How to use the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) is a time-tested Bible help that avoids exposition and interpretation in favor of straightforward comparison of Scripture with Scripture. The TSK can be thought of as the most exhaustive collection of margin cross-references available, but it goes well beyond merely listing additional verses to read: it helps you define words and phrases from within a Bible verse using the Bible itself. In my opinion, if one were required to choose only a single written work in addition to the Bible for studying, the TSK would be the best option.

At first glance, the TSK can appear cryptic. However, once you understand the basic structure, it is quite easy to use, and with a little bit of time will help you define a coherent theology on just about any Bible subject.

Let’s take an example. The most salient aspect of the TSK is its cross-referencing, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.  Let’s look at Galatians 1:1:

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Here is part of the referencing for Galatians 1:1.

The TSK from SwordSearcher on Galatians 1:1.
The TSK from SwordSearcher on Galatians 1:1.

The first thing we see is A.M. 4062, which indicates that this was written 4062 years after Adam was created. The second is A.D. 58, an approximation of the time it was written according to our modern calendar.

Now to the good stuff.  The next we see is “an” followed by three references. These cross-references are not really about the word an, rather, they are for the phrase an apostle from our verse. Likewise, the next section, “not”, are references for the phrase not of men, and “neither” is for “neither by man,” and so on.

The references are provided to help you define and understand the associated phrase. So in the example, we have three references for an apostle:

Romans 1:1  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

1 Corinthians 1:1  Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

Ephesians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

These three verses immediately expand our knowledge about what it meant that Paul was “an apostle.” If we are studying Galatians 1, what have we learned from this one, tiny spot so far?

  1. An apostle was called and separated.
  2. An apostle was such through the will of God.
  3. Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ. Again, by the will of God.

This is, admittedly, a simple example, but that simplicity affords us the ability to see how the TSK is meant to be used.

(You may be wondering what exp [short for expanded] means before Ephesians 1:1 in the above TSK screen shot. This is a unique feature of SwordSearcher that includes “back-references” in the TSK. This simply means that in the original printed TSK, there was a reference to Galatians 1:1 from Ephesians 1:1. This way, the referencing is complete and goes both ways, making it even easier to find associated verses.)

More understanding awaits us as we continue on through the verse. For example, the phrase “but by Jesus Christ” (which was confirmed in our cross-referencing already) is linked to Acts 9:6:

Acts 9:6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

And so here we learn the very mode of apostleship (an in-person calling of Christ himself) and the beginning of Paul’s calling in particular.

I could go on, but hopefully this has sufficed to demonstrate how the cross-references in the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge are designed to be studied.

In addition to these “intra-verse” references, the TSK also provides numerous “general references” on thousands of verses that are more broad in how they are to be applied in study. These are no different from the verse references provided in many study Bible margins and other commentaries.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful. More information on the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, and the SwordSearcher TSK module in particular can be found here.