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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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 (NASB)
In school, my two favorite subjects were history and literature. I think it’s because of the life lessons and practical application we can glean from them. Reading about the events of the past, experiences of our predecessors, and triumphs and tragedies of the men and women who came before us helps put us on better paths, to help us live better. In the same way, literature teaches us these lessons through a well-crafted, compelling story.
According to Paul, Scripture was written with similar intentions. You see, the Lord breathed His Word into the hearts and hands of 40 men over the span of 4,000 years to write 66 divinely inspired books for what I believe to be two reasons.
First, He did it so we could know Him personally—to know His character, understand who He is and what He did for us, worship and glorify Him for it, and experience a deep, abiding, surrendered, intimate Father-child relationship with Him (John 20:31). According to the Bible, when we know Him, He “will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NLT).
Second, He provided us with the Word so we have a road-map to right living, for “living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 NLT). This is what the Kingdom looks like: His children walking with Him, in the Spirit, serving Christ and others, putting others above themselves. This is what the lessons and examples of Scripture teach us about how to live. This is what Jesus taught us through His life and ministry, and this is what Paul, Peter, John, James, and the other apostles exemplified for us through Acts and the Epistles.
And here’s the beautiful thing that separates and elevates the Word of God over all other historical or literary works: The lessons and message of His Word don’t just inform our decision-making, they breathe life into us! They don’t just help us avoid mistakes, trials, and pain (though it can help us avoid self-inflicted, sinful mistakes and pain), they show us how to walk through trials with peace and joy, so that “through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
This is what the Word of our God does! Why? Because the Word is God and the Word makes His dwelling in us! I pray we never take His Word for granted.
DIG: Read Romans 13–15.
DISCOVER: What does the Word mean to you? Why is it valuable for your life? How are you using it? How often are you using it?
DISPLAY: Thank the Lord today for His Word, then open it and receive the power, encouragement, and hope of Christ through it!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.