The Review and Herald

739/1902

September 11, 1894

Study the Bible for Yourselves

EGW

When Jesus gave the injunction, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me,” the priests and rulers were sitting in Moses's seat, and professing to give to the people the commands of God; but that which was so plain that the common people might clearly understand, they mystified and misinterpreted. Through false interpretation, the Jewish nation had lost the simple, practical knowledge of God and his truth. The command to search implied that they had lost something, and that they must diligently seek to discover it. The plain directions of the Scriptures, which had revealed the will of God, were covered up with mystery and tradition, with false tests, false theories and commands. The Scriptures had been wrested to the ruin of souls, and man-made tests and injunctions had been put in the place of the plain “thus saith the Lord.” Jesus said to all, Search for yourselves. Allow no one to be brains for you, allow no one to do your thinking, your investigating, and your praying. This is the instruction we need to take to heart today. Many of you are convinced that the precious treasure of the kingdom of God and of Jesus Christ is in the Bible which you hold in your hand. You know that no earthly treasure is attainable without painstaking effort. Why should you expect to understand the treasures of the word of God without diligently searching the Scriptures? RH September 11, 1894, par. 1

It is proper and right to read the Bible; but your duty does not end there; for you are to search its pages for yourselves. The knowledge of God is not to be gained without mental effort, without prayer for wisdom in order that you may separate from the pure grain of truth the chaff with which men and Satan have misrepresented the doctrines of truth. Satan and his confederacy of human agents have endeavored to mix the chaff of error with the wheat of truth. We should diligently search for the hidden treasure, and seek wisdom from heaven in order to separate human inventions from the divine commands. The Holy Spirit will aid the seeker for great and precious truths which relate to the plan of redemption. I would impress upon all the fact that a casual reading of the Scriptures is not enough. We must search, and this means the doing of all the word implies. As the miner eagerly explores the earth to discover its veins of gold, so you are to explore the word of God for the hidden treasure that Satan has so long sought to hide from man. The Lord says, “If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching.” John 7:17, Revised Version. RH September 11, 1894, par. 2

The word of God is truth and light, and is to be a lamp unto your feet, to guide you every step of the way to the gates of the city of God. It is for this reason that Satan has made such desperate efforts to obstruct the path that has been cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. You are not to take your ideas to the Bible, and make your opinions a center around which truth is to revolve. You are to lay aside your ideas at the door of investigation, and with humble, subdued hearts, with self hid in Christ, with earnest prayer, you are to seek wisdom from God. You should feel that you must know the revealed will of God, because it concerns your personal, eternal welfare. The Bible is a directory by which you may know the way to eternal life. You should desire above all things that you may know the will and ways of the Lord. You should not search for the purpose of finding texts of Scripture that you can construe to prove your theories; for the word of God declares that this is wresting the Scriptures to your own destruction. You must empty yourselves of every prejudice, and come in the spirit of prayer to the investigation of the word of God. RH September 11, 1894, par. 3

The great error of the Romish Church is found in the fact that the Bible is interpreted in the light of the opinions of the “fathers.” Their opinions are regarded as infallible, and the dignitaries of the church assume that it is their prerogative to make others believe as they do, and to use force to compel the conscience. Those who do not agree with them are pronounced heretics. But the word of God is not thus to be interpreted. It is to stand on its own eternal merits, to be read as the word of God, to be obeyed as the voice of God, which declares his will to the people. The will and voice of finite man are not to be interpreted as the voice of God. RH September 11, 1894, par. 4

The blessed Bible gives us a knowledge of the great plan of salvation, and shows us how every individual may have eternal life. Who is the author of the book?—Jesus Christ. He is the True Witness, and he says to his own, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” The Bible is to show us the way to Christ, and in Christ eternal life is revealed. Jesus said to the Jews and to those who pressed about him in great multitudes, “Search the Scriptures.” The Jews had the word in the Old Testament, but they had so mingled it with human opinions, that its truths were mystified, and the will of God to man was covered up. The religious teachers of the people are following their example in this age. RH September 11, 1894, par. 5

Though the Jews had the Scriptures which testified of Christ, they were not able to discern Christ in the Scriptures; and although we have the Old and the New Testament, men wrest the Scriptures to evade their truths; and in their interpretations of the Scriptures, they teach, as did the Pharisees, the maxims and traditions of men for the commandments of God. In Christ's day the religious leaders had so long presented human ideas before the people, that the teaching of Christ was in every way opposed to their theories and practice. His sermon on the mount virtually contradicted the doctrines of the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees. They had so misrepresented God that he was looked upon as a stern judge, incapable of compassion, mercy, and love. They presented to the people endless maxims and traditions as proceeding from God, when they had no “thus saith the Lord” for their authority. Though they professed to know and to worship the true and living God, they wholly misrepresented him, and the character of God, as represented by his Son, was as an original subject, a new gift to the world. Christ made every effort so to sweep away the misrepresentations of Satan, that the confidence of man in the love of God might be restored. He taught man to address the Supreme Ruler of the universe by the new name “Our Father.” This name signifies his true relation to us, and when spoken in sincerity by human lips, it is music in the ears of God. Christ leads us to the throne of God by a new and living way, to present him to us in his paternal love. RH September 11, 1894, par. 6

In the system of types and offerings, the sacrifice of the Son of God was shadowed forth, and yet the Jews did not behold in Christ “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” They did not see the value of the treasure that God had given to the world in the gift of his Son. No gift could be imparted that equaled in value the gift of the Son of God, and every other gift that men receive, is an outflowing from this measureless gift. Eternity itself will not exhaust the treasure of the gift of God to the world. RH September 11, 1894, par. 7

The only begotten Son of God was to teach men the goodness, mercy, and benevolence of the character of God. He taught men to regard God as the fountain of all parental affection which has flowed down, generation after generation, through the channel of the human heart. The pity, the compassion, and the love which have been manifested by parents to their children bear no comparison with the tenderness and compassion of the heart of infinite love. The love of God is constantly exercised in behalf of the happiness and salvation of his people. The Lord sent his Son into the world that, through faith in him, they might contemplate God in Christ, and approach the infinite Father in the name of his Son. We may approach the Father through the Lord our Righteousness. RH September 11, 1894, par. 8

(Concluded in next number.)