Romans 15–16: Encouragement & Love

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 8: Sunday

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4–7

Today’s Bible reading of Romans 15–16, finishes Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. In chapter 15, he finishes giving his instructions to them about relationships with each other as he encourages them and tells them of his plans to come to Rome.

Romans 15:4 is a verse that has brought hope and comfort to me as I have dealt with having severe hearing loss. It was a sudden loss caused by surgeries and the ripple of consequences it has imposed have been very difficult for me. Following the surgeries I was left floundering to trust God. My hearing plummeted so rapidly I was very fearful of what would happen in the future and whether or not I would be completely cut off from being able to interact with people.

Several years later as I was doing some homework for a Bible study I read Romans 15:4, and God brought immediate consolation to my heart. I knew that whatever happened in the future, through His Word God would give me encouragement and hope. In the face of great loss, that solid reassurance of hope means a great deal.

Look at the next few verses. God is the giver of perseverance and encouragement. I pray that whatever losses you have had or may face, you will turn to Him for help. God will enable you to persevere. Through His Word He will give you encouragement and hope.

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
Romans 15:5–7

I quoted the verses above when I wrote about ministry in Sharing Our Lives, and I said the word accept means:

“To take to oneself…or to receive…signifying a special interest on the part of the receiver, suggesting a welcome.”1

“To receive, i.e., grant one access to one’s heart…”2

Paul continues to reassure them of hope. Along with encouragement, it’s a key word in chapter 15.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Paul lived out his words to the Romans. You can see his great love and care for those to whom he writes. He closes the letter with greetings and commendations. The many names (more than in any other letter) and the affectionate nature of his words reveal his close ties and his love for this church which he had yet to visit.

At the beginning of Romans Paul wrote these words that are the theme of the book:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Romans 1:16–17

Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, was not ashamed of the Gospel. He knew its power for Jew and Gentile alike, and he shared its truth out of a heart warm with love and affection for the church at Rome. He closes this incredible letter of God’s grace with praise:

…to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.


Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
Safety Net: Susan E. Hendrich
1W. E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Old Testament edited by F. F. Bruce, vol. 3 (Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan NJ: 1981) 255.
2Blue Letter Bible: proslambanō.

Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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