Investiture Achievement/Explorer/Spiritual Discovery

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Explorer/Spiritual Discovery

Requirement 1

Learn how to use a Bible Concordance by selecting two topics and/or words to discover how it is used in the Bible.

Main Entries

A concordance is an alphabetic list of words that appear in the Bible, and where in the Bible each word listed can be found. An exhaustive concordance is an alphabetic list of every word (including "a", "the" etc. that appears in the Bible.

Knowing this, it is easy to figure out the basic use of a concordance. Simply look up the word you are interested in, and then see where it appears in the Bible. Most concordances will also supply a little context - that is, the phrase in which the word appears. This is very useful and will help you find a passage that relates to your research without having to look up the reference in the Bible.

Dictionary Entries

Some concordances also incorporate an original language dictionary, defining all of the words as they appear in the original manuscripts (in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). Further, each entry in this dictionary is numbered, and the number appears in the main section of the concordance.

To understand how useful this is, consider the Greek words χρηστος (chrestos) and γενος (genos). The first word means, "generous, considerate, or kind" and the second means "type, category, or kind." Both appear under the word "kind" in the concordance but the dictionary number gives some extra valuable information to the Bible student.

If we were interested in the word "kind," as in "generous" rather than "kind" as in "type" it's easy to tell them apart by looking at the dictionary number. From Strong's we have this:

Context Verse Dict. entry
the sea, and gathered of every k     Mt 13:47 1085
Howbeit, this k goeth not out but     Mt 17:21 1085
This k can come forth by nothing     Mk 9:29 1085
for he is k unto the unthankful     Lk 6:35 5543

In each case, k is substituted for kind to make the entries a little shorter.

It's easier to find the "generous kind" by looking in the number column than by reading the context of each verse. 5543 is χρηστος (chrestos) and 1085 is γενος (genos). We can quickly eliminate the "type kind" from our search and concentrate on the "generous kind." You can also easily see all the texts that use the same Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic word in the Bible, allowing an easy word study.

Now use it!

Now that you know how to use a concordance, select two topics and find them in a concordance. Here are some suggestions:

  • Baptism (baptize, baptized)
  • Faith (faithful, belief, believe, believed, believes)
  • Salvation (saved, save, redeem, redeemed, redeems)
  • Obedience (obey, obeys, obeyed, obedient)

Don't be limited by this list though. There are thousands upon thousands of things you might want to research.

Requirement 2

Memorize one Bible text (not previously learned) for each of the following subjects:

  • Prayer
  • Doctrine
  • Behavior
  • Salvation
  • Relationships
  • Promises/Praise
  • Great Passages

Spiritual Discovery Requirement 2 is the same for Friend, Companion and Explorer. Each year Pathfinders should memorize a new verse not previously memorized for each topic. Your Pathfinders are not restricted to these suggested texts or the NKJV version of the Bible used on the printed sheet. Encourage them to pick texts and versions that they find most meaningful. Click here for a page with the complete text of these verses that you can print and hand out to your Pathfinders.

Prayer Doctrine Behavior
Salvation Relationships Promises/Praise
Great Passages

Do you know some other great verses? Click here to add them!


There are several approaches to memorizing scripture.

Erase the words
Write the Bible verse on a white board and have everyone read it aloud together. Then erase a word and have them read it again, supplying the erased word. Continue erasing words and reading the verse aloud until all the words are gone. At this point, the entire class should know the verse.
Hand write the verse
Write the verses down several times by hand until you can do it from memory.
In song
Many passages of scripture have been set to music. Memorizing the lyrics to a song is a lot easier than memorizing raw text, and the memory will last for years. If the verse you are trying to memorize has already been set to music, switch to the version of the text that matches the song. If it has not been set to music, make up your own tune. Explore different translations of the text to see which one lends itself best to your song.
Say it aloud
Hearing it and saying it will reinforce it much better than just "thinking" it will.
Say it with rhythm
This is similar to the "in song" approach from above, but it is often easier to make up a rhythm than it is to make up a whole tune. Clap your hands and stomp your feet at various places in the verse if that helps. Turn it into a clapping game like "pat-a-cake" and learn it with a friend.
Add action
How many songs do you know that have motions associated with them? If you're making up hand claps and foot stomps, it will help even more if you add other actions such as casting a fishing line, or tracing the outline of a heart in the air.
Make a rebus
A rebus uses pictures to represent words or parts of words. For instance, the word "I" is represented with a graphic depiction of an eye. If you spend enough time coming up with a clever rebus for your verse, you will likely have memorized it by the time you are finished.
Find structure in the verse
Write the verse out so that it highlights the structure. Recall that Hebrew poetry works by repeating an idea using different words. Line them up! We also find structure in New Testament verses. For instance, 1 John 2:3 could be written like this:

