Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Signs of the Times

August 20, 1894

The Bible to Be Understood by All

By Mrs. E. G. White

“Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth upon him.”

By searching the Scriptures we are to know God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. The Bible has not been given for the benefit of ministers only; it is the book for the people; it is the comfort of the poor man. It is a great mistake for ministers to give the impression to the people that they should not read the Bible because they cannot understand its sacred teachings, and should be content with the interpretation given by those whose business it is to proclaim the word of God. Ministers who thus educate the people are themselves in error. The Bible and the soul were made one for the other, and through the agency of the word and the Holy Spirit, God moves upon the heart. To him who receives the love of the truth, the word of God is as a light that shineth in a dark place, pointing out the path so plainly that the wayfaring man though a fool need not err therein. He realizes that “the entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

The uneducated man, in earnest desire of soul, may in his humility and simplicity reap from the Bible far greater consolation than the learned or more exalted and honored man. He may never be able to present to another the same evidences of the inspiration of the word that a learned man could, but he can bear in his life and character a testimony of strength, showing forth in his outward demeanor the evidence of the power of the truth. God means that the poor and uneducated should have his word as a sure light and guide in the path of righteousness. If they are sincere, and desire earnestly to know the will of God, they will not be left in darkness. It is the privilege of everyone to be wise for himself in reading the Scriptures. No man can safely trust his soul to the minister, or to men who are learned and talented. Jesus charged the priests and rulers, who were regarded as learned in the Scriptures, as being ignorant both of the Scriptures and the power of God. Those to whom God has intrusted talents are responsible for the use of their gifts, and should study the Bible as a book that may be understood. A single text has proved in the past, and will prove in the future, a savor of life unto life to many a soul. As men diligently search, the Bible will open out new treasures of truth, that will be as bright jewels to the mind.

If the poor and unlearned are not capable of understanding the Bible, then the mission of Christ to our world was useless; for he says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” The command to search the Scriptures, Christ addressed not only to the Pharisees and scribes, but to the great multitude of the common people who crowded about them. If the Bible is not to be understood by every class of people, whether they be rich or poor, what would be the need of the Saviour's charge to search the Scriptures? What profit would there be in searching that which could never be understood? What would be the consistency of this command, if the searching of the Scriptures would not dispel the clouds of error, and would not lead men to an understanding of the revealed will of God to man?

Let everyone who has been blessed with reasoning faculties take up the neglected Bible, and search the Scriptures, that he may understand what is the will of God concerning him. In this book heavenly information is given to men. The Bible has been addressed to everyone,—to every class of society, to those of every clime and age. The duty of every intelligent person is to search the Scriptures. Each one should know for himself the conditions upon which salvation is provided. Satan has interposed his shadow between your soul and the bright beams of light that shine from heaven to guide you to the portals of bliss. Through his confederacy of evil angels and evil men, Satan has wrought in such a way as to bury up the truth under the rubbish of human traditions, customs, and practices.

In Christ's day, as in our day, the people were looking to the educated men, to the scribes and Pharisees, to explain to them the meaning of that which the God of heaven had revealed. These teachers had departed from God, and were following their own understanding, and did not follow the ways of the Lord. They thought they must interpret the Scriptures in a way that would harmonize with their course of action. They were seeking the praise of men, and departing more and more from the plainly revealed way of the Lord, following the traditions of men's devising. Of them Christ declared, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

The Pharisees and the religious teachers so misrepresented the character of God that it was necessary for Christ to come to the world to represent the Father. Through the subtlety of Satan, men were led to charge upon God Satanic attributes; but the Saviour swept back the thick darkness which Satan had rolled before the throne of God in order that he might intercept the bright rays of mercy and love which came from God to man. Jesus Christ revealed the Father in his true character to the world, representing him as full of mercy, love, and light. Christ took upon him humanity in order that the light and radiance of divine love should not extinguish man. When Moses pleaded, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” he was placed in the cleft of the rock, and the Lord passed by before him. When Philip asked Christ to show them the Father, he said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He revealed the Father to Philip as he had revealed him to Moses when he passed by before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Jesus proclaimed himself to the world as the perfect representation of the Father, and invited the love and confidence of the world to be centered in the Father. He said: “I am in the Father and the Father in me.” “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.... Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”

In plain language the Saviour taught the world that the tenderness, the compassion, and love that he manifested toward man, were the very attributes of his Fathers in heaven. Whatever doctrine of grace he presented, whatever promise of joy, whatever deed of love, whatever divine attraction he exhibited, had its source in the Father of all. In the person of Christ we behold the eternal God engaged in an enterprise of boundless mercy toward fallen man. Christ clothed his divinity with humanity, that his humanity might touch humanity, and divinity reach divinity.

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»