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    May 17, 1883

    “The Sabbath-School. Advantages of Bible Study” The Signs of the Times, 9, 19.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Advantages of Bible Study

    One great benefit to be derived from the study of the Bible is mentioned by Paul, when he says 2 Timothy, “from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make the wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” This is why the Bible was given. It is the revelation of God’s will to man. Nowhere else can man learn his duty to God and his fellow-men. Those nations that have not the Bible are sunk in degradation and crime. In ancient Greece and Rome, although there was culture and wisdom of a certain kind, which are the admiration of the world to-day, the greatest crimes were openly committed, and even protected by the laws. There is nothing that will teach men what they ought to do in order to live happily and peaceably here, and worthy of a life hereafter, except the Bible.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.1

    And the Bible is a complete rule of faith. As Paul further says, it “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” It contains, then, all that is absolutely necessary to be understood by mankind. A little thought will convince anyone that this is so. All will agree, in answer to our Saviour’s question, that it will profit a man nothing to gain the whole world and lose his soul. All the wealth, honor, and wisdom that this world affords, cannot for a moment be compared with that which eternity offers. A man may have all that this world can give, yet if he is not “wise unto salvation,” he loses it all, and is as though he had never acquired anything. But though he be destitute of worldly riches, and ignorant of the things which the world calls wisdom, if he only has the “wisdom that comes from above” (James 3:17) he will finally be admitted into “a better country,” where, with unclouded intellect, and the angels of God for teachers, he can in a few years learn more than his unbelieving neighbor did in a life-time. And then he has a whole eternity before him, in which to explore new fields, and increase in knowledge.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.2

    It is only through the Bible that we learn of Christ, without whom we cannot hope for eternal life. The Bible is the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works, and guides us into the ways of truth and knowledge. It is the Bible alone that teaches us the fear of God,- which the wise man tells us is the beginning, or rather, the principal part, of knowledge. Surely, then, the Bible, of all books, is the one that should be the most studied. The only reason why we study it so little, is because we underestimate “the things that God hath prepared for them that love him,” and which can be gained only by careful study of, and obedience to, his word; we appreciate the things that we see, more than those which are unseen. If we could obtain a glimpse of the glories of Heaven, I believe we would take the course necessary to gain it, even at the expense of everything else.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.3

    But this is not all the benefit we gain from the study of the Bible. We do not mean that anything more or better can be gained than that of which we have just spoken, but that we do not have to wait till we get to Heaven, before we begin to reap the benefit of Bible study. The apostle Paul says of godliness that it “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” So the Bible, besides showing us the way to eternal life, gives wisdom and a culture that can be obtained from no other book in the world. The psalmist says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.” This also is susceptible to proof, as we shall show.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.4

    What is education? It is simply the development of the mind. Webster says: “Education is properly to draw forth, and implies not so much the communication of knowledge, as the discipline of the intellect, the establishment of the principles, and the regulation of the heart.” To educate is “to lead out and train the mental powers.” According to this, any one can get a thorough education from the Bible alone. Children go to school, and men go to college, not for the few facts that they may learn, but for that development of mind that will enable them to think correctly, and to reason soundly, and to judge correctly of things. In order to gain this, years are spent in the study of what is called the classics-the productions of the great minds of earth. By closely studying these models, the student almost unconsciously makes them his own. By unraveling the deep sayings of the wise men, he becomes able to think deeply for himself. By daily reading the writings of the best authors, he learns how to use language, and acquires a good style of expression. Continued application increases his ability to receive ideas and make them his own, and to think for himself; it expands his mind; in other words he is educated. A man who has the will to apply himself in this manner may become as truly educated as though he had every advantage of the schools.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.5

    But will the study of the Bible furnish this culture of mind? It certainly will, and more. Let us reason upon it. Sin has brought disease and death into the world, and causes not only physical ailments, but mental weakness. Mankind has degenerated mentally as well as physically. The men from whose writings thousands gain their mental discipline, were weakened mortals. They were subject to the curse. Although we speak of them as having “giant intellects,” they were dwarfs beside what they would have been had their ancestors never transgressed moral or physical laws. Many of them were themselves wicked men, men who were slaves to their appetites and passions. And yet from these men the culture of the world is derived.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.6