Now by this
   we know that
   we know Him,
if we keep His commandments.

This approach lines up the common words "we know" and helps the brain to organize the verse more effectively. It also lines up the third "we" with the first two, so that it's possible to memorize a shorthand for this verse - "we know, we know, we keep". This forms a skeleton upon which we can hang the rest of the words. Look for other structure as well, such as that the word following "we" always starts with a 'k' and has four letters.
Use a Puzzlemaker Online
to create written activities for scripture such as:
  • Crosswords
  • Wordles
  • Fill in the blanks/Missing letters
  • Blank out (Similar to Hangman)
  • Scripture Scrambles
Step On It
Print out each word of a passage on paper, one word per page in large print. Lay the paper on the floor and step down on each page as you say the text. Remove words from time to time.
Writers Block
Write each word of a passage on blocks of wood, one word per block. Mix up the blocks and put the text back together. Two block sets of the same verse makes for an exciting game!

Do you know some approaches? Click here to add them!

Requirement 3

Role-play the experience of a person of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts.

Explorers must read the Book of Acts, so encourage them to be looking for interesting stories as they read.

Role playing is when you pretend as if you were a certain person. It is similar to a skit, except that it is unscripted. You might think of it as the "reality show" version of a skit. The role players should each be assigned a role, and then the facilitator will set the scene. Once this is done, the role players take over and act as they think the person they are playing would act. The facilitator should probably also adopt a role so that the group can be kept on track without taking them out of the experience.

Before you start, explain to the Pathfinders that they must act as they think the person they are playing would behave. Emphasize this especially to the ones who are assigned the role of an antagonist (i.e., a Pharisee or a Philistine). The natural tendency is for the Pathfinder to change the outcome by "converting the sinner." You might try assigning the "bad guy" roles to your more outgoing Pathfinders, and assigning the "hero" roles to the more introspective members of your group.

Choose a scene that fits the number of Pathfinders involved so that everyone can be included. If you are doing this for an audience, use them as the "crowd" (if there is one) rather than assigning several kids to this role. Ignoring this advice will almost certainly result in suboptimal participation, and an unsatisfying experience for the role players assigned "crowd" roles. If your group is too large to avoid the "crowd" problem, split them into smaller groups and assign them different "scenes" for role playing.

Suggested experiences from the book of acts include:

Acts 4:1-22
Religious leaders trying to stop the apostles from preaching in the streets.
Acts 9:36-43
Dorcas restored to life.
Acts 12:5-19
Peter freed from prison.
Acts 16:25-34
Paul and Silas in prison.
Acts 19:21-41
The Riot at Ephesus.
Acts 25:13-37, Acts 26
Paul's defense before Felix and Agrippa.
Acts 27
The shipwreck.
Acts 28:1-10
Paul bitten by a viper.

Requirement 4a

Learn about eight missionaries (to at least four continents) who served during the Seventh-day Adventist Mission Expansion (1900 to 1950).

Here are a few names to get you started.

