Have you ever been on a treasure hunt? For some of us, shopping is a treasure hunt, especially sale racks. Some of us love antique and second-hand stores. For some, walking the beach and finding that special shell is a treasure hunt. There are many treasures to be found in life, but the greatest treasures are right in our Bible each day. I have a guest blogger today who is an expert treasure hunter. I am honored to welcome Stephanie Pavlantos on my blog today. Read on to find out about the gems she has uncovered in the Bible!
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44 ESV
I’m a scientist and a researcher. I have always loved science—biology and anatomy, mainly. I worked in cancer and AIDS research, and later I worked as a histotechnologist in a hospital pathology lab. Researching comes naturally to me, as does teaching.
Teaching is my first love. I taught biology, chemistry, and anatomy in homeschool co-ops, and the Lord called me to teach Bible studies over twenty years ago. Researching the biblical languages, culture, and history are exciting to me.
However, when the Lord told me He wanted me to write my own Bible studies, I was not a fan. I had no desire to write. Science people write about science, and I didn’t even care to do that.
As I was wrestling with the Lord about writing, the Lord reminded me of the parable of the man who found a treasure in a field and sold all he had to buy the field. The Holy Spirit impressed me with an understanding of myself; I was a treasure hunter when it came to the Bible. I read scripture like someone who is searching for gems and when I find one I want to show it to everyone who will stop and look.
After I had written half of my Bible study on the book of Hebrews, the Lord reminded me of that parable again. He gave me the theme of the jewels for each chapter—a treasure hunt through Hebrews.
To introduce each chapter, I tell a story of a famous gem or piece of jewelry. I base each chapter on a specific stone like the amethyst, ruby, emerald, topaz, pink diamond, or other colored precious gem. Each color stands for a characteristic of Jesus, i.e. ruby stands for blood, salvation, redemption, or sacrifice.
Your job as you read, and work through that chapter of Hebrews is to find the verses which deal with those characteristics. All the while you are learning about the Old and New Testament, Hebrew language, culture, and the Jewishness of Jesus.
In this study, you will see Jesus, or Yeshua as I call Him, as the High Priest, Savior, and Jewish rabbi He was and still is.
Jewels of Hebrews is an expositional thirteen-week study for individual or group study. Within the study there is teaching, fill-in-the-blank, and reflection.
Find Jewels of Hebrews at: https://www.amazon.com/Jewels-Hebrews-Stephanie-Pavlantos/dp/1949564916/.
Also, on BarnesandNoble.com and Walmart.com.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1, Amethyst.
The first verse in which the Holy Spirit spoke to me was John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He revealed that John (the Baptist) prophesied about Yeshua. It may seem like a no-brainer now, but at the time it was a revelation. I had not seen John in that light before. After that, I looked forward to the Holy Spirit showing me insights I did not “see” in Scripture.
Reading Scripture is more than a ritual to check off our list. It should be an exploration. The Father wants us to experience his Word. Like a treasure map where X marks the spot, the Bible is our map to find the hidden secrets of the which leads us to Yeshua. Imagine God guiding us along His path of love, encouragement, and wisdom every time we open His Word. He is eager to show us his Son’s heart, love, and selflessness, so we will treasure Yeshua as God does.
The author of Hebrews highlights seven characteristics and actions of Yeshua, which set him apart from everyone else. Today, we will study the first two in Hebrews 1:2-3.
- He is “the heir of all things.”
What is an heir? Merriam-Webster defines an heir as “one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office, heir to the throne. Turn to Psalm 2:8 and Daniel 7:13-14.
What do these two passages state concerning Yeshua’s inheritance?
Have you ever inherited something? We often think inheritance means receiving something of value like money, furniture, or land. But we can also inherit good and bad traits from our family, a problem or money pit. Yeshua inherited a kingdom from his Father, a kingdom full of nations and people who will serve him now and forever. This is the kingdom Yeshua refers to in the Gospels when he teaches on the kingdom of God.
Read Daniel 7:13-14. In these verses, the Son of Man is Yeshua, and the Ancient of Days is God the Father.
How is Yeshua’s dominion (sovereignty) and kingdom described?
- “Through whom [God] created the world.”
Read John 1:1-3. How does John refer to Yeshua?
Who is Yeshua with? Who is he said to be?
Verse 3 declares all things were made through him and nothing was made without him.
“[He] was God, and he was at the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2) The Word is both the spoken word and the Word made Flesh. (John 1:14)
God spoke and still speaks; His words will never pass away (Matt. 24:35). His Word is power, and his words are powerful. God spoke and created all things. He spoke by the prophets, and he spoke by his Son. Read the following explanation about God’s Name, Elohim. I hope it adds to your understanding of the Trinity and God’s Name.
God is referred to as Elohim in Genesis 1—the account of creation. This name for God in the Hebrew language is אֱלֹהִים, and it consist of five consonants (read right to left). Hebrew is both a written and pictorial language. Each letter represents a picture or symbol adding to its meaning. The first letter of Elohim is an Aleph, or א. It illustrates an ox and stands for leader or father. The next consonant, depicted by a shepherd’s crook, is a Lamed or ל, and it symbolizes the son or shepherd. The third character is a Hey or ה, and it portrays a man with his arms raised. It represents the Holy Spirit or revealer. The fourth consonant, signifying a mighty deed or life, is a Yod, or י, while the last letter is a Mem or מ, and suggests separation of the waters. This name for God is a plural, masculine word, and this one name contains the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit pictured as the mighty Creator.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one yet separate. They are equal and interdependent on each other. All three exhibit qualities of the Creator. God may be the Designer while the Son creates. Like an architect who designs and draws the blueprints and the engineer who builds what he sees on the plans. We never want to say God is “one entity,” or has “one characteristic.” It’s not good to limit any one person of the Godhead by a specific trait or “duty.” The Trinity is like a multi-faceted, priceless diamond reflecting each other’s beauty. Individually and together, they possess everything good, holy, and perfect.
I hope you’ll consider Jewels of Hebrews for your next group or personal Bible study. You can find it here.
A little about Stephanie:
Stephanie Pavlantos is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for fifteen years and has spoken at ladies’ retreats.
She is ordained with Messenger Fellowship in Nashville, TN. Stephanie works for Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department as well as teaching online classes.
She is published in Refresh Bible study magazine, Charisma magazine, and CBN.com. She is also a contributor to www.VineWords.net, Feed Your Soul with the Word of God compilation by Lighthousebiblestudies.com, and Love Knots compilation by VineWords Publishing.
You can visit her blog at www.stephaniepavlantos.com and other social media sites at twitter @DPavlantos and www.facebook.com/stephaniepavlantos.
Her Bible study, Jewels of Hebrews, won a third place at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (2018), an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference (2019) and is a finalist in the Selah Awards at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (2021).
Married for twenty-nine years, she and Mike have three children, Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie loves animals and has dogs, ducks, sheep, and chickens.
I hope you enjoyed my guest today. Come back next week for my next post, “Shielded.”
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