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Do You Possess These 4 Qualities of a Bible Treasure Hunter?

Greek Gold Quarter Stater
Photo by Ancient Art

How would your devotional life be different if you read the Bible expecting to find real treasure? The psalmist seems to have that attitude in mind when he says that God’s law is “better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Psalm 119:72)

What do you think? Is that just poetry? Or is it possible to cultivate a love for God’s Word that exceeds our desire for material wealth? And if it’s possible, what qualities must we have to routinely find treasure in the Bible?

If only the Bible came with a metal detector

A few years ago my wife gave me a metal detector for my birthday. One of the first things I discovered is that treasure hunting is hard work. I’ve spent hours crawling around on my knees looking for lost coins and jewelry. I’ve blistered my hands digging holes in the property surrounding our home. While I’ve had a lot of fun, I’ve never found anything of great value.

My sister-in-law, Janet, is a better treasure hunter than I am. She routinely finds coins and rings and other interesting artifacts. I imagine that’s because she’s more consistent and spends a lot more time at it than I do. (And she probably read the instructions that came with her metal detector.)

But consistency, tenacity, and the best functioning equipment in the world won’t render treasure where there’s none to be found. A big part of the problem is knowing where to dig.

Thankfully, that’s not a problem with the Bible. If it were possible to wave a metal detector across the pages of Scripture, it would continuously scream, “DIG HERE!”

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul says that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable… that [we] may be competent, equipped for every good work.” To paraphrase, there’s not a dry hole in the Bible… anywhere!

So grab a shovel and let’s listen to Solomon as he describes 4 Qualities of a Bible Treasure Hunter.

Quality #1: A Bible treasure hunter “receives” God’s Word

[quote style=”boxed”]My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you (Proverbs 2:1)[/quote]

It’s not enough to simply hold a high opinion of the Bible. We must read it. And we must read it with an open and expectant heart. And we must read it with a sense of the treasure we hold in our hands. And we should value it to such an extent that we long to make it a part of who we are. I don’t think this is a natural desire. So I find it helpful to ask God to give me this kind of love for His Word.

Quality #2: A Bible treasure hunter seeks to understand and apply God’s Word

[quote style=”boxed”]Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2)[/quote]

Even a cursory reading of the Bible can produce benefits in the life of a believer. But it would be wrong to assume that little else is required. As we read, are we leaving each page behind like the mile markers on a West Texas highway? Or are we enjoying the journey, picking up nuggets of truth and making them our own?

Diligence plays a huge role in what we ultimately get out of the Scriptures. If we are to live God’s Word, we must first understand it. Good doctrine enhances our worship of God. And applying what we have learned leads to greater wisdom.

Quality #3: A Bible treasure hunter asks God for help

[quote style=”boxed”]Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding (Proverbs 2:3)[/quote]

Have you ever begged God for insight on a passage of Scripture? Too often we let excellent teachers take the place of searching the Scriptures for ourselves. Both are important. But remember that God is the author of Scripture. Develop the habit of asking for His help first. In 7 Prayer Requests That Will Instantly Improve Your Daily Quiet Time, I share several practical ways to do this. Here, Solomon commends the person who is desperate to understand God’s Word.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Important: Even as we ask God for insight, we must still apply good principles of interpretation to the Scriptures. One of Satan’s tactics is to misuse God’s Word in an attempt to lead people astray. We see this in the Garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) and again in the wilderness with Christ (Luke 4:1-13). And he still uses this method of deception today. This further underscores the importance of properly understanding God’s Word.[/box]

Quality #4: A Bible treasure hunter believes there really is treasure to be discovered

[quote style=”boxed”]If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures (Proverbs 2:4)[/quote]

How would you restructure your day if a friend told you that diamonds and silver and gold were buried just beneath the ground’s surface all around you?

Would you add “treasure hunting” to your list of future goals? Would you ask others to pray that you would have a desire to dig? Would you be serious about it for a few days and then gradually forget about it? Or would you bolt out of bed every morning expecting to be blown away by the day’s discoveries?

If given the option, all of us would choose pure gold over worthless scrap metal. But when it comes to the riches of God’s Word, we often find ourselves conflicted. What we lack in those moments is the belief that there are riches to be found.

Whether we treasure Scripture or not is ultimately determined by what we allow to keep us from it.

Thankfully, as we heed Solomon’s words in Proverbs 2, we will develop a deeper love for the Bible. Our goal should be to say, like the psalmist, “I rejoice at your word, like one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119:162)

A magnificent promise for the Bible treasure hunter

[quote style=”boxed”]Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5)[/quote]

God is so amazing that we only have to open our eyes to see elements of His glory. But to get a glimpse of how wonderfully awesome He truly is, we must receive and understand and treasure His Word.

The wonderful promise of God is that He reveals Himself to those who diligently seek Him. Since the Bible is filled with treasures from beginning to end, we will be enriched as we read it and apply it to our lives. But even greater still is the promise that in doing so we will truly know and revere our God.

Practical Applications

How would you rate yourself in each of the 4 Qualities of a Bible Treasure Hunter? If you’re not where you want to be, don’t be discouraged. Think of Proverbs 2:1-5 as a treasure map for moving forward. Remember that doing our part results in a sure reward. Here are some suggestions:

  • No matter what’s going on in your life, spend some time in God’s Word today.
  • Pray through Proverbs 2:1-5, asking God to help you possess the qualities listed.
  • Praise God for your desire to know His Word.

