Larger font
Smaller font

The Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Church

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    The Study of the Bible

    Quite frequently when urging the study of the Sacred Scriptures, one is met with the query, But how shall I study? This is a problem with many; they know not how to start. It seems a relatively simple matter to read the Morning Watch text, to look up the Scriptures in the Sabbath school lesson, or to read a chapter or a book of the Bible.BSPC 50.4

    It is not such a difficult undertaking to read the Bible through, although this calls for determination and a will to succeed. But when it comes to studying the word, this is not at all easy for many. This chapter is not written with either the teacher or the college student in mind, but it is written for the ordinary members in our churches, those who are busy with the everyday duties of life, duties in the home, in the office, or in the factory. The problem to find time is quite a question in these days of rush and hurry. There are so many duties on the farm, so many things to be cared for in the little time we have, so many duties also devolving upon us as officers of the church, that there seems but little time for definitely searching the word of God. So many demands are made upon us that it is no easy task to so order our affairs that we can find time to sit down unhurriedly to study the Sacred Word of our God. Yet after all, our spiritual life and growth in grace demand that we do this. This Holy Book is food for our souls, and unless we learn day by day to feed upon God’s word, we can hardly expect “to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.”BSPC 50.5

    Let us regard our time as a definite gift from God. Let us give study as to how we might fit in periods, even though brief, when we may turn aside from the day’s duties and spend a short while in communion with God, with our own hearts, and with His Holy Word. Counsel from the messenger of the Lord is helpful on this point:BSPC 51.1

    “This lifetime is too short to be squandered in vain and trifling diversion, in unprofitable visiting, in needless dressing for display, or in exciting amusements. We cannot afford to squander the time given us of God in which to bless others and in which to lay up for ourselves a treasure in heaven. We have none too much time for the discharge of necessary duties. We should give time to the culture of our own hearts and minds in order that we may be qualified for our lifework. By neglecting these essential duties and conforming to the habits and customs of fashionable, worldly society, we do ourselves and our children a great wrong.”—Testimonies for the Church 3:146.BSPC 51.2

    Further counsel recognizes that the time we have available may be very short, for we read:BSPC 51.3

    “My brethren and sisters, old and young, when you have an hour of leisure, open the Bible and store the mind with its precious truths.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:588.BSPC 51.4

    In a study of the Sacred Oracles we need to remember that the Bible is its own interpreter. This needs always to be borne in mind. Concerning this we read:BSPC 51.5

    “The Bible is its own interpreter, one passage explaining another.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:499.BSPC 51.6

    “‘The word of God is plain in itself; and if there appear any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, which is never contrary to Himself, explains the same more clearly in other places, so that there can remain no doubt but unto such as obstinately remain ignorant.’ [John Knox.]”—The Great Controversy, 251.BSPC 51.7

    “There are truths in the word which, like veins of precious ore, are hidden beneath the surface. The hidden treasure is discovered as it is searched for, as a miner searches for gold and silver. The evidence of the truth of God’s word is in the word itself. Scripture is the key that unlocks scripture. The deep meaning of the truths of God’s word is unfolded to our minds by His Spirit.”—Testimonies for the Church 8:157.BSPC 51.8

    Another important principle to recognize is that where there are texts that appear to be difficult, there are other texts in the Bible that will explain them. This was one of the vital points that entered into the famous protest of the princes at the Diet of Spires. In this they said:BSPC 51.9

    “There is no sure doctrine but such as is conformable to the word of God; that the Lord forbids the teaching of any other doctrine; that each text of the Holy Scriptures ought to be explained by other and clearer texts.”—D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, pp. 520, 521.BSPC 52.1

    Observe also further counsel from the Spirit of prophecy:BSPC 52.2

    “By comparing scriptures referring to the same subjects, you will see beauty and harmony of which you have never dreamed.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:499.BSPC 52.3

    “We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought, and comparing scripture with scripture.”—The Great Controversy, 598.BSPC 52.4

    These are general principles that will guide us in our approach to this, the most wonderful book in all the world. Again we remark that ours is a unique privilege, and we should seize the opportunity and endeavor to become better acquainted with this message from Heaven. Mrs. E. G. White has remarked:BSPC 52.5

    “The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures should not be neglected. God would have those who profess to be His followers thoroughly furnished with proof of the doctrines of His word.”—Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, p. 108.BSPC 52.6

    If we wish to start in earnest to study the word of God, there are several profitable avenues open to us. We would call attention to the following:BSPC 52.7

    1. Character Study

    This is always a profitable meditation. As we read the sacred pages concerning Abraham and Jacob and Moses and others of the saints of God, we shall not only learn how mightily God used them in His service but also be made acquainted with their weaknesses and with their failures. It will bring courage to us as we see how they overcame in the strength of the God of Israel, how they “waxed valiant in the fight.”BSPC 52.8

    Mrs. E. G. White gives us an excellent paragraph in this phase of study:BSPC 52.9

    “The lives recorded in the Bible are authentic histories of actual individuals. From Adam down through successive generations to the times of the apostles we have a plain, unvarnished account of what actually occurred and the genuine experience of real characters.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:9.BSPC 52.10

