Counsels on Sabbath School Work

Chap. 2 – A School for Bible Study

Search the Scriptures

No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the word of God. By carefully and closely searching His word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” This search enables the student to observe closely the divine Model, for they testify of Christ. The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” …  {CSW 17.1}

The word of God, spoken to the heart, has an animating power, and those who will frame any excuse for neglecting to become acquainted with it will neglect the claims of God in many respects. The character will be deformed, the words and acts a reproac h to the truth. The apostle tells us, “All Scripture is given by


inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” One of the prophets of God exclaims, “While I was musing the fire burned.” 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 strown like pearls all through the Sacred Writings. In contemplating the history of the patriarchs, the prophets, the men who loved and feared God and walked with Him, hearts will glow with the spirit which animated these worthies. As the mind dwells upon 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. {CSW 17.2}

Neglect Not the Sabbath School Lesson

The student of the Sabbath school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. The injunction of our Saviour should be religiously regarded by every man, woman, and child who professes His name. {CSW 18.1}

Teachers in the Sabbath school have a missionary field given them to teach the Scriptures, not, parrot-like, to repeat over that which they have taken no


pains to understand. “They are they which testify of Me”–the Redeemer, Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. If teachers are not imbued with the spirit of truth, and care not for the knowledge of what is revealed in the word of God, how can they present the truth in an attractive light to those under their charge?  {CSW 18.2}

The prayer of Christ for His disciples was, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” If we are to be sanctified through a knowledge of the truth found in the word of God, we must have an intelligent knowledge of His will therein revealed. We must search the Scriptures, not merely rush through a chapter and repeat it, taking no pains to understand it, but we must dig for the jewel of truth which will enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles and temptations of the archdeceiver. {CSW 19.1}

Trifling Excuses for Neglect

Parents plead trifling excuses for not interesting themselves in the lessons with their children, and they fail to become conversant with the Scriptures. Fathers as well as mothers excuse themselves from disciplining their own minds. They do not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but exalt the temporal above the spiritual and eternal. This forgetfulness of God and neglect of His word is the example they give their children, which molds their minds after the worldly standard and not after the exalted standard erected by Christ. {CSW 19.2}


Some fathers will while away hours in their own amusement, in conversation upon worldly things, and put God out of their thoughts and hearts. How much more profitable to be faithful disciples of Christ, engaged in searching the Scriptures that they ma y be thoroughly furnished to all good works, and be able to give an intelligent explanation of the word given of God to guide our footsteps to the eternal shores.  {CSW 20.1}

Mothers are heard to deplore that they have no time to teach their children, no time to instruct them in the word of God. But these same mothers find time for outward adorning, time to ornament with tucks and ruffles and needless stitching. Needless trimming is seen upon their own dresses and their children’s. The inward adorning of the mind and the culture of the soul are neglected as though inferior to the adornment of the apparel. The minds of mothers and children are starved in order to follow cust om and fashion. {CSW 20.2}

All the Family to Unite in Bible Study

Fathers and mothers, we entreat you to take up your long-neglected duties. Search the Scriptures yourselves; assist your children in the study of the Sacred Word. Make diligent work because of past neglect. Do not send the children away by themselves to study the Bible, but read it with them, teach them in a simple manner what you know, and keep in the school of Christ as diligent students yourselves. Be determined that this work shall not be neglected. Mothers, dress yourselves and your children in modest


apparel, clean and neat, but without needless adornment. When you learn to do this, to dress with conscientious plainness, then you will have no excuse for being novices in the Scriptures. Follow Christ’s injunction, “Search the Scriptures;” then you will advance in spiritual strength yourselves, and be able to instruct your children so that they need not come to the Sabbath school untaught. {CSW 20.3}

Many of the youth say, I have no time to study my lesson. But what are they doing? Some are crowding in every moment to earn a few cents more, when this time pressed into work, if given to the study of the Bible, would, if they practiced its lessons, save them more than the amount gained by overwork. It would save much that is expended in needless ornaments. and preserve vigor of mind to understand the mystery of godliness. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But these very youth who profess to be Christians gratify the desires of the carnal heart in following their own inclinations; and God-given probationary time, granted them to become acquainted with the precious truths of the Bible, is devoted to the reading of fictitious tales.  {CSW 21.1}

This habit, once formed, is difficult to overcome; but it can be done, it must be done by all who are candidates for the heavenly world. That mind is ruined which is allowed to be absorbed in story reading. The imagination becomes diseased, sentimenta lism takes possession of the mind, and there is a vague unrest, a strange appetite for unwholesome


mental food, which is constantly unbalancing the mind. Thousands are today in the insane asylum whose minds became unbalanced by novel reading, which results in air-castle building, and lovesick sentimentalism. The Bible is the book of books. It will give you life and health. It is a soother of the nerves, and imparts solidity of mi nd and firm principle. {CSW 21.2}

