Ministry of Encouragement 2

The aim of this devotional study is to discover how to encourage a discouraged believer from the Scriptures.

Scripture

Romans 15:1-7

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.

Observations

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).

  1. Briefly summarize the following sections in your own words:
    1. Verses 1-3
    2. Verse 4
    3. Verses 5-7
  2. What “Scriptures” were Paul referring to here? (verse 4)
  3. According to Paul, why were the Scriptures written down? (verse 4)
  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].

Application

  1. 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:
    1. 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?
    2. What do you learn about “endurance” – patience, faithfulness or perseverance?
    3. In which way does this Biblical account “encourage” you?
    4. In which way does this Biblical account give you greater “hope” – i.e. what is the inherent promise in this story to you?
  2. 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!

Prayer

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.