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Ellen White on Bible Study

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 10, 2008


 

Jesus teaches parables sower

Jesus teaches how to understand all parables. I’ve known for a long time that Ellen White’s books contained study methods and rules. If you look at how her studies are arranged you can understand how she collected material from the Bible. I wanted to write a book explaining the study methods EGW used. You can clearly see those study methods in her book, “Christ’s Object Lessons.” Then I found a much better source with the same information – GOD’S WORD! Jesus taught the same Bible study lessons! Jesus taught His disciples how to study scripture and Mark recorded each step in the process. There is no better source to learn from. This book reveals each step Jesus explained to His disciples so you can learn to teach others how to study like the disciples did.

Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation:–  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 23}
“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.”  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 24}
The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth.  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 25}
Genuine faith is founded on the Scriptures; but Satan uses so many devices to wrest the Scriptures and bring in error, that great care is needed if one would know what they really do teach. It is one of the great delusions of this time to dwell much upon feeling, and to claim honesty while ignoring the plain utterances of the word of God because that word does not coincide with feeling. Many have no foundation for their faith but emotion. Their religion consists in excitement; when that ceases, their faith is gone. Feeling may be chaff, but the word of God is the wheat. And “what,” says the prophet, “is the chaff to the wheat?”  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 26}
None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain. But many refuse to obey the truth that is presented to them by Christ’s ambassadors, because they wish to conform to the world’s standard; and the truth that has reached their understanding, the light that has shone in the soul, will condemn them in the Judgment. In these last days we have the accumulated light that has been shining through all the ages, and we shall be held correspondingly responsible. The path of holiness is not on a level with the world; it is a way cast up. If we walk in this way, if we run in the way of the Lord’s commandments, we shall find that the “path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 27}

The words of truth will grow in importance, and assume a breadth and fullness of meaning of which we have never dreamed. The beauty and riches of the word have a transforming influence on mind and character. The light of heavenly love will fall upon the heart as an inspiration.
The appreciation of the Bible grows with its study. Whichever way the student may turn, he will find displayed the infinite wisdom and love of God.  {COL 132.5}

Jesus said of the Old Testament Scriptures,–and how much more is it true of the New,–“They are they which testify of me,” [JOHN 5:39.] the Redeemer, him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Yes, the whole Bible tells of Christ. From the first record of creation,–“for without him was not anything made that was made,” [JOHN 1:3]–to the closing promise, “Behold I come quickly,” we are reading of his works and listening to his voice. If you would become acquainted with the Saviour, study the Holy Scriptures.

Fill the whole heart with the words of God. They are the living water, quenching your burning thirst. They are the living bread from heaven. Jesus declares, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” [JOHN 6:53.] And he explains himself by saying, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [JOHN 6:63.] Our bodies are built up from what we eat and drink; and as in the natural economy, so in the spiritual economy, it is what we meditate upon that will give tone and strength to our spiritual nature.  {CE 56.3}
The theme of redemption is one that the angels desire to look into; it will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and study now? The infinite love and mercy of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, calls for the most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should meditate upon the mission of him who came to save his people from their sins. As we thus contemplate heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger, and our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and a daily, living experience in his power to save to the utmost all that come unto God by him.  {CE 57.2}
As we meditate upon the perfections of the Saviour, we shall desire to be wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of his purity. There will be a hungering and thirsting of soul to become like him whom we adore. The more our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of him to others, and represent him to the world.  {CE 57.3}
The Bible was not written for the scholar alone; on the contrary, it was designed for the common people. The great truths necessary for salvation are made as clear as noonday; and none will mistake and lose their way except those who follow their own judgment instead of the plainly revealed will of God.  {CE 57.4}
We should not take the testimony of any man as to what the Scriptures teach, but should study the word of God ourselves. If we allow others to do our thinking, we shall have crippled energies and contracted abilities. The noble powers of the mind may be so dwarfed by lack of exercise on themes worthy of their concentration as to lose their ability to grasp the deep meaning of the word of God. The mind will enlarge if it is employed in tracing out the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual. There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the Scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God’s word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose that is rarely seen in these times. {CE 58.1}
But there is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the whole Bible through, and yet fail to see its beauty or comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind, and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained. Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets, you may read a passage, and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in the mind. {CE 58.2}
We cannot obtain wisdom without earnest attention and prayerful study. Some portions of Scripture are indeed too plain to be misunderstood; but there are others whose meaning does not lie on the surface, to be seen at a glance. Scripture must be compared with scripture. There must be careful research and prayerful reflection. And such study will be richly repaid. As the miner discovers veins of precious metal concealed beneath the surface of the earth, so will he who perseveringly searches the word of God as for hid treasure, find truths of the greatest value, which are concealed from the view of the careless seeker. The words of inspiration, pondered in the heart, will be as streams flowing from the fountain of life. {CE 58.3}
Never should the Bible be studied without prayer. Before opening its pages, we should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and it will be given. When Nathanael came to Jesus, the Saviour exclaimed, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” [JOHN 1:47.] Nathanael said, “Whence knowest thou me?” Jesus answered, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.” And Jesus will see us also in the secret places of prayer, if we will seek him for light, that we may know what is truth. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. {CE 59.1}
The Holy Spirit exalts and glorifies the Saviour. It is his office to present Christ, the purity of his righteousness, and the great salvation that we have through him. Jesus says, “He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” [JOHN 16:14.] The Spirit of truth is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. How must God esteem the human race, since he gave his Son to die for them, and appoints his Spirit to be man’s teacher and continual guide. {CE 59.2}

