The following is one of the lessons for the fourth week of Lent from the small group study we are doing at our church entitled Christ in the Psalms. You can purchase the entire study for 99 cents on Amazon.com at this link.
Read Romans 15:1-7
In Romans 15, Paul is admonishing those within the church at
think of each other first; building up others rather than thinking only of
one’s own needs. Those who are strong in the Roman church, Paul says, should
not use their strength to build themselves up and put others down. Instead,
they should be using it to strengthen those who are weak. Christ himself is the
model for such action since he was stronger than all of us but did not use that
strength to his own advantage. He laid his strength aside, becoming weak for
us, so that we might become like him. Rome
Paul could have simply left it at that; referring solely to Christ as an example. Instead, he chooses to back up his understanding of Christ with the words of Psalm 69:9. Similar to what we saw in John, Paul understands the words of Psalm 69 as referring to Christ. He then adds an interesting word of explanation about his use of this Scripture, saying “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
There are very few statements about Scripture in Scripture so we should take note here when Paul tells us what he believes about the nature and purpose of Scripture itself. Paul states here that whatever was written before Christ was written for our instruction. This is why Paul can quote Psalm 69 as referring to Christ in the way that he does. He believes that even though it was written by David long ago it was also written for those who came later. Paul tell us that it serves not only for our instruction but also for our encouragement and hope.