1. GOD’S WORD TO YOU
a. How does God communicate with humanity? Amos 3:7; 2 Peter 1:20, 21.
“As an educating power the Bible is without a rival. In the word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspiration. . . . It lights up the far-distant past, where human research seeks vainly to penetrate. . . . In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in His word the mind of the student is brought into communion with the infinite mind.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 596.
b. What are some qualities of Scripture? 2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 12:6, 7.
“God did not leave His Word to be preserved in the memories of men and handed down from generation to generation by oral transmission and traditional unfolding. Had He done this, the Word would gradually have been added to by men. . . . Let us thank God for His written word.”—The Upward Look, p. 52.
“The Bible is the most instructive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and a divine hand has preserved its purity through all the ages.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 596.
2. UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
a. To what is the Bible likened? Psalm 119:105.
“God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support.”—The Great Controversy, p. 595.
b. How is the Word explained? Isaiah 28:10; Luke 24:27; Matthew 4:4.
“No one with a spirit to appreciate its teaching can read a single passage from the Bible without gaining from it some helpful thought. But the most valuable teaching of the Bible is not to be gained by occasional or disconnected study. Its great system of truth is not so presented as to be discerned by the hasty or careless reader. Many of its treasures lie far beneath the surface, and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort. The truths that go to make up the great whole must be searched out and gathered up, ‘here a little, and there a little.’ Isaiah 28:10.”—Education, p. 123.
“Endeavoring to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and dispensing with commentaries, [William Miller] compared scripture with scripture by the aid of the marginal references and the concordance. He pursued his study in a regular and methodical manner; beginning with Genesis, and reading verse by verse, he proceeded no faster than the meaning of the several passages so unfolded as to leave him free from all embarrassment. When he found anything obscure, it was his custom to compare it with every other text which seemed to have any reference to the matter under consideration. Every word was permitted to have its proper bearing upon the subject of the text, and if his view of it harmonized with every collateral passage, it ceased to be a difficulty. Thus whenever he met with a passage hard to be understood he found an explanation in some other portion of the Scriptures.”—The Great Controversy, p. 320.
3. SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES
a. What should we do constantly with the Bible? John 5:39.
“In searching the Scriptures you are not to endeavor to interpret their utterances so as to agree with your preconceived ideas, but come as a learner to understand the foundation principles of the faith of Christ.”—Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 25.
b. As workers for God, how are we to prepare ourselves to deeply understand His word? 1 Peter 3:15.
“Not alone in searching out truth and bringing it together does the mental value of Bible study consist. It consists also in the effort required to grasp the themes presented. The mind occupied with commonplace matters only, becomes dwarfed and enfeebled. If never tasked to comprehend grand and far-reaching truths, it after a time loses the power of growth. As a safeguard against this degeneracy, and a stimulus to development, nothing else can equal the study of God’s word. As a means of intellectual training, the Bible is more effective than any other book, or all other books combined.”—Education, p. 124.
“The close application of [Daniel and his companions] under the training of God was richly rewarded. While they made diligent effort to secure knowledge, the Lord gave them heavenly wisdom. The knowledge they gained was of great service to them when brought into strait places. The Lord God of heaven will not supply the deficiencies that result from mental and spiritual indolence. When the human agents shall exercise their faculties to acquire knowledge, to become deep-thinking men; when they, as the greatest witnesses for God and the truth, shall have won in the field of investigation of vital doctrines concerning the salvation of the soul, that glory may be given to the God of heaven as supreme, then even judges and kings will be brought to acknowledge, in the courts of justice, in parliaments and councils, that the God who made the heavens and the earth is the only true and living God, the author of Christianity, the author of all truth, who instituted the seventh-day Sabbath when the foundations of the world were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted together for joy.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 374, 375.
4. ADVANCING LIGHT
a. How does God continue to reveal new light to His people? Proverbs 4:18.
“Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. . . . Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God.”—Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 34.
b. What are we to do with the light we have? 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”—Life Sketches, p. 196.
“Many know so little about their Bibles that they are unsettled in the faith. They remove the old landmarks, and fallacies and winds of doctrine blow them hither and thither.”—Evangelism, p. 362.
“No line of truth that has made the Seventh-day Adventist people what they are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firmly in defense of our principles, in full view of the world.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 17.
“When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No aftersuppositions, contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. . . . One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit.”—Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 31, 32.
c. What preparation do we need for the gospel work? Hebrews 5:11–14.
“We must, through fervent prayer and deep and earnest research, become established and settled, rooted and grounded in the faith, and know, each for himself, that we have the truth. If we are thus established, we shall not depart from the faith when tested and tried, as some have done.”—The Review and Herald, September 4, 1888.
5. STUDYING TOGETHER
a. What kind of educational environment do we want to encourage in the Sabbath school? 2 Timothy 2:15.
“Our Sabbath schools are nothing less than Bible societies, and in the sacred work of teaching the truths of God’s word, they can accomplish far more than they have hitherto accomplished.”—Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 9.
“If you are called to be a teacher in any branch of the work of God, you are called also to be a learner in the school of Christ. If you take upon you the sacred responsibility of teaching others, you take upon you the duty of going to the bottom of every subject you seek to teach. If you present a subject from the word of God to your pupils in the Sabbath school, you should make the reasons for your faith so plain that your scholars shall be convinced of its truth. You should diligently search and compare the evidences of the word of God on messages that He sends to the church, that you may know what is truth, and be able to direct those who look to you into the way of righteousness.”—Ibid., p. 31.
“Those who have entered upon the work of teaching, or who have been called to any position of responsibility, should not be satisfied to take the product of the researches of other minds, but they should investigate truth for themselves. If they do not form the habit of investigating themes of truth for themselves, they will become superficial in their life and acquirements. . . . You should examine the truths you have been led to believe, until you know that they are without a flaw.”—Ibid., p. 33.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why was it so important that the Word of God be written down?
2. How are we to study to arrive at an understanding of Bible truth?
3. What mental and spiritual benefits are to be derived from deep Bible study?
4. How does God continue to teach His people?
5. How can we improve our church educational environment?