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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 15 - Verse 4

Verse 4. For whatsoever things, This is a general observation which struck the mind of the apostle, from the particular case which he had just specified. He had just made use of a striking passage in the Psalms to his purpose. The thought seems suddenly to have occurred to him that all the Old Testament was admirably adapted to express Christian duties and doctrine, and he therefore turned aside from his direct argument to express this sentiment. It should be read as a parenthesis.

Were written aforetime. That is, in ancient times; in the Old Testament.

For our learning. For our teaching or instruction. Not that this was the only purpose of the writings of the Old Testament, to instruct Christians; but that all the Old Testament might be useful now in illustrating and enforcing the doctrines and duties of piety towards God and man.

Through patience. This does not mean, as our translation might seem to suppose, patience of the Scriptures; but it means, that by patiently enduring sufferings, in connexion with the consolation which the Scriptures furnish, we might have hope. The tendency of patience, the apostle tells us, (Ro 5:4,) is to produce hope. See Barnes "Ro 5:4".


And comfort of the Scriptures. By means of the consolation which the writings of the Old Testament furnish. The word rendered comfort means also exhortation or admonition. If this is its meaning here, it refers to the admonitions which the Scriptures suggest, instructions which they impart, and the exhortations to patience in trials. If it means comfort, then the reference is to the examples of the saints in affliction; to their recorded expressions of confidence in God in their trials, as of Job, Daniel, David, etc. Which is the precise meaning of the word here, it is not easy to determine.

Might have hope. See Barnes "Ro 5:4".

We may learn here,

(1.) that afflictions may prove to be a great blessing.

(2.) That the proper tendency is to produce hope.

(3.) That the way to find support in afflictions is to go to the Bible. By the example of the ancient saints, by the expression of their confidence in God, by their patience, we may learn to suffer, and may not only be instructed, but may find comfort in all our trials. See the example of Paul himself in 2 Co 1:3-11.

{g} "whatsoever things" 1 Co 10:11; 2 Ti 3:16,17

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