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!
Luke 18:18-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!
1) What is the big deal about calling Jesus good?
2) What does it mean to have treasure in heaven?
3) Is Jesus saying that we must give away all our possessions to be saved?
4) Why did the ruler truly become sad?
The Findings for Intention
1) It took a trip to a commentary for me to find out this historical information: In Jesus’ day, it was extremely rare for someone to address a rabbi as “good.” So the rich young ruler called Jesus “good” (a high compliment), but also called him “teacher” (a fairly common title). “Good” implied that the ruler believed there was something special about Jesus, but he didn’t go so far as to see Christ’s deity. That’s why Jesus reminded the ruler that only God is good—it begged this man to see Christ for who He really was.
2) Jesus taught about treasure in heaven in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-20). He said heavenly treasures couldn’t be stolen or worn out, like our earthly possessions. Here, Jesus tells the man that if he gives away all of his wealth, he will have treasures in heaven. There are various references to rewards and crowns that believers will receive in heaven for their faithfulness on earth. All of these things point to the fact that the here and now is not the most important thing! Jesus will make up for all of our earthly “losses” if we make treasuring Him our priority.
3) It’s impossible to be saved by giving away our possessions, because it would be salvation by works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). That is not what Jesus is saying here. The ruler was trying to earn his salvation through good works, but Jesus knew his weak spot—his wealth. Christ was simply challenging him in the way that would reveal where his heart truly was.
4) Verse 23 says that the ruler became sad when he heard what Christ said. He was wealthy, and he didn’t want to give up his riches. He didn’t see that the riches of knowing Christ would far outweigh any satisfaction he could have though his wealth. He was sad because he wanted his things more than he wanted God.
The Everyday Application
1) The ruler had some respect for Jesus, but he failed to see who He truly is. Just as Jesus prodded this man to look into his heart and examine himself to see what he really thought about Jesus, we are asked to do the same. What kind of perception do we have about God? A God who is angry at us? A God without real power or love or desire to be with us in our everyday? Who is the God you perceive and does that perception line up with what God says about Himself in Scripture?
2) Those who don’t believe in Christ can only live for the here and now. A sobering thought, indeed! As Christians, we know that this life is fleeting, but eternity lasts forever. Knowing that this life is only the beginning to “real life” that will never end, frees us to hold loosely to that which is temporary and lean into the truth that eternity is worth it! Let’s live the “now” in light of forever!
3) Jesus challenged the ruler on the one thing he wasn’t willing to give up. In the same way, we need to take time to ask ourselves what our weak spots are. What tare those things that we are holding closer than Christ? Am I trusting in something or someone that is keeping me from living the life God has called me to? Instead of walking away sad that we can’t “hold both”, why not try trusting the extreme fullness Christ promises us when we surrender to His gracious goodness?
4) Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” We need not mourn the loss of anything Christ calls us to give up, because knowing Him is so much better! Like the rich man, all we can see are the things we would be losing, but when we are willing to shift our attention onto the riches of Christ, everything else fades away. Not so sure? Try it for yourself! Decide to take some intentional time to consistently look into the treasures of God’s Word and ask Him to reveal His fullness to you!
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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