Study The Bible For Yourselves
God calls for far more tact, more wise generalship, than has yet been given Him by His human agents. There is need of sharp, sanctified thinking, and keen work to counteract the ingenious plans of Satan. There is a call for a higher standard to be met, a holier, more determined, self-sacrificing effort to be put forth in the Lord’s work. Our youth must be educated to meet a higher standard, to understand that they are now deciding their own eternal destiny. There is no safeguard for any one, save in having in the heart the truth as it is in Jesus. This must be planted in the heart by the Holy Spirit. Much that is now called religion will sink out of sight when it is assailed by the hosts of Satan. Nothing will stand but the truth,—the wisdom that is from above, which will sanctify the soul.
Study The Bible For Yourselves
Let no one imagine that self-indulgence is religion. Let not selfishness be pampered. Let the youth learn to restrict their desires, and to beware of extravagance in the use of means. Let all look unto Jesus, contemplate His character, and follow in His footsteps. “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.”—The Youth’s Instructor, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 1894.
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.
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.
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.
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.—The Review and Herald, September 11, 1894. FE 309.1