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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 1

Chapter 11

Bible Study and the Mind

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Foundation of All Study.-The Word of God is to be the foundation of all study, and the words of revelation, carefully studied, appeal to and strengthen the intellect as well as the heart. The culture of the intellect is required, that we may understand the revelation of the will of God to us. It cannot be neglected by those who are obedient to His commandment. God has not given us the faculties of the mind to be devoted to cheap and frivolous pursuits.-MS 16, 1896.

A Strength of Principle.-The truths of the Bible, received, will uplift mind and soul. If the Word of God were appreciated as it should be, both young and old would possess an inward rectitude, a strength of principle, that would enable them to resist temptation.-The Ministry of Healing, 459 (1905).

The Only True Guide.-A familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures sharpens the discerning powers and fortifies the soul against the attacks of Satan. The Bible is the sword of the Spirit, which will never fail to vanquish the adversary. It is the only true guide in all matters of faith and practice. The reason why Satan has so great control over the minds and hearts of men is that they have not made the Word of God the man of their counsel, and all their ways have not been tried by the true test. The Bible will show us what course we must pursue to become heirs of glory.-The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881. (HC 31.)

Higher Education Defined.-There is no education to be gained higher than that given to the early disciples, and which is revealed to us through the Word of God. To gain the higher education means to follow this Word implicitly; it means to walk in the footsteps of Christ, to practice His virtues. It means to give up selfishness and to devote the life to the service of God.

Higher education calls for something greater, something more divine, than the knowledge to be obtained merely from books. It means a personal, experimental knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness and which are opposed to loyalty to God. It means to overcome stubbornness, pride, selfishness, worldly ambition, and unbelief. It is the message of deliverance from sin.-Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 11, 12 (1913).

Inspires the Mind.-In the Word of God the mind finds subjects for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspirations. Here we may hold communion with patriarchs and prophets and listen to the voice of the Eternal as He speaks with men. Here we behold the Majesty of heaven as He humbled Himself to become our substitute and surety, to cope single-handed with the powers of darkness, and to gain the victory in our behalf. A reverent contemplation of such themes as these cannot fail to soften, purify, and ennoble the heart, and at the same time to inspire the mind with new strength and vigor.-Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 52, 53 (1913).

It Reveals the Purpose of Life.-But that which above all other considerations should lead us to prize the Bible is that in it is revealed to men the will of God. Here we learn the object of our creation and the means by which that object may be attained. We learn how to improve wisely the present life and how to secure the future life. No other book can satisfy the questionings of the mind or the cravings of the heart. By obtaining a knowledge of God's Word and giving heed thereto, men may rise from the lowest depths of degradation to become the sons of God, the associates of sinless angels.-Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 53, 54 (1913).

Parables to Impress and Awaken Minds.-God designs that our minds shall be impressed, awakened, and instructed by His sacred parables. He would have nature counteract the attempts made to divorce science from Bible Christianity. He desires that the things of nature that greet our senses shall hold the attention and imprint heavenly truths upon the mind.-The Youth's Instructor, May 6, 1897.

The Bible Without a Rival.-As an educating power the Bible is without a rival. Nothing will so impart vigor to all the faculties as requiring students to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, to the exclusion of grand and lofty themes, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems or put to the stretch to comprehend important truths, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth.-Testimonies for the Church 5:24 (1882).

Accept It With Simple Faith.-God desires man to exercise his reasoning powers, and the study of the Bible will strengthen and elevate the mind as no other study can do. It is the best mental as well as spiritual exercise for the human mind. Yet we are to beware of deifying reason, which is subject to the weakness and infirmity of humanity.

If we would not have the Scriptures clouded to our understanding so that the plainest truths shall not be comprehended, we must have the simplicity and faith of a little child, ready to learn and beseeching the aid of the Holy Spirit. A sense of the power and wisdom of God and of our inability to comprehend His greatness, should inspire us with humility, and we should open His Word, as we would enter His presence, with holy awe. When we come to the Bible, reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself, and heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM.-Testimonies for the Church 5:703, 704 (1889).

Nothing to Be Studied That Clouds God's Word.-Jesus Christ is our spiritual touchstone. He reveals the Father. Nothing should be given as food to the brain that will bring before the mind any mist or cloud in regard to the Word of God. No careless inattention should be shown in regard to the cultivation of the soil of the heart. The mind must be prepared to appreciate the work and words of Christ, for He came from heaven to waken a desire and to give the bread of life to all who hunger for spiritual knowledge.-MS 15, 1898.