    Now consider the Bible. It was not written by sinful men, but “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is the source of all knowledge. These men of whom we have spoken were dependent upon God even for the mind with which they acquired their wisdom. Now is it possible that we can obtain more education from them than from the Fountain-head? Most assuredly not. Peter says that the Spirit of Christ was in the men who wrote the Bible, and that even angels desire to look into the things that were revealed to them. Surely, the Bible contains enough to draw out the mind of man to an unlimited extent. We repeat, then, without any fear of successful contradiction, that if a man were to study no other book but the Bible, and would apply himself to it as closely as men do to their ordinary studies, he would have a discipline of mind far greater than those would have who took the ordinary course of study.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.7

    In the Bible we have many varieties of style, as the Spirit worked through different minds. A complete code of laws is open to the student. All human laws are derived from this source. If we wish to develop the reasoning faculties, Paul’s epistles afford an ample field. If we wish to cultivate the memory, there is an abundance of history for us to learn. In short, whatever we desire in the line of knowledge may be found in the Book of books.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.8

    This mental culture is not the primary object of studying the word of God. The Bible was given that we might learn God’s will; but in studying to learn that which is of the greatest importance, we necessarily acquire that for which so many in the world strive, often in vain. And thus it is that God withholds no good thing from them that walk uprightly. If we seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, all things necessary will be added unto us. We serve ourselves best by serving God.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.9

    Let no one, then, complain of meagre opportunities, or waste of time in vainly wishing for knowledge. If we wish to obtain treasures we must dig for them. All have the Bible. It is God’s gift to man. It was not designed for a few favored ones, but for all. Its pages are open to all. And here the unlearned man may be on a level with his more favored neighbor, if he only has sincere love for its Author; for “if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” And help is given that the ordinary student knows nothing of. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.10

    In conclusion, it is not merely our privileged to avail ourselves of the wisdom and a culture which the Bible affords, but it is an imperative duty. We are commanded to “search the Scriptures.” Every individual must arm himself with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” And this is the object of the Sabbath-school,-to educate us in the things of God. The lessons given us there to study, form a nucleus around which we may gather vast stores of Biblical knowledge. How many are there who think that the Sabbath-school as well as the day school affords opportunity for mental training? There are possibilities in the Sabbath-school of which few of us have even dreamed. May God help us to avail ourselves of them in so faithful a manner that they will not condemn us in the final day of accounts. E. J. W.SITI May 17, 1883, page 221.11

    “Baptism.—A Review” The Signs of the Times, 9, 19.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A correspondent in the East sends us a copy of the Christian Intelligencer of April 11th. with the request that we notice an article which it contains, entitled, “The Mode of Baptism,” as it has troubled some honest investigators. We accordingly quote the principal part of the article and notice its statements in detail.SITI May 17, 1883, page 223.1

    The writer begins by expressing his regret that a certain writer of Sunday-school notes “should seem to countenance the idea that Philip baptized the eunuch by immersion, as is done in his remarks on Acts 8:38, where ‘into the water’ is emphasized by being printed in italics, and within quotation marks.” He then says:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 223.2

    “The Greek preposition eis signifies motion toward, and never indicates the actual going into a place unless it is repeated, once in composition with the verb, and once governing the noun. When Peter and John ran together to the sepulcher, after our Lord’s resurrection, John outran Peter, and came first to the sepulcher, eis to mnemeion, yet when he not in, ou mentoi eiselthen. The phrase, if completed, would read ou mentoi eiselthen eis to mnemeion, as it does when Peter is described when arriving, and actually going into the sepulcher, kai eiselthen eis to mnemeion.SITI May 17, 1883, page 223.3

    “The same remark applies to the preposition ek, which signifies motion from, and never indicates actual coming from within a place, unless it is repeated, as before noted, in composition with the verb, as well as governing the noun. Here also a single example may suffice. Luke 4:22, ‘the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth,’ tois ekporeuomenois ek tou stomatos autou. This form of expression is invariable.SITI May 17, 1883, page 223.4

    “Now in the account of the baptism of the eunuch by Philip, if Luke had meant that they actually went into the water, still more that they went under the water, he would have twice used the preposition eis. But he does not. The phrase is katebesan eis to hudor, the exact meaning of which is they went down to the water. So if it had been meant that they actually came out of the water, the phrase would have been exebesan ek tou hudatos. But it is not. It is anebesan ek tou hudatos, and means exactly they came up, or back, from the water. The Revision, with all its pretensions to scholarship, has failed to note this point.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 223.5

