“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
Explanation and Commentary of Romans 15:4
After quoting Psalm 69:9, Paul makes an aside in his letter to the Romans about the use of Old Testament Scripture to encourage the believer of today. Indeed, Jesus’ ministry on earth after the resurrection seemed to be focused on teaching the disciples how to read the law and the prophets in light of Christ, learning to see him there and understand the redemptive history of the world and of God’s people.
Many Christians fear studying the Old Testament because parts of it are hard to understand, but in reality, it is a treasure trove of both history, and mysterious and deep truth about the reality of sin, the nature of God, and the nature of man. Read in light of the New Testament, abiding with God in the Old Testament will surely strengthen and deepen the faith of a born again Christian.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 15:4
Paul relates this verse to the previous one quoting the Psalms.
#2 “…everything that was written in the past…”
Paul is referring to the “Scriptures” rather than absolutely everything written outside the Bible.
#3 “…was written to teach us,”
The Old Testament was written down by Spirit-empowered servants of God, such as Moses, the Prophets, the Psalmists, and the history writers. All of this was written down so that God’s people might know him and obey him.
#4 “so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures…”
Endurance is the ability to last as long as necessary to make it to the end of life with strong faith, having followed God, and obeyed him, growing all the while in his likeness.
#5 “…and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.”
It is encouraging to read the written Word of God in the Old Testament. Seeing that others have struggled before us with the same struggles we have and seeing that Christ is on every page, especially in the amazing prophecies about him, is a great source of encouragement.
Expert Overview of Romans Ch. 5-16
Biblical Translations of Romans 15:4
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
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.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the [a]patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.