Spending time exploring the Word of God has been a long time love of mine for many years. I get a kick out of searching for original meanings in the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. I love to put myself in the shoes of the author and the people present at the time the scriptures were penned. I see bible study and devotions like seeking treasure.
/// Isaiah 45 : 3 ///
“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places"
There is so much more in God’s Word than what lies on the surface. What lies on the surface is good & pretty - like flowers in a garden. We like certain verses and parables; they sound pleasant to our ears. But
what lies beneath the surface, buried within, is BETTER and of MORE value
- like gold and precious jewels! Flowers are nice, but gold is better right? (And for the record, it lasts way longer!) The reason I use the term “unhidden treasure” is because though we may not see it at first glimpse, God is willing to lead us right to where the treasure is. The verse from Isaiah (above) in The Message translation reads: “I will lead you to buried treasure…” The Holy Spirit leads us to and through His Word - He can’t wait show you the riches He’s got stored up, just for you!
Digging for treasure requires us to go beyond the surface of scripture, so to speak. Scripture literally means “It is written”. We need to take our hypothetical shovel and
be willing to see beyond what is being said, to what is being meant
and finally, what is being meant for me. Paradoxically, the bible is not a book about you. It's a book about God. But there is always reward when we shift focus from us and onto God - He created us to find joy and reward in focusing on Him! That focus-shift triggers a transformational process in us!
Now, picking flowers takes 1 second. You bend down and pluck it from the earth. But digging for treasure requires much, much more - you have to decide if you’re willing to work harder for what is infinitely more precious. If you’re going for gold, here's what you’ll need:
If you’re not willing to invest these 3 things into your study of the Word, than you’ll miss it, or worse yet, give up right before you hit a gold mine. Here’s some practical digging tools you get you started on your treasure hunt:
STICK TO A PLAN: Consistency is key when it comes to bible reading. “Anybody can do anything for a little while” - Anon quote. It’s true. Starting something isn’t going to reap reward - sticking with it will. We are creatures of habit and the human brain loves routine. It’s the reason we get addicted to things. Sticking to a consistent bible plan or working through chapter by chapter, verse by verse or whatever routine you have set, is actually good for your brain and helps you get addicted to the Word -
Just make sure you don’t worship the GOAL instead of the GOD!
I’m not talking about getting into religious task-mastering - but healthy, consistent discipline is good for the brain, and good for the soul!
GET RESOURCED: Like I said, digging for treasure requires tools.
The better equipped you are with bible tools, the more treasure you’ll unearth.
2 basic tools that every bible student needs are a study bible and a concordance. Trustworthy commentaries are crucial - it’s a good idea to branch out on authors, rather than only reading one author’s viewpoint on scripture. (This will keep you balanced...) Bible Dictionaries and commentaries on the customs and cultural background of the day are very beneficial (so you know why Boaz had to seal a transaction with a sandal…) And, of course, my all-time fave: a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Sounds exhausting, but is actually awesome. It contains all root meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words. By the way, this means you’ll need to spend money. In the same way that a passionate photographer spends the big bucks on a lens to reap the reward of a better quality photo, successful treasure hunters have to shell out on their tools. Books are expensive. Resources cost. But the sacrifice is beyond worth it.
You'll get better quality, not just surface stuff!
READ ALOUD: Silent reading is actually a modern invention. Scripture has been written with intention of being read orally. The books of the bible were often spoken by their author, and scribed by someone else or a writing/editing team. When you read scripture aloud, you’ll be amazed at the mood, tones and themes you pick up. Try it!
WRITE IT DOWN: Disciples are documenters. In fact, the word disciple means “student” - and last time I checked, good students take notes!
Habakuk 2:2 “Write it down so a herald may run with it”.
Trust me, if you don’t write down what the Lord is telling you in His Word - you’ll lose it. Your memory’s not that good. Keep a journal - I have boxes full of old bible journals! It's fun to read back on them and be reminded of His promises and our growth. They’re also documented evidence of all the prayers God has answered, that we’ve totally forgotten about!
TALK ABOUT IT: Sometimes our thoughts seem like scrambled eggs until we verbally process them. So write them down and dialogue with someone what you’ve learned. It not only disentangles your thoughts, but it keeps you accountable to what you think God has said to you.
JUST DO IT: Sometimes the ground can be initially hard to crack. But here’s the thing: you’ve just got to GET STARTED! (Check out 2 REASONS MY DEVOTIONAL LIFE SUCKS ) I think you’ll find that once you break through the “topsoil” of scripture, and begin to look a little deeper with the tools you’ve been given, you’ll begin to discover treasures in the bible that will enrich your life in manifold ways.
/// Isaiah 48 : 6 ///
Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard.
Aren't you curious to discover what God wants to tell you? Have a dig and find out.
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