Bible study is often described as digging for gems and jewels. For knowledgeable diggers the Bible is a rich mine.
“I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. “ – Psalm 119:162
Studying the Bible can reap significant riches, but for many people the Bible is an impenetrable book. Their shovels can’t break ground, and when they do it seems to only to be a dirty mess without any real profit.
They pursue endless book summaries, gospel harmonies, psalm devotionals, and character studies and always seem to come up short of anything substantial about God’s will and purpose.
The more technical student dives into grammar studies, figures of speech, chronologies, ancient culture, and maps. Yet, for so much effort only a few shiny stones are uncovered.
Like the story of Ali Hafed in Acres of Diamonds, they cannot seem to locate where the diamonds are and how to find them, and end up quitting Bible study in despair.
Yet, the diamonds are there! The riches are in God’s word, I have seen them. They may be right under your nose!
Using the Proper Tools
If digging into Bible study feels like tilling a garden with a kitchen knife then perhaps you need to get a better tool.
Use this tool of right division to sift out gems in your Bible study: separate prophecy from mystery.
Identify the passages referring to God’s prophetic purpose with Israel and separate them in your mind from the passages talking about God’s mystery purpose to the Body of Christ.
Peter describes the purpose of God for Israel as being “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).
Paul describes the purpose of God for the Body of Christ as being “ kept secret since the world began” (Rom 16:25).
The prophetic purpose will be fulfilled in the earth. It started in Genesis 1 and will end in Revelation.
The mystery purpose completes God’s will in heavenly places. It is found within Paul’s epistles alone, and describes the time in which you now live.
Paul says it is his duty to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery…” (Eph 3:8-9).
It is in God’s epistles to Paul, separated from the ministry of Peter and Jesus’ ministry to Israel, that we will find large jewels well prepared for our use.
Acres of Diamonds
Even studying the prophetic passages of the old testament, psalms, synoptics, and hebrew epistles that do not describe our dispensation start to reveal jewels for us to gaze upon.
At one time these passages were murky and clear as mud, when rightly divided from mystery they are now clear and sparkly jewels in their own right. Although they are not jewels we can call our own, they are great spoils to God’s chosen people that will be realized in the future (Rom 11:33).
Stop trying to harmonize the red letters and spiritualize Jesus’ teachings to Israel since they were never for your participation. Set aside the character studies of Peter, David, and John the Baptist and learn the mystery of Christ that none of them knew.
When we don’t use the tool of right division to separate prophecy from mystery then our digging into the word of God will be difficult and strenuous.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles;…” – Col 1:27
Using the right tool the right way reveals the scriptures to be acres of diamonds where there was once just a bunch of dirt.
“…and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Col 2:2-3