The study of the Bible will give strength to the intellect. Says the psalmist, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [PS. 119:130.] The question has often been asked me, “Should the Bible become the important book in our schools?” It is a precious book, a wonderful book. It is a treasury containing jewels of precious value. It is a history that opens to us the past centuries. Without the Bible we should have been left to conjectures and fables in regard to the occurrences of past ages. Of all the books that have flooded the world, be they ever so valuable, the Bible is the Book of books, and is most deserving of the closest study and attention. It gives not only the history of the creation of this world, but a description of the world to come. It contains instruction concerning the wonders of the universe, and it reveals to our understanding the Author of the heavens and the earth. It unfolds a simple and complete system of theology and philosophy. Those who are close students of the word of God, and who obey its instructions, and love its plain truths, will improve in mind and manners. It is an endowment of God that should awaken in every heart the most sincere gratitude; for it is the revelation of God to man. {CE 105.2}
If the truths of the Bible are woven into practical life, they will bring the mind up from its earthliness and debasement. Those who are conversant with the Scriptures, will be found to be men and women who exert an elevating influence. In searching for the heaven-revealed truths, the Spirit of God is brought into close connection with the sincere searcher of the Scriptures. An understanding of the revealed will of God, enlarges the mind, expands, elevates, and endows it with new vigor, by bringing its faculties in contact with stupendous truths. If the study of the Scriptures is made a secondary consideration, great loss is sustained. The Bible was for a time excluded from our schools, and Satan found a rich field, in which he worked with marvelous rapidity, and gathered a harvest to his liking. {CE 106.1}
The understanding takes the level of the things with which it becomes familiar. If all would make the Bible their study, we should see a people further developed, capable of thinking more deeply, and showing a greater degree of intelligence, than the most earnest efforts in studying merely the sciences and histories of the world could make them. The Bible gives the true seeker an advanced mental discipline, and he comes from contemplation of divine things with his faculties enriched; self is humbled, while God and his revealed truth are exalted. It is because men are unacquainted with the precious Bible histories, that there is so much lifting up of man, and so little honor given to God. The Bible contains just that quality of food that the Christian needs in order that he may grow strong in spirit and intellect. The searching of all books of philosophy and science cannot do for the mind and morals what the Bible can do, if it is studied and practiced. Through the study of the Bible, converse is held with patriarchs and prophets. The truth is clothed in elevated language, which exerts a fascinating power over the mind; the thought is lifted up from the things of earth, and brought to contemplate the glory of the future immortal life. What wisdom of man can compare with the grandeur of the revelation of God? Finite man, who knows not God, may seek to lessen the value of the Scriptures, and may bury the truth beneath the supposed knowledge of science. {CE 106.2}

“OUR WATCHWORD IS TO BE, ‘TO THE LAW AND TO THE TESTIMONY: IF THEY SPEAK NOT ACCORDING TO THIS WORD, IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM.’ WE HAVE A BIBLE FULL OF THE MOST PRECIOUS TRUTH. IT CONTAINS THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA OF KNOWLEDGE. THE SCRIPTURES, GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, ARE ‘PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE PERFECT, THROUGHLY FURNISHED UNTO ALL GOOD WORKS.’ TAKE THE BIBLE AS YOUR STUDY BOOK.”  {CET 249.2}

“Search the Scriptures,” was the injunction of the Master. Many have lost much because they have neglected this duty. When we search the word of God, angels are by our side, reflecting bright beams of light upon its sacred pages. The Scriptures appeal to man as having power to choose between right and wrong; they speak to him in warning, in reproof, in entreaty, in encouragement. The mind must be exercised on the solemn truths of God’s word, or it will grow weak. We have the truth brought out in publications, but it is not enough to rely upon other men’s thoughts. We must examine for ourselves, and learn the reasons of our faith by comparing scripture with scripture. Take the Bible, and on your knees plead with God to enlighten your mind. If we would study the Bible diligently and prayerfully every day, we should every day see some beautiful truth in a new, clear, and forcible light.  Review and Herald, March 4, 1884.  {CSW 22.2}

