The Review and Herald


October 9, 1883

Search the Scriptures


It is the duty of every Christian to seek a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. The importance of this can hardly be overestimated. “Given by inspiration of God,” “able to make us wise unto salvation,” rendering “the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” the Book of books has the highest claim to our reverent attention. We must not be satisfied with superficial knowledge, but must seek to learn the full meaning of the words of truth, and to drink deep of the spirit of the holy oracles. RH October 9, 1883, par. 1

To read a certain number of chapters daily, or commit to memory a stipulated amount without careful thought as to the meaning of the sacred text, is a work of little profit. We cannot obtain wisdom without earnest attention and prayerful study. Some portions of Scripture are, indeed, too plain to be misunderstood; but there are others whose meaning does not lie upon the surface, to be seen at a glance. Scripture must be compared with scripture; there must be careful research and patient reflection. And such study will be richly repaid. As the miner discovers veins of precious metal concealed beneath the surface of the earth, so will he who perseveringly searches the word of God as for hid treasure, find truths of greatest value, which are concealed from the view of the careless seeker. RH October 9, 1883, par. 2

No effort should be spared to establish a right habit of study. If the mind wanders, bring it back. If the intellectual and moral taste has been perverted by the over-wrought and exciting tales of fiction, so that you are disinclined to apply yourself to the diligent study of God's word, then you have a battle to fight with yourself to overcome this depraved habit. A love for fictitious reading should be broken up at once. Rigid rules should be enforced to hold the mind in a proper channel. The pernicious practice of story-reading is one of the means employed by Satan to destroy souls. The mind that is occupied with exciting stories, loses all relish for solid reading that would improve the memory and strengthen the intellect. RH October 9, 1883, par. 3

I am acquainted with many sad examples of the evil effects of this baneful practice. In youth, the persons of whom I speak had well-balanced minds. God had endowed them with mental powers of no ordinary character. But they took up the reading of romance, and the more they indulged the appetite for this food, the greater was the demand. The imagination constantly craved its accustomed stimulus, as the inebriate longs for his wine or tobacco. Their mental and moral powers were weakened and perverted. They lost their interest in the Scriptures and their relish for prayer; and they were as truly ruined, mentally and spiritually, as is the liquor-drinker or the tobacco devotee. Novel-readers are mental inebriates; and they need to sign a pledge of total abstinence as verily as does the victim of any other form of intemperance. RH October 9, 1883, par. 4

Another source of danger, against which we should be constantly on our guard, is the reading of infidel authors. Such works are inspired by Satan, and no one can read them without loss to the soul. It is true that some who are affected by them may finally recover; but all who tamper in the least with their foul influence, place themselves on Satan's ground, and he makes the most of his advantage. As they invite his temptations, they have not wisdom to discern or strength to resist them. With a fascinating, bewitching power, unbelief and infidelity fasten themselves upon the mind. To harbor their suggestions is like recklessly taking to your bosom a serpent whose sting is always poisonous and often fatal. RH October 9, 1883, par. 5

We are surrounded by unbelief. The very atmosphere seems charged with it. Only by constant effort can we resist its power. Those who value their soul's salvation, should shun infidel writings as they would shun the leprosy. RH October 9, 1883, par. 6

Dear youth, be careful what you read. While the mind is directed into hurtful channels by an improper course of reading, it is impossible for you to make the truth of God the subject of constant meditation. If there was ever a time when a knowledge of the Scriptures was more important than at any other period, that time is the present. I appeal to young and old: Make the word of God your text-book. Here you will find the true standard of character. Here you may learn what it is to be a Christian in the true acceptation of the term. RH October 9, 1883, par. 7

The Sabbath-school affords to parents and children a precious opportunity for the study of God's word. But in order to gain that benefit which they should gain in the Sabbath-school, both parents and children should devote time to the study of the lessons, seeking to obtain a thorough knowledge of the facts presented, and also of the spiritual truths which these facts are designed to teach. We should especially impress upon the minds of the young the importance of seeking the full significance of the scripture under consideration. RH October 9, 1883, par. 8

In some schools, I am sorry to say, the custom prevails of reading the lesson from the lesson-sheet. This should not be. It need not be, if the time that is often needlessly and even sinfully employed, were given to the study of the Scriptures. There is no reason why Sabbath-school lessons should be less perfectly learned by teachers or pupils than are the lessons of the day-school. They should be better learned, as they treat of subjects infinitely more important. A neglect here is displeasing to God. RH October 9, 1883, par. 9

Parents, set apart a little time each day for the study of the Sabbath-school lesson with your children. Give up the social visit if need be, rather than sacrifice the hour devoted to the precious lessons of sacred history. Parents as well as children will receive benefit from this study. Let the more important passages of Scripture connected with the lesson be committed to memory, not as a task, but as a privilege. Though at first memory may be defective, it will gain strength by exercise, so that after a time you will delight thus to treasure up the precious words of truth. And the habit will prove a most valuable aid to religious growth. RH October 9, 1883, par. 10

If the time that is worse than wasted in gossip, in ministering to pride, or for the gratification of appetite, were devoted with equal interest to the study of the Bible, what encouragement would be given to our Sabbath-schools! But when parents are more anxious to have their children fashionably dressed than to have their minds stored with the truths of God's word, the children themselves will soon learn to regard dress and display as of more consequence than the things which concern their salvation. RH October 9, 1883, par. 11

Parents, yours is an important and solemn responsibility. Make it your life-work to form the characters of your children according to the divine Pattern. If they ever possess the inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, it will be because you perseveringly trained them to love the teachings of God's word, and to seek the approval of Jesus above the approbation of the world. RH October 9, 1883, par. 12

Observe system in the study of the Scriptures in your families. Neglect anything of a temporal nature, dispense with all unnecessary sewing, and with needless provision for the table, but be sure that the soul is fed with the bread of life. It is impossible to estimate the good results of one hour or even half an hour each day devoted in a cheerful, social manner to the word of God. Make the Bible its own expositor, bringing together all that is said concerning a given subject at different times and under varied circumstances. Do not break up your home class for callers or visitors. If they come in during the exercise, invite them to take part in it. Let it be seen that you consider it more important to obtain a knowledge of God's word than to secure the gains or pleasures of the world. RH October 9, 1883, par. 13

All over the field of revelation are scattered the glad springs of heavenly truth, and peace, and joy. They are within the reach of every seeker. The words of inspiration, pondered in the heart, will be as streams flowing from the river of the water of life. Our Saviour prayed that the minds of the disciples might be opened to understand the Scriptures. And whenever we study the Bible with a prayerful heart, the Holy Spirit is near to open to us the meaning of the words we read. RH October 9, 1883, par. 14

Let the youth be taught to love the study of the Bible. Let the first place in our thoughts and affections be given to the Book of books; for it contains knowledge which we need above all other. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Let us seek to be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. Let us put forth earnest efforts to draw near to God, that his angels may be near to protect and bless us. Thus may we gain the victory over the power of Satan, and finally receive the crown of glory, honor, and immortality. RH October 9, 1883, par. 15