What are your thoughts on finding treasure in the Bible. Let us know in the comments below.

7 Prayer Requests That Will Instantly Improve Your Daily Quiet Time

Photo of Sticky Note "Help"
Photo by Dimitri Neyt

The most important discovery I ever made about the daily quiet time is that God provides a wealth of instant help. By “instant,” I mean – always available, whenever we want it, whenever we ask. As we read the Bible, we have the awesome privilege of asking God to make it come alive in our hearts.

Disclaimer: A quiet time is not a Bible study

There is a difference between casually reading the Bible during our quiet time and a more intensive Bible study. The focus of this article, and this website, is the daily quiet time. The suggestions below are not intended to take the place of digging deeper and applying good principles of interpretation. And I strongly believe in surrounding ourselves with good Bible teachers and scholarly resources. But no matter when we approach the Scriptures, we should develop the habit of asking for God’s help, as is modeled in Psalm 119.

If you want to get the most from your daily Bible reading, consider adding some, or all, of the following 7 prayer requests to your quiet time.

1. “Teach me.”

Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! (Psalm 119:29)

At least 8 times in Psalm 119, the writer asks God to be his teacher. Have you ever wondered what kind of teacher God would be? Would He emphasize the best points? Would He make it relevant? What about His command of the material? After all, it is His law.

If you wanted to learn to play the guitar or fly an airplane or be a surgeon, can you imagine the advantage of having the most accomplished person in that field as your personal tutor?

God’s resources are infinitely better. He doesn’t just know truth. He is truth. As we read God’s Word, there is wisdom in asking Him to be our teacher. (see also Psalm 119:12,26,29,33,64,66,108,171)

2. “Give me understanding.”

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. (Psalm 119:73)

Our Creator knows us inside and out. He understands how our hearts and minds are wired. And He’s aware of our passions and hopes. More than anyone, He sees our greatest need at this very moment. When it comes to our individual styles of learning, He always knows how best to impress His truths upon our hearts. The author of the Bible is the Creator of our souls. Who better to help us understand what He wants us to learn today? (see also Psalm 119: 27,34,125,144,169)

3. “Strengthen me.”

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! (Psalm 119:28)

Our lives are filled with many trials. Difficult circumstances can tempt us to disregard God’s Word. In those moments, we need His life-giving love and mercy to continue walking in obedience. Some days we need it just to open the Bible. On our worst days, our most eloquent prayer might simply be “Help!” Remember that in good times or bad, we are equally in need of the counsel of God’s Word. (see also Psalm 119:25,40,88,156)

4. “Open my eyes.”

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18)

Looking back, I see that I spent many years trying to read the Bible with my eyes closed. I read it as a goal to be checked off of a list. I read it out of compulsion. I read it selfishly, trying to see what was in it for me. But I rarely read it just to behold the wonder and glory of God. This verse provides a backdrop for what I discuss in  My Journey: Getting Personal With God. It tells me that there are wonderful things to discover in the Bible. But it also tells me that I am dependent upon God to see them. For those reasons, I have been praying it daily for several years. And God has been faithful to answer. This has truly become a life verse for me.

5. “Incline my heart.”

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! (Psalm 119:36)

I used to think that our spiritual growth depended entirely upon practicing certain disciplines. But the problem is that our flesh is wired for the world. As new creatures in Christ, we still struggle with the sin nature. And if we try to walk in our own strength, we will naturally lean toward our selfish desires. So we must ask God to give us the desire to live out what we read in the Bible. For me, this has been a liberating discovery. It’s a prayer request that always honors God. Do you want your heart to beat in rhythm with God’s Word? Ask Him to make it so.

6. “Turn my eyes.”

 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and give me life in your ways. (Psalm 119:37)

Following Christ in the 21st century is a lot like surfing the internet. We have an idea of where we want to go. But we often end up somewhere else. The problem is not with Christ. It’s with our lack of focus. We don’t realize how prone we are to distractions.

The enemy is not passive. The interruptions are not an accident. Satan studies you and develops an advertising campaign to lure you in. And I’m not just referring to sin. He loves to waste your time with information and activities that serve no eternal purpose.

As you walk the obstacle course of life, ask God to turn your eyes from the worthless things that amount to nothing in the end. Ask that your focus be on His life-giving ways instead.

7. “Keep steady my steps.”

 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)

In Genesis 4, God warns of the controlling nature of sin. It crouches at the door, waiting to catch us off-guard. Sin doesn’t just fill us with regret and guilt. It seeks to own us.

I’m amazed at how thin the line can be between a healthy pleasure and an enslaving addiction. The things that bring us the greatest joy in life can also destroy us. How do we have balance? How do we know when moderation moves to excess? How do we walk with wisdom?

Since both paths can often look deceptively similar, we need God’s guidance with each step. Knowing God’s Word is essential to choosing the right path. And having God’s hand as we walk keeps us from falling off course.

Practical application

God is our greatest ally in understanding and applying His Word. And His help is always available. Ask God to transform your quiet times and your life as you pray these requests from Psalm 119. Here are some suggestions:

  • For each of the next 7 days, pray one of these verses before reading the Bible.
  • Think about which verse is most needed in your life right now, and commit it to memory.
  • Pray these same requests for others, such as your spouse, your children, or a pastor.

How do you see these verses making a difference in your devotional life? Let me know in the comments section below.