A Prophet Among You


Chapter 23—Ellen G. White Writings—Their Study And Use

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the messages given to the church through Ellen White are divinely inspired. Once we accept these messages as instruction from God, we are faced with the question of how to get the greatest benefit from them. APAY 432.1

Some of the books on our bookshelves are timeless in their appeal and value; others are of import only briefly. Those of permanent significance deal with intrinsic truths and fundamental principles. Some were written centuries ago, but men still turn to them as though they had been recently penned, because they treat on themes, questions, and problems that face every generation of men. APAY 432.2

Of all books, the Bible reveals most of this characteristic of timelessness. This is understandable because of the manner in which it was prepared. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, chosen men recorded, and frequently interpreted, the meanings of events illustrating God’s dealings with men. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. God directed these men in the selection of those incidents of enduring worth because they illustrated principles. In addition to the record of historical events, the Bible contains direct counsel, admonition, instruction, reproof, and prophecy of coming events, which is designated as “the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” 1 Peter 1:23. APAY 432.3

The whole Book bears the impress of its omniscient Author. APAY 433.1

Knowing the end from the beginning as He does, God could see, in the days of Cain and Abel, of Noah, of ancient Israel, of the life of the Saviour, and of the early Christian church, the lessons that would be needed by His people in all generations. For the instruction of His children He made abundant provision. Though the record tells of some practices no longer followed, such as the offering of lambs, goats, and bullocks in the sacrificial system, the fact that a narrative or instruction is preserved in the Bible record is evidence that it contains lessons of practical worth for us who live in the last days. That is why Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16. Valuable lessons may be learned from every part of the Book. Nothing is outdated, nothing to be set aside. APAY 433.2

Our recognition of the inspiration of Ellen White’s writings places them in a special relationship to the Bible. In chapter nineteen of this book, attention has been given to the nature of this relationship. The important detail to be noticed for our present purpose is that these writings are intended to be as enduring in the nature of their instruction as the Bible. “Whether or not my life is spared,” Ellen White wrote, “my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last.” “The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies,” pages 13, 14. Linked as they are with the Bible and the Bible’s teachings, these inspired volumes retain their significance as the years pass. Since they introduce nothing new in principle, but simplify and apply the truths of the Bible, they are perpetually current in their usefulness. APAY 433.3