Digging for Deeper Gems of Truth

The student of the Sabbath school should be in earnest, should dig deep and search with the greatest care for the precious gems of truth contained in the weekly lessons. The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures should not be neglected. God would have those who profess to be His followers thoroughly furnished with proof of the doctrines of His word. When and where can this be better obtained than in youth at the Sabbath school? Parents should in no case treat this matter indifferently.– Review and Herald, Nov. 28, 1878. {CSW 22.1}

Compare Scripture With Scripture

“Search the Scriptures,” was the injunction of the Master. Many have lost much because they have neglected this duty. 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 have the truth brought out in publications, but it is not enough to rely upon other men’s thoughts. 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. If we would study the Bible diligently and prayerfully every day, we should every day see some beautiful truth in a new, clear, and forcible light.–Review and Herald, March 4, 1884. {CSW 22.2}

Written for the Common People

Every child of God should be intelligent in the Scriptures, and able, by tracing the fulfillment of prophecy, to show our position in this world’s history. The Bible was written for the common people as well as for scholars, and is within the comprehension of all. The great truths which underlie man’s duty to his fellow men and to his Maker are clearly revealed; and those who really want the truth need make no mistake. The way is not left in uncertainty, as though we were standing where four roads met, not knowing which one to take. The truth is our guide; it is to us like a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  {CSW 23.1}

The many contradictory opinions in regard to what the Bible teaches do not arise from any obscurity in the book itself, but from blindness and prejudice on


the part of interpreters. Men ignore the plain statements of the Bible to follow their own perverted reason. Priding themselves on their intellectual attainments, they overlook the simplicity of truth; they forsake the fountain of living waters to drink of the poisonous stream of error.–Review and Herald, Jan. 27, 1885. {CSW 23.2}

Substitute Bible for Fiction

Both old and young neglect the Bible. They do not make it their study, the rule of their life. Especially are the young guilty of this neglect. Most of them find time to read other books, but the book that points out the way to eternal life is not daily studied. Idle stories are attentively read, while the Bible is neglected. This book is our guide to a higher, holier life. The youth would pronounce it the most interesting book they ever read had not their imagination been perverted by the reading of fictitious stories.– CT 139. {CSW 1}

The Spirit of Investigation Essential

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that


the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  {CSW 24.2}

There is yet much precious truth to be revealed to the people in this time of peril and darkness, but it is Satan’s determined purpose to prevent the light of truth from shining into the hearts of men. If we would have the light that has been provided for us, we should show our desire for it by diligently searching the word of God. Precious truths that have long been in obscurity are to be revealed in a light that will make manifest their sacred worth; for God will glorify His word, that it may appear in a light in which we have never before beheld it. But those who profess to love the truth must put to the stretch their powers, that they may comprehend the deep things of the word, that God may be glorified and His people may be blessed and enlightened. With humble hearts, subdued by the grace of God, you should come to the task of searching the Scriptures, prepared to accept every ray of divine light, and to walk in the way of holiness.  {CSW 25.1}

In the Attitude of a Learner

In searching the Scriptures you are not to endeavor to interpret their utterances so as to agree with your preconceived ideas, but come as a learner to understand the foundation principles of the faith of Christ. With eager interest, with fervent prayer, come to the word of God, that you may know what is truth, manifesting the same spirit as did Nathanael when he earnestly besought the Lord that he might know the


truth. Light will come to every earnest seeker for truth, as it came to Nathanael. Jesus saw him as he bowed in prayer under the fig tree, and while he was still petitioning for light, the messenger came to call him, and to lead him to the Source of all light.  {CSW 25.2}

“Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Prejudice and unbelief sprang up in the heart of Nathanael, but Philip did not try to combat it. He said, “Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto Him, Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.”  {CSW 26.1}

How easily was Nathanael convinced! And with what pleasure Jesus looked upon his sincere, guileless faith! “Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” God never honors unbelief and questioning and doubt. When He speaks, His word is to be recognized


and carried out in the daily actions. And if the heart of man is in living connection with God, the voice that cometh from above will be recognized.  {CSW 26.2}

Controversy to Be Avoided

While there is need of thorough investigation of the word of God, that precious truth may be discovered and brought to light, we should be guarded, that the spirit of controversy does not control in our discussions of the Sabbath school lesson. In bringing out points upon which there may be a difference of opinion, the grace of Christ should be manifested by those who are seeking for an understanding of the word of God. There should be liberty given for a frank investigation of truth, that each may know for himself what is the truth. Among the pupils of the Sabbath school there should be a spirit of investigation, that those who are old enough to discern evidence may be encouraged to search for fresh rays of light, and to appreciate all that God may send to His people. The light which God will send to His people will never appear unless there is a diligent searching of the word of truth.  {CSW 27.1}

The world is full of all manner of error of a misleading nature, and it is essential that both pupils and teachers know that they know what is truth. There is need that we reverence the word of God and recognize His voice in the living oracles, that we may practice its precepts and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Those


that do the will of God shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, for no deception will cloud their minds. God calls every one, both old and young, to make a diligent search in His word, that they may discover the rich jewels of truth. Ministers and people, teachers and scholars, are all called to the work of studying the Bible. {CSW 27.2}

