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Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)

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    The Importance of Bible Study

    Ministers should become Bible students. Are the truths which they handle mighty? Then they should seek to handle them skillfully. Their ideas should be clear and strong, and their spirits fervent, or they will weaken the force of the truth which they handle. By tamely presenting the truth, merely repeating the theory without being stirred by it themselves, they can never convert men. If they should live as long as did Noah, their efforts would be without effect. Their love for souls must be intense, and their zeal fervent. A listless, unfeeling manner of presenting the truth will never arouse men and women from their deathlike slumber. They must show by their manners, by their acts and words, and by their preaching and praying, that they believe that Christ is at the door. Men and women are in the last hours of probation, and yet are careless and stupid, and preachers have no power to arouse them; they are asleep themselves. Sleeping ministers preaching to a sleeping people!GW92 121.2

    A great work must be accomplished for ministers, in order for them to make the preaching of the truth a success. The word of God should be thoroughly studied. All other reading is inferior to this. A careful study of the Bible will not necessarily exclude all other reading of a religious nature; but if the word of God is studied prayerfully, all reading which will have a tendency to divert the mind from it will be excluded. If we study the word of God with interest, and pray to understand it, new beauties will be seen in every line. God will reveal precious truth so clearly that the mind will derive sincere pleasure, and have a continual feast as its comforting and sublime truths are unfolded....GW92 122.1

    Those who engage in the business of school-teaching prepare for the work. They qualify themselves by attending school, and interesting their minds in study. They are not allowed to teach children and youth in the sciences, unless they are capable of instructing them. Upon applying for a situation as teacher, they have to pass an examination before competent persons. It is an important work to deal with young minds, and instruct them correctly in the sciences. But of how much greater importance is the work of the ministry! Yet many engage in the important business of interesting men and women to enter the school of Christ, where they are to learn how they may form characters for heaven, who need to become students themselves. Some who enter the ministry do not feel the burden of the work upon them. They have received incorrect ideas of the qualifications of a minister. They have thought that it required but little close study in the sciences or in the word of God to make a minister. Some who are teaching present truth are not acquainted with their Bibles. They are so deficient in Bible knowledge that it is difficult for them to quote a text of Scripture correctly from memory. By blundering along in the awkward manner they do, they sin against God. They mangle the Scripture, and make the Bible say things that are not written therein.GW92 122.2

    Some who have all their lives been led by feeling, have thought that an education or a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures was of no consequence, if they only had the Spirit. But God never sends his Spirit to sanction ignorance. Those who have not knowledge, and who are so situated that it is impossible for them to obtain it, the Lord may, and does, pity and bless, and sometimes he condescends to make his strength perfect in their weakness. But he makes it the duty of such to study his word. A lack of knowledge in the sciences is no excuse for a neglect of Bible study; for the words of inspiration are so plain that the unlearned may understand them.GW92 123.1

    Of all men upon the face of the earth, those who are handling solemn truths for these perilous times should understand their Bibles, and become acquainted with the evidences of our faith. Unless they possess a knowledge of the word of life, they have no right to undertake to instruct others in the way to life. Ministers should give all diligence to add to their “faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity,” [2 Peter 1:5-7.] Some of our ministers graduate when they have scarcely learned the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Those who are ambassadors for Christ, who stand in his stead, beseeching souls to be reconciled to God, should be qualified to present our faith intelligently, and be able to give the reasons of their hope with meekness and fear. Christ said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.]GW92 123.2

    Ministers who teach unpopular truth will be beset by men who are urged on by Satan, and who, like their master, can quote Scripture readily; and shall the servants of God be unequal to the servants of Satan in handling the words of inspiration? They should, like Christ, meet scripture with scripture. O that those who minister in holy things would awake, and, like the noble Bereans, search the Scriptures daily! Brethren in the ministry, I entreat you to study the Scriptures with humble prayer for an understanding heart, that you may teach the way of life more perfectly. Your counsel, prayers, and example must be a savor of life unto life, or you are unqualified to point out the way of life to others.GW92 124.1

    The Master requires all his servants to improve upon the talents he has committed to them. But how much more will he require of those who profess to understand the way of life, and who take upon themselves the responsibility of guiding others therein. The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy: “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” [John 5:39.]—Testimonies for the Church 2:337.GW92 124.2

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