February 20, 2022 New and Old Treasures

New and Old Treasures

February 20, 2022




“Have you understood all these things?” They *said to Him, “Yes.”

  52      And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”[1]


Imagine with me. You are on a hike here in Missouri, somewhere in the wilderness in the Southern part of the state. You decide to get off the trail and go deeper into the woods and make your own path. You trek for hours. You are not worried about getting lost because you have a compass and you read up on finding your way around remote areas before you left.


You notice an unusual tree. It is very large and it has an unusual shape. You go to it to get a closer look. When you come up to it, you see that behind it appears to be a hole, mostly covered with tall grass but you can still see it. You brought along a small folding shovel and remove some of the grass and soil from around the hole and you discover that it is more than a hole, it is a cave! It is big enough for you to enter. Since you have a flashlight, you do. It is not a big cave, but it goes back and down about 50 yards and you go to the end of it. You find an old wooden box that is nailed shut. You open it. You find that the box is filled with gold coins and there is a note in it that reads, “Property of Jesse James.” You have discovered one of the lost treasures of the famous bandit!


Assuming that you could keep the treasure, what would you do? I don’t mean how you would spend the money. I mean, once you confirmed that you could keep it, would you tell anyone? Of course you would! You might not want the whole world to know, but you would certainly tell your family and your closest friends so that they could rejoice with you. You would probably bless some of your loved ones with gifts, maybe even give a few of the coins to your closest friends.  It would be abnormal and strange for you to find such a treasure and then never say a word!


Yet, this is the way that some Christians behave in possession of the treasures that they have found!


Let us consider the words of our Lord. Beginning with verse 52, Jesus says that every “scribe” who has become a disciple of the kingdom has treasures. By scribe he means his own disciples. This is clear from the context, but it is also confirmed later, in chapter 23, when he says:

Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, [2]


These prophets, wise ones, and scribes are just his own followers.


Some translations use the word “trained,” instead of “become a disciple,” in verse 52. But the word in the original language is from matheteuo, which means “to be a disciple.” Thus, the Legacy Standard Bible has it right.[3]


If you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ then you have a treasure! You actually have two treasures.  In 2 Cor 4:7 the apostle Paul tells us that God Himself, dwelling in our heart, is a treasure. This is the greatest treasure! God Himself is our treasure! To have the Living God within us, giving us light and power, is so marvelous! This treasure moves us and enables us to love, appreciate, and “bring out” the other treasure!


From Matthew 13:52 our Lord is identifying the Scriptures as the other treasure. This is evident by the phrase “old and new.” Our Lord speaks of the Old Testament and the New Testament.


What is a treasure? It is something of great value. It is something to be desired in great measure! Indeed, this is precisely what the word of God is. It is the most valuable thing on earth because it is nothing less than the very expression of the heart and mind of God!


I said that the Lord, dwelling within us, moves us to love the treasure that we have. This is the experience of all those who have been regenerated. But let’s see this confirmed.


Remember what the Lord said about David:


He raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’[4]


David’s heart was like that of God’s! Thus, other than the two times that David sinned, we can see what God’s heart is like when we read about David’s heart. The heart of David is…at least should be… the heart of every disciple.


For I find my delight in your commandments,

which I love.

48    I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,

and I will meditate on your statutes. [5]


David loved the commandments of the Lord. He not only loved them, he delighted in them! Is this your experience? The reason David loved and delighted in God’s commandments was because he was regenerated. The natural man not only does not delight in God’s commandments, he avoids them. They do not being him pleasure as they did David. This is even true of those who attend church regularly, yet do not find God’s commandments delightful. Its because they have not been regenerated.


Notice, too, that David repeats himself. He states that he loves God’s commandments twice in this one passage. Repetition shows importance. It was important for David that the Lord knew that he loved his word!


Oh how I love your law!

It is my meditation all the day. [6]


Again, he says he loves God’s law. But his love went beyond feeling. You have heard me say before that love is more than a feeling. Love acts. Love does. If your love never leads you to change what you do then it is not true love (James 2:15-16; I John 3:18).


His love for God’s law caused him to meditate on it all through the day! This is the life of one who loves God. They love his word and meditate upon it throughout the day. They are not those who say a quick prayer in the morning and then go through the day not thinking about God and his word. That sort of person does not love God’s word, even though they may have good feelings about it.


I hate the double-minded,

but I love your law. [7]


This verse is quite revealing. Besides again affirming David’s love for God’s word, he contrasts love for God’s law with those who are double-minded. A double-minded person is one who is in conflict with himself or herself. Sometimes they like God’s law and sometimes they don’t. They waver. I do not want to press this too far, because we still possess a sinful nature that causes conflict within us. Every person has this experience, including the disciple of Christ. After all, there were at least two times that David himself was double-minded. What David means by a double-minded person is  one whose life is characterized by this kind of ambivalence. It does not just appear on rare occasions, but it is a constant presence.


James characterizes such a person as a doubter:


But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. [8]


What is the cure for double-mindedness? It is loving the word of God! Loving it and trusting in it! Listen! If the Bible is actually God’s word, then it is the only thing on earth that is completely trustworthy! Trust it with all that you are!


David went on to say that he loved God’s commandments more than gold:


Therefore I love your commandments

above gold, above fine gold. [9]


Not only did he love God’s word more than gold, even more than the best gold that there was! In other words, David loved God’s words more than anything!


