treasure map

Steve Gillman writes a blog called “The Penny Hoarder.”  His August 6, 2015 blog is titled, “20 Fun Ways to Go Treasure Hunting in Your Home and Neighborhood.”  Gillman recounts exploring old mines in Colorado. Once Gillman found a shrine 2,000 feet inside a mountain. He discovered “a plastic flower, an unreadable newspaper clipping, and a cross etched into the tunnel wall.”

He shares that he has found antique jars, an old gold pan and other relics while searching through a western ghost town. Employing a metal detector, Gillman unearthed coins from the sand on Michigan beaches.  He says the thrill of the hunt kept him going.

What motivates the Bible student to keep exploring for treasures in God’s Word? What might the Bible student discover that was previously unknown?  One area to spend time digging in the dusty pages of our Bibles involves literary genres. Maybe that is a new term for you?

treasure chest

Listen to Proverbs 3:13-15

“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her.”

Focus on Psalm 119:72-127

The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. May those who fear You see me and be glad, Because I wait for Your word

The Word of God is a bottomless treasure for a truth seeker! 

Exploring the Old Testament literature leads to a discovery: various genres or kinds of literature found in the Old Testament cannot be interpreted with the same methodology.

Turn to the Contents page of a Bible and it is clear that the truth hunter needs skill in narrative, the Law, poetry, prophecy, and wisdom literature.  Each of these areas have several sub-types of literature contained with them.  Let’s explore the five types of Old Testament genre treasures:


The Gold of Narrative

gold cubes

As you weave your way through the pages of the Old Testament, you will unearth the truth that nearly half of the Old Testament is a narrative of some sort.  Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jonah, and Haggai contain significant amounts of narrative.

One may use the terms narrative and story interactively. Narrative genre possesses a sequential plot with time action, setting, and characters. Your exploration may lead you to discover heroes, comedy, reports, and farewell speeches. If you are into riddles, fables, parables and popular proverbs, prepare to have your mind stimulated with the rich narratives of the Old Testament.

Dig into Genesis 22 to read about a father who takes his only son to a mountain to sacrifice him to God. Rummage in Genesis 24 as it relates how one man decided who his wife would be. Pilfer in 1 Kings 7 and 12 and discover a royal construction project. If your taste is in battles, push the dust-off Numbers 21, Judges 3 and 8. The treasures of this genre just keep delivering.


The Diamonds of Law


You might think, “How boring!” The treasures of this genre are rich beyond belief. Remember that the Law sits among the historical context of Israel’s theological history – that is, between Genesis 12 and 2 Kings 25.  This historical context provides the Law with a sense of movement. This aspect of Law makes it much more enjoyable to reconnoiter.

Imagine peeling back the layers of the Old Testament only to reveal much of the first 5 books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, consists of law.  Most of Leviticus and Deuteronomy focuses on the Law. Why would anyone desire to invest time studying the Law?  We know much of the Law is theological.

Treasure hunters, called scholars, divide the Law into four major groups: the Covenant Code (Exodus 20:22-23:33); the Deuteronomic Code (Deut 12-26); the Holiness Code (Lev 17-26) and the Priestly Code (Exod 25-31; 34:19; Lev 16 and parts of Numbers). The oppressive and wicked background of Egyptian life reflects against God’s revealed Law. Thus men ought to relate to each other in a different method than that seen in the Egyptian’s treatment of the Hebrews.


The Pearl of Poetry


The richness of poetry is almost without end. While narrative genres occur most often in the Scriptures, poetry is the second most used genre. The treasure hunters, scholars who have been at this search for some time, estimate that about one third of the Old Testament is poetry. Almost all books contain some form of poetry.

My fellow treasure hunter, do you realize that Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Lamentations contain poetry? Even the prophetic books hold great pearls of poetry. As a matter of fact, almost every book of the Old Testament has nuggets of poetry in them.

Some of these poems inspire the reader to live a higher and more purer life. Other poems lift our view of God to the heavenlies. Some poems show the value of human life in the midst of calamity. Those writing poetry find ways to express their frustration with life, their times of hopelessness, and their times of exceeding joy in serving God.


The Jewel of Prophecy


These fascinating books contain some of the most inspiring lumps of God’s Word. Pry open your Bible to Isaiah 40:31, 53:6, Amos 3:12; Jeremiah 2:23b-24; 15: 1-2, and 31: 31-34 and your eyes will open wide with new wonder.

Your mouth might open wide with surprise as your learn that only a small percent of the prophetic message contains a reference to the future.  The major focus of the prophets sets sight on the disobedience of God’s people and the coming judgment. The prophets highlight the forth telling of God’s truth to His people far more than telling the future.

The prophetic books shine a light on the rich jewel of God’s love for his people and the heaviness that He bears because of their rejection of His love and care. Today the biblical treasure hunter needs to carefully open the lid of his mind and heart to the words and written record of the prophets. The treasure hunter can explore a literature of diversity in rhetorical styles and literary creativity.


The Wealth of Wisdom

wealth man tossing dollars

The final Old Testament mound to mine for treasure are Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs which contain wisdom literature.  Without question, this is some of the most rewarding literature to study.  The exploration of this genre shows that some wisdom pieces are easily understood, but other nuggets can be difficult to grasp their significance and application.

The treasure hunter can be assured that he has uncovered Wisdom literature as it glistens with imperatives – listen, look, think, reflect. A true result of discovering this genre is its seeks to develop the character of the treasure hunter.  Wisdom’s goal is to help the treasure hunter learn to make wise choices and live godly in a perverted world.

What treasures have you discovered from your study of God’s Word?

Feel welcome to leave me a note and I may use it in a future blog when as I cover each of these five Old Testament genres in upcoming blogs soon.



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