Special Testimonies On Education


Chapter 8—The Bible in Educational Work

The Bible is of the highest value because it is the word of the living God. Of the countless books that have flooded the world, it is the most deserving of study and attention; for it is eternal wisdom. The Bible is a history that tells us of the creation of the world, and opens to us past centuries. Without it we should have been left to conjecture and fable in regard to the occurrences of the remote past. It reveals to us the Creator of the heavens and the earth, with the universe that he has brought into being, and it sheds a glorious light over the world to come. SpTEd 52.1

The Bible is a field where are concealed heavenly treasures, and they will remain hidden treasures until, by diligent mining, they are discovered and brought to light. The Bible is a casket containing jewels of inestimable value, which should be so presented as to be seen in their intrinsic luster. But the beauty and excellence of these diamonds of truth are not discerned by the natural eye. The lovely things of the material world are not seen until the sun, dispelling the darkness, floods them with its light. And so with the treasures of God's word; they are not appreciated until they are revealed by the Sun of Righteousness. SpTEd 52.2

The Bible contains a simple and complete system of theology and philosophy. It is the book that makes us wise unto salvation. It tells us of the love of God as shown in the plan of redemption, imparting the knowledge essential for all students—the knowledge of Christ. He is the Sent of God; he is the Author of our salvation. But apart from the word of God, we could have no knowledge that such a person as the Lord Jesus has ever visited our world, nor any knowledge of his divinity, as indicated by his previous existence with the Father. SpTEd 53.1

God has not only revealed to us the doctrine of the atonement, holding out the hope of eternal life, but his words are the manna from heaven for the soul to feed upon, and receive spiritual strength. The Bible is the great standard of right and wrong, clearly defining sin and holiness. Its living principles, running through our lives like threads of gold, are our only safeguard in all trials and temptations. SpTEd 53.2

The Holy Scriptures were the essential study in the schools of the prophets, and they should hold the first place in every educational system; for the foundation of all right education is a knowledge of God. Used as a text-book in our schools, the Bible will do for mind and morals what cannot be done by books of science or philosophy. As a book to discipline and strengthen the intellect, and ennoble, purify, and refine the character, it is without a rival. SpTEd 53.3

God cares for us as intelligent beings, and he has given us his word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Its teachings have a vital bearing upon our prosperity in all the relations of life. Even in our temporal affairs it will be a wiser guide than any other counselor. Its divine instruction is the only way to success. There is no social position, no phase of human experience, for which the study of the Bible is not an essential preparation. SpTEd 53.4

But the mere reading of the word will not accomplish the result designed of Heaven; it must be studied and cherished in the heart. The Bible has not received the close attention it deserves. It has not been honored above every other book in the education of children and youth. Students devote years to acquiring an education. They study different authors, and become acquainted with science and philosophy through books containing the results of human research; but the Book that comes from the Divine Teacher has, to a great extent, been neglected. Its value is not discerned. Its treasures remain hidden. SpTEd 54.1

An education of this character is defective. Who and what are these men of learning, that the minds and characters of the young should be molded by their ideas? They may publish with pen and voice the best results of their reasoning; but they grasp only an item of the work of God, and in their short-sightedness, calling it science, they exalt it above the God of science. Man is finite; there is no light in his wisdom. His unaided reason can explain nothing in the deep things of God, nor can he understand the spiritual lessons that God has placed in the material world. But reason is a gift of God, and his Spirit will aid those who are willing to be taught. Man's words, if of any value, echo the words of God. In the education of youth, they should never take the place of the divine word. SpTEd 54.2

Cold philosophical speculations, and scientific research in which God is not acknowledged, are a positive injury. And the evil is aggravated, when, as is often the case, books placed in the hands of the young, accepted as authority, and depended upon in their education, are from authors avowedly infidel. Throughout all the thoughts presented by these men, their poisonous sentiments are interwoven. The study of such books is like handling black coals; a student cannot be undefiled in mind who thinks along the line of skepticism. SpTEd 55.1

The authors of these books, which have sowed the seeds of doubt and infidelity broadcast over the world, have been under the training of the great enemy of God and man, the acknowledged head of principalities and powers, the ruler of the darkness of this world. The word that God has spoken concerning them is, They “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools;” “because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” They rejected divine truth in its simplicity and purity for the wisdom of this world. Whenever books by these infidel authors are given the precedence, and the word of God is made secondary, a class of students will be sent out of the schools no better fitted for the service of God than they were before they received their education. SpTEd 55.2

It is not for want of evidence that men doubt divine truth; they are not infidels through ignorance of the character of the word of God. But through sin the whole human organism is deranged; the mind is perverted; the imagination corrupted. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet slide imperceptibly into sin. And so it is that many hate the Bible. Some would not care if there was not a Bible in the world. When the Son of God was on trial, the Jews cried out, ‘Away with him, crucify him,” because his pure life and holy teaching convicted them of sin and condemned them; and for the same reason, many in their hearts cry out against the word of God. Many, even of the children and youth, have learned to love sin; they hate reflection, and the thought of God is a sting to their conscience. It is because the human heart is inclined to evil that it is so dangerous to sow the seeds of skepticism in young minds. SpTEd 55.3

But we would not discourage education, nor put a low estimate on mental culture and discipline. God would have us students as long as we remain in the world. Every opportunity for culture should be improved. The faculties need to be strengthened by exercise, the mind to be trained and expanded by taxing study; but all this may be done while the heart is becoming an easy prey to deception. Wisdom from above must be communicated to the soul. It is the entrance of God's word that “giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” His word is given for our instruction, and there is nothing in it that is defective or misleading. The Bible is not to be tested by men's ideas of science, but science is to be brought to the test of the unerring standard. SpTEd 56.1

Yet the study of the sciences is not to be neglected. Books must be used for this purpose: but they should be in harmony with the Bible, for that is the standard. Books of this character should take the place of many of those now in the hands of students. God is the author of science. Scientific research opens to the mind vast fields of thought and information, enabling us to see God in his created works. Ignorance may try to support skepticism by appeals to science; but instead of doing this, science contributes fresh evidences of the wisdom and power of God. Rightly understood, science and the written word agree, and each sheds light on the other. Together they lead us to God, by teaching us something of the wise and beneficent laws through which he works. SpTEd 56.2

When the student recognizes God as the source of all knowledge, and honors him, submitting mind and character to be molded by his word, he may claim the promise, “Them that honor me I will honor.” The more studiously the intellect is cultivated, the more effectively it can be used in the service of God, if it is placed under the control of his Spirit. Talents used are talents multiplied; experience in spiritual things widens the vision of saints and angels, and both increase in capability and knowledge as they work in their respective spheres. SpTEd 57.1

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” SpTEd 57.2

May 16, 1896.