earch the Scriptures.
This is the Word that comes to us from Christ. Had it been essential for us to search the Fathers, He would have told us to do so. But the Fathers do not all speak the same thing. Which of them should we choose as a guide? There is no need for us to trust to such uncertainty. We pass by the Fathers to learn of God out of His Word. This is life eternal, to know God. O, how thankful we should be that the Bible is the inspired Word of God! Holy men of old wrote this Word as they were moved by the Spirit.
The commentaries written about the Word do not all agree. God does not ask us to be guided by them. It is His Word with which we have to deal. All can search this Word for themselves, knowing that the teaching of this precious Book is unchangeable. The opinions of human beings differ, but the Bible always says the same thing. The Word of God is from everlasting to everlasting.
God did not leave His Word to be preserved in the memory of men, and handed down from generation to generation by oral transmission and traditional unfolding. Had He done this, the Word would gradually have been added to by men, and we should have been asked to receive the teachings of men. Let us thank God for His Written Word.
The Bible was not given for ministers and learned men only. The poor man needs it as much as the rich man, the unlearned as much as the learned. Every person, young and old alike, should read the Bible for himself. Do not depend on the minister to read it for you. The Bible is God?s Word to you. And Christ has made this Word so plain that in reading it no one need stumble. Let the humble cottager read and understand the Word given by the wisest Teacher the world has ever known; for among kings, governors, statesmen, and the world?s most highly educated men, there is none greater than He.
?Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life.? To search means to look diligently for something which has been lost. Search for the hidden treasures in God?s Word. You cannot afford to be without them. Study the difficult passages, comparing verse with verse, and you will find that scripture is the key which unlocks scripture. Those who prayerfully study the Bible go from each search wiser than they were before. Some of their difficulties have been solved; for the Holy Spirit has done the work spoken of in the fourteenth chapter of John: ?The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.?
Nothing worth having is obtained without earnest, persevering effort. In business, only those who have a will to do see successful results. Without earnest toil we cannot expect to obtain a knowledge of spiritual things. Those who obtain the jewels of truth must dig for them as a miner digs for the precious ore hidden in the earth. Those who work indifferently and halfheartedly will never succeed. Young and old should read the Word of God; and not only should they read it, but they should study it with diligent earnestness, praying, believing, and searching. Thus they will find the hidden treasure; for the Lord will quicken their understanding.
In your study of the Word, lay at the door of investigation your preconceived opinions and your hereditary and cultivated ideas. You will never reach the truth if you study the Scriptures to vindicate your own ideas. Leave these at the door, and with a contrite heart go in to hear what the Lord has to say to you. As the humble seeker for truth sits at Christ?s feet, and learns of Him, the Word gives him understanding. To those who are too wise in their own conceit to study the Bible, Christ says, You must become meek and lowly in heart if you desire to become wise unto salvation.
Do not read the Word in the light of former opinions; but with a mind free from prejudice, search it carefully and prayerfully. If, as you read, conviction comes, and you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the Word, do not try to make the Word fit these opinions. Make your opinions fit the Word. Do not allow what you have believed or practiced in the past to control your understanding. Open the eyes of your mind to behold wondrous things out of the law. Find out what is written, and then plant your feet on the eternal Rock.
Our salvation depends upon our knowledge of God?s will as it is contained in His Word. Never cease asking and searching for truth. You need to know your duty. You need to know what you must do to be saved. And it is God?s will that you shall know what He has said to you. But you must exercise faith. As you search the Scriptures, you must believe that God is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.
O search the Bible with a heart hungry for spiritual food! Dig into the Word as a miner digs into the earth to find the veins of gold. Do not give up your search till you have learned your relation to God and His will concerning you.
This article first appeared in The Youth?s Instructor on July 24, 1902. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.