  • William Branson - Africa
  • John Burden - Australia
  • Alfred & Betty Cott - South America (Guyana, Brazil)
  • O.E. Davis - North and South America (British Columbia, Guyana)
  • Leo & Jessie Halliwell - South America (Brazil)
  • Eric B. Hare - Asia (Burma, now called Myanmar)
  • Harry Miller - Asia (China)
  • Ferdinand & Ana Stahl - South America
  • Norma Youngberg - Asia (Borneo)

You can read about many of these people on Wikipedia, or in the SDA Encyclopedia (part of the Bible Commentary series). There are many books written by or about missionaries and their experiences. Check your Adventist church or Adventist school library or an Adventist Book Center for books about missions in the stated time period.

Requirement 4b

On a world map, plot their country of service (include at least 4 continents).

Print this map out (or use one in the Explorer Journal). Then color the countries where the selected missionaries served. Use a different color for each missionary.

White World Map Blank.png

Requirement 4c

Make a presentation about your favorite missionary.

You can use the map created in the previous section as a visual aid for this. Ideally, the presentation should be made to the other members of your Pathfinder club during the club's normal worship/devotional time. If your Explorer group is small, have each individual present a different missionary. If it's large, have them present in teams of two or three.

Another way to make the presentation is by performing a skit based on factual events during the missionary's service.

Wilderness Explorer Explorer Ribbon.jpeg

Requirement 5

Complete Explorer requirements.

You must complete the requirements listed above this one on the current page.

Requirement 6

Compare the expansion of the early Christian Church in the book of Acts to the mission expansion of the Seventh-day Adventist church up to 1950.

Study the Growth of Christianity in Acts

Recommend reading the linked chapters and portions of chapters, with particular attention to the verses reproduced here:

Acts 2

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 2:40

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46, 47

Acts 4

But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 4:4, 36

Acts 6:1-7

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Acts 6:7

Acts 9:31

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
Acts 9:31

Acts 10:34-38

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Acts 10:34-38

Acts 11:19-24

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Acts 11:19-24

The later chapters of Acts recount Paul's missionary journeys and the founding of many churches in diverse areas of the Roman Empire.

Compare Acts Church to the Missionary Expansion of the Seventh-day Adventist Church up to 1950

There are a number of parallels between the growth of the early Christian Church and the development of the the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These include:

1. While the Christian Church developed out of the Jewish faith as a logical extension of the older religion, the early Adventists initially came out of various established Christian churches. The Millerites were nearly all Christians already, as the earliest Christians were nearly all Jews (born or converts) already.

2. Many of the early Adventist ministers and leaders had served in other Christian churches before becoming Adventist Christians. Acts 6:7 tells us "a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."

3. Christians worshipped in Jewish synagogues and the temple until they either were forced out by Jews who rejected Jesus or chose to leave because they were unwelcome. Adventists worshiped within existing churches until they were disfellowshipped or otherwise made to feel unwelcome. For example, as a teenager Ellen G Harman (later White), her family and others were disfellowshipped from the Portland (Maine) Methodist Church for believing in the teachings of William Miller prior to 1844.

4. After a period of focus on Jews, the early Christians turned to evangelizing the Gentiles (those without a Jewish belief system). Adventists started within existing Christian groups but quite early on Adventists were sending missionaries to non-Christian lands.

5. Early Christians struggled with cross cultural issues Acts 15 as did Adventists as members joined from around the world.

6. Christians quickly spread out across the known world, deliberately sending missionaries to new regions. Acts mentions believers and churches from modern Spain, Ethiopia, Libya, Italy, Greece, up into Macedonia, Turkey, and even suggests Arabia. Outside the Bible there is a strong tradition that early Christianity spread even further. The disciple Thomas is credited with establishing churches as far away as Southern India. Adventists, from a base in New England, New York and Michigan quickly spread across North America while sending missionaries to the ends of the earth by 1950. Today Adventists can be found in nearly every country and territory in the world, and it is much easier to note the exceptions, mainly very low population places (Falkland Islands, Tokelau), constant war zones (Afghanistan, Somalia) and a handful of places with tight control on religion (Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Bhutan). Even some of the places without an Adventist church have active missionaries working there, so the list continues to shrink.

