Messenger of the Lord

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Chapter 39—Understanding How the Books Were Written

“My words seem inadequate. I despair of clothing the truth God has made known concerning His great redemption, which engrossed to itself His undivided attention in the only-begotten Son of the Infinite One. The truths that are to last through time and through eternity, the great plan of redemption, which cost so much for the salvation of the human race, presenting before them a life that measures with the life of God—these truths are too full, deep, and holy for human words or human pen to adequately express.” 1 MOL 444.1

Ellen White’s literary output totals approximately 25 million words or 100,000 printed pages—including letters, diaries, periodical articles, and books. 2 MOL 444.2

Her writing habits, beginning with her teenage years, were discussed on pages 108-120. She used editorial assistants, a practice employed by Biblical writers, 3 and, like Biblical prophets, wrote within the historical, social, and religious context of her time. She wrote with a nineteenth century accent, not that of modern times. 4 MOL 444.3

Her wide reading habits helped her to flesh out the broad conceptual principles that she believed God wanted conveyed. 5 By the time of her death in 1915, her personal and office staff library consisted of approximately 1,400 volumes, which included more than 500 titles sold to her by one of her workers in 1913. 6 MOL 444.4

Ellen White maintained a steady flow of letters, sermons, periodical articles, and books, especially after 1881. These materials were often reused in new formats. Sermons became periodical articles, and these articles, when reorganized and supplemented with new material, provided source material for books. MOL 444.5

By reviewing the development of Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, and The Great Controversy, we will observe a pattern of how Ellen G. White books usually were created. MOL 444.6