In the Survey of God’s Goodness in Joshua 1-5, Pastor Larry Trotter described himself as a treasure hunter:
When you open your Bible, look for God. [Among] lots of fascinating, wonderful, delightful things in the Bible — God’s will, Geography, Culture, Language, Poetry, Literature, all kinds of things you can learn about, but I want to suggest right at the center of it all, we should open our Bibles to look for God.
I look for insights into who God is, to what he’s like. I’m looking for what the pages of scripture show me is good and beautiful about my God. I look for that intentionally. I’m on a treasure hunt of sorts — and God is that treasure.
So, even above looking for God’s will and God’s guidance, I find it helpful to look for glimpses of God himself. (Larry Trotter sermon, BOUGHT, April 15, 2018)
Author and Pastor Robert Morgan wrote:
When I was a college student, I had the privilege of being taught by Ruth Bell Graham, who opened her home to me on several occasions; and I was impressed by her personal “collection” of memorized verses. “Some people collect paintings and some collect coins,” she said, in effect, “but I collect Bible verses.”
Treasure collections concentrate value in a single place. Most coin collections are small, so you could easily see and examine them. A collection of family recipes may be bulky, but could be precious and highly useful.
I, too, have made a collection in my Bible study, similar to Larry’s and Mrs. Graham’s. I’m searching for passages that tell us just about God himself using clear statements. I just highlight these passages purple. My “oldest” treasure in the collection is:
Psalms 3:3 — But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
God is a shield. God is my glory. God uses his power to lift my head. This tells me a great deal!
Another in this collection is from Nehemiah:
Nehemiah 1:5 — And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,…
And another from Luke:
Luke 1:68-69 — Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
Every passage asserts something direct and specific about God. I pull them out in prayer and reflect on the God I’m praying to. I use these to open LifeChange Fellowship; if we’re to be Mature & Ministering Worshipers of God, these scriptures are a straight line to worship. After 6 years I’ve found over 300 direct statements that are eternally true about God. I’m proud of my collection.
And because I have highlighted them, I see them as I’m reading. These bright, clear statements occur in unexpected places, like:
Malachi 1:11 — For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.
So go on your own treasure hunt. Buy a highlighter, and go searching. Wear out your highlighter, and treasure your collection.
Highlighting in the OliveTree Bible Study app. Other apps provide similar functionality that allow you to save and access your highlights anywhere.
Full disclosure — I don’t actually use a paper highlighter. Instead, I highlight in my Bible Reading app, Olive Tree Bible Reader. My highlights are automatically visible on my phone, my iPad, and my desk computer, and in every Bible translation I use. But beware: some apps won’t keep your highlights. For example, Amazon Kindle will delete your old highlights — don’t let that happen to your collection!
By Mark Lindsey