Precious light is to shine forth from the word of God, and let no one presume to dictate what shall or what shall not be brought before the people in the messages of enlightenment that He shall send, and so quench the Spirit of God. Whatever may be his position of authority, no one has a right to shut away the light from the people. When a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims. No one can afford to stand back in an attitude of indifference and self-confidence, and say: “I know what is truth. I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come. I will not listen to the message of this messenger; for I know that it cannot be truth.” It is from pursuing this very course that the popular churches were left in partial darkness, and that is why the messages of heaven have not reached them. {CSW 28.1}

Cultivating a Teachable Spirit

God calls upon those who hold responsible positions in Sabbath school work to put away all


egotism, all self-confidence, and pride of opinion; if a message comes that you do not understand, take pains that you may hear the reasons the messenger may give, comparing scripture with scripture, that you may know whether or not it is sustained by the word of God. If you believe that the positions taken have not the word of God for their foundation, if the position you hold on the subject cannot be controverted, then produce your strong reasons; for your position will not be shaken by coming in contact with error. There is no virtue or manliness in keeping up a continual warfare in the dark, closing your eyes lest you may see, closing your ears lest you may hear, hardening your heart in ignorance and unbelief lest you may have to humble yourselves and acknowledge that you have received light on some points of truth.  {CSW 28.2}

To hold yourselves aloof from an investigation of truth is not the way to carry out the Saviour’s injunction to “search the Scriptures.” Is it digging for hidden treasures to call the results of some one’s labor a mass of rubbish, and make no critical examination to see whether or not there are precious jewels of truth in the collection of thought which you condemn? Will those who have almost everything to learn keep themselves away from every meeting where there is an opportunity to investigate the messages that come to the people, simply because they imagine the views held by the teachers of the truth may be out of harmony with what they have


conceived as truth? Thus it was that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. No one of those who imagine that they know it all is too old or too intelligent to learn from the humblest of the messengers of the living God.–TSS 62-66. {CSW 29.1}

The Teacher to Be a Learner

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Those who would become the educators of the youth and children must learn much, very much, both in precept and experience, in order that they may be successful laborers for God. They must grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, attaining unto the measure of the stature of Christ. Growth in grace is a testimony to the fact that you are abiding in Christ as the branch is abiding in the vine. If you abide in Him, you will have power to discern spiritual truth, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. {CSW 30.1}

“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” God calls upon the young men and young women to make the most of their entrusted ability. He would have you cultivate


habits of industry, habits of study, that you may improve the talents He has given you. God will accept your service, and the improvement of your talents, but He cannot look with approval upon half-hearted, halfway work. Every branch of God’s work calls for the exercise of the highest ability; it demands that you shall bring into requisition every available help, that you shall direct your noblest impulses to the propagation of the truth. The exalted, sacred character of the work requires the enlistment of the highest intellectual and spiritual powers, that it may be properly represented before those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.  {CSW 30.2}

If you are called to be a teacher in any branch of the work of God, you are called also to be a learner in the school of Christ. If you take upon you the sacred responsibility of teaching others, you take upon you the duty of going to the bottom of every subject you seek to teach. If you present a subject from the word of God to your pupils in the Sabbath school, you should make the reasons for your faith so plain that your scholars shall be convinced of its truth. You should diligently search and comp are the evidences of the word of God on messages that He sends to the church, that you may know what is truth, and be able to direct those who look to you into the way of righteousness. {CSW 31.1}

To Listen With Candor

When asked to hear the reasons of a doctrine that you do not understand, do not condemn the message


until you have given it a thorough investigation, and know from the word of God that it is not tenable. If I had an opportunity, I would speak to the students of every Sabbath school in the land, lifting up my voice in earnest appeal that they go to the word of God, seeking for truth and light. God has precious light to come to His people at this very time, and you should strive earnestly in your investigations to aim at nothing less than a thorough knowledge of every point of truth, that you may not be found in the day of God among those who have not lived by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. {CSW 31.2}

The momentous issues at stake through neglect of the word of God should be carefully considered. The study of the Bible is worthy of the best mental effort, the most sanctified ability. When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message to the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness. If our youth are seeking to educate themselves to be workers in His cause, they should learn the way of the Lord, and live by every word that proceedeth out of His mouth. They are not to make up their minds that the whole truth has been unfolded, and


that the Infinite One has no more light for His people. If they entrench themselves in the belief that the whole truth has been revealed, they will be in danger of discarding precious jewels of truth that shall be discovered as men turn their attention to the searching of the rich mine of God’s word.  {CSW 32.1}

