The Ellen G. White Writings


Chapter 5—Hermeneutical Principles in the E. G. White Writings 14

Hermeneutics is defined as “the science or art of the interpretation of literary productions, especially the Sacred Scriptures.” It is appropriate that the term should be used in dealing with the Spirit of Prophecy writings, God’s message conveyed to His people through a prophet of our day. The purpose of this presentation is to deal with some principles that may properly guide us in the study, interpretation, and application of the Spirit of Prophecy writings. Putting it simply we might head the chapter “What Did Mrs. White Mean?” EGWW 137.1

We are fortunate in having in our archives copies of materials from the pen of Ellen G. White in the form of letters, interviews, diaries, sermons, general manuscripts, tracts, periodical articles, and books. We also have a rich file of materials written by her contemporaries responding to her messages or commenting on her life and work. These combined files make our task a relatively easy one. EGWW 137.2

Ellen G. White was contemporary with the Advent Movement, living and working in what is very nearly our day. She was close to the people dealing with man and the problems of the twentieth century. She employed her native tongue, the English language, in both oral and written discourses. Innumerable examples of how those with whom she communicated understood and applied her messages are in our hands. EGWW 138.1