If you've worked your way through our computer-based tutorial, Rightly Dividing the Word, you know our ministry theme verse is found in Matthew's collection of Kingdom parables. One of Jesus' shortest parables is found in Mt. 13.52:
Jesus said to them, “That is why every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a home owner. He brings new and old things out of his treasure chest.” (GWV)
I like the GWV (God's Word Version) since it shows the relationship between the "scribe" and the "Kingdom of Heaven" here in verse 52. Most modern translations miss the point with their weak translations presenting that the "scribe" in this verse is discipled about the Kingdom of Heaven. But in the original Greek, the scribe isn't discipled about the Kingdom -- he's discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven.
For those who haven't gone through the RDTW tutorial, the significance is this: It makes sense that someone might be discipled "by a teacher", discipled by "an apostle", discipled "by a pastor" or even discipled "by Jesus". But how can you be "discipled" by a Kingdom?
The Key is understanding that Jesus treated the Kingdom of Heaven like it is a Person. And in reality, the Kingdom is a Person -- the Person of Jesus as ministered to us in the Spirit. That is -- we are in the Kingdom when we're in union with Jesus Christ. When I'm alive, yet it's not "me" but Christ Who lives in me. When Jesus Christ is within me, the Kingdom rules over my life, and it "disciples" me.
That should be more than enough to chew on (are you being discipled by the Kingdom? are you a "KingdomScribe"?) but here's another, choice morsel of Fresh Bread: The "Kingdom scribe" bring things out of his "treasure" (or his "pantry") that are new/old. What does a scribe "bring out" but spiritual truths? But it's not correct (according to the original Greek) to say that he brings out some truths that are "old" and some that are "new". The original actually says that the truths a Kingdom scribe brings out of his "treasury" are new/old.
How can a spiritual truth be new/old? I could just as well ask, if it's an eternal Truth, how can it be anything but new/old? Truths of the Kingdom are not "new" in the sense of their "novelty" -- spiritual truths are found throughout the entire span of the Bible. Well did Spurgeon say that "the New Testament is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed." If someone comes preaching something to you today that you cannot find in some clear form in the Scriptures, don't accept it as "Kingdom Truth".
But Kingdom Truths are not only "old" (found in a Book from 2,000 to 5,000 years old!) At the same time that they're found in an ancient Book, they're also "brand new". An example is seen in Paul the apostle's preaching to the Bereans. They listened carefully to him as he explained many "new truths" to them about the man, Jesus Christ -- but then they went to the Scriptures (Old Testament, mind you) to see that what Paul preached was what the Scriptures taught as well. The Truths Paul taught were new/old.
Some church-goers study the Bible intensively -- thinking that by merely doing so they'll find Life!. But spiritual truth can never be grasped (or even perceived) by the natural mind or rational studies. Kingdom Truth is in fact the Word enlivened by the Spirit. It's not simply the "words" on a page enlivened by the intellect. It's the intersection of the Person of Jesus Christ and the pages of Scripture. If there's no Union of the Word and the Spirit, there's no Truth.
When you read the written Word, you're actually in a conversation about it with the Living Word -- and that which you read will always be "new/old". Let me close with a recent example. The other day in a small group fellowship we share with other Believers, we'd been talking about how Jesus is always moving from an "old wineskin" to one more fitting for His New Wine which flows today. We'd been discussing about how God has always been "on the move" -- Abram leaving Ur, Israel leaving Egypt, the Pillar moving without warning throughout the wilderness, etc. Where men with their hunger for traditions always try to "camp", God's always leading some onward and leaving others behind.
At the end of the evening, one of the people lit up suddenly and said, "I bet I just saw something about a passage in the Gospels that you've never thought of." He said, "Remember when Jesus said He 'had no where to lay His head'?" He paused for dramatic effect, and said, "One way of looking at that is that He was saying, No Parking Allowed!"
We laughed! His Word stirred our spirits! If you're walking with God, He never allows you to spiritually Park! It seemed a clean, good Word -- one that came not from flesh and blood but Heaven itself. A Word that can be clearly found in the Scriptures (old(, but with a significance, an impartation appropriate for the Moment (new).
A Kingdom Truth is always new/old.
Every time you open the pages of the Scriptures, God is inviting you into a dialogue with the Author. We're not called to be "scholars" of the Scriptures, but we're called to be approved by God as able to rightly handle the spiritual "tools of our trade" -- the Word of Truth. [2Tim 2.15]
If you are being discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven, you're being equipped to bring out of your "treasury" spiritually alive Truths of Kingdom life that are powerful and life-transforming. Why don't you try it right now. Take a moment, open the Book and talk to its Author. Do you remember how when Jesus faced Temptation in the Wilderness, He said that we will live not by the bread we eat but by "every word coming forth from the mouth of God."? Do you see the verb "coming" (or "proceeding") is in the present tense? The Bread which feeds our spirits are the Words coming today from the Mouth of God. We don't live by yesterday's Bread, but by the Fresh Bread of God which are His new/old Kingdom Truths we hear from Him today.
Go on! Open the Book and incline your ear. And be ready to take that Bread and bring Life to those around you as God gives opportunity.
Bless you all!
Emil & Shell Swift