Individually Investigate

Those who have entered upon the work of teaching, or who have been called to any position of responsibility, should not be satisfied to take the product of the researches of other minds, but they should investigate truth for themselves. If they do not form the habit of investigating themes of truth for themselves, they will become superficial in their life and acquirements. The opinions of your associates may be of value to you, but you should not rely upon them and have no definite ideas of your own. You should examine the truths you have been led to believe, until you know that they are without a flaw. You lose much when you do not bring every point of faith you hold to the law and to the testimony, for you do not see or appreciate the truth as it is. Oh, that all our youth might appreciate the privilege that God has given! It is His will that you should go to the source of all light, and receive the enlightenment of His Spirit (for this will be given to every humble seeker for truth), and then you will know that the Spirit and the Word agree, and know that you know what is truth. What assurance this knowledge gives! You


can then speak with power, proclaiming what you have learned as truth, knowing that you have not followed cunningly devised fables.–TSS 58-61. {CSW 33.1}

A Promise of Increasing Light

New light will ever be revealed on the word of God to him who is in living connection with the Sun of Righteousness. Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God. But light is not given simply to be a strength to the church, but to be shed upon those who are in darkness. The people of God are to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. Christ has said of His people, “Ye are the light of the world,” and it is the mission of the light to shine out and illuminate the darkness. {CSW 34.1}

Oh, may teachers and pupils be what the Lord designed that they should be when He gave His life that they might be the sons and daughters of God, and win the crown of immortal glory!–TSS 53, 54.  {CSW 34.2}

New Meaning in Familiar Texts

As soon as the seeker for truth opens the Bible to read the utterances of God with reverence,


possessing an earnest desire to know “what saith the Lord,” light and grace will be given him, and he will see wondrous things out of God’s law. He will not regard the law of Jehovah as a yoke of bondage, but as the gracious commands of One who is all-wise and full of compassion. He will make haste to fulfill His requirements. Great truths which have been neglected and unappreciated for ages, will be revealed by the Spirit of God, and new meaning will flash out of familiar texts. Every page will be illuminated by the Spirit of truth. The Bible is not sealed but unsealed. The most precious truths are revealed; the living oracles are heard by wondering ears, and the consciences of men are aroused into action.–TSS 30. {CSW 34.3}

Drifting From Bible Landmarks

Many know so little about their Bibles that they are unsettled in the faith. They remove the old landmarks, and fallacies and winds of doctrine blow them hither and thither. Science, falsely so called, is wearing away the foundation of Christian principle; and those who were once in the faith drift away from the Bible landmarks, and divorce themselves from God, while still claiming to be His children.–Review and Herald, Dec. 29, 1896. {CSW 35.1}

The Youth Fortified Against Heresies

The Bible lessons which are taught in our schools are of far greater consequence than many now discern. These children will have to meet in the near


future the heresies and fables that abound in the Christian world. Instruct the youth with simplicity but great thoroughness. Our work must stand the test of the judgment. The youth in this age must be fitted by the grace of Christ to meet and overcome evils which have been introduced into society. They will have opportunities to use all the knowledge and influence that they have acquired, and will need wisdom from above to stem the current of evil which surrounds them. The supporters of error and of unscriptural doctrines are numerous. The world at large is leading them to forget God and to despise His claims. The law of God is trampled beneath unholy feet. Every youth is responsible to God for His opportunities, and for the precious light shining upon him from the Scriptures.–TSS 22. {CSW 35.2}

A Barrier Against Temptation

There should be a living, growing interest in storing the mind with Bible truth. The precious knowledge thus gained will build a barrier about the soul. Although assailed with temptation, there will be a firm trust in Jesus, through the knowledge of Him who hath called them to glory and to virtue.–TSS 12. {CSW 36.1}

Divine Aid in the Search for Truth

Point after point of truth should be investigated; for there is no limitation to the truth of God, and in its study a most lively interest should be felt by both teachers and pupils, that they may know what God


hath said. For years the voice of God has been saying to us, “Agitate, agitate, agitate.” Study every point of truth, that you may know for yourselves what is truth in distinct ion from error. Let students search for themselves, that they may know the deep things of God. Let this work be done in the Spirit of Christ. Put no restriction upon the students. {CSW 36.2}

In searching the Scriptures there is need of great humility of mind and contrition of heart, of seeking earnestly unto God. Those who come in a lowly spirit, seeking for truth, will be aided in their search by the angels of God.–TSS 55, 56.  {CSW 37.1}

Halfhearted Service

Many who profess to be Christians do not more than half believe the word of God. They do not study it earnestly, but waste precious time in reading novels and storybooks. A mere intellectual understanding of the word of God will not be sufficient to influence the habits of the life, for the life is regulated by the condition of the heart. When Sabbath school teachers have taught the lessons of external revelation, their work is but just begun, and they should not cease their labor until they have evidence that the precepts of heaven are not only accepted by the understanding of the pupil, but written upon the heart.–TSS 57, 58.  {CSW 37.2}

Prayerful Study

We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures, and should task the


understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods that are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God, and a sincere desire to learn His will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise, evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth. {CSW 37.3}

Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness. {CSW 38.1}

The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to pr epare the heart so to comprehend God’s word that we shall be


charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist’s petition our own, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity, they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed.–TSS 121, 122.  {CSW 38.2}

