Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students


Studying to Useless Ends

Often students spend many years in study that is conducted on wrong lines and to useless ends. The mind is trained to think in a wrong channel, taught to grasp those things that are not only utterly worthless, but an injury to the physical and mental health. The student obtains a slender store of information upon many subjects that are of little value to him, a limited knowledge along many lines that he will never use, when he might obtain knowledge that would be of the highest service in practical life, and which would be a storehouse of wisdom from which to draw in time of need. CT 391.3

It is difficult to depart from old customs and established ideas. But few realize the loss that is sustained by many in long courses of study. Much that is crowded into the brain is of no value, yet students suppose this education to be all-sufficient, and after years of study they leave school with their diplomas, believing that they are men and women properly educated and ready for service. In many cases this preparation for service is nothing more than a farce, yet it will continue until teachers receive the wisdom of heaven through the influence of the Holy Spirit. CT 392.1

Many a student has so long taxed the mind to learn that which his reason tells him will never be of any use, that his mental powers have become weakened and incapable of vigorous exertion and persevering effort to comprehend those things which are of vital importance. The money expended in his education, which perhaps was provided as the result of great sacrifice on the part of his parents, is well-nigh wasted; and a misapprehension as to what is of importance leads to a mistake in his lifework. CT 392.2

What a fraud is that education obtained in literary or scientific lines, if it must be stripped from the learner before he is counted worthy to enter upon that life which measures with the life of God, himself saved as by fire. God has given us a probation in which to prepare for the school above. For this the youth are here to be educated, disciplined, and trained. In the lower school of earth they are to form characters that God can approve. They are to receive a training, not in the customs and amusements of worldly society, but in Christ's lines, a training that will fit them to be colaborers with heavenly intelligences. The studies given the youth should be of a character to make them more successful in the service of God, to enable them to follow in the footsteps of Christ and to maintain the great principles that He maintained. Our standard is to be the character of Him who is pure, holy, undefiled.... CT 392.3

The knowledge of God is the real essence of education. The education that would supersede this knowledge, or dismiss it from the mind, as Felix dismissed Paul when he spoke to him of temperance, righteousness, and judgment to come, is not of God. Paul's words made Felix tremble; but the governor dismissed the apostle with the words, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25. And today multitudes are saying the same. Their minds are called to the deep subjects of truth, problems as high as heaven and as broad as eternity; but they say, “I cannot bring these subjects into my daily studies; for they would so stir up my mind as to unfit me for the daily routine of study. I have never mastered Bible problems. I cannot take up this study now. Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Thus God's great lesson book is set aside because it is not regarded as the one thing needful. CT 393.1