Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 175, 1901

How to Study the Bible


Ca. 1901

Formerly Undated Ms 142. This manuscript is published in entirety in 2MR 89-92.

Let the seeker for truth who accepts the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, lay aside every previous idea, and take that Word in its simplicity. He should renounce every sinful practice and enter the holy of holies with heart softened and subdued, ready to listen to what God says. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 1

Do not carry your creed to the Bible and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by “It is written.” 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 2

The mistake made by the Roman Catholic is that he reads the Bible in the light of the priests and rulers of the church, the early fathers, or other Catholic expositors. Laying aside all creeds or articles prescribed by any church, we are to read the Bible as the Word of God to us. The Light of the world will enable us to distinguish between truth and antagonistic errors. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 3

Let the heart be softened and subdued by the spirit of prayer before the Bible is read. Truth will triumph when the Spirit of truth co-operates with the humble Bible student. How precious the thought that the Author of truth still lives and reigns. Ask Him to impress your minds with the truth. Your searching of the Scriptures will then be profitable. Christ is the great Teacher of His followers, and He will not leave you to walk in darkness. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 4

The Bible is its own interpreter. With beautiful simplicity, one portion connects itself with the truth of another portion, until the whole Bible is blended in one harmonious whole. Light flashes forth from one text to illuminate some portion of the Word that has seemed more obscure. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 5

Those who with humility of heart search the Scriptures, with a sincere desire to know and obey the truth, will not be left to walk in darkness. Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the whole Bible is a revelation of Christ. But you may read the Scriptures from morning till night, and unless you humbly submit your will to the will of God, you cannot receive a saving knowledge of the gospel. As you see the truth plainly stated, lay aside every false position, however dear it may be to the selfish heart. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 6

Some will take a text, wrest it from its true bearing, and force it into service to sustain some preconceived opinion. By linking together isolated passages of Scripture, they may deceive others. But what appears to be Bible proof for their position is no proof whatever; for the Scriptures are not used in their true setting. In this way error is often magnified, and truth diminished. Those who thus wrest the Scriptures to sustain error, greatly dishonor God, and in the day of judgment, they will be held responsible for the disobedience of those who through their sophistries have been led to disregard the divine law. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 7

Those who desire to know the truth concerning the Sabbath of the Lord are not left to the guidance of uncertain suppositions. But let them not depend upon the teachings of the fathers, or any other human agency, but upon the words spoken by the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. In it are to be found the laws of heaven. And from the Bible alone can we learn the truth regarding the Sabbath. God’s word is plain. The fourth commandment is definite and explicit, and reveals the divine origin of the Sabbath. And further, the Lord said to Moses: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” [Exodus 31:13-17.] 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 8

May the Lord help us to seek Him with the whole heart, that we may find Him. He will not be trifled with. Those who, though having opportunity to find the true path, presumptuously depart from it will some day, when too late, realize their terrible mistake. Eternal life is for those only who continue to obey God. For them Christ has purchased salvation. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 9


“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 10

When Jesus told His followers to search the Scriptures, He referred to the Old Testament Scriptures; for the New Testament was still unwritten. The Bible is made up of many parts—history, biography, song and praise, prayer, and prophecy. But all is inspired of God, and “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” [2 Timothy 3:16.] In the term “scripture” is included the whole treasure house of revelation and knowledge, in whatever form it is given. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 11


Let no one seek to limit the circulation of the Scriptures. God speaks through various channels, and the sacred truths are to be sought as the miner seeks for gold. God has promised that He will guide all who desire to be taught into all truth. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 12

The Bible is the greatest educational book in the world, and should be used in every school. Whatever their previous education or conceptions, to many minds the simple reading of God’s Word will bring conviction; and even though in many cases the Word may be misapplied and misinterpreted, yet in after years many, because of what they can remember of its teachings, may be able to distinguish between truth and error. Let us not be numbered with those who seek to limit the circulation of the Scriptures. 16LtMs, Ms 175, 1901, par. 13