God’s Manner of Imparting Knowledge

Day by day Jesus gained knowledge from the great library of animate and inanimate nature. He who had created all things, at whose word of power hill and vale, river and tree, had come into being, was now a child of humanity, and He studied the lessons which His own hand had written in leaf and flower and tree. The parables, by which, during His ministry, Jesus loved to teach His lessons of truth, show how open His spirit was to the sweet influence of nature, and how, during those hidden years, He delighted to gather the spiritual teachings from all the surroundings of daily life. To Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God unfolded gradually, as He was thinking, seeking to understand the reason of things, as any youth may seek to understand. {CSW 39.1}


Every child may gain knowledge, as Jesus did, from the works of nature and the pages of God’s holy word. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His holy word, angels will come near, our minds will be strengthened, our character will be elevated and refined, and we shall become more like our Saviour. And as we behold the beauty and grandeur of the works of nature, our affections go out after God; while the heart is awed and the spirit subdued, the soul is invigorated by coming in contact with the Infinite through His marvelous works. Communion with God through humble prayer, develops and strengthens the mental and moral faculties, and spiritual powers increase by cultivating thoughts upon spiritual things.  {CSW 40.1}

Those who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God, purifying their thoughts by obedience to the law of God, will continually receive a new endowment of physical and mental power. There will be heart yearnings after God, and earnest prayer for clear perception to discern the office and work of the Holy Spirit. It is not for us to use it, but for the Holy Spirit to use us, molding, fashioning every power.  {CSW 40.2}

How to Prepare for Future Trials

The servants of Christ are to prepare no set speech to present when brought to trial for their faith. Their preparation is to be made day by day, in treasuring up in their hearts the precious truths of God’s word, in feeding upon the teaching of Christ, and through


prayer strengthening their faith; then, when brought into trial, the Holy Spirit will bring to their remembrance the very truths that will reach the hearts of those who shall come to hear. {CSW 40.3}

God will flash the knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures, into their memory at the very time when it is needed. But if they neglect to fill their minds with the gems of truth, if they do not acquaint themselves with the words of C hrist, if they have never tasted the power of His grace in trial, then they cannot expect that the Holy Spirit will bring His words to their remembrance. They are to serve God daily with their undivided affections, and then trust Him.–TSS 105-107. {CSW 41.1}

Daily Bible Study

The Sabbath school affords to parents and children a precious opportunity for the study of God’s word. But in order to gain that benefit which they should gain in the Sabbath school, both parents and children should devote time to the study of the lessons, seeking to obtain a thorough knowledge of the facts presented, and also of the spiritual truths which these facts are designed to teach. We should especially impress upon the minds of the young the importance of seeking the full significance of the scripture under consideration. . . .   {CSW 41.2}

Parents, set apart a little time each day for the study of the Sabbath school lesson with your children.


Give up the social visit if need be, rather than sacrifice the hour devoted to the precious lessons of sacred history. Parents, as well as children, will receive benefit from this study. Let the more important passages of Scripture connected with the lesson be committed to memory, not as a task, but as a privilege. Though at first the memory may be defective, it will gain strength by exercise, so that after a time you will delight thus to treasure up the precious words of truth. And the habit will prove a most valuable aid to religious growth. {CSW 41.3}

If the time that is worse than wasted in gossip, in ministering to pride, or for the gratification of appetite, were devoted with equal interest to the study of the Bible, what encouragement would be given to our Sabbath schools! But when parents are more anxious to have their children fashionably dressed than to have their minds stored with the truths of God’s word, the children themselves will soon learn to regard dress and display as of more consequence than the things which concern their salvation. . . . {CSW 42.1}

Observe system in the study of the Scriptures in your families. Neglect anything of a temporal nature; dispense with all unnecessary sewing and with needless provision for the table, but be sure that the soul is fed with the bread of life. It is impos sible to estimate the good results of one hour or even half an hour each day devoted in a cheerful, social manner to the word of God. Make the Bible its own expositor, bringing together all that is said concerning a given


subject at different times and under varied circumstances. Do not break up your home class for callers or visitors. If they come in during the exercise, invite them to take part in it. Let it be seen that you consider it more important to obtain a knowledge of God’s word than to secure the gains or pleasures of the world.–TSS 10, 11.  {CSW 42.2}

Fixing the Lesson in the Memory

As a means of intellectual training, the opportunities of the Sabbath are invaluable. Let the Sabbath school lesson be learned, not by a hasty glance at the lesson scripture on Sabbath morning, but by careful study for the next week on Sabbath afternoon, with daily review or illustration during the week. Thus the lesson will become fixed in the memory, a treasure never to be wholly lost.–Ed 251, 252.  {CSW 43.1}

