A ‘Loaded’ Verse!

Posted on October 4, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A Little More “Loaded”
Technically, every verse in the Bible is “loaded” – that is, there is truth to be had in all of them. But some are more “loaded” than others, and Romans 15:13 is one of them:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Let’s briefly examine this uplifting portion of Scripture.

The Context
The first half of Romans 15 is dealing with the unity of believers. Verse 1 tells us: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”

Paul encourages believers to put the welfare of others above their own. “Strong” believers – those with a confident walk with God – should not frown upon those who struggle in their walk, but should be mindful of their struggles and treat them with kindness and consideration.

Paul takes this a step further in verse 7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

Besides the “strong” accepting the “weak,” Paul extends the scope of this acceptance. As was the usual case in the first century, the early Church consisted of both Jewish and Gentile believers, and sometimes the Jewish believers looked down upon the Gentile believers.

Paul saw the wrong in this, and reasoned with his fellow Jewish believers in verses 8 & 9:

“For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.”

For Paul, unity among believers is crucial, and this unity should bridge the gap between strong and weak, Jew and Gentile.

The Hope of Christ
In verse 4, Paul speaks of another key characteristic to belief in Christ – hope:

“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.”

The hope Paul speaks of refers to enduring in the midst of the challenges and troubles we face in this fallen world. For the Christian, Christ is our great hope – hope that lies far beyond this current life, that we have a glorious eternity awaiting us (Romans 8:18).

Knowing that all believers share this glorious, hopeful eternity should inspire us to treat one another with love and acceptance.

Wonderful Doxology
With these truths in mind, Paul ends this section with this wonderfully “loaded” doxology:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hope is the goal here, and it is achieved by unity and acceptance.

Paul first tells us that God Himself is a God of hope – a God who radiates and dispenses hope to those who love Him.

This hope should permeate us with joy and peace – so long as we trust in Him. Too often Christian allow the troubles of this transient life to drown out the hope God so longs to impart to us, thereby suffocating the joy and peace He wants us to experience.

However, if we are trusting in God – if our lives are marked by hope, joy, and peace – we will “overflow” with hope, that is, impart it to others who so desperately need it.

And in case you’re concerned that you can’t muster the hope, joy, and peace God wants you to experience, fear not. God doesn’t expect you to muster anything. Rather, Paul assures us, we experience hope, joy, and peace “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God only asks that we trust in Him for these things, and the Holy Spirit will deliver them.

Loaded Indeed
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So there it is in just 31 words (of the NIV version): a loaded verse which encompasses unity, compassion, hope, joy, peace, trust (or faith), and the assurance of the working of the Holy Spirit in you.

Heavenly Father, may all who bow the knee to your Son Jesus Christ experience the precious hope, joy, and peace promised by this loaded verse!