7. Sacrificial giving was reported in Acts and in the Adventist Church. Barnabas sold a field he owned, and other Christians also sold real estate. Adventists followed the example of early Christians in this area too. For example, in 1850 Hiram Edson sold his Port Gibson, NY farm to help support the Sabbatarian movement, and sold a second farm two years later in Port Byron, NY so that James White could purchase a printing press in Rochester.

8. The experience of Hiram Edson immediately following the Great Disappointment is very similar to the experience of two disciples on their journey to Emmaus as recounted in Luke 24:13-27.

"We started, and while passing through a large field I was stopped about midway of the field. Heaven seemed opened to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary; and that He had a work to perform in the Most Holy Place before coming to the earth."&

In both cases, God intervened to directly reveal what really happened when faithful people experienced incredible disappointment after having misinterpreted prophetic events.

If you can think of more comparisons, add them here by choosing the edit tab.

Requirement 7

Study and discuss one of the following life issues with your Explorer group and an adult:

  • Abuse
  • TV & Movie Theaters
  • Reading


Substance abuse / temperance is a topic well covered within the Pathfinder program, so perhaps fulfilling this requirement should focus on other types of abuse. Adventist Church owned presses have started to put out some good material on dealing with relationship, physical and sexual abuse, subjects too long ignored and suppressed in the the church.

Remember that the topic of abuse may hit very close to home for some Pathfinders, and it is important to treat the subject carefully.

This inexpensive little 48 page booklet Understanding Sexual Abuse should be a good conversation starter for a sensitive topic.

TV and Movies

What you fill your mind with is what you will become. Violent content, obscene language, and sexual content are not what a Christian should be watching. Violence and sex are parts of life (the Bible contains much violence for example) but glorifying violence and sex for our own entertainment was not God's plan for us. Pathfinders will quickly agree that violent content should be avoided, but is there a place for violence in film?

A wildly popular, but hugely controversial movie The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson would be worth talking about. (The link goes to the crucifixion scene - watch it with the group) Much of the dialog in the movie is direct Bible quotations, yet the violence shown in the film is far beyond the typical Hollywood shoot-em-up movie. While The Passion is controversial, it helps viewers understand how great a sacrifice Christ made for us.

Similarly, how would you tell the story of David and Goliath, Steven's stoning, or the plagues of Egypt without showing violence?

Obscene and sexual content is a much more clear cut no no. There is no reason for a Pathfinder, who is trying to keep a level eye, to watch dirty films or filth on TV.


Talk about what appropriate reading material for a Christian is. Questions to consider...

Does the message improve your walk with God? Should everything you read be measured against this test?

While this sounds like a good test, it is impractical. How does reading your math book or the local newspaper improve your walk with God? This leads to a negative test;

Does reading this damage my mind or harm my walk with God?

With this test, you can now weed out what is harmful.

Should we stick to non-fiction or is there a place for reading fiction or even fantasy?

Some Pathfinders may jump to condemning fiction and fantasy works completely. Ellen White condemned fiction many times, but we need to understand how she defined fiction before we impose our modern understanding of the word on her negative statements. She used the term fiction to apply to works with the following characteristics:

  • It is addictive.
  • It may be sentimental, or sensational, erotic, profane, or trashy.
  • It is escapist, causing the reader to revert to a dream world and to be less able to cope with the problems of everyday life.
  • It unfits the mind for serious study, and devotional life.
  • It is time consuming and valueless.

(Pamphlet, Guide to the Teaching of Literature in Seventh-day Adventist Schools. Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, Department of Education, n.d., p, 7).

There are many examples of quality, yet fictional, stories that teach lessons and make for worthwhile reading:

  • C.S.Lewis wrote some epic spiritually uplifting fantasy including the Chronicles of Narnia series.
  • Jesus used fiction/fantasy frequently, including this obvious example of an allegory Luke 16:19-31
  • Can you name some more examples?

An excellent article addressing Should SDAs (or other conservative Christians) read fiction?

Remember that reading includes not just books and magazines today since many Pathfinders will do most of their reading on the Internet.

Other Resources

Check the Adventist Review/Adventist World for articles to use as conversation starters.


  1. F. D. Nichol. The Midnight Cry. p. 458.