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THE BOOK OF BOOKS [message #2018] Fri, 17 March 2017 23:37
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THE BOOK OF BOOKS



(Psalms 12:6)
The words of the LORD are pure words:
as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.



* What book can compare with the Bible? An understanding of its teachings is essential for every child and youth, and for those of mature age; for it is the word of God, given to guide the human family to heaven. In the world today there are gods many and doctrines many. Without an understanding of the Scriptures it is impossible for the youth to understand what is truth, or to discern between the sacred and the common.

The word of God should stand as the highest educating book in our world and should be treated with reverential awe. It should be placed in the hands of the children and youth as the great lesson book, that they may know Him whom to know aright is life eternal.



History in the Bible


The grand truths of sacred history possess amazing strength and beauty, and are as far-reaching as eternity. What more important knowledge can be gained than that which outlines the fall of man, and the consequences of that sin which opened the floodgates of woe upon the world; which tells of Christ's first advent? The incarnation of Christ, His divinity, His atonement, His wonderful life in heaven as our advocate, the office of the Holy Spirit--all these vital themes of Christianity are revealed from Genesis to Revelation. Each is a golden link in the perfect chain of truth. Why, then, should not the Scriptures be exalted in every school in our land?

Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, yet he said to Israel, "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. For . . . what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons." Deuteronomy 4:5-9.

Where shall we find laws more noble, pure, and just than are exhibited on the statute books wherein is recorded the instruction given to Moses for the children of Israel? From what other source can we gather such strength or learn such noble science? What other book will teach men so well how to love, fear, and obey God? What other book presents to students more ennobling science, more wonderful history? It clearly portrays righteousness and foretells the consequence of disloyalty to the law of Jehovah.


The Bible as Literature


As an educating power the Bible is of more value than the writings of all the philosophers of all ages. In its wide range of style and subjects there is something to interest and instruct every mind, to ennoble every interest. The light of revelation shines undimmed into the distant past, where human annals cast not a ray of light. There is poetry which has called forth the wonder and admiration of the world. In glowing beauty, in sublime and solemn majesty, in touching pathos, it is unequaled by the most brilliant productions of human genius. There is sound logic and impassioned eloquence. There are portrayed the noble deeds of noble men, examples of private virtue and public honor, lessons of piety and purity.


A Moral Power


In studying the Scriptures we become acquainted with God and are led to understand our relation to Christ, the Sin Bearer, the surety for the fallen race. No one is left in darkness as to that which God approves or disapproves.

The Bible contains instruction regarding the character God's children must possess. "Blessed are the pure in heart," it declares, "for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." 1 John 3:2, 3.

This all-important knowledge should be kept before our children and youth, not in an arbitrary, dictatorial manner, but as a divine disclosure, as instruction of the highest value, essential for their present peace in this world of turmoil and strife, and as a preparation for the future eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then place the Holy Word in their hands. Encourage them to search its pages. They will find there treasures of inestimable value. And in receiving Christ as the bread of life they have the pledge of eternal life.

Christ's sayings are pure gold without one particle of dross. When those who have received the false interpretation of the word search the Scriptures with determined effort to know what is truth, the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of their understanding, and the word is to them a new revelation. Their hearts are quickened with a new and living faith, and they behold wondrous things out of His law. The teachings of Christ have a breadth and meaning to them that they have never before understood.


*** All would pronounce the Bible the most interesting book they ever perused if their imagination had not become perverted by exciting stories of a fictitious character.


If we study the word of God with interest, and pray to understand it, new beauties will be seen in every line. God will reveal precious truths so clearly that the mind will derive sincere pleasure and have a continual feast as its comforting and sublime truths are unfolded.

To the diligent Bible student new light, new ideas, new gems of truth will constantly appear and be eagerly grasped, for it is impossible for any mind to comprehend all the richness and greatness of even one promise of God. One catches the glory from one point of view, and another the beauty and grace from another point, and the soul is filled with the heavenly light.

After the first acquaintance with the Bible the interest of the earnest seeker grows rapidly. The discipline gained by a regular study of the word of God enables him to see a freshness and beauty in truth that he never before discerned.