When asked to hear the reasons of a doctrine that you do not understand, do not condemn the message until you have given it a thorough investigation, and know from the word of God that it is not tenable. If I had an opportunity, I would speak to the students of every Sabbath school in the land, lifting up my voice in earnest appeal that they go to the word of God, seeking for truth and light. God has precious light to come to His people at this very time, and you should strive earnestly in your investigations to aim at nothing less than a thorough knowledge of every point of truth, that you may not be found in the day of God among those who have not lived by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  {CSW 31.2}
The momentous issues at stake through neglect of the word of God should be carefully considered. The study of he Bible is worthy of the best mental effort, the most sanctified ability. When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message to the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness. If our youth are seeking to educate themselves to be workers in His cause, they should learn the way of the Lord, and live by every word that proceedeth out of His mouth. They are not to make up their minds that the whole truth has been unfolded, and that the Infinite One has no more light for His people. If they entrench themselves in the belief that the whole truth has been revealed, they will be in danger of discarding precious jewels of truth that shall be discovered as men turn their attention to the searching of the rich mine of God’s word.   {CSW 32.1}

Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness. {CSW 38.1}
The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart so to comprehend God’s word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist’s petition our own, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity, they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed.  TSS 121, 122.  {CSW 38.2}

The Bible should be a book for study. The precious pearls of truth do not lie upon the surface, to be found by a careless, uninterested reader. Christ knew what was best for us, of whatever age, when He commanded us, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  {RH, November 9, 1886 par. 11}

No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer. Especially should we entreat the Lord for wisdom to understand His Word. Here are revealed the wiles of the tempter, and the means by which he may be successfully resisted. Satan is an expert in quoting Scripture, placing his own interpretation upon passages, by which he hopes to cause us to stumble. We should study the Bible with humility of heart, never losing sight of our dependence upon God. While we must constantly guard against the devices of Satan, we should pray in faith continually, “Lead us not into temptation.”  {FLB 331.2}

The Holy Spirit has been given to us as an aid in the study of the word. Jesus promises, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Those who are under the training of the Holy Spirit will be able to teach the word intelligently. And when it is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirit’s guidance, and a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, it will accomplish all that Christ has promised.  {FE 433.3}

The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold. . . . Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God so that when the testing time shall come and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear. . . .  {CW 40.1}

The Firm Foundation of Our Faith

Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, [OLDER BRETHREN AMONG THE PIONEERS ARE HERE THUS REMINISCENTLY REFERRED TO. “FATHER PIERCE” WAS STEPHEN PIERCE, WHO SERVED IN MINISTERIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE WORK IN THE EARLY DAYS. “FATHER ANDREWS” WAS EDWARD ANDREWS, THE FATHER OF J. N. ANDREWS.–COMPILERS.] Elder {Hiram} Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, “We can do nothing more,” the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.  {1SM 206.4}
During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given.  {1SM 207.1}

5 Responses to “Ellen White on Bible Study”

  1. David said

    You have some very unique content here that I have found not readily available online. I am begining to get a real appreciation for the spirit of prophecy. I have this new bible the Ellen White study bible also know as the Remnant study bible with E.G. White comments. Perhaps you can check it out for yourself we are running a how to study the bible blog and I feel your input alone would be great!

    Like

    • adventbiblestudy said

      David

      I use the KJV with EGW comments. I have read through the entire Bible and the EGW comments once. It took me over 2 years. EGW does supply a lot of good references for the texts, but we also have to get deeper into the word. I have noticed two styles EGW uses. SHe has laid out a number of examples of how to gather references from the Bible. Her interpretation on the rock and water representing Christ is a good example. She had collected a number of texts to illustrate the point. At other times she refers to a spiritual meaning without supplying proof texts. When I see these examples, I use them as flags to begin a study. EGW may make a reference such as, the brass serpent represented Christ on the cross. We know there are supporting texts and we should take the time to look at these and the surrounding texts. In most cases this will provide insights we had never imagined. I think they call that the little light leading to the greater light.

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  2. adventbiblestudy said

    New King James Study Bible
    The Ellen White Study Bible has a unique chain reference study system for enhanced bible study.
    http://egwstudybible.org/

    Like

  3. […] to us through his word. We will take a look at these 10 tips from Mr. Holmes, as well as some of Ellen White’s counsel on the topic. (And for fun, watch or read some […]

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    • adventbiblestudy said

      I see we’re studying along the same lines. I read your site about tips on investigating scripture. I am posting a new study that takes a look at Jesus’ trial like preparing for a court case. See Psalms 109:1-7 The Wicked Slander Me With Lies

      Like

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