Receive God's gifts by reading His Word.
Romans 15:1–6 (NIV)
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 3: The Written Word of God
We confess that this Word of God
was not sent nor delivered by the will of men,
but that holy men of God spoke,
being moved by the Holy Spirit,
as Peter says.
Afterwards our God—
because of the special care he has
for us and our salvation—
commanded his servants,
the prophets and apostles,
to commit this revealed Word to writing.
He himself wrote
with his own finger
the two tables of the law.
Therefore we call such writings
holy and divine Scriptures.
The Church has always been comprised of two distinct types of Christians: those who get it, and those who don't. Paul classifies these two distinctives as the strong and the weak. Strong Christians get that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone because of Christ alone and understand that these truths have massive implications in every aspect of life. Weak Christians are still Christians, in that they are just as saved as the strong Christians, even if they don't fully understand how or why and consequently don't apply these truths to life as they ought.
Most of chapter fourteen and fifteen in the book of Romans unpack how the strong and weak ought to relate to one another in Christ's Church. Getting along was difficult for the newly founded churches when Paul wrote this, just as it is now, and will continue to be until Christ returns and puts and end to sin forever.
But in the midst of this lesson in how we should be modeling Christ's selflessness in our interactions with one another, we get a big insight into God's purpose in compiling all sixty six books of the Bible. All of it - from the very familiar portions to the lesser known passages - all of it was written to teach you, "so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, you might have hope (v4)."
Notice that you don't earn this endurance and encouragement simply because you've read a bunch of ancient words. Rather, God gives you this endurance and encouragement (v5a); but neither does it just float down to you from heaven, rather, God gives it to you as you do the hard work of reading and understanding these ancient words.
Most of us skip over the initial pages of the instruction manual that came with the latest gadget - that is, if you even bother to read the instruction manual at all! You know the pages I mean: the ones that have paragraph after paragraph that begin with the words WARNING or DANGER in big, bold letters.
We don't really need to read these words that a lawyer somewhere insisted be included because we know enough not to stick our finger into the sharp part or plug the thing in while we're sitting in the bathtub.
The problem is we tend to apply the same attitude to large swaths of the Bible as well. Sure, we like the parts about Jesus or the stories of God's miraculous power on display, but on a percentage basis, those passages comprise a pretty small portion of the whole. The rest of it gets left unread, because we just figure it's either irrelevant or common sense that we'll figure out in some more practical way.
You need to know that the whole Bible - both the New Testament and the Old, both the familiar and the obscure - all of was written so that as you read it, God can give you endurance encouragement. So if you want those things, commit yourself to the hard work of reading and understanding "everything that was written in the past to teach us (v4)."
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: "The God who gives endurance and encouragement (v5)"
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for these gifts that He gives you through His Word, and pray for the desire and ability to read more and more of His Word, "so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (v6)."
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Acts 2