The Greek word “zeteo” means “to seek, strive after, desire” (Vine, Unger, and White’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, New Testament, p. 1012). The Hebrew word “baqash” can mean “pursue to secure” or “aim at”, while “darash” means “to inquire, consult, or require”, but it can also mean “to enter into a relationship with” when used of seeking God (Vine’s, pp. 360, 361). In Lawrence Richard’s Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, page 546, it states that seeking God was used in the Septuagint indicating a “turning to God” meaning to focus attention on, worship (to acknowledge or show honor by word and/or deed in attitude, motive, and/or thought your supreme respect, honor for, and devotion/allegiance to God), and obey God”. In the New Testament, “seek” most often implies “giving attention and priority to, desiring, and deliberately following after”.
People, including most Christians, are seeking: financial security, wives/husbands, degrees, fame, power, position, possessions, fancy homes, cars, clothes, happiness, plenty of food, thrills, fleshly pleasures, exciting religious experiences, spectacular spiritual gifts, muscular bodies, prestigious careers, athletic skills, musical entertainment, adventure, etc., but what does God tell us to seek and not to seek?
Matt. 6:31-33 What are people who want to be in God’s kingdom to seek (covet earnestly or strive after)?
And what are they not to seek (not to focus on and give high priority to), Lk. 12:29?
While the sermon on the mount (chapters 5-7) is connected to Christ’s offer to Israel (Matt. 4:17, 23) of His kingdom (it showed how a person who is in right relationship with God should conduct his life), its principles have general application for believers today as they demonstrate the standards of righteousness God demands of His kingdom’s citizens. Instead of pursuing (as a high priority) food, drink, and clothing, we should pursue God’s spiritual rule over our lives and a lifestyle of always doing right.
Are you pursuing as a high priority that which satisfies the body or that which pleases God?
Why, and how?
Are you earthly focused or spiritually focused, and why?
Some people live from/for meal to meal; they live to eat and drink. Other people live from one shopping spree to the next in order to have more and newer clothing. Are you guilty of either? Or, are you living to be like Christ, and if so, how?
Lk. 11:1, 9 What did Jesus tell His disciples to do in prayer?
Do you keep seeking (striving after and persisting) in prayer for God to provide for your physical and spiritual needs?
Or, do you give up after a few petitions to Him, and why?
Acts 17:24-27 What was and is one of God’s purposes for creating mankind?
Are you seeking (giving attention and priority to; worshiping and obeying) God?
If so, how?
1 Cor. 10:23-24 What are Christians not to seek and to seek?
Was the latter Paul’s attitude (1 Cor. 10:33)?
Why didn’t Paul seek his own selfish profit, but the profit/good of both believers and unbelievers (“the many” – those who are Christ’s, who have been predestined to believe, Rom. 5:15, 19 with 1 Cor. 15:22-23), 1 Cor. 10:33?
[“saved” – justified for the unbeliever and sanctified for the believer].
And why didn’t Paul want believers to do just anything they wanted that was merely lawful (1 Cor. 10:23)?
Are you seeking the good, the beneficial, and/or the edification (building up spiritually) of other Christians by the activities you participate in (e.g., by not drinking a glass of wine/beer, though not a sin in and of itself, may not be seeking the good of others present)?
And are you seeking to avoid offending unbelievers by the things you do, so that you don’t become a hindrance (from a human viewpoint) to their salvation?
Are you seeking the well being of others, or are you self-centered, and why?
1 Cor. 14:12 What are Christians to do with their spiritual gifts?
How had the Corinthians been abusing the gift of tongues (1 Cor. 14:2, 4-5, 19) in the church, and how should they have used it?
Though speaking in tongues ended by 70 AD, because it had served its primary purpose of being a sign to the unbelieving Jews of impending judgment (1 Cor. 13:8; 14:21-22 with Isa. 28:11, 13), are you seeking to edify/build up other Christians with your spiritual gift (e.g., Rom. 12:6-8), or are you selfishly using it to get a good feeling for yourself?
1 Thes. 5:15 How often should we seek (strive after) that which is good for other believers and for all people in general?
How often are you doing this, and why?
In what specific ways are you seeking the good of the Christians you know?
And of people in general whom you know or meet?
Col. 3:1-2 What are believers to keep seeking (continually giving attention and priority to)?
