The Signs of the Times


June 10, 1886

Value of Bible Study


Said Christ: “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” No one can neglect the word of God, and yet attain to Christian perfection. But by carefully searching that word, we become acquainted with the divine Model; and in order to imitate the Pattern, it must be frequently and closely inspected. ST June 10, 1886, par. 1

As we study the life of Christ, we discover in ourselves defects of character; our unlikeness to him is so great that we cannot be his followers without a very great change in our life. Still we study, with a desire to be like our great Exemplar; we catch the looks, the spirit, of our beloved Master. By beholding, by “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” we become changed into the same image. We cannot imitate the life of Christ while we are looking away from him; we must do it by dwelling upon and talking of him, by seeking to refine the taste and elevate the character, by trying through earnest, persevering effort, through faith and love, to approach the perfect Pattern. The attention being fixed upon Christ, his image, pure and spotless, becomes enshrined in the heart as “the chiefest among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely.” Even unconsciously we imitate that with which we are familiar; and by gaining a knowledge of Christ, of his words, his habits, his lessons of instruction, and by imitating the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, we become imbued with the spirit of the Master, which we have so much admired. ST June 10, 1886, par. 2

Those who know the blessedness of a union with God should not fail to exemplify the life of Christ in their daily conversation, in pure and virtuous characters. By doing good, by being courteous and beneficent, they adorn the Christian doctrine, and show that the truth of heavenly origin beautifies the character and ennobles the life. Christ's followers are “living epistles, known and read of all men.” Their daily lives recommend the truth of God to those who have been prejudiced against it by nominal professors, who have a form of godliness, while their lives testify that they know nothing of its sanctifying power. ST June 10, 1886, par. 3

The word of God has been sadly neglected, instead of being appreciated as it should have been. This book, revealing the will of God to man, deserves to be held in the highest esteem; for it gives instruction of inestimable value to all classes. Its teachings are so plain that even the humblest and most ignorant can understand them, and learn to so order their conversation and be so circumspect in deportment as to bring no dishonor or reproach upon the cause of their Redeemer. If they have living faith in God, they will not by their inconsistencies furnish occasion to bring the truth into disrepute when it should be a savor of life unto life. ST June 10, 1886, par. 4

The truths of God's word, received into the heart, have an animating power; and those who will frame any excuse for neglecting to become acquainted with the Scriptures will neglect the claims of God in many respects. The character will be deformed, the words and acts a reproach to the truth. ST June 10, 1886, par. 5

The injunction of our Saviour to search the Scriptures should be religiously regarded by every man, women, and child who professes his name. The student in the Sabbath-school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. Teachers in the Sabbath-school have a missionary work given them; it is to teach the Scriptures, not, parrot-like, to repeat over that which they have taken no pains to understand. “They are they which testify of me”—the Redeemer, him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. If teachers are not imbued with a spirit of truth, and care not for the knowledge of what is revealed in the word of God, how can they present the truth in an attractive light to those under their charge? The prayer of Christ for his disciples was, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” If we are to be sanctified through a knowledge of the truth found in the word of God, we must have an intelligent knowledge of that word. We must search the Scriptures, not merely rush through a chapter and repeat it, taking no pains to understand it, but we must dig for the jewels of truth, which will enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles of the arch-deceiver. ST June 10, 1886, par. 6

Parents plead trifling excuses for not interesting themselves in the Bible lessons with their children, and they fail to become conversant with the Scriptures. Fathers excuse themselves from disciplining their own minds. They do not seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, but exalt the temporal above the spiritual and eternal. This forgetfulness of God and his word is the example they give their children, which moulds their minds after the worldly standard, and not after the exalted standard erected by Christ. Mothers, too, are unfaithful to their trust. The inward adorning of the mind and the culture of the soul are neglected as though inferior to the adornment of the apparel. Their own minds and the minds of their children are starved in order to follow custom and fashion. ST June 10, 1886, par. 7

Fathers and mothers, take up your long-neglected duties. Search the Scriptures yourselves; assist your children in the study of the sacred word. Make diligent work because of past neglect. Do not send the children away by themselves to study the Bible; but read it with them, teach them in a simple manner what you know, and keep in the school of Christ as diligent students yourselves. ST June 10, 1886, par. 8

Jesus, the greatest teacher the world has ever seen, recognized the value of the Holy Scriptures, and expounded them to his disciples. After his resurrection, he drew near to two of them as they were on the way to Emmaus, talking, as they went, of the disappointed hopes occasioned by the death of the beloved Master. They told him of the prophet mighty in word and deed who had been taken by wicked hands and crucified. And now it was the third day, and strange reports had been brought to their ears that Jesus had risen, and had been seen by Mary and certain of the disciples. Jesus said to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” And beginning at Moses and the prophets, “he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” ST June 10, 1886, par. 9

Jesus reproved the disciples for not being acquainted with the scriptures that testified of the Messiah. Had they been familiar with the Scriptures, their faith would have been sustained in the hour of trial, and their hope would have remained unshaken; for the treatment Christ would receive at the hands of those he came to save was plainly stated in the prophecies. The disciples were astonished that they had not recognized Jesus at once, as soon as he spoke with them by the way, and that they had failed to remember the scriptures which he had brought to their mind. They had lost sight of the divine word; but when the things spoken by the prophets were brought to their remembrance, faith revived, and hope again sprang up in their hearts. And when he was parted from them, they said one to another, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” ST June 10, 1886, par. 10

The apostle tells us: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” If Christians would earnestly search the Scriptures, more hearts would burn with the vivid truths therein revealed. Their hopes would brighten as they dwell upon the precious promises strewn like pearls all through the sacred writings. In contemplating the history of the patriarchs, the prophets, the men who loved and feared God and who walked with him,—in dwelling upon the virtue and piety of these holy men of old,—the spirit which inspired them would kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character. ST June 10, 1886, par. 11