Scriptures Recognize Man's Moral Choice.-When we search the Word of God, angels are by our side, reflecting bright beams of light upon its sacred pages. The Scriptures appeal to man as having power to choose between right and wrong; they speak to him in warning, in reproof, in entreaty, in encouragement. The mind must be exercised on the solemn truths of God's Word, or it will grow weak.... We must examine for ourselves and learn the reasons of our faith by comparing scripture with scripture. Take the Bible, and on your knees plead with God to enlighten your mind.-The Review and Herald, March 4, 1884.

Minds Find Noblest Development.-If the Bible were studied as it should be, men would become strong in intellect. The subjects treated upon in the Word of God, the dignified simplicity of its utterance, the noble themes which it presents to the mind, develop faculties in man which cannot otherwise be developed. In the Bible a boundless field is opened for the imagination. The student will come from a contemplation of its grand themes, from association with its lofty imagery, more pure and elevated in thought and feeling than if he had spent the time in reading any work of mere human origin, to say nothing of those of a trifling character.

Youthful minds fail to reach their noblest development when they neglect the highest source of wisdom-the Word of God. The reason why we have so few men of good mind, of stability and solid worth, is that God is not feared, God is not loved, the principles of religion are not carried out in the life as they should be.-Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 126, 1890. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 165.)

Search for Its Hidden Treasure.-The Bible, just as it reads, is to be our guide. Nothing is so calculated to enlarge the mind and strengthen the intellect as the study of the Bible. No other study will so elevate the soul and give vigor to the faculties as the study of the living oracles. The minds of thousands of ministers of the gospel are dwarfed because they are permitted to dwell upon commonplace things, and are not exercised in searching for the hidden treasure of the Word of God. As the mind is brought to the study of God's Word, the understanding will enlarge and the higher powers will develop for the comprehension of high and ennobling truth.

It is according to the character of the matter with which the mind becomes familiar that it is dwarfed or enlarged. If the mind is not raised up to make vigorous and persistent effort in seeking to comprehend truth by comparing scripture with scripture, it will surely become contracted and lose its tone. We should set our minds to the task of searching for truths that do not lie directly upon the surface.-The Review and Herald, September 28, 1897.

Bible Directs the Life Aright.-The whole Bible is a revelation of the glory of God in Christ. Received, believed, obeyed, it is the great instrumentality in the transformation of character. It is the grand stimulus, the constraining force, that quickens the physical, mental, and spiritual powers and directs the life into right channels.

The reason why the youth, and even those of mature years, are so easily led into temptation and sin is that they do not study the Word of God and meditate upon it as they should. The lack of firm, decided willpower, which is manifest in life and character, results from neglect of the sacred instruction of God's Word. They do not by earnest effort direct the mind to that which would inspire pure, holy thought and divert it from that which is impure and untrue.-The Ministry of Healing, 458 (1905).

It Reveals the Rules for Holy Living.-The Lord, in His great mercy, has revealed to us in the Scriptures His rules of holy living, His commandments, and His laws. He tells us therein the sins to shun; He explains to us the plan of salvation and points out the way to heaven. If they obey His injunction to "search the Scriptures," none need be ignorant of these things.

The actual progress of the soul in virtue and divine knowledge is by the plan of addition-adding constantly the graces which Christ made an infinite sacrifice to bring within the reach of all. We are finite, but we are to have a sense of the infinite.

The mind must be taxed, contemplating God and His wonderful plan for our salvation. The soul will thus be lifted above commonplace things and fastened upon things that are eternal.

The thought that we are in God's world and in the presence of the great Creator of the universe, who made man in His own image, after His own likeness, will lift the mind into broader, higher fields for meditation than any fictitious story. The thought that God's eye is watching us, that He loves us and cared so much for fallen man as to give His dearly beloved Son to redeem us that we might not miserably perish, is a great one, and whoever opens his heart to the acceptance and contemplation of these great themes will never be satisfied with trivial, sensational subjects.-The Review and Herald, November 9, 1886.

A New Heart Means a New Mind.-The words "A new heart will I give you" mean, "A new mind will I give you." This change of heart is always attended by a clear conception of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. The clearness of our views of truth will be proportionate to our understanding of the Word of God. He who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he had reached a higher grade of intelligence.-The Review and Herald, November 10, 1904.

Not to Be Casually Read.-It is not safe for us to turn from the Holy Scriptures with only a casual reading of their sacred pages.... Rein the mind up to the high task that has been set before it, and study with determined interest, that you may understand divine truth. Those who do this will be surprised to find to what the mind can attain.-The Youth's Instructor, June 29, 1893. (HC 35.)

