Psalm 2 and Psalm 110). Therefore, no trouble in this world can ever defeat Godís plans for his people (8:31-39). So, Godís people learn to be patient and to trust God during their present troubles (Romans 8:28; Hebrews 10:32-39). The promises in Godís word give them a hope that cannot fail (Hebrews 6:17-19).

Next part: Paul expresses his desires in prayer (Romans 15:5-6)

 

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© 2018, Keith Simons.