    There is but one fault that can be found with this criticism, and that is that it is not true. There is an old saying that “one swallow does not make a spring.” The author of the above should have remembered this and pushed his investigation is further, before he made such sweeping assertions. Because a thing occurs in a certain way once, we are not justified in saying that it will be so every time. That is the most foolish kind of reasoning. It is as if a man who had never before seen a horse, should see a span of white horses, and should then stoutly maintain that all horses are white. This is just the condition of the writer of this article: he has found that sometimes the preposition is repeated when motion into or out of a place is meant, and makes the rash assertion that “this form of expression is invariable.” We shall see. If it can be shown that eis unrepeated ever indicates “the actual going into a place,” then his whole argument, or assumption, falls to the ground. Turning to the lexicons we find the following in reference to the preposition eis:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 223.6

    “The radical signification is, direction toward, motion to, into, for all on; into;” etc.-Pickering.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.1

    “1. Of Place. Which is the primary and most frequent use, into, to, viz.:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.2

    “(a) After verbs implying motion of any kind, into, or also to, towards, upon any place or object.”-Robinson.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.3

    “Preposition. On, into, upon,” etc.—Greenfield.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.4

    “Direction towards, motion to, on, or into...... In composition eis retains its chief signification, into.”-Liddel & Scott.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.5

    These definitions from standard authorities are alone sufficient to settle the matter; but to make assurance doubly sure, we will quote a few examples. In all the following instances the construction is precisely the same as in Acts 8:38; the preposition occurs but once, and is not compounded with the verb:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.6

    Matthew 2:11: Kai eithontes eis oikian, “and when they were come into the house.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.7

    Matthew 2:12: Anechorecesan eis teen choran autou, “they departed into their own country.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.8

    Matthew 2:14: Anechorecesan eis Aiguptou, “they departed into Egypt.” Our critic would have us read in this instance, “he went toward, or near to, Egypt.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.9

    Matthew 2:22: Anechorecesan eis ta meree tees Galilaias, “he turned aside into the parts of Galilee.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.10

    In this last instance let us try our author’s statement that eis unrepeated always means “toward,” and never “into,” and see how it will work. We would then have it, “he turned aside toward Galilee,” did not go into it. This is another point which “the Revision, with all its pretensions to scholarship has failed to note.” But, unfortunately for the newest version, the next verse says that “he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth,” which is a long distance inside the borders of Galilee.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.11

    Passing by many similar instances, we come to Matthew 8:31, 32, another good text on which to test the definition of our new lexicographer. In the sentence, “If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine,” the preposition eis occurs but once. Perhaps, however, it will be claimed that the demons did not actually go into the swine, but went toward them, and drove them along toward the sea. Very well, we will try the next verse, and see how it fared with the swine. We read, “and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down to a steep place into the sea.” The Greek is, ormeesen eis teen thalassan, the preposition occurring but once. Then according to the newest version, we must understand that the swine simply ran toward the sea, but did not go into it. The only trouble with this explanation is that the next clause says that “they perished in the waters.” Then they must have gone into the water, after all. We are strongly reminded of the proverb: “The legs of the lame are not equal.” Proverbs 26:7, first clause, only.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.12

    If the reader wishes to examine other texts where eis is used alone, he can try the following, and see if he thinks that “toward,” or “near to,” would improve the sense: Matthew 4:1, 12; 5:25, 29, 30; 9:1; 12:9; 13:36, 47, 54; 14:22; Acts 22:4, 10, 11, 25, 24; 1 Peter 3:22, and many other passages.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.13

    Now for the other preposition. We have seen that Philip and the eunuch could go into the water, even though though the narrative contains only one preposition. But having seen them in the water, we shall be obliged to leave them there, if it is true that ek never means “out of” unless it also occurs twice. Again we refer to the lexicons to settle the matter. Of the preposition ek we read:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.14

    “1. Of motion out of, forth, from the forth or out of.... with all verbs of motion such as express taking away, separating.”-Liddel & Scott.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.15

    “Its primary signification is from, and out of, away from... from among, etc.”-Pickering.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.16