Our Daily Spiritual Food

We need to understand these words of Christ, “The flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”–the Holy Word accepted and brought into the practical life. Spiritual life consists in Christ’s being the light and life of the soul temple, as the blood is the life of the body. All who study the word are represented as eating the word, feeding on Christ. . . . Even as the bodily necessities must be supplied daily, so the word of God must be daily studied–eaten, and digested, and


practiced. This sustains the nourishment, to keep the soul in health. The neglect of the word means starvation to the soul. The word describes the blessed man as one meditating day and night upon the truths of God’s word. We all are to feast upon the word of God. The relation of the word to the believer is a vital matter. Appropriating the word to our spiritual necessities is the eating of the leaves of the tree of life that are for the healing of the nations. Study the word, and practice the word, for it is your life.– Ellen G. White Letter 4, 1902. {CSW 43.2}

Cooperation in the Home

While it is essential that wise, patient efforts should be made by the teacher, the work must not be left altogether to the Sabbath school and church worker, but it must find its foundation and support in the work of the home. Parents have a sacred responsibility and charge committed to them, and they are called upon to keep their charge, to bear their responsibility in the fear of God, watching for the souls of their children as they who must give an account.  {CSW 44.1}

Home missionary work has been strangely neglected. Those who have had the greatest reason for earnest, Christlike solicitude for the salvation of their children, have been indifferent to their responsibilities, and have lightly regarded the wants of t heir households. The responsibility which God has given to men and women as parents, many have shifted from themselves to the Sabbath school worker and to the church influence.


But each instrumentality has its work, and parents who neglect their part will be weighed in the balances and found wanting.  {CSW 44.2}

The instruction of Christ from the pillar of cloud to the children of Israel, defines the duty of parents, and is not indefinite or hard to be understood. This instruction is for our admonition and benefit. “Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.” In every work of their hands, they were to remember the commandment of the Lord. It was to be bound upon their hands, not literally, bu t to exert an influence over every transaction of their lives. It was to be as frontlets between their eyes. Their minds were to dwell upon the truth of God’s commandments, and they were to be governed by their principles. “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house, and upon thy gates: that your days may be multiplied, an d the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” . . .  {CSW 45.1}

Teach Modesty and Humility

The direction given by the Son of God to Moses, for the instruction of the children of Israel, is just


as essential now as it was then, and it should be heeded as diligently by parents today as by God’s ancient people. Religion must be woven into every part of the home life if we would see the results that God has designed as the fruit of following His way. Pride, self-esteem, and boldness are marked characteristics of the children of this day, and they are the curse of the age. When I see this un-Christlike, unlovely manifestation on every side, and then see parents and teachers seeking to display the ability and proficiency of their children and scholars, I am pained to the heart; for I know that it is exactly the opposite course from the one that should be pursued.  {CSW 45.2}

Parents and teachers who gather their knowledge from the Bible, who are governed in mind and action by its holy principles, need not go astray, and be found in by and forbidden paths. The most sacred lessons of modesty and humility are to be taught to the children, both at home and in the Sabbath school. They are to be instructed as to the high claims of the law of God, and as to their responsibility before Him. The lessons that should be presented to them should be of such a character as would qualify them for usefulness in this life, and for a place in the future, immortal kingdom.  {CSW 46.1}

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them


when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” These words plainly define the duty of parents and teachers; and if they will follow this instruction, they will not fail to see the best results. {CSW 46.2}

Results of Parent’s Failure

How different would have been the Scriptural record of the history of Israel, a nation so highly favored of the Lord, if they had carried out the instruction given them from the pillar of cloud by the Son of the living God. But they did not diligently follow the admonitions given. They failed to teach their children the requirements of God; and the sad results are pictured before us in a nation rejected of God. They separated so far from the wisdom of God that when the Great Teacher, Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, appeared, they cried, “Away with Him!” The tradition of men was more highly revered than the commandments of God. False practices and human inventions had taken the place of the pure teaching of God. That which was to have become a part of their being, was regarded as of small consequence and little worth.  {CSW 47.1}

When Christ came into the world to exemplify true religion, and to exalt the principles that should govern the hearts and actions of men, falsehood had taken so deep a hold upon those who had had so great light, that they no longer comprehended the light, and had no inclination to yield up tradition for


truth. They rejected the heavenly Teacher, they crucified the Lord of glory, that they might retain their own customs and inventions. The very same spirit is manifested in the world today. Men are averse to investigating truth, lest their traditions should be disturbed, and a new order of things should be brought in. There is with humanity a constant liability to err, and men are naturally inclined to highly exalt human ideas and knowledge, while the divine and eternal is not discerned or appreciated.  {CSW 47.2}

Christ’s Message Rejected

To those who were unprejudiced, the words of Christ were as the light from heaven. “Never man spake like this man.” As the Great Teacher presented the absorbing realities of the eternal future, the things of this perishing world were eclipsed. How eagerly did those who had been praying for light receive the truth. But the proud and self-righteous refused His message.–TSS 35-39. {CSW 48.1}

Parents as Educators

The home should be made a school of instruction, rather than a place of monotonous drudgery. The evenings should be cherished a precious seasons, to be devoted to the instruction of the children in the way of righteousness. But how many children are sadly neglected! They are not educated in the home, that they may comprehend the truth of God, and are not trained to love justice and to do judgment. They


should be patiently instructed, that they may understand the laws that govern them, and that they may know the springs of their actions. They are to be brought into harmony with the laws of heaven, to cherish the truth as it is in Jesus. In this way they may be fitted to join the society of the angels, and to stand in the presence of the adorable Redeemer. {CSW 48.2}

