Romans 15:4–6 4For 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. 5May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How vital is Scripture to us? Many of us as followers of Jesus would say it is hugely and foundationally important. Most of our homes have several copies of the Bible in printed and electronic forms. We post Scripture quotations on the walls of our homes as artwork. We read it regularly. We have certain essential passages of Scripture committed to memory. We wouldn’t think of attending anything but a Bible believing and Bible teaching church. How can all this be true and the Bible not be important to us?
It is possible that all the above is true of us, and the Bible still not hold the place God intends for it in our lives. Outside of church and Christian gatherings, how immersed are our thoughts, attitudes, motivations, actions, and reactions in biblical truth. When you share insights to help and encourage other people, how often is your mind drawing from Scripture as the primary resource? When you find people doing things wrong or making poor decisions, is the foundation for your suggested change passages or principles from Scripture? If people ask you about the examples and practices made known from your life, do you praise the truth of Scripture God provides to give light to your steps? These are the specific ways the Apostle Paul says Scripture is to permeate our lives. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 “16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Paul gives the same import to Scripture in Romans 15:4-6, sighted above. Having just quoted from the Old Testament, Paul shares with the believers in the church in Rome that Old Testament truths endure time to serve as encouragements to our hearts and lives in ways that consistently inspire hope. Biblical insight is so lastingly relevant and helpful that when applied, it produces functional harmony and unity as it is lived and shared.
Is it possible that the lack of joyful hope we experience, and the struggles and tensions we have with others, are related to the fact that our lives are sprinkled with external affirmations of Scripture rather than immersed in the dependable truths of Scripture consistently informing and practically guiding our words and ways? May God help us to move beyond reading, learning and affirming the Bible, to living and sharing Scripture-saturated lives, filled with hope that promotes God-honoring unity!