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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
96 pages
Jun 2003

The Treasure Principle Bible Study

by Randy Alcorn

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Lesson 1

Welcome to the Paradigm of Grace and Joy!

Based on the introduction (pages 4–5) and pages 6–11 of chapter 1, “Buried Treasure,” in The Treasure Principle

You are about to contemplate what may be a very different way of thinking, a new perspective on life and eternity. It’s a paradigm of grace and joy. The evil one is a liar who attempts to hide and distort the truth (John 8:43–44). Please ask your Father now to protect you and guide you into His truth.

The Promise and the Problem

Few people, even Bible-believing Christians, grasp the incredible joy available through God’s grace. We squander vast resources in our quest for joy, trying to buy happiness. But it never works. And all the while, delight is within our grasp. According to Jesus, we gain joy in ways that are paradoxical and counterintuitive. We gain what will last only by giving up what won’t.

All your life, you’ve been on a treasure hunt. You’ve been searching for a perfect person and a perfect place. Jesus is that person; heaven is that place. So if you’re a Christian, you’ve already met the person, and you’re already headed to the place.

But there’s a problem. You’re not yet living with that person, and you’re not yet living in that place!

1.      Take a moment to consider your life dreams. Consider how often many people move from relationship to relationship and home to home. What are they looking for? Can you see the choices people (and you) make in terms of a quest for the perfect person and the perfect place?

2.      How have “reason” and “practicality” tempted you to downplay the joy Christ offers, or to pursue it less passionately?

Some books try to motivate giving out of guilt. This isn’t one of them. This book is about something else—the joy of giving.

3.      What do you hope to gain from this study?

The Life-Changing Discovery

4.      Read Matthew 13:44, the parable of the hidden treasure. In what ways are you like this fortunate man? In what ways are you different? (All parables should be read in light of their central point, so focus on the man’s consuming joy in finding his treasure, not on the ethical question of whether it would be right not to tell the landowner he found it.)

5.      Randy uses Matthew 13:44 to emphasize the joy that comes from finding and investing in treasure (recognizing that true treasures are eternal, unlike the sort found in the field). Matthew 6:19–21 and 1 Timothy 6:18–19 describe giving as storing up treasures in heaven. 2 Corinthians 8:2 and 9:7 connect giving with joy and cheerfulness. Do you recall some times when you found particular joy in giving?

From the moment of his discovery, the traveler’s life changes. The treasure captures his imagination, becomes the stuff of his dreams. It’s his reference point, his new center of gravity. The traveler takes every new step with this treasure in mind. He experiences a radical paradigm shift.

6.      Imagine valuing God’s kingdom the way this traveler valued his newly discovered treasure. What would your life be like?

7.      What would it take for you to find such joy in life? Would it be worth parting with money and things to obtain it?

Talk with your Father about both your longings and His. Share honestly with Him any obstacles that stand between you and the life of joy. Invite His help in overcoming those obstacles. Thank Him in faith for His answers, which will bring you joy.

The Money Connection

Why did Jesus put such an emphasis on money and possessions?

Because there’s a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. We may try to divorce our faith and our finances, but God sees them as inseparable.

I realized that our approach to money and possessions isn’t just important—it’s central to our spiritual lives.

8.      How do the following passages show the connection between our spiritual lives and how we handle money and possessions?

    •       Matthew 2:11

    •       Luke 3:8–14

    •       Luke 19:8–10

    •       Deuteronomy 26:10–11

    •       2 Chronicles 29:31–33

Questions for God

Ask the following questions to God in prayer if they represent your heart. Write down the responses He may give through Scripture and your sense of His personal leading.

9.      God, how can I find the joy You promise? How can pursue Your joy with my whole heart?

10.     How well am I expressing love for You, love for others, and the pursuit of true joy through how I handle the money and possessions You’ve entrusted to my care?

For Meditation and Memorization

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

For Further Discussion

1.      The God of all creation and of all possibilities has promised joy beyond our comprehension (Psalm 16:11; John 15:10–11; Galatians 5:22). Let’s allow our imaginations to soar. What might living in God’s joy be like?

2.      How have you seen believers—perhaps yourself—searching for joy in the wrong places?

3.      What decisions and attitudes will allow you to experience the joy God promises in Matthew 13:44?

4.      Describe a situation you have seen or experienced—positive or negative—in which the connection between spirituality and handling of material wealth was evident.

5.      How can we remind ourselves of this connection? How can we encourage each other toward the joy of giving (Hebrews 10:24)?