Who doesn’t love a treasure map?! Typically, I think of a yellowed, crumpled up parchment showing a ship’s journey from one place to another in hopes of discovering lost and buried treasure. My seven year old is smitten by a map of any kind – he finds much joy in tracing any road, river, or pathway leading from here to there. Did you know our Bibles today hold a treasure map within them??
Last week I shared about two of my three favorite Bibles, why each has found a special place in my heart, and how each has caused my faith to deepen over the last several years. In case you missed it, you can catch Part 1 here. Today, I’ll share the Bible I’m currently using for everyday reading, how it lends itself so beautifully to being a treasure map, and dive more deeply into this one unexpected, treasure-mapping thing that’s brought my Bible reading to life!
The Bible I currently use for everyday reading is The New Inductive Study Bible, NASB. This Bible is beautiful, thick and presents a great invitation to go deeper into scripture. I bought this Bible at the Billy Graham center in Asheville, NC. The whole library and store there makes a book and Bible lover salivate. My friend, Hadley, and I attended a conference there featuring Barbara Rainey (love her!) and found ourselves swooning each time we visited the bookstore. We both purchased this Bible, really love it and recommend it to others. This format of this Bible invites the reader to fully dig in to the inductive study method (in a nutshell, the process of observation, interpretation, and application) giving clear instructions and presenting many charts and graphics making the scriptures come to life and cementing truth and application into our minds.
The reason I use this Bible for daily reading is the extensive cross-referencing offered in the center column of every page. Cross-referencing is one thing that really lit my fire for God’s Word!! I’m not sure if someone told me of this goldmine or if my own curiosity just led me down this path; but I will forever be grateful for starting such a discipline. Those little a’s, b’s, 1’s and 2’s corresponding to other verses can be easily passed over; but please don’t pass them over! When there’s a cross-reference, follow it! Discovering this little treasure map offered by God has taken me on the most rewarding and challenging journeys through his Word. It’s true the threads woven through scripture are the most beautiful whispers of God’s love and his pursuit of us. Searching the scriptures by way of a cross-reference breathes joy and mystery and excitement, deeper knowledge and deeper faith. I pray you would come to discover the thrill for yourself! Even if you are brand new to reading God’s Word, take this super easy step, chase down every cross-reference and have your pen ready!
No matter how many references you have, follow them! Here are three reasons why:
Continuity and beauty. Cross-references allow us to follow themes, to recognize repeated words and phrases signifying their importance to God, to see his same character presented through different people, stories, and settings. Cross-references are the ribbon tying together much of the mystery of the Bible.
Familiarity. Cross-references take us all over the Bible; when we follow them, we are invited into many different books of the Bible, different time periods, different people, different places, but the same God. Cross-referencing opens our eyes to threads running through both testaments and makes us more comfortable with parts of the Bible we wouldn’t be prone to jump into without the prod of a reference to take us there.
Excitement. Cross-references show us the precision of God in scripture. Following this bread crumb trail reveals more deeply who God is, his breadth, his treasures preserved through the centuries for you and me to behold today. I’ll never forget discovering the tie between Psalm 51:7 and Exodus 12:22! The same weed, hyssop, Moses’ instructed the Israelites to paint their door posts with blood for Passover David begs the Lord to use in cleansing him completely after repenting of his sin. God used a weed to remind us he is faithful to protect us, restore us, cover us with the blood of Jesus finding the righteousness and rest we cannot find apart from him! Praise Him!!
I encourage you today to dig more deeply into your Bible and follow these treasures, to praise him for the exhaustive work done to give us these resources. Those little numbers and letters may be small, friend, but they are mighty!! Go get your Bible, friend, and go on this amazing adventure! Treasure awaits!!