For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…
I. WHAT WERE THE SCRIPTURES GIVEN US FOR?
1. "Our learning." They are God's gift of light to a dark world when it had lost its way and was groping for the wall like the blind.
(1) As an intellectual boon alone we should prize them. They answer man's inquiries as to the origin and history of the world, etc., in a way which meets the anticipations of a reasoning and reflective mind.
(2) For our learning also on great moral subjects; how, e.g., it comes that there are found in man such strange contrarieties of good and evil; and how, even while hedged in by influences which bind him to the present world, he is conscious of unextinguishable aspirations after a higher and unseen life.
(3) For our learning, as respects God Himself. "The world by wisdom knew not God." My mind pants for information about Him in the relations of parent, benefactor, judge. But all this must come from Himself alone. Neither nature, nor reason, nor observation, nor conscience could ever have helped us to it.
2. That through the patience and comfort which these Scriptures afford to the troubled soul we might have hope. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God; that is, of the glory which shall be revealed hereafter — the mighty developments of the world unseen. And this hope comes to us, is strengthened and kept alive by patience and comfort of the Word. The Word is our hope, especially in all times of affliction. Over and over again, in the 119th Psalm, does David back up his petitions for all good with the argument, "according to Thy Word," and he well knew his warrant. The Scriptures were given for that very end.
II. THE FEELINGS WITH WHICH WE SHOULD APPROACH THE STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Deep reverence. God will have His name hallowed, for it is holy; but His Word He seems to make holier still — "Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name." We are to receive it, not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the Word of God.
2. Diligence, earnest effort, a high appreciation of its worth. "I rejoice at Thy Word as one that findeth great spoil," says David. As in prayer, we have not, because we are not; so in our Scripture reading, it is to be feared, we find not because we seek not. Is there any human science in which proficiency would ever be obtained if its first principles were to be studied with no more of concentration and of thought than most men give to the study of the Bible? If we will not be at the pains to learn, we can have no claim either to the comfort or the hope.
3. Strong faith, large expectations, a deep persuasion of the sufficiency of Scripture for all its ordained and appointed ends. A book is commonly nothing more than just an assemblage of words which move not, neither do they speak; but the Word of God has all the properties of the most active and powerful agents in the universe. It is a spirit, and can breathe; it is a fire, and can consume; it is a hammer, and can crush; it is a sword, and can cleave; it is a rain, and can soften; it is leaven, and can spread; it has a vitality which can be claimed by nothing else. The only limit which can be put to its power is that imposed by our own unbelief. If not restrained by this, every promise becomes endorsed with a yea and amen.
(D. Moore, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.