17th July 2012

Buried Treasure

“And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 3:15 (NIV)

In a field near Lichfield, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found, anywhere in the world, was discovered. Amongst the Staffordshire Hoard were more than 5 kg of gold, 1.4 kg of silver and 3,500 cloisonné garnets. Experts consider that the hoard was buried in the 7th or 8th century AD. Since that time it has remained lost from view and forgotten until its discovery in 2009.

One of the most significant finds in the hoard is a silver gilt strip bearing a Biblical inscription in Latin. Engraved in each face of the strip is a verse of the Old Testament Latin Bible (Numbers 10:35).  To many in today’s society, the whole Bible has become, like this buried text, out of sight and out of mind. Even some Christians view the Old Testament like the Latin language of the buried verse, irrelevant and outdated. In a recent poll, conducted by the Richard Dawkins ‘Foundation for Reason and Science’, it was found that a significant proportion of people who regard themselves as Christian had little knowledge of the Bible or belief in the fundamental tenets of Christianity.

The whole Bible is a treasure trove of verses containing spiritual knowledge not available from secular sources. It reveals who God is and his dealings with humanity throughout the centuries, culminating in the coming of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament prepares the way and provides a foundation for the New. Both testify about Jesus Christ and reveal God’s redeeming work in the lives of his people. As Paul wrote of the Old Testament, “the scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation.” They reveal the bringer of salvation, the way of salvation, the heirs of salvation, and also the treasures that are ours in heaven.

However, the Bible is not a text book of systematic theology that analyses and devotes a separate chapter to each doctrine in a logical sequence. It is a basic kit for the construction of doctrine under the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit. Hence it is necessary to study the Bible and understand the context and meaning of individual verses, chapters and books. This enables the Christian to, “teach what is in accordance with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1), and equips the Christian so that, “he can encourage others by sound doctrine” (Titus 1:9), so as not to be “blown here and there by every wind of teaching.” (Ephesians 4:14).

Almighty God, we thank you for the Bible which is, by grace, your revelation to humanity culminating in your self- revelation through Jesus Christ, and is given to guide us in all matters of faith and salvation.

Study by Eddie Marsh

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