Here's what Philip originally wrote:
One of the topics being taught was about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Out of all the Bible sessions, these ones were my favourite. I thought that I would touch on one of the things that I learned from it and found very interesting. It both increased my love and want of knowledge of Koine Greek and my understanding of the first recorded sermon that my Saviour gave. Here I’ve touched on the main points that Werner Schreiber, the speaker, gave, and some of my own thoughts and revelations on it.
When you read that word, what are the first thoughts that come into your mind? Gold? Jewels? Precious stones? Money? A chest hidden in the sea?
Treasure can be anything, really. For something to be a treasure, it has to be regarded as one. Regarded as something special. Thus, something can be a treasure to one person while another may not regard it as a treasure at all. Thus, whether something is a treasure or not is relative. One person may not value gold, silver or rare stones at all despite how the rest of the world values it.
The Bible talks about treasure. In Matthew 6:19-21 in says (NIV): “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in a steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in a steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Thus, here is Matthew we are told in verse 21 that where we have our treasure, there our heart will be also. The Greek word for ‘heart’ is here used in the sense of ‘the centre and seat of spiritual life.’ Thus, in spirit, you will be with your heart is.
Matthew 6:19-20 tell us to store up treasures in heaven, and thus in spirit we will be with that great store of treasures that await for us in heaven. So, then, let us go and do good works so that we will be rich in heaven because of our works!
Is that what the passage is actually telling us? That we should do good works in order for a reward? According to the NIV, yes. But is that what the Bible actually says?
The NIV is a translation of the Bible into English. As is the KJV, NKJV, NLT, ESV, etcetera, etcetera. All of them are translations of the Greek texts in which the New Testament was originally written. Translation is a hard job and is never perfect because all languages are different. They express ideas in different ways. Translation is a hard job.
So what does the Greek actually say?
I love Greek and this is my blog. Yet, because of the assumption that most of you (awesome) readers don’t know Greek, I won’t go and post up the verse in Greek. There is, however, two Greek words that I want to touch on.
The Greek word for ‘treasure’ is thēsauros. The Greek for ‘store up’ is thēsaurizō. These words are very similar. In fact, the first is the noun and the second is the verb. Thus, Matthew 19-20 should actually say, “Do not treasure the treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy…but treasure the treasure in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy…”
Why, then, did the translators translate it that way? The Greek word thēsauros comes from the Greek word tithēmi which means ‘to set, put, place, to make, or to set, fix, establish. Thus, that was probably where the translators got the ‘store up’ (NIV) or ‘lay up’ (KJV) from.
Thus, we are told to treasure the treasure in heaven.
But what is that treasure? Certainly not the ‘piles of gold that our good works obtained.’ In Genesis 15:1, God says to Abram in His covenant with him (NIV), “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
Thus, what is the reward or treasure? God Himself! And if God is our treasure in heaven which we treasure, our heart will be with Him! Thus, Jesus is telling us to treasure God and set our value on Him. Two paragraphs down, Jesus talks about no one being able to serve two masters but that he can only serve one. He closes with ‘You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Thus, He is trying to tell us to treasure the treasure in heaven (Who is God) alone and not that which is on earth.
“But treasure the treasure in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
God is the treasure, the reward of all who trust in Him. Treasure is not treasure if we don’t think it being such. Thus, we must treasure God. To serve Him is of the greatest value and being in His presence is the reward of His people.
Posted with permission from the author, Philip.
To read what I (Bonnie) wrote about another Bible Session, have a look at my post A Single Eye.