There may be implanted in every human soul hopes and aspirations that will be of a right character, and youth may see beauty in the way of holiness. In every case it may be necessary to employ decided measures in dealing with the young, that they may be trained, cultivated, and perfected for the highest usefulness in life. How few appreciate the value of the talents that God has bestowed upon them! How few parents and educators realize the fact that there can be a full development of mind and heart onl y by having a living connection with the Source of all wisdom, power, and holiness! Truth is infinite, and he whose mind is enlightened and led by the Spirit of God, will go from strength to strength, finding his path growing brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. {CSW 49.1}

Earthward or Heavenward

But while we are capable of advancing in knowledge and truth, let us not lose sight of the fact that we can go backward as well as forward. We may go earthward as well as  heavenward. There are many souls who are balancing between the heavenward and the hellward course. There are influences, subtle and


deceiving, drawing souls away from God and heavenly things. It is necessary that every one should be looked after from his earliest years to youth and maturity. Especially should those who know the danger of evil, and who know the love and interest that God feels for every soul, make it their business to watch for souls as they that must gi ve an account. {CSW 49.2}

Parents should command their households after them, as did Abraham, to keep the way of the Lord. If this is not done, Satan will gladly undertake the work of the parent, and train the child as it pleases him; and, oh, how much this work is left to him ! Let parents do their duty to those who are dependent upon them, and fashion their characters after the divine Pattern. Let parents, with living faith and entire reliance upon God, do the part assigned them, and God will do His part, and thousands of chil dren who are now without God and without hope in the world, will be added to the church. {CSW 50.1}

Burdened for the Youth’s Conversion

When conversion of the youth shall be the great burden upon the hearts of the parents and teachers, efforts will constantly be made to discipline the character, to direct the tastes and desires in the heavenly channel. Every soul is capable of being built up in solid virtues. Each soul may reach heights, depths, and breadths of knowledge in spiritual things, and be fitted for the higher life. When parents take the first steps, making their own habits and practices in eating,


dressing, and living, as simple and natural as possible, with an eye single to the glory of God, there will be order in the home, and the children will not be neglected; but time will be devoted to their instruction and development. {CSW 50.2}

The children should be surrounded by the best of influences and associations. Parents who undertake this work in the fear and love of God, will guard every word, that they may hear nothing that would pain them when their own conversation is repeated by the children. They will seek to supply the weakness, ignorance, and deficiency in their children by high moral instruction, that they may grow up strong in purity, with well-established habits that tend to health and happiness. With such an education the y will gather up that kind of knowledge that will perfect the character in symmetry and strength. {CSW 51.1}

Neglect Fraught With Danger

If the youth are left to pick up an education, they will find that every facility will be furnished. From a variety of sources the knowledge of evil will be brought to the mind, and, perhaps, in afterlife it can never be wholly effaced. When parents neglect their duty in laying the foundation of character for their children, bringing the very best principles as timbers for their character building, this neglect will be supplied by the enemy of God and man, and the youth will be indifferent to virtue and truth. The home should be made the most pleasant place in the world. What is


the outward and the artificial compared with the true and the natural? The Lord has given to the children faculties that need the most careful training from both parents and teachers. {CSW 51.2}

Those to whom God has committed the responsibility of disciplining the youth should be in a condition to cooperate with Him in developing the precious gifts of mind and heart, that they may gain that kind of knowledge that will give increasing strength, and will be an acquisition that can be carried into the future, immortal life. . . .  {CSW 52.1}

A Work of the Highest Importance

To mold and fashion the character of children and youth is a work of the very highest importance, and in this work it is essential to present Christ in His matchless love to the mind, that His counter and stronger charms may eclipse the attractions of the world. The youth must not merely see a theory, however logical, but the loving character and glory of Christ. They must be led to behold the riches of the eternal world, until they are encouraged, animated, and won. The love of Jesus must be the motive of all effort. It impels, its constrains, it captivates. —TSS 101-105. {CSW 52.2}

Parents in the Sabbath School

The Sabbath school affords precious opportunities and privileges for the young. Parents should highly


prize these advantages, and show their children that they appreciate them. If they manifest no decided interest in the school themselves, they cannot expect their children to do so. In the Sabbath school, parents may be learners as well as the children. Both parents and children should seek to have a knowledge of the Scriptures. Other books should be secondary to the word of God. Christ has said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” We ought all of us to be better acquainted with the prophecies than we are, and to have a more thorough knowledge of the practical lessons of Christ. If we merely read the Scriptures uninterestedly, we cannot become intelligent in the truths therein contained.  {CSW 52.3}

