15th November 2023
'Eric Shull considers'
In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, there is puzzlement at the 'undiscovered country', a term used to describe what lies beyond life, when the titular character muses on the state after death.
""The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.""
Matthew 13:44 (NLT)
The explorer's heart is always drawn to the blank spaces on the map.
Think of James Cook and the sea, David Livingstone and the Zambezi River, Ernest Shackleton and the Antarctic.
None of these explorers were satisfied with their lives of comfort.
They felt called to investigate the dangerous unknown. The map had holes in it, and they wanted to fill them in.
Now think of God's people and the Bible.
We too are called to dangerous unknowns, and there's perhaps no unknown closer at hand than God's Word - even for those who live by it day by day.
The most well-versed of us still have blank places on our maps.
Some of it is denominational.
Bible studies often skirt familiar coastlines.
But as Christians we believe, as Paul told Timothy, that all Scripture is useful for equipping God's people.
In twenty years of my own church's official studies, 18 of the 20 most referenced books of the Bible are in the New Testament, and of the 20 least referenced books, all are Old Testament.
This bias is not institutional, however, but indeed personal.
A survey of 6,000 Christians revealed that half of study time is spent in the New Testament, which seems balanced, until you recall that the Old Testament is three times the size of the New, 74% of the Bible.
It is as if the Old Testament is Scripture's ocean: the majority by surface area, but hardly explored.
We have to remember that when Paul wrote Timothy, the New Testament had only begun to be written.
What Paul meant by "all Scripture" was all of the Jewish scriptures, our Old Testament, and he did not say, "All Scripture is God-breathed, but only two-fifths is useful."
Paul understood the practical utility of the Old Testament.
He realised what we've forgotten, that what Jesus knew of His Father's character He learned almost exclusively from the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is a blank space on our map where we have marked only a handful of islands in a sea of fog - Genesis 1, Exodus 20, Daniel 7 - but more land is out there to be discovered, even whole continents, terra incognitas that call to my explorer's heart. I hope they call to yours too.
Treasure Hunt - Are You Willing to Go Exploring with Us?
So while this 'Bible Promises & Prophecy section' of Get Ready Magazine will draw from all over the Bible, favourite verses and not-so-favourite alike, my personal mission is to surface the undervalued passages of the Old Testament, and, ultimately, to peek into the mind of our Saviour - that Man of God whom the Old Testament equipped for His work - that we may be more like him.
We're going on a treasure hunt, and it is treasure worth selling everything for. Are you willing to go exploring with us?
This is an edited version. The full article and Bible references are avaiable on request
Welcome to Time to Get Ready Ministries!
The vision of Time to Get Ready Ministries is to inspire God's children all over the world to Wake Up and Get Ready for the 2nd Coming of Jesus through complete surrender and seeking the Holy Spirit daily to get fit for the life to come.
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