Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!
We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Matthew 7:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
1) Who is speaking these words, and what is the context?
2) What is the “it” that will be given to those who ask? Are these verses about something specific, or general principles about asking God for anything?
3) Why does Jesus call his audience “evil” in verse 11?
4) What is the main point of this passage?
The Findings for Intention
1) If we zoom out from this passage to the surrounding chapters, we see that Chapter 5 all the way through the end of Chapter 7 is one long section of teaching. Back at the beginning of Chapter 5 we see that Jesus sat down on a mountainside and began to teach his disciples (whom he had just called in the previous chapter) and the crowds who had begun to follow him. This section of teaching is called the Sermon on the Mount, and is the first of Jesus’s teachings that Matthew records.
2) At first glance, one might think that these verses promise whatever we ask to whoever asks it—“God promises that if I just ask Him, He’ll give me a bigger house!” But is that what it’s really saying? God isn’t some genie who grants wishes (life experience will tell us that!). When reading the gospels, it can be helpful to look at other accounts of the same event to gain insight. This same teaching is also recorded in Luke 11:9-13. There, Luke records the last verse a bit differently: “how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” What Matthew calls “good things,” Luke names as “the Holy Spirit”—which is God Himself, the best gift of all. If we look at cross references to verse 7, we see that elsewhere in Scripture, receiving what one asks for is tied to abiding in Christ, having the right motives, and looking to glorify God. Other places where “seeking” is mentioned promise that if we seek after God, we will find Him. We should definitely ask God for things (we are his children, after all), but God is a good Father who will give us what we need, not necessarily what we want. And what we really need above everything else, is Him. In fact, pursuing Jesus IS pursuing happiness and abundance!
3) Verse 11 is a contrasting statement. On the one side there is the Father, and on the other side there is us, who are evil. “Evil” here is meant to be a contrast to God’s perfect character (i.e., imperfect, sinful), and to show how much greater His goodness is toward us.
4) This passage shows us the heart of God. He wants to give us good gifts of all kinds, and He wants us to come to Him with our needs and desires. He longs for us to see Him as the ultimate benefactor, the true source of every single thing we need, and mostly, He wants us to see our desperate need for HIMSELF! He is our perfect Father!
The Everyday Application
1) Do I see Jesus as the teacher that His disciples saw Him as? Consider the things you listen to, give your time and attention to, and seek life from. Where does Christ and His voice fall in your everyday? How willing are you to listen to His whispers?
2) Am I seeking after God? Am I looking to be satisfied in Him, whether He gives me what I ask for or not? Do I believe that He is my greatest need? Make a list of your needs, big and small, then put a checkmark by the ones you have prayed over. Perhaps you’ll discover some new things to begin talking to your Heavenly Father about!
3) God, help me to believe that you are full of good will toward me, and that as your child I can come to you with my requests. Show me Your perfect righteousness and remind me how deeply I need You and Your complete goodness in my life!
4) God, I praise you for being a perfect Father, who knows my needs even better than I know them. Thank you for giving me what I need and working for my good, whether I see it or not.
I Can Do That!
1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!
We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources. Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.
In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!
Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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