“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“What God has said isn't only alive and active! It is sharper than any double edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.”
“The truths of the Bible, received, will uplift the mind from its earthliness and debasement. If the Word of God were appreciated as it should be, both young and old would possess an inward rectitude, strength of principle that would enable them to resist temptation” (Child Guidance, p. 506).
In 1787, on a ship called The Bounty, William Bligh made a voyage to the South Pacific on a mission to collect breadfruit trees. Of course, a crew of men willingly signed on for the journey when they heard it was a trip to such a beautiful place. Bligh made his friend Fletcher Christian his second in command. The men loved Tahiti so much that they didn’t want to leave. When ordered to do so, several men attempted to run and hide but were caught and severely punished. The drama of wrenching these men from their tropical paradise soured the atmosphere on the Bounty to the point of rebellion. In 1789, Captain Bligh’s own friend Fletcher Christian instigated a mutiny that would be written about the portrayed in movies for years to come. In the middle of the ocean, Bligh and those who remained faithful to him were abandoned on a lifeboat to make their own way to land.
With the captain gone, it would seem that the crew would be happy. However, those left on the Bounty continued to fight about what to do and where to go. Fletcher Christian returned to Tahiti and kidnapped some women and slaves before the group made their way to Pitcairn Island. The contingent group of travelers began to quarrel almost immediately. They quickly learned to distill alcohol. Crimes such as murder, rape, and stealing common, and by 1808, all the men were dead, either from disease or murder— except John Adams. He was the only man left on the deserted island with a group of women and children.
What does this story have to do with the Bible? Adams found a Bible that had been left on the Bounty. He pored through the passages of Scripture, and as he studied, God’s Word penetrated deep in his heart. He began to share the good news of Scripture with those in his little community. They learned of God’s love for them through this neglected Book that had simply taken up space on the ship. Twenty years later, when another ship happened upon Pitcairn island, the crew found a happy, wholesome Christian community with no sign of the evil qualities that brought the people to the island in the first place. Today, that Bible sits on display on Pitcairn Island as a testimony of the power of God’s message to people.
“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”
How often do you study the Bible to see what God has to say to you?
Every day ____Once a week ___ Once a month____ three to four times a year____ Almost never _____
Log on to http://guidemagazine.org/rtf to post your responses. Be up-front and honest. Say what you think. The lines below are provided as an alternative to posting. You may also wish to record your thoughts to share with your friends later.
Please read the following passages taken from Signs of the Times, October 3, 1906, by Ellen G. White. When you have finished reading, answer the questions that follow. The questions are not meant to be “school work”; they are provided as a way to help you understand what you have read and how it applies to you.
“When a real love for the Bible is awakened, and the student begins to realize how vast is the field and how precious the treasure, he will seize upon every opportunity for acquainting himself with God's Word. His study will be restricted to no special time or place. And this continuous study is one of the best means of cultivating a love for the Scriptures. Keep the Bible always with you. As you have opportunity, read a text and meditate upon it. While walking the streets, waiting at a railway station, waiting to meet an engagement, improve the opportunity to gain some precious thought from the treasure-house of truth.
“We should not take the testimony of any man as to what these Scriptures teach, but should study the Word of God for ourselves. If we allow others to do our thinking for us, we shall have crippled energies and contracted abilities. The noble powers of the mind may be so dwarfed by lack of exercise in themes worthy of their concentration as to lose their ability to grasp the deep meaning of the Word of God. The mind will enlarge if it is employed in tracing out the relation of the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual.
“There is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the whole Bible through, and yet fail to see its beauty or comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind, and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view, and no positive instruction gained.
Study to Know What God Says.
“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 theories. Leave these at the door, and with 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.’
“We can not obtain wisdom without earnest attention and prayerful study. Some portions of the Scriptures are indeed too plain to be misunderstood; but there are others whose meaning does not lie on the surface, to be seen at a glance. Scripture must be compared with scripture. There must be careful research and prayerful attention. 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 the greatest value, which are concealed from the view of the careless seeker. The words of Inspiration, pondered in the heart, will be as streams flowing from the fountain of light.
“We should reverence God's Word. For the printed volume we should show respect, never putting it to common uses, or handling it carelessly. And never should the Scriptures be quoted in jest or paraphrased to point a witty saying. ‘Every word of God is pure;’ ‘as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.’
“Never should the Bible be studied without prayer. Before opening its pages we should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. And it will be given. When Nathaniel came to Jesus, the Saviour exclaimed, ‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.’ Nathaniel said, ‘Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered, ‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’ And Jesus will see us also in [the] secret place of prayer, if we will seek Him for light, that we may know what is truth.”
