Make the Bible Foremost

In these days of Modernistic views, higher criticism, and doubt, we as Seventh-day Adventist ministers consider it a profound privi­lege to uphold the Book of books as the inspired word of God, as a harmonious unit in both the Old and the New Testament, as the infallible guide to mankind on his journey heavenward.

By W. LEROY HYATT, Minister, Zambesi Union Mission

While listening to a radio broadcast from an Episcopal church, I heard the minister in charge read a statement from the Bishop of Johannesburg, which was addressed to all the churches throughout South Africa. It was in connection with the celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the English translation of the Bible, and many commenda­tory things were said about the Bible. The value of its study was emphasized, and all were encouraged to read it. Admiration for the bishop welled up in my mind for this splendid statement about the Bible in these days of criticism and doubt.

Then suddenly, like a bolt in the blue, the influence of this modern age revealed itself in the words of the bishop. In substance he said, "Of course, we are not to accept the Old Testament as infallible; it is valuable only in so far as it assists us to understand the New Testament." I was stunned for a moment, and thought what an unfortunate remark to be made upon the four hundredth anniversary of the translation of the English version. How shocked those venerable Reformers of four centuries ago would have been to hear such words uttered from the pulpit regarding the Book they reverenced, the Book for which many gave their lives.

In these days of Modernistic views, higher criticism, and doubt, we as Seventh-day Ad­ventist ministers consider it a profound privi­lege to uphold the Book of books as the inspired word of God, as a harmonious unit in both the Old and the New Testament, as the infallible guide to mankind on his journey heavenward. We occupy a unique position among Christian workers, for we are among the few who claim that we must study the sacred pages earnestly, prayerfully, recep­tively. The Spirit of prophecy counsels us:

"We must place a higher value than we have upon the Scriptures, for therein is the revealed will of God to men. It is not enough merely to assent to the truthfulness of God's word, but we must search the Scriptures, to learn what they contain. Do we receive the Bible as the 'oracle of God' ? It is as really a divine communication as though its words came to us in an audible voice."—"Testimonies," Vol. V, p. 533. (See also "Steps to Christ," pp. 92, 93; "Patriarchs and Prophets," p. 504.)

Many other strong, emphatic statements re­garding the value and the authenticity of the Bible are available. Mrs. White many times uses such, expressions as "His voice," "audible voice," and "communication from God." How reverently, therefore, we should handle and use the word of God! Think for a moment, by way of contrast, of the value, the benefit, the converting and convincing power of the words of man, as compared with the words of God. But remember that a single verse of Scripture, containing as it does the words and the voice of God, is of much more value than any volume that man could write or utter.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

A definite danger threatens the church. We are living in an age when the great wheels of the printing presses rush on night and day, and the world is flooded with literature of one kind and another, good and bad. We have many valuable books and periodicals, and we thank God for them. But we have noticed a tendency upon the part of some to spend more time reading the words of men than they spend in reading the word of God. Therein lies a danger. We must give careful thought to it. Nothing can take the place of the Bible. No amount of material written or spoken about the Bible can take the place of the Bible itself.

"None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict."—"The Great Controversy,' pp. 593, 594. "Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible."—.M., p. 593, "Better than all other knowledge is an un­derstanding of the word of God."—"Testimonies," Vol. IV, p. 27. "And here, too, is the great cause of mental weakness and inefficiency. In turning from God's word to feed on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened."—"Christ's Object Lessons," p. 41. "We should clay by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought, and comparing scripture with scripture."—"The Great Controversy," P. 598.

We must lay upon our people a greater bur­den to read, study, and feed directly upon the word of God. Nothing else will prepare them for the trying hour before them. The men and women of the bygone yesterdays of this movement who discovered from the Bible many of the truths that we now enjoy, spent long periods studying the Scriptures. Upon their knees they wept over its sacred pages. Then it was that light came to them. We must use every possible avenue to urge and encourage our members personally to study the Bible as did our early pioneers. The ministry of this movement must set them an example by earnestly, prayerfully, assimilating its great truths.

We must lead the people into the green pastures, to drink of the living waters of the word of God. We have a message to give to the world. Our task is to conserve our gains and strengthen our members against the power­ful influences of a world of sin. We dare not allow ourselves to imitate worldly preachers. Large congregations, city churches, and other influences have a tendency to lead our preach­ers in this direction. We must hold to the simplicity of the message. We must use the Bible more freely, recognizing its power in contrast to our own words.

Use of Bibles During Church Service

Strange as it may seem, we have noticed in some places a tendency for our own mem­bers not to bring their Bibles to church. We must endeavor to rectify this. Our members should be encouraged to turn to the passages used by the minister during the service. We have seen the practice followed by some of our workers, with good results, of having the members in the congregation read some of the verses during the service. This certainly has a tendency to hold the attention, and it adds to the interest. One plan I have followed is simply to call for volunteers to read verses as the service proceeds. Sometimes I write the references upon slips of paper and hand these to good, strong-voiced readers before the service begins.

Fellow workers, we must follow any prac­ticable plan that will arouse our people to Bible study. They must hear more of the "voice of God," and less of the voice of man.. There is more real power in one verse of the Bible than in a whole sermon of man's devis­ing. The Testimonies are studded with such admonitions as: "Preach less and educate more;" "The best work you can do is to teach and educate," "Less preaching and more Bible study ;" etc.

Our laity must be educated to search the Scriptures for the great truths, and to rely upon the Word more than they do upon the minister. We may find in this course of pro­cedure a solution to the problem of conserving our gains. Let us lead our people into a clearer and deeper study of the Word, for "the piety, the spiritual energy of the church is sustained by feeding on the bread that came down from heaven."

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By W. LEROY HYATT, Minister, Zambesi Union Mission

January 1940

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Our Task in Time of War

In the crisis hour many are asking, What is our task? What can we do to help a world in distress?

Modern Movements in Hinduism

A look at various movements that constitute a challenge to our mission­aries who are commissioned to carry the ever­lasting gospel to the ancient land of Hindustan.

Native Evangelism in Africa

Ways and means of native evangelism.

Our Stupendous Responsibility

The progress, prosperity, and success of the cause of God on earth will be in direct proportion to the faithfulness, devotion, and effectiveness of His ministry.

Advertising the Evangelistic Effort

Advertising is a great means to the end of moving our Eastern cities, or any city, to accept of this the greatest message ever given to man.

Value of Films and Slides

Why do we not make use of more slides?

Winning and Holding Our Youth

The winning of our youth is a problem for every worker in the conference.

The Necessity of Organized Study

Our multiplied duties tend to reduce study to the barest minimum.

Religious Trends of Today

Christian doctrine and belief was greatly affected by the growing emphasis upon the external which developed with recent scientific progress.

Leading Your Own Song Service

Many conferences cannot afford to send out a song leader with every effort; so the evangelist must lead his own music. What, then, must a minister do to make the song service attractive?

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All