Helping Children Discover the One True Treasure

In The Treasure: Ancient Story Ever New of Jesus and His Church, best-selling children’s book author Marty Machowski helps families grow in knowing and loving God through reading the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts together. The Treasure takes young readers on an exciting biblical voyage to discover the treasure of God’s love revealed in Luke’s letters to Theophilus. While these New Testament books are often thought of as two separate books telling different stories, they are really two halves of one greater story recorded by Luke. Through Luke’s retelling of Jesus’s work on earth and the Spirit’s work in growing the church, we see the Father’s love on full display.

In this interview, we talk to Marty about this unique children’s Bible study.

Q: Your books The Ology and WonderFull are the favorites of many families. Introduce us to your new combination Bible study and storybook, The Treasure, which is written in the same style and format.

The Treasure is my latest book written in a genre I call study fiction. It is a Bible study on Luke’s Gospel and the book of Acts with a fictional story woven through. Two children, Theos and Mira discover an old ship’s water jar containing two scrolls (Luke and Acts), and an old sea captain’s personal journal. When they open the journal, they discover the captain’s invitation to study the scrolls and the answer to a riddle that will lead them to a hidden treasure.  The siblings take up the captain’s challenge and are off on an adventure to discover the treasure of Theophilus.

When I first wrote The Ology and included a fictional introduction and ending, I received a lot of feedback asking for a longer fictional story. So, when I wrote WonderFull, I added to the fictional story that flows in and around that study of the Psalms. Families enjoyed seeing how the theology in the study played out in the character’s lives in the story.  The suspense of the story also keeps the children interested in the study.  Even after making the story in WonderFull longer, I received requests to lengthen it. So, in The Treasure, I added a bit more to the story again.

Q: What is the purpose of including the fictional story of Theos and Mira in with a Bible study? How do all the parts fit together?

Children love a good story. By including the story of Theos and Mira and their treasure hunt, I ensure readers will want to keep coming back for more. In between chapters of the story, I include the Bible study. In order to solve the riddle, you have to discover the clues along the way that come from the Bible study.

In addition to an added motivation to keep reading, we learn how to apply the truth from the study to our lives by seeing how Theos and Mira apply the truth to their lives. The characters offer the children reading the book a helpful illustration of how the truth of God’s Word can affect our lives.

Q: Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit more about the treasure hunt? What is the treasure the kids are meant to discover?

Captain Theophilus left home as a prodigal and gave his life to growing his wealth through trading on the high seas. After offering free passage to Naxos to a missionary and his family, he becomes a Christian and begins his own study of the Gospel of Luke and Acts, intrigued that he shares his name with the original recipient of the letters. The captain records notes on his study and decides to give his wealth away to the one who can solve a riddle he creates. The captain hides his journal in an old ship’s water jar along with scrolls of Luke and Acts. 

Theos and Mira discover the water jar, break it open, and are off on their adventure to find the captain’s treasure. In the end, they discover that the captain’s true treasure is Christ.

Q: What makes Luke different from the other gospel writers? Why aren’t Luke and Acts studied together more often?

Luke is unique in his writing as he is the only gospel writer who continued the gospel story beyond the ascension to include the formation and growth of the early church.

Had the church fathers who assembled the Bible placed the gospels in a different order, with Luke and Acts together, more people would have made the connection that Acts is a sequel to Luke’s gospel, written to the same recipient, Theophilus. With the Gospel of John between them, they more appear as two separate books.

Q: How should families read The Treasure in order to reap the full benefit of the book and study?

I would encourage families to read The Treasure as a family. Children love when Mom or Dad read them a story. The chapters are short enough to be read after dinner, before dessert. So, invest in a half dozen cartons of ice cream and spend a few weeks reading through The Treasure and try to solve the clues I’ve written into the book. You, as the reader, get to solve the puzzle and discover the treasure right along with Theos and Mira.

Q: While The Treasure was written for elementary age children, you do provide parents with bonus material for older kids. Can you tell us more about how parents can involve their older children in reading this book as a family?

The Treasure includes a deeper study in the back for older children to teach them how Luke includes the Old Testament in his recounting of the story of the gospel and the growth of the early Church. If you have a family with both younger and older children, you can enlist the older kids to help with the younger ones. Teens can read through a chapter and help their younger siblings answer the questions. 

Q: Can you offer some tips for developing a regular family devotional time?

Perhaps the best tip I can offer is to incorporate devotions between dinner and dessert. I call it the “Three D’s” family discipleship method.  After Dinner, if you do Devotions, you get Dessert!  If you place your devotional book next to where you sit for dinner, it will remind you to read. You don’t have to take a lot of time. Ten minutes a day is fine and accumulates over time. If dessert is hanging in the balance, your kids won’t let you forget. My family has gone through a ton of ice cream, but I am glad for the many conversations it provided.

Q: Do you have any other projects in the works?

Yes, I am currently working on a four-book series called The Redemption Tales.  In these books, I retell the Bible stories of redemption from the perspective of the animals that could have witnessed the events, which is a super fun way to look at the Bible. The Shadow and the Promise released this spring, and the second, The Prophecy and the Hope releases this fall.

I am also nearly completed the rough draft of a sequel to The Treasure called The Sword. Like The Treasure, it is a Bible study with a fictional story woven through. The Sword is a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans with a story of a gladiator who is shipwrecked with the apostle Paul and becomes one of his guards during his house arrest in Rome.

The Treasure

The Treasure

Best-selling author Marty Machowski takes young readers on an exciting biblical voyage to discover the treasure of God’s love revealed in Luke’s letters to Theophilus—Luke and Acts. 

About the author

Marty Machowski

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over thirty years. He is the author of a number of family devotionals, curricula (including the Gospel Story for Kids), children’s books, and parenting titles. He and his wife, Lois, have six children and several grandchildren, and reside in West Chester, PA.

Add Comment

Recent Posts