Lessons From Psalm 119:11 - Gathering the Bible's Treasure Into the Storehouse of the Mind

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1 Scripture and the Church Lessons From Psalm 119:11 - Gathering the Bible's Treasure Into the Storehouse of the Mind Dr. Paul M. Elliott From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase Part three of a series. Read part two. Today's post-evangelical church has a serious knowledge problem, and the result is spiritual anarchy. Psalm 119:11 gives the cure. Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11) Thus far in this series we have seen that the original Hebrew of Psalm 119:11 carries far deeper significance than is commonly taught. It speaks of far more than a resolve to memorize portions of Scripture, important as that may be. We have seen that it involves, moreover, esteeming Scripture as exceedingly precious because of its Divine nature and authority, its power to condemn those who reject it, its power to save those who believe it, and its power to thoroughly equip believers for life in this present world and prepare them for future glory. And yet there is more. The word tsaphan ("I have hidden") also has to do with gathering the treasure of Scripture into a repository. That repository, as we see throughout the Word, is the mind of the believer. Christianity is based upon knowledge - revealed knowledge that has Scripture as its only source. The Contemporary Church Has a Knowledge Problem This is vital truth for our time, because the post-evangelical church has a knowledge problem. As we have seen, the post-evangelical church is largely the Bible-less church. When the church neglects the Bible, it creates a spiritual vacuum. The worldly mindset rushes in to fill that vacuum. Man, not God, becomes the source of authority. As a result, man's word, not God's Word, shapes the church's agenda and its members' thinking. 1

2 If the church does not teach the Word of God, it teaches the thinking of the world. There is no third alternative. The worldly thinking that has invaded the post-evangelical church comes in the form of postmodernism. Postmodernism rests on the false notion that there is no objective standard of truth. Immediate feelings and experiences, not transcendent truths, form its basis of thought and action. Therefore, says the postmodern mind, the "both-and" thinking of inclusivism must replace the "either-or" declarations of the holy God of Scripture. Because of contemporary society's saturation with postmodernism, words no longer have definite and fixed meaning in context for the vast majority of people. What something means is "what it means to me" or to "my community." Therefore, how an individual or group feels about a subject is far more important than knowledge - facts, logic, laws, or principles. Collective opinion is therefore more important than propositional knowledge. And therefore, in the postmodern view, all lines of distinction rooted in knowledge - religious, male/female, national, economic, etc. - must be blurred or erased. And so the post-evangelical preacher, caught up in this mindset, teaches his congregation that the same essential Bible term can mean different things to different individuals and groups. He will tell them that loose interpretation of Scripture and of secondary doctrinal standards is not only permissible, but desirable. Therefore, fuzzy definition of what constitutes essential doctrine is likewise permissible and desirable. In the post-evangelical church, there are few if any non-negotiables. No one wants to be viewed as "rigid." The postmodernization of the church has led to the blurring and erasure of Biblical dividing lines between light and darkness (John 1:5, John 12:46, Ephesians 5:8), truth and error (1 John 4:6), righteousness and permissiveness (1 Timothy 1:9), the narrow way that leads to life and the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:14). In the King James Bible, Proverbs 29:18 says that "Where there is no vision, the people perish." A more accurate contextual rendering of the original Hebrew would be, "Where there 2

3 is no Divine revelation, the people cast off restraint." That certainly describes the postevangelical church's state of spiritual anarchy. The Cure for the Church's Knowledge Problem What is the cure for such a condition? Psalm 119:11 gives us the answer. There must be knowledge. There must be Divine revelation. Christians must gather the treasure of Scripture into the repository of the mind. We must submit to it. It must control us. In their epistles, Paul and Peter by inspiration call this knowledge "the knowledge of Christ" (Philippians 3:8), "knowledge of God" (Colossians 2:2), "knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4), and "the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). Bible Knowledge Is Foundational Knowledge of Jesus Christ must be the foundation of every aspect of life for every believer. Knowledge of God in Christ is designed to have the practical effect of controlling our comprehension and application of Biblical truth in all areas of life. The imperative is for every Christian to be attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge... As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:2, 6-7) Bible Knowledge Is Practical The Apostle Paul delves into the specific and practical application of this knowledge in Colossians chapters 3 and 4. For example, in Colossians 3:9-10 he exhorts the church: "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him." Here Paul is saying that our everyday speech should reflect the fact that we are being 3

4 "renewed in knowledge" - literally, "growing up into knowledge" - the knowledge of Scripture we have accumulated in the storehouse of the mind. Peter speaks of the same things at the beginning of his second epistle. Notice his four-fold repetition of the imperative that believers must be growing in knowledge of God and Christ, and the practical connection of this knowledge to all of life: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:2-8) In each of the three cases above where Peter speaks of the knowledge of God and of Christ, he uses the Greek word epignosis. This word signifies not merely knowledge in a general sense, but precise and correct knowledge of God in Christ - the knowledge that comes by gathering the treasure of Scripture into the repository of the mind. In 2 Peter 2:20, Peter uses epignosis again when he reminds believers that we have "escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." What Of You? Is this true in your own life? Is it true of your church? Are you seeking to know more of the Lord Jesus Christ so that you can become more like Christ? Are you storing up the knowledge- 4

5 treasures of Scripture in the repository of your mind? Is your pastor encouraging this, facilitating this, and setting the example? If you are a Christian today, your number one task is to grow into the knowledge of God in Christ. Here are deep riches, far surpassing anything the world can offer, riches that will be yours not only for time but for eternity. And so I ask you this question today: Are you growing in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, by growing in your knowledge of the Bible, the written Word of God? Are you "hiding God's Word" in this most vital, practical way? For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. (Proverbs 2:6-9) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10) Next: Guarding the Treasure sac0171 Copyright TeachingtheWord Ministriesmmmmmwww.teachingtheword.org All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced in its entirety only, for non-commercial purposes, provided that this copyright notice is included. We also suggest that you include a direct hyperlink to this article for the convenience of your readers. 5

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