Are you seeking (giving attention and priority to) the things above (the worship of and service to God in holiness), such as: righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17); worshipping (acknowledging or showing by word and/or deed in attitude, motive, and/or thought your supreme respect, honor for, and devotion/allegiance to) God (Rev. 4:8-11) and Christ (Rev. 7:10-12); laying up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20); your heavenly home (Jn. 14:2-3; Heb. 11:10, 16; Phil. 3:20-21); God’s kingdom and rule (2 Tim. 4:18); reigning with Christ by being faithful in obeying and trusting God (2 Tim. 2:12); intimate relationship/fellowship with Christ (Rev. 19:7-9); eternal life/inheritance (1 Pet. 1:3-4); rewards (1 Cor. 3:8, 14; Rev. 22:12); godly character (Col. 3:10, 12; Gal. 5:22-23); a bride/church for Christ through evangelizing (Rev. 19:7-9; Eph. 4:25-27; Col. 1:22; 2 Cor. 11:2); and ushering in more quickly the day of the Lord through evangelism (2 Pet. 3:12)?
If so, how often?
1 Pet. 3:11; Psa. 34:14 What are we to seek/desire and pursue?
Are you giving attention to and striving after peace (harmonious relations with all people) so far as it depends on you (Rom. 12:18)?
Why, and how?
[You will offend people with the truth, but that’s okay, Matt. 15:11-14; Jn. 6:66-68.].
Malachi 2:6-7 What were God’s people, the Jews, supposed to seek, and why?
Are you seeking instructions from God’s messengers/spokesmen (Bible teachers, Eph. 4:11, 12), those who know and teach God’s Word accurately?
Is one reason, so that you turn away from sin, Mal. 2:6?
Zeph. 2:3 What were the humble of the earth (who carried out God’s commands/ordinances) to seek?
Are you pursuing/giving attention & priority to righteousness (knowing and doing what’s right) and humility (a realistic view of yourself in comparison to God and His Word, which means we are to be servants to God and people, Gal. 5:13)?
If so, how?
Amos 5:14 What were the Israelites to seek and not seek?
Are you seeking (striving after) good (what’s morally right and beneficial) for your own life and for the lives of others?
If so, how?
Or, are you seeking evil (morally bad things) for yourself and/or others (e.g., pornography, gluttony, drunkenness, immorality, illicit drugs, materialism, greed, wrong priorities, etc.)?
Jer. 29:1, 7 What were the Jewish exiles to seek?
Are you seeking the welfare of the city you are in by voting for godly or moral people to be put into the various offices or positions? And by evangelizing the people in your city? And by living an exemplary Christian life before them? Or anything else?
Isa. 55:6-7 What are people in general to seek?
Have you sought (entered into a relationship with; turned to and trusted in) the Lord for your pardon/salvation (Rom. 10:13)?
If so, when, and why?
2 Chron. 14:2-4 What did king Asa command Judah (the Jews) to seek?
Are you seeking (turning and giving attention and priority to; worshiping) the Lord rather than the idols of America (e.g., sports, materialism, computers, money, homes, cars, clothes, music, TV, movies, muscles, prestige, etc.)?
If so, how, and why?
1 Chron. 16:11 What is Israel to seek continually?
Are you seeking (in communication with; pursuing and desiring) the Lord and His strength (enablement and backing) continually?
If so, how?
Ruth 2:12; 2 Chron. 20:3-4; 26:5; 34:3; Ezra 8:21, 23; Neh. 2:10; Psa. 27:4; Isa. 58:2
Who sought, and what did they seek (from each passage)?
Psa. 119:45, 94 What did the Psalmist seek/consult?
Are you seeking (giving attention and priority to; consulting and obeying) God’s precepts/Word, the Bible?
If so, how often, and in what ways?
Dan. 9:3 How did Daniel seek/worship/give attention and priority to the Lord?
Have you ever sought the Lord in this manner/way?
If so, how often?
Lk. 19:10 What did Jesus come to seek/give attention and priority to?
Are you seeking the spiritually lost to save them from going to hell by sharing the gospel with them?
If so, how often, and why?
Jn. 5:30 What didn’t and did Jesus seek?
Are you seeking (giving attention and priority to; obeying) God’s will rather than your own self-centered will/desires/goals?
If so, how?
Jn. 7:18 What else was Jesus seeking?
Are you seeking (giving attention and priority to) God’s glory/honor by teaching/speaking His Word rather than your own opinions and ideas on issues the Bible clearly teaches, and why?
2 Cor. 12:14 What didn’t and did Paul seek?
Do you seek (pursue; give attention and priority to) people for what you can get out of them (e.g., money) or for their best interest (e.g., their souls or edification), and why?
Phil. 4:15-17 What didn’t and did Paul seek?
If you’re a missionary, do you seek financial support from other Christians simply for selfish reasons or so that your supporters will be rewarded by God for helping you and your/God’s ministry spread even more?
Rom. 11:5-7 Because Israel was seeking for God’s acceptance on the basis of good works/deeds/religious obedience, did they obtain it?
