I love digging into the word of God for my own personal treasures from scripture, I often picture a whole treasure chest of precious stones carved out of the rock of God’s word in my quiet times. So, when I encountered a book titled “Sparkling Gems of the Greek,” it was right down my alley.
If you have not discovered the writings of Rick Renner yet, you are in for a treat. Rick and his wife, Denise, are senior pastors of the Moscow Good News Church. He is a great influencer amongst churches and founded the first Christian television network in the former USSR that today broadcasts the Gospel to a potential audience of 110 million people. I personally find Renner’s stories relatable and his passion for the lost is caught rather than taught from his writings.
If you have been a believer for a while, you may find regular devotions a bit “skinny” for your liking, wanting a deeper and more substantial study and understanding of scripture. This is for you.
If you are a new believer, developing regular bible study as a personal discipline is vital to your spiritual growth, and I see no reason why one cannot enjoy this study too.
I was on the hunt for a good devotional to get my teeth into and Sparkling Gems came highly recommended in an interview with Joyce Meyer. It was around 2007, the book was recently launched at that time, on special, so the purchase was made and imagine my delight when a literal brick of a devotional arrived in my post box.
I have used it regularly over the years and still go back to it over and over again. I have since invested in Sparkling Gems of the Greek (volume 2) and still these books teach me and build into my spiritual walk. It has been a study help in my Bible studies, and in preparing lessons and talks in mentoring. These books are a worthwhile investment.
What I most love about learning about the original Greek words used is that many of the meanings in the original words get lost in our translations of the bible. Although the Amplified helps with this, it still doesn’t quite pick up all the nuances of the Greek language, let alone the use of certain word during the time the New Testament was written. This book is like having your own Greek lecturer sitting next to you. Although Renner is very knowledgeable of the Greek language, I don’t find his writing scholarly at all (merely quoting a bunch of Greek words and their meanings) but he uses almost a thesaurus of words and phrases to get the meaning across, even writing the understanding out in an alternative way to bring the meaning across. He even uses examples from his own life that are relevant to the teaching to get the message across. This is great devotional to use alongside your bible study, but definitely not to replace your bible as I still find I want to see the context of the verses Renner studies.
Set Up of Sparkling Gems of the Greek
This book is set up in a devotional style, one lesson for each day of the year. That said, I have bounced in and out of this devotional for years sometimes just picking up one reading that matches the day of the year. I would say they need 15-30 minutes to do.
Every day Renner takes a scripture (quoted for the King James version) and then explains what the full meaning of that scripture is by giving the original Greek words and their meanings. His writing is easy to understand and always interesting.
At the end of each lesson, is a personal prayer for the day as well as a personal confession. I have learnt to pray reading these prayers and have learnt to confess truth over my life by watching Renner do it in his own writing.
Then just as you think you are done for the day, there are usually three reflection questions for you to consider on the topic of the day. These questions have often dug beneath my self-righteous veneer and confronted my heart with truth.
The back of the book has a list of Greek words studied and their English meaning and then the same index is repeated with the English word and the Greek word counterpart. My research shows that these are not as interactive on digital formats of this book so if you can, get a physical copy.
There is also a list of all the scriptures studied and page references where the scripture is studied or mentioned.
You can use this book as:
- Your daily devotional
- Doing a word study, either Greek or English.
- Studying a particular verse (which I have particularly enjoyed using to grasp a greater understanding of all my favourite scriptures.)
- A resource for teaching, mentoring and the Christian life.
A visit to Rick Renner’s site at www.renner.org will provide many more resources and to get your own idea of what this teaching is like, Rick has a book sample on his website that can be found HERE.
With time there are now more digital copies of this book available online which means you can start to use and enjoy it without purchase. There is also a free daily email that can be sent to you HERE. But personally I believe you will want your own copy sooner or later. Just by the way, you can start reading the second volume of Sparkling Gems on the Renner website as a daily devotional too.
Finally, below are posts on developing your own bible study discipline, how to use a devotional to do it and a reminder that scripture is our guide in our life path.
A Vital Spiritual Discipline
Using a Devotional
The Light-Lamp Thingy
Hope you enjoy the book,