" ‘The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
“ ‘I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.’ ”
" ‘You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.’ ”
According to The Mount of Blessing, page 21, how is the Holy Spirit given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered?
“Nearly nine out of 10 churched teenagers said their church experience exposed them to Bible stories (95 percent), taught them about the lives of great people in the bible (92 percent), and gave them fun experiences related to religion (89 percent). But only half (53 percent) said their church experience helped them understand the Bible well enough to help them make decisions based on biblical principles” (“Real Religion,” Christian Parenting Today [Winter 2003]).
What’s the problem? Few people would ever say that the Bible is useless. People who go to church would maintain that it is very important. But when it comes to living out the truths in God’s Word and putting them into practice, people tend to shut down. To illustrate this point, Jesus told the parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock. He said, ‘Therefore everyone who hears these worlds of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock’ (Matthew 7:24, 25, NIV). Of course, the foolish man illustrates someone who hears God’s Word but doesn’t put it into practice.
It may be that we just don’t know how to integrate the messages of Scripture into our lives. It may be that we haven’t discovered how God can speak to us through His Word. It may be that we know which day is the Sabbath, but we haven’t truly rested with Sabbath rest. You might be able to articulate what happens when a person dies, according to Scripture, but have you ever had to share the words of Scripture with someone who was grieving the loss of a loved one?
It may be that the missing link in our communication with God is learning how to allow His Word to shape the way we live each moment.
Match the text with the verse. When you have finished choose a text that you like and memorize it.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Justine received weekly letters from her grandmother who lived across the country. There were coupons, newspaper clippings, and complaints about the weather in each letter. Each week, Justine could almost guess what would be in the letter. She wrote back although not quite as faithfully.
While at summer camp, she received a typical letter from Grandma. Someone in her cabin noticed the letter and asked about it. Her response was glib and not well thought out. “My grandma is always sending me this stuff. Every week I get a letter from her with all this stuff in it. I never know what to do with it.” The fellow camper said. “Well, it’s obvious that she loves you very much.” Those words struck Justine in a powerful way. She never really thought about why her grandma would write so often. Such a simple consideration changed the way she read each letter.
Maybe the reason God has spoken through the Bible needs to sink into your heart today. If you remembered why God wrote the Bible, would it change the way you read it? Understanding the purpose of Scripture can provide the right mood in which to read it. It’s a letter from Someone who dearly loves you. The message inside the Bible screams about how much you matter to God!
“The Bible contains all the principles that men need in order to be fitted either for this life or for the life to come. And these principles may be understood by all. No one with a spirit to appreciate its teachings can read a single passage from the Bible without gaining from it some helpful thought. But the most valuable teaching of the Bible is not gained by occasional or disconnected study. Its great system of truth is not so presented as to be discerned by the careless or hasty reader. Many of its treasures lie far beneath the surface, and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort. The truths that go to make up a great whole must be searched out and gathered up ‘here a little and there a little. . .’
“Not alone in searching out truth and bringing it together does the mental value of Bible study consists. It consists also in the effort required to grasp the themes presented. The mind occupied with common place matters only becomes dwarfed and enfeebled. If never taxed to comprehend grand and far-reaching truths, it [the mind] after a time loses the power of growth. As a safeguard against this degeneracy, and a stimulus to development, nothing can equal the study of God's Word. As a means for intellectual training, the Bible is more effective than any other book, or all other books combined. The greatness of its themes, the dignified simplicity of its utterances, the beauty of its imagery, quicken and uplift the thoughts as nothing else can. No other study can impart such mental power as does the effort to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation. The mind thus brought in contact with the thoughts of the Infinite can not but expand and strengthen.
[“And even greater is the power of the Bible in the development of the spiritual nature. Man, created for fellowship with God, can only in such fellowship find his real life and development. Created to find in God his highest joy, he can find in nothing else that which can quiet the cravings of the heart, or satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. He who with sincere and teachable spirit studies God's Word, seeking to comprehend its truths, will be brought into touch with its Author, and, except by his own choice, there is no limit to the possibilities of his development.
[“In childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus studied the Scriptures. As a little child, He was daily, at His mother's knee, taught from the scrolls of the prophets. In His youth the early morning and evening twilight often found Him alone on the mountainside or among the trees of the forest, spending a quiet hour in prayer and in the study of God's Word. During His ministry His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures testified to His diligence in their study. And since He gained knowledge as we may gain it, His wonderful power, both mental and spiritual, is a testimony to the value of the Bible as a means of education” (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, September 19, 1906).
There are two basic questions to ask yourself as you study the Bible. Take time to listen to God’s Word this week and think, about these two questions as a framework for your study. Journal your thought about what God is trying to say to you, and plan a course of action for how you might apply that to your life this week.