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. (Romans 15:4 ESV)
The Scriptures and the blessing of knowing Jesus provides enduring hope.
Paul was teaching the Roman church about church unity in the final chapters of the letter to the Romans. Since Christ willingly took our reproach upon himself, we likewise ought to live in such a way that is beneficial for the best interest of our neighbor. We ought to focus on building our neighbor up, that is, helping them mature spiritually instead of pleasing ourselves. The challenge is that selflessness is not something that comes easily.
Paul quotes Psalm 69:9 to prove a point about Jesus in Romans 15:3. Romans 15:4 continues with the thought that the Old Testament was written for our instruction. Instruction is intended to promote endurance and encouragement. Endurance refers to the capacity to persevere through difficult circumstances. Spiritual endurance requires faith, a commitment to moral excellence, knowledge, and self-control (2 Peter 1:5-6). Encouragement is something that comes from the Scriptures. These two results of instruction are the instruments through which Scripture fulfills the purpose of granting us hope.
Hope which strengthens us by giving us a healthy perspective on our own needs, the needs of others, and how God is at work to set all things as they should be. The process of being instructed by Scripture takes time, energy, consistency, and a sincere desire to obey what is written. All of these are God-given gifts that must be exercised by the one who receives them. The Old and New Testaments are invaluable treasures that become a source of hope for the believer. With that hope comes strength. The strength to continue to love people even when they fail us. The strength to believe that the gospel transforms as we see ourselves maturing spiritually. The strength to live by the conviction that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin. The strength to speak so as to instruct, giving others the truth they need to have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of Scripture.