“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15
The Bible is the textbook, and it is to be searched diligently–not as we would read a book among many books. It must be to us the book that meets the wants of the soul. This book will make the man who studies and obeys it wise unto salvation. As food cannot nourish the body unless it be eaten and digested, neither can the Word of the living God profit the soul unless it be received as the teacher in higher educational lines, as above all human productions; unless its principles be obeyed because it is the wisdom of God.
E. G. White, This Day With God, p. 127
There is yet much precious truth to be revealed to the people in this time of peril and darkness, but it is Satan’s determined purpose to prevent the light of truth from shining into the hearts of men. If we would have the light that has been provided for us, we should show our desire for it by diligently searching the word of God. Precious truths that have long been in obscurity are to be revealed in a light that will make manifest their sacred worth; for God will glorify His word, that it may appear in a light in which we have never before beheld it. But those who profess to love the truth must put to the stretch their powers, that they may comprehend the deep things of the word, that God may be glorified and His people may be blessed and enlightened. With humble hearts, subdued by the grace of God, you should come to the task of searching the Scriptures, prepared to accept every ray of divine light, and to walk in the way of holiness.
E. G. White, Counsels On Sabbath School Work, p. 25
In our Bible, we might ask, Why need Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Gospels, why need the Acts of the Apostles, and the variety of writers in the Epistles, go over the same thing?
The Lord gave His word in just the way He wanted it to come. He gave it through different writers, each having his own individuality, though going over the same history. Their testimonies are brought together in one Book, and are like the testimonies in a social meeting. They do not represent things in just the same style. Each has an experience of his own, and this diversity broadens and deepens the knowledge that is brought out to meet the necessities of varied minds. The thoughts expressed have not a set uniformity, as if cast in an iron mold, making the very hearing monotonous. In such uniformity there would be a loss of grace and distinctive beauty…
The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction. The fact that this difference exists should not perplex or confuse us. It is seldom that two persons will view and express truth in the very same way. Each dwells on particular points which his constitution and education have fitted him to appreciate. The sunlight falling upon the different objects gives those objects a different hue.
Through the inspiration of His Spirit the Lord gave His apostles truth, to be expressed according to the development of their minds by the Holy Spirit.
E. G. White, Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 21, 22
God’s word and His works contain the knowledge of Himself that He has seen fit to reveal to us. We may understand the revelation that He has thus given of Himself. But it is with fear and trembling, and with a sense of our own sinfulness, that we are to take up this study, not with a desire to try to explain God, but with a desire to gain that knowledge which will enable us to serve Him more acceptable.
Let no one venture to explain God. Human beings cannot explain themselves, and how, then, dare they venture to explain the Omniscient One? Satan stands ready to give such ones false conceptions of God.
To the curious I bear the message that God has instructed me not to frame answers to the questions of those who inquire in regard to the things that have not been revealed. The things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children. Beyond this, human beings are not to attempt to go. We are not to attempt to explain that which God has not revealed. We are to study the revelation that Christ, the Great Teacher, has given of the character of God, that in spirit and word and act we may represent Him to those who know Him not.
E. G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 91, 92
The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.
It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God.
E. G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 21
It is sin that darkens our minds and dims our perceptions. As sin is purged from our hearts, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, illuminating His word and reflected from the face of nature, more and more fully will declare Him “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Exodus 34:6
In His light shall we see light, until mind and heart and soul are transformed into the image of His holiness.
For those who thus lay hold of the divine assurances of God’s word, there are wonderful possibilities. Before them lie vast fields of truth, vast resources of power. Glorious things are to be revealed. Privileges and duties which they do not even suspect to be in the Bible will be made manifest. All who walk in the path of humble obedience, fulfilling His purpose, will know more and more of the oracles of God.
Let the student take the Bible as his guide and stand firm for principle, and he may aspire to any height of attainment. All the philosophies of human nature have led to confusion and shame when God has not been recognized as all in all. But the precious faith inspired of God imparts strength and nobility of character. As His goodness, His mercy, and His love are dwelt upon, clearer and still clearer will be the perception of truth; higher, holier, the desire for purity of heart and clearness of thought. The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought is transformed by intercourse with God through the study of His word. Truth is so large, so far-reaching, so deep, so broad, that self is lost sight of. The heart is softened and subdued into humility, kindness, and love.
E. G. White, The Ministry of Healing, pp. 464, 465
What man is there that dares to take that Bible and say this part is inspired and that part is not inspired? I would have both my arms taken off at my shoulders before I would ever make the statement or set my judgment upon the Word of God as to what is inspired and what is not inspired.
How would finite man know anything about the matter? He is to take the Word of God as it reads, and then to appreciate it as it is, and to bring it into the life and to weave it into the character. There is everything plainly revealed in God’s Word which concerns the salvation of men, and if we will take that Word and comprehend it to the very best of our ability, God will help us in its comprehension.
Human minds without the special assistance of the Spirit of God will see many things in the Bible very difficult to be understood, because they lack a divine enlightenment. It is not that men should come to the Word of God by setting up their own way, or their own will or their own ideas, but it is to come with a meek and humble and holy spirit.
Never attempt to search the Scriptures unless you are ready to listen, unless you are ready to be a learner, unless you are ready to listen to the Word of God as though His voice were speaking directly to you from the living oracles. Never let mortal man sit in judgment upon the Word of God or pass sentence as to how much of this is inspired and how much is not inspired, and that this is more inspired than some other portions. God warns him off that ground. God has not given him any such work to do.
E. G. White, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 919