Second Reading: Romans 15:4-9
The Past Points To the Future
How does reading the Bible help you?
4 Everything that was written in the Bible is there to instruct us. That way, with patience and the Bible encouraging us, we can really have hope! 5 May the God of patience and encouragement help you to think alike and to think like Christ Jesus does. 6 So, with one mind and one voice, you can praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept each other the way Jesus accepted you. This is a way to praise God! 8 Jesus was a servant to the Jewish people to show God was faithful. By his life, God confirmed his promises to the patriarchs. 9 And by his life, the Gentiles glorified God for the mercy they received from him. The Bible says:
“So, I will tell all the Gentiles about you and I will sing about your name!”
4 For as much as has been written before, (Scripture) was written for our teaching, so that we could have hope through patience and through the encouragement of the Scriptures. 5 May the God of patience and encouragement give you the same (way) to think with each other in accord with CHRIST JESUS, 6 so that in one mind with one voice you can glorify God and Father of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
7 Accept each other, just as CHRIST accepted you, to the glory of God. 8 I say (that) CHRIST (had) to become a servant of circumcision for the truth of God, so to confirm the promises (made) to the patriarchs, 9 so to glorify God (by) the Gentiles for (his) mercy, just as it has been written:
“Because of this, I will make a confession about you among the Gentiles, I will sing psalms to your name.”
15:7 “Accept each other, just as CHRIST accepted you” The verb “accept” is literally “receive toward (yourself).” It can mean greeting and/or tolerance.
15:9 “Because of this, I will make a confession about you among the Gentiles, I will sing psalms to your name.” This verse is from Psalm 18:50. It is part of several verses Paul quoted from the Torah (Deu. 32:43), the Prophets (11:10), and the Writings (the verse from Psalms listed above) in Romans 15:9-12 to support his thesis in this section: Scripture pointed to the service Jesus gave to his people as a proof of his Messiahhood.
In these few passages from Romans, Paul appealed to Scripture as a whole to envision the unity within the assembly as a sign of the end times (a time “to glorify God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice”). Of course, Paul was wise enough to realize that such unity required patience, the instruction that only Scripture could provide, and the power of God to act. Such unity would mean acceptance by the community members; Christ’s acceptance was the paradigm. After all, he was the servant to the Jews (i.e., “circumcision) to show that God was faithful. Christ realized the promises God made to the patriarchs. And he would be the cause of rejoicing by the Gentiles. The fulfillment of the promises and the universal acclaim by the Gentiles were seen as eschatological signs.
Why do we read Scripture? Obviously we study and pray over Scripture to feed and deepen our faith. But, faith is trust in God not only for what he has done, but what he will do. Scripture points to Christ and to his return in glory. That is the day we pray for, the time when we will praise him in union with all other believers.
How many times have you been struck by the teaching of Christ’s return in Scripture? How have those times changed your outlook on faith?