The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be; but its beauty, the evidence of its power to save souls that believe, is a lesson that is never thus learned. It is a leaf from the tree of life, and by eating it, by receiving it into our minds, we grow strong to do the will of God.

Those who bring to the investigation of the word a spirit of which it does not approve, will take away from the search a spirit which it has not imparted. We should take up the study of God's word with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible.

Those who study the Bible simply to find texts to prove their theory or vindicate their opinion, will not be enlightened by the Spirit of God. Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. We must search the scriptures in order to receive life for the soul.

When the heart is brought into harmony with the word, a new life will spring up within, a new light will shine upon every line of the word, and it will become the voice of God to the soul. Then the truth of God's word will be regarded with new interest, and will be explored as if it were a revelation just from the courts above. Every declaration of inspiration concerning Christ will take hold of the in-most soul of those who love Him. Envy, jealousy and evil surmising will cease. The Bible will be regarded as a charter from heaven. Its study will absorb the mind, and its truths will feast the soul.

Several times each day, precious golden moments should be consecrated to prayer and the study of the scriptures, if it is only to commit a text to memory, that spiritual life may exist in the soul. We should take one verse and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us until it becomes our own, and we know 'what saith the Lord.'

The mind must be restrained and not allowed to wander. It should be trained to dwell upon the scriptures; even whole chapters may be committed to memory, to be repeated when Satan comes with his temptations. Even while you are walking on the streets, you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in your mind, and God will flash the knowledge obtained into the memory at the very time when it is needed.

We should open the scriptures with reverence, and never allow one expression of lightness and trifling to escape our lips when quoting scripture. As we take our Bible into our hands let us remember that we are on holy ground.

There is little benefit derived from hasty reading of the scriptures. One may read the whole Bible through, and yet fail to see its beauty or comprehend its deep 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.

If Christians would earnestly search the scriptures more hearts would burn with the vivid truths therein revealed. Their hopes would brighten with the precious promises strewn like pearls all along through the sacred writings. In contemplating the history of patriarchs and prophets, the men who loved and feared God and walked with Him, hearts will glow with the spirit that animated these worthies. As the mind dwells on the virtue and piety of holy men of old, the spirit which inspired them will kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character, and as they gather the golden truth from the word, the heavenly Instructor is close by their side.

In the word is poetry, wisdom, history, biography and the most profound philosophy. Here is a study that quickens the mind into a vigorous and healthy life, and awakens it to the highest exercise. Studied and obeyed, the word of God would give to the world men of stronger and more active intellect than will the closest application to all the subjects which human philosophy embraces. It would give men of strength and solidity of character, of keen perception and sound judgment: men who would be an honor to God and a blessing to the world, for it enlarges the mind, expands, elevates and endows it with new vigor, by bringing its faculties in contact with stupendous truths.

Even unconsciously we imitate that with which we are familiar. By having a knowledge of Christ-His words-and His Lessons of instruction, we instinctively borrow the virtues of the character which we have so closely studied and become imbued with the spirit which we have so much admired.


*** Take time to study the Bible, the book of books. There never was a time when it was so important that the followers of Christ should study the Bible as now. Deceptive influences are upon all sides, and it is essential that you counsel with Jesus, your best friend. The wayfaring man may find the way of life through faith and obedience, through abiding in the sunshine of Christ's righteousness. But how shall we understand what is meant by these terms, if we do not understand the Bible? In the word of God duty is made plain, and everything relating to the religious life is presented in a definite way. The whole plan of salvation is delineated, and the helps to the soul are pointed out. The way in which the believer may be complete in Christ is unfolded.

The Bible is what we all need; for it is the science of salvation. Turn not away from the holy word of God; for it will make you wise unto salvation. The psalmist says, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." The apostle says, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." David declares, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." How many are betrayed into sin, because they have not, through prayerful study of the word of God, realized the sinfulness of sin, and found out how they may steadfastly resist it. When temptation comes upon them, they seem to be off guard, and ignorant of the devices of the enemy. We are living in perilous times, and as we draw near the close of earth's history, there will be no safety for those who do not become familiar with the word of God. I would warn the disciples of Christ of the impending days of peril, and beseech you to prepare for the time of test and trial; for everything that can be shaken, will be shaken. Do we now obey the word of God, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? Are we established and settled in the present truth? There is need of closely examining yourselves whether you are in the love of God; for except Christ be in you, you are reprobates. Self-deception is dangerous, and no one of us can afford to go on in delusion.

