For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…
1. This is the text from which old Hugh Latimer was wont to preach continually in his latter days. Certainly it gave him plenty of sea room.
2. The apostle declares that the Old Testament Scriptures are meant to teach New Testament believers. Things written aforetime were written for our time. The Old Testament is not outworn; apostles learned from it. Nor has its authority ceased; it still teaches with certainty. Nor has its Divine power departed; for it works the graces of the Spirit in those who receive it — patience, comfort, hope.
3. In this verse the Holy Ghost sets His seal upon the Old Testament, and for ever enters His protest against all undervaluing of that sacred volume.
4. The Holy Scriptures produce and ripen the noblest graces. Let us carefully consider —
I. THE PATIENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Such as they inculcate. Patience —
(1) Under every appointment of the Divine will.
(2) Under human persecution and satanic opposition.
(3) Under brotherly burdens (Galatians 6:2).
(4) In waiting for Divine promises to be fulfilled.
2. Such as they exhibit in examples.
(1) Job under divers afflictions triumphantly patient.
(2) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob patiently waiting as sojourners with God, embracing the covenant promise in a strange land.
(3) Joseph patiently forgiving the unkindness of his brethren, and bearing the false accusation of his master.
(4) David, in many trials and under many reproaches, patiently waiting for the crown, and refusing to injure his persecutor.
(5) Our Saviour patient under all the many forms of trial.
3. Such as they produce by their influence.
(1) By calling us to the holiness which involves trial.
(2) By revealing the design of God in our tribulations, and so sustaining the soul in steadfast resolve.
(3) By declaring to us promises as to the future which make us cheerfully endure present griefs.
II. THE COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Such as they inculcate.
(1) They bid us rise above fear (Psalm 46:1-3).
(2) They urge us to think little of all transient things.
(3) They command us to find our joy in God.
(4) They stimulate us to rejoice under tribulations, because they make us like the prophets of old.
2. Such as they exhibit.
(1) Enoch walking with God.
(2) Abraham finding God his shield and exceeding great reward.
(3) David strengthening himself in God.
(4) Hezekiah spreading his letter before the Lord. Many other cases are recorded, and these stimulate our courage.
3. Such as they produce.
(1) The Holy Spirit, as the Comforter, uses them to that end.
(2) Their own character adapts them to that end.
(3) They comfort us by their gentleness, certainty, fulness, graciousness, adaptation, personality, etc.
(4) Our joyous experience is the best testimony to the consoling power of the Holy Scriptures.
III. THE HOPE OF THE SCRIPTURES. Scripture is intended to work in us a good hope. A people with a hope will purify themselves, and will in many other ways rise to a high and noble character. By the hope of the Scriptures we understand —
1. Such a hope as they hold forth.
(1) The hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
(2) "The blessed hope, and the appearing of "our Lord" (Titus 2:13).
(3) The hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6).
(4) The hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). There is a good hope, a lively hope, the hope set before us in the gospel.
2. Such a hope as they exhibit in the lives of saints. A whole martyrology will be found in Hebrews 11.
3. Such a hope as they produce.
(1) We see what God has done for His people, and therefore hope.
(2) We believe the promises through the Word, and therefore hope.
(3) We enjoy present blessing, and therefore hope.Let us hold constant fellowship with the God of patience and Consolation, who is also the God of hope; and let us rise from stage to stage of joy as the order of the words suggests.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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.