    “Bible history stays the fainting heart with the hope of God’s mercy. We need not despair when we see that others have struggled through discouragements like our own, have fallen into temptations even as we have done, and yet have recovered their ground and been blessed of God. The words of inspiration comfort and cheer the erring soul. Although the patriarchs and apostles were subject to human frailties, yet through faith they obtained a good report, fought their battles in the strength of the Lord, and conquered gloriously. Thus may we trust in the virtue of the atoning sacrifice and be over comers in the name of Jesus.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:15.BSPC 53.1

    In following the biographical study of the Bible one should read Hebrews 11, Patriarchs and Prophets, and other Spirit of prophecy works. If available, certain small books by F. B. Meyer on the lives of David, Jeremiah, Abraham, Moses, and other Biblical characters will be found helpful.BSPC 53.2

    2. Book Study

    Another beneficial line of study is the books of the Bible. One might consider one of the prophets or one of the epistles and receive much information and real spiritual help from such a meditation. This line of study gives one a view of the book as a whole; one can see the purpose of the writer, with each chapter having its bearing on the purpose and objective of the book. Each book has its message, and to read the book with a view to discovering that message is of special value to our understanding the Bible as a whole.BSPC 53.3

    Many excellent works have been written on the various books of the Bible, and one would of necessity have to exercise great care in choosing an author who was known for his sound Scriptural presentation. A work on book outlines will be found helpful also, and one that is inexpensive was prepared some years ago by Robert Lee and is entitled The Outlined Bible. This was published in London, England.BSPC 53.4

    3. Chapter Study

    If one should hesitate to take such a large assignment of study as a whole book, one could start with a chapter. Then take each chapter in succession, and thus go through an entire book. It will be found, however, that, generally speaking, these chapters are intimately related and follow in sequence, leading step by step to the writer’s objective. This is not always the case. One can study a single chapter in the book of Psalms without this difficulty, and the same thing is true in a few other books of the Bible. In chapter study it is important that we discover the message of each chapter. Each verse will have its bearing on this, and we should seek to understand the development of thought in the chapter by giving special attention to each verse from the viewpoint of its relation to the other verses in the particular chapter under consideration.BSPC 53.5

    4. Verse-by-Verse Study

    The procedure in this kind of study is much the same as that indicated in the last section, but yet with a difference. Verse-by-verse study will mean giving special thought to the verses themselves, and usually this is not only an interesting but a profitable phase of study. We are told that “every verse of the Bible is a communication from God to men.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, 504. And still further:BSPC 54.1

    “In daily study the verse-by-verse method is often most helpful. Let the student take one verse, and concentrate the mind on ascertaining the thought that God has put into that verse for him, and then dwell upon the thought until it becomes his own. One passage thus studied until its significance is clear, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view, and no positive instruction gained.”—Education, 189.BSPC 54.2

    We shall experience much blessing from the Lord in this method of study, and at times shall receive divine illumination as the truth of God breaks upon our vision.BSPC 54.3

    “Familiar truths will present themselves to your mind in a new aspect; texts of Scripture will burst upon you with a new meaning, as a flash of light; you will see the relation of other truths to the work of redemption, and you will know that Christ is leading you. A divine Teacher is at your side.”—Mount of Blessing, p. 36.BSPC 54.4

    5. Doctrinal Study

    Many are the grand themes of the blessed Book of God. The plan of salvation, the redeeming work of Christ, is the transcendent message of divine revelation. This we shall never exhaust. Even in the life to come we shall constantly be studying into the wonders of redeeming grace.BSPC 54.5

    “And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption, and the amazing achievements in The Great Controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep harps of gold. And ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.”—The Great Controversy, 678.BSPC 55.1

    We should also give study to other doctrines, doctrines intimately related to the central theme of “Christ, and him crucified.” We should take first one doctrine and then another, following the divine principle of “here a little, and there a little.” If we take it “precept upon precept; line upon line,” we shall find that in the course of a year we have covered a good deal of ground. We should all become better acquainted with the doctrines of Holy Scripture, not only that we may know the truth ourselves, but that we may be able to give an answer for our faith at all times. Doctrinal study is profitable, and in following it we shall be enriched in knowledge and spiritual strength.BSPC 55.2

    6. Topical Study

    This is somewhat akin to the previous section but slightly different. We would hardly call the subject of heaven a doctrine; the same would apply to a study of the new earth state. These are in a special sense topical studies. Such a study would mean looking up texts in different parts of the Bible, texts that have a bearing upon the topics under consideration. The themes for study are legion, and our own denominational books will be found helpful in the study of both doctrinal and topical themes.BSPC 55.3

    7. Historical Study

    There is quite a field for helpful meditation in the Scriptures from the historical viewpoint. One might consider the history of the Jews in Old Testament days, or the history of the same people in New Testament times. Reference in the Bible is made also to Babylon, to Egypt, to Assyria, and to other nations. Of course the material given is not complete; it was never intended to be complete, for the Bible does not set out to give the full history of nations. What is given is given particularly because of the connection of these nations with the people of God and the part they played in that relationship. There are, however, excellent and authoritative histories of these nations that can be obtained. Any such study should involve both the Holy Scriptures and the histories that have been written, and this will be informative and helpful and will enable the student to see God’s purpose and plan concerning the nations of earth.BSPC 55.4

    Larger font
    Smaller font