Urge to Deeper Study

Ellen White on the importance of doctrine and study.

By Ellen G. White

I. DOCTRINE MUST BEAR SCRUTINY OF GREAT MEN.—"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life." Every position of truth taken by our people will bear the criticism of the greatest minds; the highest of the world's great men will be brought in contact with truth, and therefore every position we take should be critically examined and tested by the Scriptures. Now we seem to be unnoticed, but this will not always be. Movements are at work to bring us to the front, and if our theories of truth can be picked to pieces by historians or the world's greatest men, it will be done.

We must individually know for ourselves what is truth, and be prepared to give a rea­son of the hope that we have with meekness and fear, not in a proud, boasting, sell-suffi­ciency, but with the spirit of Christ.—Evange­lism, p. 69.

2. NOT TO BE CONTENT WITH SURFACE TRUTHS.—Nine tenths of our people, includ­ing many of our ministers and teachers, are content with surface truths.—The Review and Herald, April 21, 1903.
 
3. SUPERFICIAL KNOWLEDGE NOT SUFFICIENT. —The cause of God needs men of intellect, men of thought, men well versed in the Scrip­tures, to meet the inflowing tide of opposi­tion. . . .

It is not enough for our ministers to have a superficial knowledge of the truth.—Testimo­nies, vol. 4, p. 415.

4. MINISTERS TO MAKE CONTINUAL IMPROVE­MENT.—The true minister of Christ should make continual improvement. The afternoon sun of his life may be more mellow and pro­ductive of fruit than the morning sun. It may continue to increase in size and brightness un­til it drops behind the western hills.—The Re­view and Herald, April 6, 1886.
 
5. BENEFITS DERIVED FROM DILIGENT STUDY. —If the Bible were studied as it should be, men would become strong-minded and intel­lectual. The subjects treated upon in the word of God, the dignified simplicity of its utterances, the grand and noble themes which it presents to the mind, are calculated to develop faculties in man which cannot be otherwise developed.—Ibid., May 13, 1890.
 
6. TO ATTAIN STATURE OF INTELLECTUAL GIANTS.—Our ministers will have to render to God an account for the rusting of the talents He has given to improve by exercise. They might have done tenfold more work intelli­gently had they cared to become intellectual giants. Their whole experience in their high calling is cheapened because they are content to remain where they are. Their efforts to ac­quire knowledge will not in the least hin­der their spiritual growth if they will study with right motives and proper aims.—Testi­monies to Ministers, p. 194.
 
7. SOLEMN RESPONSBILITY TO PRESENT FAITH INTELLIGENTLY.—Of all men upon the face of the earth, those who are handling solemn truths for these perilous times should understand their Bibles and become acquainted with the evi­dences of our faith. . . . Those who are am­bassadors for Christ, who stand in His stead, beseeching souls to be reconciled to God, should be qualified to present our faith in­telligently and be able to give the reasons of their hope with meekness and fear.—Testimo­nies, vol. 2, pp. 342, 343.
 
8. EXERT UNDERSTANDING TO COMPREHEND SCRIPTURES.—We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures, and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner.—The Great Controversy, p. 599.
 
9. NOT TO VINDICATE OWN OPINIONS.—If you search the Scriptures to vindicate your own opinions, you will never reach the truth. Search in order to learn what the Lord says. If con­viction comes as you search, if you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth, do not misinterpret the truth in order to suit your own belief, but accept the light given. Open mind and heart that you may behold wondrous things out of God's word.—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 112.

 

10. METHOD OF BIBLE STUDY.—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. . . .

The importance of your position as a repre­sentative of Christ, should urge you to most diligent habits in acquiring all the knowledge possible to be obtained. . . .

Everyone should seek to understand the great truths of the plan of salvation, that he may be ready to give an answer to every one who asks the reason of his hope.—The Review and Herald, April 24, 1888.

11. SEARCH FOR LIGHT AND KNOWLEDGE.—The Bible is in our hands, and the task of search­ing for a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, is appointed us. . . .

There can be no greater peril to the souls of those who profess to believe the truth, than to cease their research for light and knowledge from the Scriptures. . . . You are to pray, and search for the truth on every point of faith and doctrine.—Ibid., Sept. 4, 1888.

12. NEW VIEWS OF TRUTH YET TO BE SEEN. —At no period of time has man learned all that can be learned of the word of God. There are yet new views of truth to be seen, and much to be understood of the character and attri­butes of God,—His benevolence, His mercy, His long forbearance, His example of perfect obedience. . . . This is a most valuable study, taxing the intellect, and giving strength to the mental ability.—Fundamentals of Christian Ed­ucation, p. 444.

13. DORMANT AND NEWLY REVEALED TRUTH FOR THE SEEKER—Every mind should turn with reverent attention to the revealed word of God. Light and grace will be given to those who thus obey God. They will behold wondrous things out of His law. Great truths that have lain unheeded and unseen since the day of Pentecost, are to shine from God's word in their native purity. To those who truly love God the Holy Spirit will reveal truths that have faded from the mind, and will also reveal truths that are entirely new.—Ibid., p. 473.

14. TRUTH IS AN ADVANCING TRUTH.—We must not think "Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge." The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light. —Evangelism, pp. 296, 297.

15. CRITICALLY EXAMINE OUR POSITIONS OF TRUTH.—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. God would have all the bearings and positions of truth thoroughly and perseveringly searched, with prayer and fasting. . . .

Whatever may be man's intellectual advance­ment, let him not for a moment think that there is no need of thorough and continuous searching of the Scriptures for greater light.—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 707, 708.

16. EXAMINE THE PILLARS OF OUR FATTIE­R is essential that we study the Scriptures far more earnestly than we do. With fervent prayer we should earnestly and thoroughly examine the pillars of our faith, to see that we have no false support. God will not bless men in in­dolence, nor in zealous, stubborn opposition to the light He gives to His people.—The Re­view and Herald, Feb. 25, 1890.

17. TRUE DOCTRINES CAN BEAR INVESTIGA­TION.—There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, arid truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.—Ibid., Dec. 20, 1892.

18. RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION OF VITAL DOC­TRINES.—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.—Funda­mentals of Christian Education, pp. 374, 375.

 

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By Ellen G. White

April 1957

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