Ellen G. White Writings

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The Watchman

September 12, 1905

The Importance of Bible Study

Mrs. E. G. White

Search the Scriptures,” Christ said; “for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” The Christian should be diligent in studying the Scriptures; he should read over and over again its precious truths. Wilful ignorance of the word endangers Christian life and character. It is this that blinds the understanding and brings confusion into our lives.

We need to have systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth. By Bible study and daily communion with Jesus, we shall gain clear, well-defined views of individual responsibility, and strength to stand in the day of trial and temptation. He whose life is united to Christ by hidden links will be kept by the power of God, and he will not be carried about by every wind of doctrine.

We all need a guide through the many strait places in life, as much as the sailor needs a pilot over the sandy bar or up the rocky river; and where is this guide to be found? We point the reader to the Bible. Inspired of God, written by holy men, it points out with great clearness and precision the duties of both old and young. It elevates the mind, and softens the heart, and imparts gladness and joy to the spirit. The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; it is an infallible guide under all circumstances, even to the end of the journey of life.

After the first acquaintance with the Bible, the interest of the earnest seeker grows rapidly. The discipline gained by a regular study of the word of God enables him to see a freshness and beauty in truth that he never before discerned. Reference to texts, when speaking, becomes natural and easy to a Bible student.

The mine of truth is never exhausted. Thousands of gems lie hidden from the surface-seeker. The more you search with humble heart, the greater will be your interest, and the more you will feel like exclaiming with Paul, “O, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.”

Above everything else, it is essential for the teacher of the word of God to seek most earnestly to possess himself of the internal evidence of the Scriptures. He who would be blessed with this evidence must search the Scriptures for himself. As he learns the lessons given by Christ, and compares scripture with scripture, to see whether he himself bears its credentials, he will obtain a knowledge of God's word, and the truth will write itself on his soul.

The truth is the truth. It is not to be wrapped up in beautiful adornings; that the outside appearance may be admired. The teacher is to make the truth clear and forcible to the understanding and to the conscience. The word is a two-edge sword, that cuts both ways. It does not tread as with soft, slippered feet.

There are many cases where men who have defended Christianity against skeptics have afterward lost their own souls in the mazes of skepticism. They caught the malaria, and died spiritually. They had strong arguments for the truth, and much outside evidence, but they did not have an abiding faith in Christ. O, there are thousands upon thousands of professed Christians who never study the Bible! Study the sacred word prayerfully, for your own soul's benefit. When you hear the word of the living preacher, if he has a living connection with God, you will find that the Spirit and the word agree.

The Old and New Testaments are linked together by the golden clasp of God. We need to become familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. The unchangeableness of God should be clearly seen; the similarity of his dealings with his people of the past dispensation and of the present, should be studied. Under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Solomon wrote, “That which hath been is now: and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” In mercy God repeats his past dealings. He has given us a record of his dealings in the past. This we need to study carefully; for history is repeating itself. We are more accountable than were those whose experience is recorded in the Old Testament; for their mistakes, and the results of those mistakes, have been chronicled for our benefit. The danger signal has been lifted to keep us off forbidden ground, and we should be warned not to do as they did, lest a worse punishment come upon us. The blessings given to those of past generations who obeyed God are recorded that we may be encouraged to walk circumspectly, in faith and obedience. The judgments brought against wrong-doers are delineated that we may fear and tremble before God. This Scripture biography is a great blessing. This precious instruction, the experience of ages, is bequeathed to us.

It is time well employed to search the Scriptures; “for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” And Jesus declares. “They are they which testify of me.” By the work of the Holy Spirit the truth is riveted in the mind and printed in the heart of the diligent, God-fearing student. And not only is he blessed by this kind of labor; the souls to whom he communicates truth, and for whom he must one day give an account, are also greatly blessed. Those who make God their counselor reap the most precious harvest as they gather the golden grains of truth from his word; for the heavenly Instructor is close by their side. He who obtains his qualification for the ministry in this way will be entitled to the blessing promised to him who turns many to righteousness.

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