The aim of this devotional study is to discover how to encourage a discouraged believer from the Scriptures.
1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
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.
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Context: The first few verses of this chapter continue with tension due to matters of moral indifference (food and rituals that have no moral implications, and how different people regard it).
- Briefly summarize the following sections in your own words:
- Verses 1-3
- Verse 4
- Verses 5-7
- What “Scriptures” were Paul referring to here? (verse 4)
- According to Paul, why were the Scriptures written down? (verse 4)
- What title does Paul attribute to God? (verse 5) What does he mean when he says that? And how does that statement link to the previous verse? (verse 4) [Look until you see the beautiful link between these two verses].
- Paul says that the Scriptures were written “for our instruction”; think of one specific Old Testament History account or character (such as a part of David or Abraham’s life) and apply Romans 15:4 to it:
- What “instruction” or life lesson can you learn from this specific account? What do you learn about humanity, about God, about faith, prayer or relationships?
- What do you learn about “endurance” – patience, faithfulness or perseverance?
- In which way does this Biblical account “encourage” you?
- In which way does this Biblical account give you greater “hope” – i.e. what is the inherent promise in this story to you?
- Think of a person in your life that leans towards discouragement or hopelessness as they go through a difficult time. Which Biblical account is similar in some way from which he/she can learn of God’s faithfulness? Reflect on that Biblical story and encourage him/her and stir his/her hope!
Spend some time praising the “God of endurance and encouragement”, thanking him for strength and encouragement in the past. Then boldly ask God to encourage you/ a friend and give you strength to endure.