Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 4—The Primacy of the Word

Relation of E. G. White Writings to the Bible Recognized in First Book—I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the “last days”; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of his people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth. Thus God dealt with Peter when he was about to send him to preach to the Gentiles.—A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, 64 (1851). (Reprinted in Early Writings, 78.) 3SM 29.1

Not to Take the Place of the Word—The Lord desires you to study your Bibles. He has not given any additional light to take the place of his Word. This light is to bring confused minds to his Word, which, if eaten and digested, is as the lifeblood of the soul. Then good works will be seen as light shining in darkness.—Letter 130, 1901. 3SM 29.2

Get Proofs From the Bible—In public labor do not make prominent, and quote that which Sister White has written, as authority to sustain your positions. To do this will not increase faith in the testimonies. Bring your evidences, clear and plain, from the Word of God. A “Thus saith the Lord” is the strongest testimony you can possibly present to the people. Let none be educated to look to Sister White, but to the mighty God, who gives instruction to Sister White.—Letter 11, 1894. 3SM 29.3

Bible Principles First, Then the Testimonies—It is my first duty to present Bible principles. Then, unless there is a decided, conscientious reform made by those whose cases have been presented before me, I must appeal to them personally.—Letter 69, 1896. 3SM 30.1

E. G. White Work Not Unlike That of Bible Prophets—In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days he speaks to them by the testimonies of his Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed his people more earnestly than he instructs them now concerning his will and the course that he would have them pursue.—Testimonies for the Church 5:661. 3SM 30.2

Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy Have Same Author—The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. These are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man may want them to mean, to carry out man's ideas and sentiments, to carry forward man's schemes at all hazards.—Letter 92, 1900. 3SM 30.3

Ellen White Calls Her Writings a Lesser Light—Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.—The Review and Herald, January 20, 1903 (Quoted in Colporteur Ministry, 125.) 3SM 30.4

Tested by the Bible—The Spirit was not given—nor can it ever be bestowed—to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.... Isaiah declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).—The Great Controversy, Introduction, vii. 3SM 30.5

Not for the Purpose of Giving New Light—Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the Word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner to bring the minds of his people to his Word, to give them a clearer understanding of it. 3SM 30.6

The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the Word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the Word that they have neglected to follow. 3SM 31.1

The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.—Testimonies for the Church 5:663, 664. 3SM 31.2

Testimonies to Bring Plain Lessons From the Word—In the Scriptures God has set forth practical lessons to govern the life and conduct of all; but though He has given minute particulars in regard to our character, conversation, and conduct, yet in a large measure, His lessons are disregarded and ignored. Besides the instruction in His Word, the Lord has given special testimonies to His people, not as a new revelation, but that He may set before us the plain lessons of His Word, that errors may be corrected, that the right way may be pointed out, that every soul may be without excuse.—Letter 63, 1893 (See Testimonies for the Church 5:665.) 3SM 31.3

Ellen White Enabled to Clearly Define Truth and Error—At that time [after the 1844 disappointment] one error after another pressed in upon us; ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines. We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds. Sometimes whole nights would be devoted to searching the Scriptures and earnestly asking God for guidance. Companies of devoted men and women assembled for this purpose. The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error. 3SM 31.4

As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me. I was given illustrations of heavenly things, and of the sanctuary, so that we were placed where light was shining on us in clear, distinct rays.—Gospel Workers, 302. 3SM 32.1

To Correct Error and Specify Truth—I have much written in the diary [While Mrs. White kept from time to time a daily diary of her experience, yet this is not what she referred to primarily in using the term “diary.” Her writing was often done in ruled blank books, more than a score of which are now in the White Estate Vault, and many of the manuscripts that appear in the file are found to have been written first in these books. Some manuscripts on file bear the general heading “diary,” used in this particular sense. It will be remembered that this term is used by her in the Testimonies in referring to her writings in manuscript form. (See Testimonies for the Church 8, 206, where she says, “In my diary I find the following written one year ago,” and it is plain from what follows that she is referring to testimony matter.)] I have kept in all my journeys that should come before the people if essential, even if I did not write another line. I want that which is deemed worthy to appear, for the Lord has given me much light that I want the people to have; for there is instruction that the Lord has given me for His people. It is light that they should have, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. This is now to come before the people, because it has been given to correct specious errors and to specify what is truth. The Lord has revealed many things pointing out the truth, thus saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”—Letter 127, 1910. 3SM 32.2

Testimonies Never Contradict the Bible—The Bible must be your counselor. Study it and the testimonies God has given; for they never contradict his Word.—Letter 106, 1907. 3SM 32.3

If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united.—Testimonies for the Church 5:691. 3SM 32.4

On Quoting Sister White—How can the Lord bless those who manifest a spirit of “I don't care,” a spirit which leads them to walk contrary to the light which the Lord has given them? But I do not ask you to take my words. Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. [Ellen White was meeting the leaders of the church as a group for the first time in ten years. Situations in both the General Conference and in our Battle Creek-based institutions had in many cases reached a low ebb. Testimonies calling for a return to Bible principles had been received, theoretically, but no real improvement had taken place.

Most delegates coming to the General Conference session, which would open the next morning, sensed that there must be changes. Ellen White would in the opening meeting rebuke institutional leaders and call for a reorganization of the General Conference. It was her burden that the changes that needed to be made would be based on Bible principles and not just on the word of Ellen White. In this address she declared:

“God has told me that my testimony must be borne to this Conference, and that I must not try to make men believe it. My work is to leave the truth with the people, and those who appreciate the light from heaven will accept the truth.”—Manuscript 43, 1901.

Counsel would come through her as the messenger of the Lord and this counsel should be heeded, but work in depth must be done, work based on the principles set forth in God's Word.—Compilers.] When you make the Bible your food, your meat, and your drink, when you make its principles the elements of your character, you will know better how to receive counsel from God. I exalt the precious Word before you today. Do not repeat what I have said, saying, “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that.” Find out what the Lord God of Israel says, and then do what He commands.—Manuscript 43, 1901. (From an address to church leaders the night before the opening of the General Conference session of 1901.) 3SM 33.1