Are you seeking God’s acceptance (salvation) based on good works or on God’s grace through faith in Christ’s death on the cross for the payment of all your sins (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 2 Tim. 1:9), and why?
Gal. 1:10 Whose favor was Paul seeking?
Are you seeking to please people over God (that is, if in pleasing people you have to compromise God’s truths/teachings)?
Jn. 5:44 What should these Jews have sought/desired and striven after instead of each other’s glory (approval and acceptance and praise)?
Are you seeking the glory/praise of God over the approval and acceptance of people?
Why, and how do you show that you are?
Phil. 2:20-21 What were all those who Paul had contacted to go to Philippi for him not seeking?
What are some of Christ’s interests (Jn. 15:12; Rom. 15:2; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thes. 5:11)?
Are you seeking/pursuing your own selfish interests or those of Christ?
Why, and how?
Heb. 13:14 What were these Hebrew Christians seeking?
Are you seeking (looking forward to; desiring) heaven/new Jerusalem (Heb. 11:10, 16; 12:22)?
How do you show it?
Jer. 5:1 The Lord told Jeremiah to look and see if he could find just one person in all of Jerusalem who was seeking, what?
Are you seeking (pursuing to secure; aiming at) truth (honesty with others)?
If so, why and how?
2 Chron. 12:14 What sin/evil did Rehoboam commit?
Are you committing the sin of failing to set your heart to seek (enter into a close relationship with; pursue to secure; focus attention on; worship and obey) the Lord?
If so, what do you plan to do about it?
Lev. 19:31 What does the Lord tell the Israelites to not seek?
Do you ever seek (consult or ask questions of) mediums or spiritists (channelers, astrologers, crystal balls, tarot cards, horoscopes, Ouijia boards, or palm readers)?
If so, what do you plan to do about it now that you know what God says?
Jer. 45:2-5 What does the prophet Jeremiah tell Baruch (his loyal secretary) to not seek?
When it’s God’s will for you to go through a disastrous period of circumstances in your life, will you be discouraged because your personal aspirations for greatness won’t come to fruition or will you be thankful to God that He knows what’s best, and why?
1 Cor. 7:27 In view of the present distress (1 Cor. 7:26, impending persecution, maybe even martyrdom), what were these Christians who are single, not to seek?
If your situation (e.g., living in an anti-Christian society like a Muslim, Buddhist, or Communist controlled country) makes being married less advisable because of the probable persecution, torture, or martyrdom of your spouse, you or your children and the emotional and financial difficulties that accompany it, then singleness is more advantageous – The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 519.
1 Cor. 13:5 What doesn’t love seek?
Are you seeking “your own” self-centered goals and desires, or the best interests of God and the people you meet in life?
Why, and how?
2 Chron. 25:14, 20 What had king Amaziah sought (worshiped; given great priority and attention to) that he shouldn’t have?
Are you seeking gods (people who or things that have supreme or excessive value to you, like: sports, girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, college degree, family, children, material possessions, music, money, computers, phones, clothes, cars, home, TV, career, videos, weight-lifting, martial arts, etc.) instead of the Lord God?
If so, what do you plan to do about this?
Num. 16:3, 8-11 What were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (helpers to the Jewish priests) seeking, Num. 16:10?
What happened to them, Num. 16:32?
Are you seeking (desiring and pursuing to secure), due to jealousy, self-centeredness, or pride, a position or ministry that God never intended you to have?
If so, what do you plan to do about your wrong aspirations?
Jn. 8:49-50 What didn’t Jesus seek?
Whose honor did Jesus seek?
Are you seeking God’s honor/glory or your own (by what you say, teach, and/or do)?
1 Thes. 2:5-6 What didn’t Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy seek from people when they preached the truth of the gospel to them?
When you share the gospel with people, do you try to impress or flatter them with your words so as to get praise/glory from them, or do you speak the truth in love to God’s honor, and why?
Isa. 58:13-14 If the Israelites followed the rules (a barometer of their faithfulness to the Mosaic Covenant) for the Sabbath (the day of rest to worship God and show dependence upon Him to provide materially) and delighted in it instead of seeking what, would God then bless them?
Do you put God first by obeying His commands, or do you seek your own pleasure/desires/ways, and why?
Rom. 10:3 Because the Jews didn’t know about/understand the righteousness provided in Christ’s substitutionary death for believers, what did they seek?
Just because you don’t understand something the Bible says you should obey or believe, do you do things your own way instead of God’s way?
For example, though you may not understand why Jesus wanted people to hate (by comparison to their love for Christ – Lk. 14:26) their families and give up all their possessions in order to be a disciple of His – Lk. 14:33, and that we should do likewise (Matt. 28:19-20 – i.e., to teach their disciples all the things that Jesus had commanded them), are you obeying this yourself, and why?