Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

September 19, 1906

Our Great Treasure-House

By Mrs. E. G. White

How to Study the Bible—Part 16
The Mind Which Obtains Knowledge

A knowledge of the Word of God depends not so much upon strength of intellect as upon pureness of purpose, the simplicity of an earnest, dependent faith. To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of truth.

God bids us fill our minds with great thoughts, pure thoughts. He desires us to meditate upon His love and mercy, to study His wonderful work in the great plan of redemption.

The Bible contains all the principles that men need in order to be fitted either for this life or for the life to come. And these principles may be understood by all. No one with a spirit to appreciate its teachings can read a single passage from the Bible without gaining from it some helpful thought. But the most valuable teaching of the Bible is not gained by occasional or disconnected study. Its great system of truth is not so presented as to be discerned by the careless or hasty reader. Many of its treasures lie far beneath the surface, and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort. The truths that go to make up a great whole must be searched out and gathered up “here a little and there a little.”

A Means of Intellectual Growth

When thus searched out and brought together, they will be found to be perfectly fitted to one another. Each Gospel is a supplement to the others, every prophecy an explanation of another, every truth a development of some other truth. The types of the Jewish economy are made plain by the Gospel. Every principle in the Word of God has its place, every fact its bearing. And the complete structure, in design and execution, bears testimony to its Author. Such a structure no mind but the Infinite could conceive or fashion.

Not alone in searching out truth and bringing it together does the mental value of Bible study consist. It consists also in the effort required to grasp the themes presented. The mind occupied with common place matters only becomes dwarfed and enfeebled. If never taxed to comprehend grand and far-reaching truths, it after a time loses the power of growth. As a safeguard against this degeneracy, and a stimulus to development, nothing can equal the study of God's Word. As a means for intellectual training, the Bible is more effective than any other book, or all other books combined. The greatness of its themes, the dignified simplicity of its utterances, the beauty of its imagery, quicken and uplift the thoughts as nothing else can. No other study can impart such mental power as does the effort to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation. The mind thus brought in contact with the thoughts of the Infinite can not but expand and strengthen.

A Means of Spiritual Growth

And even greater is the power of the Bible in the development of the spiritual nature. Man, created for fellowship with God, can only in such fellowship find his real life and development. Created to find in God his highest joy, he can find in nothing else that which can quiet the cravings of the heart, or satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. He who with sincere and teachable spirit studies God's Word, seeking to comprehend its truths, will be brought into touch with its Author, and, except by his own choice, there is no limit to the possibilities of his development.

In childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus studied the Scriptures. As a little child, He was daily, at His mother's knee, taught from the scrolls of the prophets. In His youth the early morning and evening twilight often found Him alone on the mountainside or among the trees of the forest, spending a quiet hour in prayer and in the study of God's Word. During His ministry His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures testified to His diligence in their study. And since He gained knowledge as we may gain it, His wonderful power, both mental and spiritual, is a testimony to the value of the Bible as a means of education.

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