How to study the Bible is a very basic, yet also very uncommon, skill. Here is what Sister White tells us is most needed to correctly understand the Word of God. If you fully apply all these principles, then your study of the Bible will bear much fruit as the Holy Spirit leads you into all truth! On the other hand, if you don’t, you’ll be blown about by the winds of doctrine that are blasting our people right now. Satan has a plethora of distractions and false doctrines with which to draw us out of the narrow way, brothers and sisters. We don’t want you to fall into his snares, so we pray that you will take this counsel to heart and study your Bible diligently, to show yourself “approved unto God, … rightly dividing the word of truth”.
Let the seeker for truth who accepts the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, lay aside every previous idea, and take that Word in its simplicity. He should renounce every sinful practice and enter the holy of holies with heart softened and subdued, ready to listen to what God says.
Do not carry your creed to the Bible and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by “It is written.”
The mistake made by the Roman Catholic is that he reads the Bible in the light of the priests and rulers of the church, the early fathers, or other Catholic expositors. Laying aside all creeds or articles prescribed by any church, we are to read the Bible as the Word of God to us. The Light of the world will enable us to distinguish between truth and antagonistic errors.
Let the heart be softened and subdued by the spirit of prayer before the Bible is read. Truth will triumph when the Spirit of truth co-operates with the humble Bible student. How precious the thought that the Author of truth still lives and reigns. Ask Him to impress your minds with the truth. Your searching of the Scriptures will then be profitable. Christ is the great Teacher of His followers, and He will not leave you to walk in darkness.
The Bible is its own interpreter. With beautiful simplicity, one portion connects itself with the truth of another portion, until the whole Bible is blended in one harmonious whole. Light flashes forth from one text to illuminate some portion of the Word that has seemed more obscure.
Those who with humility of heart search the Scriptures, with a sincere desire to know and obey the truth, will not be left to walk in darkness. Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the whole Bible is a revelation of Christ. But you may read the Scriptures from morning till night, and unless you humbly submit your will to the will of God, you cannot receive a saving knowledge of the gospel. As you see the truth plainly stated, lay aside every false position, however dear it may be to the selfish heart.
Some will take a text, wrest it from its true bearing, and force it into service to sustain some preconceived opinion. By linking together isolated passages of Scripture, they may deceive others. But what appears to be Bible proof for their position is no proof whatever; for the Scriptures are not used in their true setting. In this way error is often magnified, and truth diminished. Those who thus wrest the Scriptures to sustain error, greatly dishonor God, and in the day of judgment, they will be held responsible for the disobedience of those who through their sophistries have been led to disregard the divine law.
— E.G. White, Manuscript 175, 1901