This was my experience. I vividly recall when I first gave my life to Christ. Immediately, I had a hunger for God’s word. In 1975 I was experiencing turmoil over my sins. Two young men came to my room at the barracks when I was in the Air Force and had told me that the Bible was God’s word. At first, I did not believe them. As soon as they left, though, the Holy Spirit convicted me that what they had said was true. That evening, I drove out to a country road in Northern California and repented of my sins, believing in Christ. As soon as I had done that, I was filled with a desire to know what God had spoken. The desire was so strong that I could not even wait until I got back to the base. I stopped at the first phone booth that I saw (this was long before the days of cell phones!) and I called a church. The phone rang at the pastor’s house and I asked him if they studied the Bible at the church. Of course, he said that they did (it was a Bible-believing church). Over the next three years I read the New Testament thoroughly. Later, of course, I would read and study the Old Testament as well. This hunger and love for God’s word has never left me. This has been the experience of countless followers of Christ. Indeed, it is the very fruit of the treasure that lives within us!


Let’s return to our Lord’s words in Matthew 13:


Every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”[10]


The one who has become a disciple brings out new and old things from his treasure.


Yet, we cannot bring out new things, nor old things, unless we know what they are. We cannot bring out what we do not have. Therefore, in order to please the Lord we must  become familiar with the treasure. We must abide in his word. “Abide,” of course, means to live in it. The Lord chose this word to emphasize the life that his disciples are to live:


So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [11]


We need to be set free from our own bondages. We need to be set free from sin and its influence over us. We need to be set free from selfishness. We need to be set free from false ideas. The word of God instills truth into us and this truth will set us free.


Our brothers and sisters need to be set free also. Therefore, when we bring out a treasure from the word, we will help them shake off the shackles that diminish their spiritual and emotional lives.


The one who is a disciple brings out things new and old. When I first became a follower of Christ at the age of 20, I only read the New Testament. This is the right place to begin. We must become familiar with the New Testament for this is God’s revelation for us in this age. It reveals the benefits, blessings, and life-imparting truths of the new covenant.


However, it was a long time before I read the Old Testament. I cannot remember well, but I do not think that I started reading the Old Testament until my third year as a disciple. That is too long. There are true riches in the Old Testament. It reveals the nature of God, the ways of God, the laws of God, and the longsuffering of the Lord. None of these things have changed. More, it reveals the foundation of our faith. The reality of creation and the necessity of trusting God in all matters of life are fully developed in the OT. There are treasures there!


If you have not read through the Old Testament yet, Christ calls you to do so. Every word of the Lord is precious, but there are certain books that are essential to enable us to bring out old jewels to encourage others. Some of these are:


  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • 1 and 2 Samuel
  • 1 and 2 Kings
  • Job
  • Isaiah
  • And Jonah


Of course, Psalms and Proverbs have been perennial favorites among God’s people and ought to be embraced and enjoyed, too. If a disciple reads and meditates upon these 11 books, they will have a good beginning in gathering treasures.


Study Bibles can be very helpful in getting a fuller understanding. However, some are much better than others. In fact, there are some that are quite misleading.[12] I can recommend four:


  • Reformation Study Bible
  • ESV Study Bible
  • MacArthur Study Bible
  • Recovery Version with footnotes


The Reformation Study Bible and the MacArthur Study Bible are both available in multiple translations. The Recovery Version is a faithful, original translation, but perhaps among its best features are the excellent footnotes.[13] All four of these Bibles contain good articles and/or extensive footnotes that shed much light on important subjects or difficult passages.


Think about the story with which we began.


You found Jesse James’ treasure box of gold coins. Now you must get them out of the woods. Gold is heavy. Depending on how many there were, the box may weigh 30 lbs or more. It would be difficult and arduous to carry that box hours back to wherever your car was parked. It might take you a half day or more because you would need to stop and rest often carrying that load. But it would be worth it!


So it is with God’s word. It takes time to know it. It takes time to assimilate it. And some parts will be difficult and arduous. If you are lazy, the disciple’s life is not for you. Be prepared to spend time and study! You need to spend much time in his word. But it will be worth it!


Then you can bring out the new and old jewels to set others free!


Let me conclude with verse 51. After Jesus taught his disciples through the parables in chapter 13, we read:


Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”[14]


Do you think that they did? They may have thought that they did. But, we have read how often they got things wrong in the gospels. Even though he told them many times that he would rise from the dead, they did not understand him. The gospel writers say more than once that they did not understand some of the things that he taught until after his resurrection. Why? Because they did not have the Holy Spirit until after his resurrection.


The experience of the apostles ought to be encouragement to us! You will not understand things all the time. In that respect you are like them. But you also have the Holy Spirit if you belong to Christ. He will open the eyes of your understanding. Press on! Prepare yourself to bring out the new and the old!


Let’s not just think about it. Even today, you can share what you have just heard with someone who was not here. Tomorrow morning, spend time in the word. You will find a gold coin. Share that coin with someone during the day. You are the scribe that Jesus speaks about!






[1] Legacy Standard Bible (2021). (Mt 13:51–52). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 23:34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Along with the NASB, NIV, CSB, CEB, CEV, Darby, DLNT, EHV, EXB, GNT, Phillips, TLB, MEV, Mounce, NOG, NLT, TLV, WEB, and YLT.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ac 13:22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:47–48). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:97). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:113). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jas 1:6–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:127). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] Legacy Standard Bible (2021). (Mt 13:52). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 8:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[12] Two that I do not recommend are Dake’s and Ryrie’s. The former is a purveyor of Arminianism and the latter is a proponent of easy-believism.

[13] A unique quality of the Recovery Version footnotes are their great emphasis on life. The other three study bibles are heavy on doctrine. We need doctrine. True doctrines keep us on the right path. The Recovery Version footnotes also address doctrine, but they more often communicate the indwelling life of Christ available to every true child of God. I [CR] have found them to be very encouraging! Available from Living Stream Ministry in Anaheim, CA.

[14] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 13:51). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.