In our Bible passage in Romans today:
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.
John Piper says that there are three three truths from Romans 15:4
- All the Scriptures are for our instruction.
- All the Scriptures are intended by God to give steadfastness and encouragement.
- All the Scriptures have this goal: to sustain our hope.
Benjamin Warfield, the great Princeton teacher, was told one time by an unsympathetic saint of his day (in 1911): “Ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer knowledge of God than ten hours over your books.” Warfield’s response was beautiful. He said, “What! [More] than ten hours over your books, on your knees?”
Another Princeton saint, Philip Lindsay, used to make the same point by saying to his New Testament classes, “One of the best preparations for death is a thorough knowledge of the Greek grammar.”
Now the point is not that everyone should spend ten hours a day in books or that everyone should master the Greek NT. But some should! And the rest of us should be glad they do! But all of us should do our best not just to fly over the Scriptures on the way to work or the way to bed, but to understand them. We need a systematic diet of instruction, not just a few crumbs a day, if we are going to fight successfully to maintain the full assurance of hope to the end.
“Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.” That’s the first point of Romans 15:4. But the second point in the verse stresses that the instruction is not finally for the head but for the heart.
I hope you have an appetite for MORE! To read more about points 2 and 3, click here to read or listen to the rest of the sermon