A Prophet Among You


A Method of Approach

The careful student in any area of knowledge follows a planned approach to build up his store of information, and to set up his guides for interpreting the facts in hand. As an undergraduate college student, a prospective history teacher enrolls first for a number of generalized courses—a survey of European history, a survey of American history, perhaps a survey of church history. As he progresses, he is guided into a concentration on, say, European history. If he continues with graduate study in the same area, he may specialize in English history, the Renaissance, the Reformation, or any one of many such fields. However, in order to gain and maintain a proper perspective, he must include the study of related fields, since nothing isolated is fully understandable. APAY 433.4

What is true of the study of history fits also the matter of Bible study. Correct interpretations depend upon the understanding of the relationships between all parts of the Bible. One can grasp the full significance of the Sabbath only if he sees it as a memorial of creation and a sign of sanctification. When separated from these truths, the Sabbath loses most of its reason for existence. The nature of man and his condition in death must be understood in the light of the creation. Along with this must be placed the Bible teaching that man has immortality only in Christ. Use of a few texts on the subject of death and destruction, isolated from all that would contribute to a well-rounded study, has led most of the Christian world to wrong conclusions. APAY 434.1

For one to be certain that he has a comprehension of the important lines of Bible teaching, he must know the Book as a whole. A grasp of the various subjects depends on reading the Bible through repeatedly so that the student is aware of the material in any part of the Scriptures that has a bearing on any individual topical study, and he also keeps the connections continually in mind. This is the way to rightly “divide,” or handle, the word of truth. It does not mean that verse or topical study should be avoided until the Bible has been read many times. It does mean, however, that everyone who studies the Bible should be constantly broadening his background of understanding by wide reading at the same time that he is pursuing detailed studies. APAY 434.2

When one turns to the study of the writings of Ellen White, the normal approach will yield the best results. Again a broad background, based on wide reading, will contribute to a clear understanding of every separate subject that may be considered. Again it should be noted that one need not exclude all topical study, waiting until much reading has been done; but consecutive reading will enrich individual studies and help to ensure a full understanding and correct representation. APAY 435.1

Any extensive study program, such as should be pursued by every Seventh-day Adventist, must give attention both to consecutive reading and the investigation of individual topics of special interest. Each fosters the other. Attention will first be given to suggestions for a broad reading program, and then to topical studies. APAY 435.2