Outstanding Bible Students
By: LOUISE C. KLERSER
We recently sent a copy of the first Bible study in the old 1884 Bible Reading Gazette, volume I, number I, to one of our most experienced Bible instructors. This reading on the' sanctuary theme is a lengthy one of 149 questions, each substantially answered with Bible texts, and is a masterpiece of thorough ness. Our sister, herself skilled in Bible teaching, replied," "No wonder our pioneer workers were such wonderful Bible teachers. This exemplifies their thoroughness of research in times when our message was so undeveloped." This caused us to reflect on the truth of our Bible instructor's comments, and we desire to bring to the field the challenge of being recognized by others as skillful Bible teachers, as well as personal workers and home visitors.
The many calls awaiting our attention today place our Bible instructors under great pressure. Pastors too have many church duties, which are bound to crowd out the giving of Bible readings in the homes of the interested. We workers are all seeking methods whereby we can crowd in much more work. It is the problem of all gospel workers, not just Bible instructors, to find time for thoroughness in Bible teaching. It must be done if people who investigate our message are to become well established in it.
The special testing time for our doctrines is here, and our converts must know from the Bible what they believe. Each doctrine should be carefully analyzed, and every point of contestable truth should be well scrutinized. It takes careful personal work to accomplish these aims. Some of it may be done in larger groups during a public effort, but even then our Bible instruction must be personalized to meet the special needs of our students. Too much stream lining in our instruction tends to the declining of our power as Bible teachers.
One observes various types of Bible instructors. We are happy to head the list with a large group of experienced Bible teachers who are still proficient soul winners while they continue to grow in skill and power as Bible teachers. They are masters of the Word, and not peddlers of a few pressing doctrines. Their personalities vibrate power. They can broadly discuss many themes, for they have lived with the Book. We love to sit at their feet because we have confidence in their knowledge of the Word. They keep growing while they are going.
Another class of Bible instructors earlier in their training began to pattern after this group, but they have allowed the pressure of work to throw them into the rut of mental complacency. They surrendered their planned time for personal study, and have begun to grow uninteresting to others. Their teaching is weak. It lacks point and appeal, and they wonder why they fail to lead inquirers into a full acceptance of the truth. They usually need the public meeting appeal to help their readers across the line. If these had kept abreast of the message by constantly kindling new sparks of truth in their own souls, their experience as workers would be more inspiring. To excuse this lack by suggesting that there simply is not time for study today is not consistent when compared with the experience of the studious who still persist in finding time and are growing with their work. To this complacent group the .words of Revelation 2:5 are applicable. They need to amend their course by returning to their former study zeal. The candlestick must let the light shine forth.
The next group we have been observing are an increasing number who are also mentally complacent when it pertains to Bible study. They are often the earnest, hard-working type, despite being shorn of Bible-teaching power. We have no desire to criticize them, but must help them, if we can. They assure us that the denomination now has expertly prepared printed Bible courses, with which they could never hope to compete as Bible teachers. Their whole system of instruction has taken on a mechanical ring. They specialize in a particular prepared course, and teach it from A to Z. They argue its advantages in comparison with some other course. They have quickly learned its teaching techniques, and now keep the pendulum swinging with regular routine. They seldom bother their heads about preparing a Bible study, but are skilled at using one of the prepared lessons on every occasion. Blissful solution of all Bible-teaching problems! Just go to the shelf of stacked lessons and help yourself!
We have no desire whatsoever to underestimate any of our excellently prepared Bible courses. These would not be in vogue if they were failing of effectiveness. We are very enthusiastic over our expanding work in this direction, but our caution is not to use these sets as crutches for our own study deficiency. These lessons have their definite place in guiding a reader's study interest at first, but it was never intended that they should become the finale of all Bible-teaching method. For the Bible teacher's own mental development and spiritual progress study and research must constantly be blended with soul-winning experience.
Enough has been previously said in the columns of our journal to discourage the door bell-ringer type of Bible instructor. Former emphasis in this respect is fading out of the evangelistic picture. True, we must continue to ring doorbells to find the interested, but the challenge of the Bible work as heaven brings it before us is a call to ever increasing Bible knowledge. So let us, as Bible instructors, become masters of the Scriptures, and emulate the skill and Bible-teaching ability of our pioneers.
Where Will Wicked Spend Eternity?