Memory Training Aids the Mind.-The mind must be restrained and not allowed to wander. It should be trained to dwell upon the Scriptures and upon noble, elevating themes. Portions of Scripture, even whole chapters, may be committed to memory to be repeated when Satan comes in with his temptations. The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is a profitable one for this purpose. Wall the soul in with the restrictions and instructions given by inspiration of the Spirit of God.

When Satan would lead the mind to dwell upon earthly and sensual things, he is most effectually resisted with "It is written." ... When he suggests doubts as to whether we are really the people whom God is leading, whom by tests and provings He is preparing to stand in the great day, be ready to meet his insinuations by presenting the clear evidence from the Word of God that this is the remnant people who are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.-The Review and Herald, April 8, 1884.

Bible Study Produces Well-balanced Minds.-Those who are under the training of the Holy Spirit will be able to teach the Word intelligently. And when it is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirit's guidance and a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, it will accomplish all that Christ has promised.

The result of such Bible study will be well-balanced minds; for the physical, mental, and moral powers will be harmoniously developed. There will be no paralysis in spiritual knowledge. The understanding will be quickened, the sensibilities will be aroused, the conscience will become sensitive, the sympathies and sentiments will be purified, a better moral atmosphere will be created, and a new power to resist temptation will be imparted.-Special Testimonies On Education, 26, 27, June 12, 1896. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 433, 434.)

An Antidote for Poisonous Insinuations.-When the mind is stored with Bible truth, its principles take deep root in the soul, and the preference and tastes become wedded to truth, and there is no desire for debasing, exciting literature that enfeebles the moral powers and wrecks the faculties God has bestowed for usefulness. Bible knowledge will prove an antidote for the poisonous insinuations received through unguarded reading.-The Review and Herald, November 9, 1886. (HC 202.)

Protects From Superstition.-If the teachings of this Word were made the controlling influence in our lives, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in churches and families would find no place .... The teachings of the Word of God are to control mind and heart, that the home life may demonstrate the power of the grace of God....

Without the Bible we should be bewildered by false theories. The mind would be subjected to the tyranny of superstition and falsehood. But having in our possession an authentic history of the beginning of the world, we need not hamper ourselves with human conjectures and unreliable theories.-The Review and Herald, November 10, 1904.

It Improves the Reasoning Faculties.-If the mind is set to the task of studying the Bible for information, the reasoning faculties will be improved. Under study of the Scriptures the mind expands and becomes more evenly balanced than if occupied in obtaining general information from the books that are used which have no connection with the Bible. No knowledge is so firm, so consistent and far-reaching, as that obtained from a study of the Word of God. It is the foundation of all true knowledge.

The Bible is like a fountain. The more you look into it, the deeper it appears. The grand truths of sacred history possess amazing strength and beauty and are as far-reaching as eternity. No science is equal to the science that reveals the character of God.

Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, yet he said, "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."-The Review and Herald, February 25, 1896. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 393.)

Endows the Faculties With Vigor.-Why should not this book-this precious treasure-be exalted and esteemed as a valued friend? This is our chart across the stormy sea of life. It is our guidebook showing us the way to the eternal mansions and the character we must have to inhabit them. There is no book the perusal of which will so elevate and strengthen the mind as the study of the Bible. Here the intellect will find themes of the most elevated character to call out its powers. There is nothing that will so endow with vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with the stupendous truths of revelation. The effort to grasp and measure these great thoughts expands the mind. We may dig down deep into the mine of truth and gather precious treasures with which to enrich the soul. Here we may learn the true way to live, the safe way to die.-The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881. (HC 31.)

Bible Study Will Enlarge the Mind.-The Bible is our guide in the safe paths that lead to eternal life. God has inspired men to write that which will present the truth to us, which will attract, and which, if practiced, will enable the receiver to obtain moral power to rank among the most highly educated minds. The minds of all who make the Word of God their study will enlarge. Far more than any other study its influence is calculated to increase the powers of comprehension and endow every faculty with a new power. It brings the mind in contact with broad, ennobling principles of truth. It brings all heaven into close connection with human minds, imparting wisdom and knowledge and understanding.-The Youth's Instructor, October 13, 1898, (Sons and Daughters of God, 70.)

Bible a Revelation of Jehovah.-Through all time this Book is to stand as a revelation of Jehovah. To human beings the divine oracles have been committed to be the power of God. The truths of the Word of God are not mere sentiment, but the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin have clouded the understanding is removed.-The Review and Herald, November 10, 1904.