Advice on the Scriptures

Posted Apr 23, 2011 by Michael Ebens in Devotional - Blog Hits: 10,490

A number of days ago, we were reading from a worship reading which is compiled from the writings of Ellen White. As I read it, I was amazed at what Ellen White was saying regarded the scriptures, it really hits the point. I looked for where it had come from, and it said Great Controversy 520-522, which comes from chapter 32 of that book.

I found it hard to put a title to this blog, as this covers so many things; but the most appropriate I can come up with is "Advice on the Scriptures". In the long quote following I've bolded the parts that I think are most interesting, of which there are a lot!

The great deceiver has many agents ready to present any and every kind of error to ensnare souls—heresies prepared to suit the varied tastes and capacities of those whom he would ruin. It is his plan to bring into the church insincere, unregenerate elements that will encourage doubt and unbelief, and hinder all who desire to see the work of God advance and to advance with it. Many who have no real faith in God or in His word assent to some principles of truth and pass as Christians, and thus they are enabled to introduce their errors as Scriptural doctrines. {GC 520.1}

The position that it is of no consequence what men believe is one of Satan's most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. From the beginning the servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men, but as inculcators of falsehoods that were fatal to the soul. Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, firmly and fearlessly opposed those who were turning men from the word of God. That liberality which regards a correct religious faith as unimportant found no favor with these holy defenders of the truth. {GC 520.2}

The vague and fanciful interpretations of Scripture, and the many conflicting theories concerning religious faith, that are found in the Christian world are the work of our great adversary to confuse minds so that they shall not discern the truth. And the discord and division which exist among the churches of Christendom are in a great measure due to the prevailing custom of wresting the Scriptures to support a favorite theory. Instead of carefully studying God's word with humility of heart to obtain a knowledge of His will, many seek only to discover something odd or original. {GC 520.3}

In order to sustain erroneous doctrines or unchristian practices, some will seize upon passages of Scripture separated from the context, perhaps quoting half of a single verse as proving their point, when the remaining portion would show the meaning to be quite the opposite. With the cunning of the serpent they entrench themselves behind disconnected utterances construed to suit their carnal desires. Thus do many willfully pervert the word of God. Others, who have an active imagination, seize upon the figures and symbols of Holy Writ, interpret them to suit their fancy, with little regard to the testimony of Scripture as its own interpreter, and then they present their vagaries as the teachings of the Bible. {GC 521.1}

Whenever the study of the Scriptures is entered upon without a prayerful, humble, teachable spirit, the plainest and simplest as well as the most difficult passages will be wrested from their true meaning. The papal leaders select such portions of Scripture as best serve their purpose, interpret to suit themselves, and then present these to the people, while they deny them the privilege of studying the Bible and understanding its sacred truths for themselves. The whole Bible should be given to the people just as it reads. It would be better for them not to have Bible instruction at all than to have the teaching of the Scriptures thus grossly misrepresented. {GC 521.2}

The Bible was designed to be a guide to all who wish to become acquainted with the will of their Maker. God gave to men the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John the things that must shortly come to pass. Those important matters that concern our salvation were not left involved in mystery. They were not revealed in such a way as to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth. Said the Lord by the prophet Habakkuk: "Write the vision, and make it plain, ... that he may run that readeth it." Habakkuk 2:2. The word of God is plain to all who study it with a prayerful heart. Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth. "Light is sown for the righteous." Psalm 97:11. And no church can advance in holiness unless its members are earnestly seeking for truth as for hid treasure. {GC 521.3}

Let us not wrestle the Bible to our own desires, let it be its own interpreter. We shouldn't try to make what it says fit to our own agenda. To quote Bertrand Russell, who was, among other things, a philosopher:

Never let yourself be diverted by what you wish to believe, but look only and surely at what are the facts.

Also notice the last paragraph, I think this one is really interesting. Matters which concern our salvation are not left in mystery, and won't perplex and mislead the honest seeker. A theologian stated this :

To try to understand the Trinity is to lose one's mind. To deny the Trinity is lose one's soul.

Our belief on God is a big deal, and this theologian obviously agrees. However, Ellen White says that issues which concern our salvation are "not revealed in such a way as to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth." These two statements clearly don't live in harmony with one another. I choose to believe that God has clearly revealed to us the things necessary for our salvation, including who He is (I should think that knowing the one who you serve is important, right?). Thanks for reading!

 


Footnotes

^ 1 I got this from the book Revive Us Again by Mark Finley page 31. It is quoted there as being said by an "eminent theologian."