By MRS. E. VAN NOCKAY PORTER, Bible Instructor, .Central States Mission
I. WICKED ARE NOT Now IN PUNISHMENT.
1. Wicked reserved unto day of punishment. 2 Peter 2:9.
2. Sinners awake to everlasting contempt. John 5:28, 29; Dan. 12:2.
3. Sinner must suffer punishment. Matt.5: 29, 30.
4. This punishment at end of world. Matt. 13: 14 -42.
II. SINNERS WILL NOT BURN THROUGHOUT ETERNITY.
1. Fire that destroys wicked is unquenchable. Matt. 3:12.
2. Jerusalem destroyed with this type of fire. Jer. 17 -.27.
3. Torment of wicked described as lasting forever. Rev. 14:10, n.
4. Bible gives examples of "forever." i Sam. i :28; Jonah 2:6; Ex. 21:6.
5. Wages of sinner must be death. Rom. 6 .-23.
6. Wicked must die a second time. Rev.21:8.
III. LAKE OF FIRE WILL ACCOMPLISH UTTER DESTRUCTION.
1. Not only wicked but earth also reserved unto fire. 2 Peter 3 7, 10.
2. This earth will become a lake of fire. Verse 10.
3. All things will be dissolved and melted by fire. Verses 11, 12.
4. Example of the destruction of the wicked Sodom and Gomorrah reduced to ashes. Jude 7; 2 Peter 2:6.
5. Likewise, wicked will be ashes under feet of righteous. Mal. 4:1, 3.
IV. GOD HAS PROVIDED AN ESCAPE FROM THIS DESTRUCTION.
1. Destruction by fire is prepared for the devil and his angels. Matt. 25:31.
2. Heavenly mansions are prepared for the righteous. John 14:2, 3.
3. God reasons with sinner and offers life for obedience. Isa. I :i8, 19.
4. God saves the sinner. Jesus died in his stead. John 3:16.
5. He appeals to us to repent and live. Eze. 18:30-32.
The Beginning of the Bible Work
By JENNIE OWEN MCCLELLAND, Veteran Bible Instructor; Mountain View, California
My mind goes back to the time when the first Bible reading was given in California. In the spring of 1880, at the Hanford, California, camp meeting, Sister White remarked to our ministers that there ought to be more teaching and less preaching at our camp meetings. In response to this instruction, at a fore noon meeting in the big tent, S. N. Haskell asked questions on leading features of our faith, and requested the brethren to look up the texts he cited, and read them.
After the meeting had proceeded in this way for perhaps half an hour, it began to rain. It was raining so hard, Elder Haskell told me, that the people could not hear what he said, so he came down from the pulpit and gathered the people around him on the sheltered side of the tent and continued the questions. When it was time to dismiss the meeting it was still raining so hard that no one wanted to leave the tent, and that meeting continued about two hours. (Elder W. C. White also wrote me of this experience in a letter dated April 6, 1936, from Elmshaven, at Saint Helena.)
The people were delighted with the instruction and with the manner in which it was given, and asked that other studies be given in the same manner. Other ministers became interested in this plan of study.
To help the workers, a small magazine called the Bible Reading Gasette was published monthly during the year 1884. It contained only Bible readings. Any minister who would con tribute three Bible readings was entitled to the year's subscription. Some wrote in that they could not send readings, and asked the subscription price. They were told that it was five dollars. This was thought to be prohibitive, but many paid the price.
The desire for these readings was so great that in 1885 the twelve numbers of the Gazette were bound in book form and called Bible Readings. Many copies were sold by a canvasser. In 1889 the book was revised and appeared as Bible Readings for the Home Circle
In 1884 G. B. Starr opened the Chicago City Mission. This was a new venture, and Elder and Mrs. Starr did not know just how it should be conducted. They began their work by distributing tracts.
One day Elder Starr learned that Sister White was to pass through the city, and would have to wait an hour between trains. He decided to go to the station and ask her whether she had any light as to how the work should be conducted in Chicago. She said, "Yes, take the Bible and go to the homes of the people."
They turned to the Bible Reading Gazette, but found the readings far too long, so they prepared a small book called Helps to Bible Study for the use of the workers.
I entered the Chicago Mission in the summer of 1885. As I remember it, there were five workers beside Elder and Mrs. Starr. The next summer Elder Starr attended a number of camp meetings, and several conferences sent young ladies to learn to give Bible readings so they could help start city missions like the one in Chicago.
At the General Conference of 1886 Elder Haskell was asked to open up the work in Lon don. He selected three Bible instructors to go with him: Hetty Hurd, of California, Helen McKinnon, of Michigan, and Jennie Owen, of Chicago. In the spring of 1887 we began our work in London. The Lord blessed the work, and a number of companies were raised up in London and its suburbs.
A Mrs. Roskrug accepted the message and joined our Bible reading class. The next year she returned to her home in the West Indies, did a good self-supporting work, and soon organized a Sabbath school. Thus the Bible work started on its way around the world. The tiny seed has grown to a mighty tree. Its spreading branches are producing fruit in many lands.