Study the Lesson Every Day

Parents should search the Scriptures with their children. They should become familiar with the lessons themselves; then they can assist their children in learning them. Every day some portion of time should be appropriated to the study of the lessons, not merely in learning to mechanically repeat the words, while the mind does not comprehend the meaning; but to go to the very foundation, and become familiar with what is brought out in the lesson. The indifference of the children, in very many cases, is chargeable to the parents. They are indifferent, and the children catch the same spirit. If parents show that they attach importance to the Sabbath


school, by giving it respect and prominence, the children will generally copy their example. {CSW 53.1}

Teaching Sabbath Observance

Parents should have a thorough understanding with their family that the sacred hours of the Sabbath are to be spent to God’s glory. They should be up with the sun, and have plenty of time to prepare for Sabbath school without getting into a rush, and perhaps losing self-control. If the proper preparations have been made the previous day, there will be abundance of time to review the lesson studied during the week; and both parents and children can go to the school with the assurance that they have the lessons well learned. {CSW 54.1}

Christ’s Sympathy With Children

Jesus was interested in children. He did not step into our world a fully matured man. Had He done this, children would not have had His example to copy. Christ was a child; He had the experience of a child; He felt the disappointments and trials that children feel; He knew the temptations of children and youth. But Christ was in His child life and youthful life an example to all children and youth. In childhood His hands were engaged in useful acts. In youth He worked at the carpenter’s trade with His father, and was subject to His parents, thus giving in His life a lesson to all children and young. If Christ had never been a child Himself, the youth


might now think that He could not sympathize with them. But He lived their example, and all children and youth may find in Jesus one to whom they can carry all their griefs and all their disappointments, and in Him they will find a Friend who will help them. {CSW 54.2}

Jesus loves little children. When the mothers brought their children to Jesus, the disciples attempted to send them away. But Jesus rebuked them, and said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom o f heaven.” He then gathered them in His loving arms and blessed them. Those parents and teachers who have no love or patience with children are to be pitied, for they have not the mind of Christ. Those who are seeking to gather the children into the Sabbat h school are doing a good work, the very work the Master would be pleased to have them do. The expanding minds of even small children may comprehend very much in regard to the teachings of Christ, and may be taught to love Him with all their ardent affecti ons. Teachers and parents should sow beside all waters, and if faithful they may have a harvest of souls by and by. And when they shall see the souls for whom they have labored, around the great white throne, with crowns and white robes and harps of gold, they will feel then that their efforts were not lost. The well done, good and faithful servant, will fall upon their ears as sweet music.–Signs of the Times, June 23, 1881. {CSW 55.1}


Finding Time for Lesson Study

There are many children who plead a lack of time as a reason why their Sabbath school lessons are not learned; but there are few who could not find time to learn their lessons if they had an interest in them. Some devote time to amusement and sight-seeing; others, to the needless trimming of their dresses for display, thus cultivating pride and vanity. The precious hours thus prodigally spent are God’s time, for which they must render an account to Him. The hours spent in needless ornamentation, or in amusements and idle conversation, will, with every work, be brought into judgment.–TSS 8.  {CSW 56.1}

Parents to Help Children

Parents should feel it a sacred duty to instruct their children in the statutes and requirements of God as well as in the prophecies. They should educate their children at home, and should themselves be interested in the Sabbath school lessons. By studying with the children they show that they attach importance to the truth brought out in the lessons, and help to create a taste for Bible knowledge.–TSS 111. {CSW 56.2}

Let parents do their part, not only helping the children in their study, but becoming familiar with the lessons themselves. The Bible is our textbook. Parents, teachers, and scholars need to become better acquainted with the precious truths contained in both the Old and the New Testaments.–TSS 14. {CSW 56.3}


More Important Than Day School

Even greater care should be taken by the parents to see that their children have their Scripture lessons, than is taken to see that their day-school lessons are prepared. Their Scripture lessons should be learned more perfectly than their lessons in the common schools. If parents and children see no necessity for this interest, then the children might better remain at home; for the Sabbath school will fail to prove a blessing to them. Parents and children should work in harmony with superintendent and teachers, thus giving evidence that they appreciate the labor put forth for them. Parents should take special interest in the religious education of their children, that they may have a more thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.–TSS 8.  {CSW 57.1}

Diligent Study Richly Rewarded

The close application of those Hebrew students [Daniel and his companions] under the training of God was richly rewarded. While they made diligent effort to secure knowledge, the Lord gave them heavenly wisdom. The knowledge they gained was of great service to them when brought into strait places. The Lord God of heaven will not supply the deficiencies that result from mental and spiritual indolence. When the human agents shall exercise their faculties to acquire knowledge, to become deep thinking men; when they, as the greatest witnesses


for God and the truth, shall have won in the field of investigation of vital doctrines concerning the salvation of the soul, that glory may be given to the God of heaven as supreme, then even judges and kings will be brought to acknowledge, in the courts of justice, in parliaments and councils, that the God who made the heavens and the earth is the only true and living God, the author of Christianity, the author of all truth, who instituted the seventh-day Sabbath when the foundations of the world were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted together for joy.– FE 374, 375. {CSW 57.2}