    “A preposition governing the genitive, with the primary signification out of, from, of; spoken of such objects as before were in or within another, but are now separated from it.....SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.17

    “1. Of PLACE, which is the primary and most frequent use, out of, from, viz.:SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.18

    “(a) After verbs implying motion of any kind out of, or from any place or object.”-Robinson.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.19

    Following are a few instances of its use. We give only the English, simply stating that in every case the preposition occurs but once, as in Acts 8:38.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.20

    Matthew 2:15: “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.21

    Matthew 24:17: “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.22

    Mark 9:7: “And a voice came out of the cloud.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.23

    John 4:54: “When he was come out of Judea into Galilee.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.24

    John 13:1: “When Jesus knew that his our was come that he should depart out of this world.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.25

    We quote again from the article:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.26

    “But if it be admitted that the criticism on the use of the preposition, as above, is correct, it is impossible that the inspired writers should have had at all in their minds the idea of going into, or going under the water.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.27

    But it is not admitted, for the good reason that the criticism is no criticism at all; and so we say that it is not only possible but certain that the inspired writers had in their minds the idea both of going into, and going under, the water. Even so zealous an advocate of sprinkling as Dr. Clarke, admits that the eunuch was plunged under the water.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.28

    But it may be asked, “Since the preposition eis does sometimes mean ‘toward,’ as well as ‘into,’ is it not possible that it means ‘toward’ in Acts 8:38?” We reply, no; and for reasons that we shall proceed to give. If we did not know the meaning of the word “baptize,” or if this were the only place where baptism was mentioned, we might allow the claim; for, let it be distinctly understood that we do not base the argument for immersion on the preposition in the Acts 8:38, or in any other place. That is only corroborative evidence; our direct proof is more to the point. And let it also be distinctly noted that the so-called argument for sprinkling is all of this nature; it is all negative. Even if the article that we have noticed were true, and allowing that Acts 8:38 should read “they went down to the water,” and “came up from the water;” it would not prove that they did not also go in. The advocates of sprinkling, like our critic, labor hard to prove a point that would profit them nothing even if it were established.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.29

    In conclusion we offer a few points of direct evidence:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.30

    1. Our Saviour did not coin the word “baptize;” it was in use before the time of his first advent.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.31

    2. When he used the word baptize, to indicate an ordinance in the church, he must have used it in the sense in which it was generally used; for if he had not, no one would have known what he meant, unless he had given a new definition, which he did not do.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.32

    3. The authors of the lexicons do not make the meaning of words to suit themselves; they simply tell the meaning with which the word is used. If it be a word from a so-called “dead language,” the lexicons give the meaning which it had when that language was spoken.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.33

    4. The Greek lexicons define baptizo, of which baptize is the English form, untranslated, “to dip, to plunge,” etc. Liddell & Scott give it, to dip repeatedly, to dip under, and give as examples of its use, “over head and ears in debt,” “overwhelmed with questions.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.34

    5. The idea of sprinkling does not attach to the word at all, except as it is forced upon it in support of a practice inherited from the Catholic Church. Whenever the idea of sprinkling is conveyed, a different word is employed. Here we can say of a truth, “this form of expression is invariable.”SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.35

    6. The signification of the ordinance shows plainly the meaning of the word. Paul says: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ or baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism,” etc. Romans 6:3, 4. That is, we show our faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, and our determination to be dead to sin, and to live in newness of life, by being “buried” in water as a symbol of Christ’s burial in the earth. Christ was completely hidden from sight in the tomb; so we must be completely submerged in the water, in order to have the symbol fit the reality.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.36

    7. This idea is established beyond cavil in the next verse: “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” The text is too plain to need comment. A seed is not planted unless it is covered up. The disciples of Christ did not carelessly throw a few handfuls of earth on his body, but reverently laid it in the ground, completely covering it from view. Then unless we are likewise completely buried, planted, submerged in the watery grave, we are not in the likeness of Christ’s death. Sprinkling has no likeness whatever to the burial and resurrection of Christ. And therefore it necessarily follows:-SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.37

    7. That baptism is immersion and nothing else, and one who has not been immersed has not obeyed the command of Christ to be baptized. We are sure that this conclusion cannot be honestly evaded. We shall have more to say about the importance of this matter hereafter. E. J. W.SITI May 17, 1883, page 224.38

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