The Lord Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation. He has not neglected one item in the plan of redemption, but has provided all things for our encouragement and final triumph. It is not necessary that we should stumble and fall; every point in the passage where we must go has been guarded; but the question you need to put to yourselves is, "Am I a Christian?" To be a Christian is to be far more than many understand. It means more than simply having your name upon the church records. It means to be joined to Christ. It means to have simple faith, unwavering reliance upon God. It means to have child-like confidence in our heavenly Father through the name and merit of his dear Son. Do you love to keep the commandments of God, because the commandments of God are God's precepts, the transcript of his character, and can no more be altered than can the character of God? Do you respect and love the law of Jehovah?

The children of God have reached the most critical part of their pilgrimage; for the nets and pitfalls of the enemy are on every side. And yet with the guidance of the Lord, with that which is plainly revealed in his word, we may walk securely and not stumble. But we shall daily need to seek God, to inquire, "Is this the way of the Lord?" You cannot go on following your own inclination, and at the same time be treading in safe paths. You cannot live to please yourself, but must submit your will to God. But how will you understand what is the will of God unless you study his word with humble and contrite heart? You should be anxious to know, What saith the word of God to me?

Though the pure word of God is presented to us, and a voice from heaven is addressing us in its pages how few take heed to themselves and to the doctrine. O, when the heart is awakened to feel its need, the prayer will go forth from unfeigned lips, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." As you walk the streets, as you engage in the ordinary pursuits of life, there is nothing to hinder you from lifting up your soul to God in prayer. Prayer is appropriate at all times and in all places. To those who feel their need, the promise is given, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

The work presented in these words of the prophet is full of comfort to those who are laden with sin, and describe the very work that must be done for every soul who will enter the kingdom of heaven. This will be done for all who sincerely seek after God. Without this special work, we cannot keep the commandments of God, and since the promises of God are so abundant, there is no excuse for any of us if we continue in sin. The promises are, "A new heart will I give you;" "I will put my Spirit within you." This provision is made for us through the merit of Christ's righteousness: "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." Those who experience the change spoken of in these words will find that their restlessness and disquietude are all taken away, and they will find rest unto their souls in Christ. His merit, his righteousness, are imputed to the believing soul, and the believer has inward peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Trusting in Christ, he dwells upon pleasant things of a spiritual character, and his great desire is to keep the heart right with God. Through this new motive, he will by faith in Christ "keep the heart with all diligence," realizing that "out of it are the issues of life." The divine excellences of the promises of God will furnish a continual feast to his soul, and by faith he looks up, exclaiming with joy, "The Lord, my righteousness."


*** The Bible is the book of books. If you love the word of God, searching it as you have opportunity, that you may come into possession of its rich treasures, and be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, then you may be assured that Jesus is drawing you to himself. But to read the Scripture in a casual way, without seeking to comprehend Christ's lesson that you may comply with his requirements, is not enough. There are treasures in the word of God that can be discovered only by sinking the shaft deep into the mine of truth.

The carnal mind rejects the truth; but the soul that is converted undergoes a marvelous change. The book that before was unattractive because it revealed truths which testified against the sinner, now becomes the food of the soul, the joy and consolation of the life. The Sun of righteousness illuminates the sacred pages, and the Holy Spirit speaks through them to the soul. To those who love Christ the Bible is as the garden of God. Its promises are as grateful to the heart as the fragrance of flowers is to the senses.

Let all who have cultivated a love for light reading, now turn their attention to the sure word of prophecy. Take your Bibles, and begin to study with fresh interest the sacred records of the Old and New Testaments. The oftener and more diligently you study the Bible, the more beautiful will it appear, and the less relish you will have for light reading. Bind this precious volume to your hearts. It will be to you a friend and guide.






Sources:

CT Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students
Chap. 60 - The Book of Books

WM Herald The West Michigan Herald
October 26, 1904 The Book of Books

YI The Youth's Instructor
May 18, 1893 Words to the Young
October 9, 1902 What Shall We Read?

By E. G. White








Your brother in Christ
\r Mel

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