Bible Study Guides – Our Deep Need for Educational Reform

May 6, 2012 – May 12, 2012

Key Text

“The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 126–133.


“John the Baptist received a training for his life work, not in the schools of the rabbis, but in the wilderness, alone with God and His Word.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 394.


  • What is God’s mandate for all human beings who accept the Three Angels’ Messages? Revelation 14:6–12; I Peter 1:12.

Note: “In the book of Revelation we read of a special work that God desires to have His people do in these last days. He has revealed His law and shown us the truth for this time. This truth is constantly unfolding, and God designs that we shall be intelligent in regard to it, that we may be able to distinguish between right and wrong, between righteousness and unrighteousness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 127, 128.

“There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is ‘present truth’ that the flock needs now.” Early Writings, 63. [Emphasis author’s.]

  • Why is studying prophecy vital to our education? II Peter 1:19.

Note: “The third angel’s message, the great testing truth for this time, is to be taught in all our institutions. God designs that through them this special warning shall be given, and bright beams of light shall shine to the world. Time is short. The perils of the last days are upon us, and we should watch and pray, and study and heed the lessons that are given us in the books of Daniel and the Revelation. …

“These things concern our eternal welfare, and teachers and students should give more attention to them.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 128, 129.


  • How early in life were the educational goals for John the Baptist established? Luke 1:13–17, 24, 25, 39–41. How did he respond?

Note: “John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, received his early training from his parents. The greater portion of his life was spent in the wilderness, that he might not be influenced by beholding the lax piety of the priests and rabbis or by learning their maxims and traditions, through which right principles were perverted and belittled. … It was John’s choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From his childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from the society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation and shrank from constant contact with sin lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.

“But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men, and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit, he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 221, 222.

“He [John] did not live thus [in the wilderness] for any selfish purpose. In his time the Jewish religious teachers had well-nigh lost all spiritual life. Nothing in their teaching stood out clear and convincing. They had so inclosed themselves within themselves, and were regarded as possessing such sanctity, that none of the people disputed what they said or taught.

“But the life of John was a special life; and it was the will of God that he should separate from the busy haunts of men, and learn his life lessons from nature and from nature’s God, receiving his impressions from Him alone.” The Signs of the Times, February 18, 1897.


  • As education is training for a lifework, what is the underlying lifework of all who accept the Three Angels’ Messages, regardless of the occupation they pursue? Matthew 3:1–3; Luke 11:1, last part.

Note: “What is our work? The same as that given to John the Baptist.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 9.

“The same spirit that actuated Jesus, controlled the mind of John the Baptist. Their testimony corresponded; their lives were given to the same reformatory work. … John, by his unselfish joy in the successful ministry of Jesus, presents to the world the truest type of nobility ever exhibited by mortal man.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 138, 139.

  • Why should we be inspired by the example of Brother Shireman whom the Lord’s messenger saw fit to mention by name? Proverbs 2:6.

Note: “There is one here in this congregation, Shireman by name, who has established church after church; and how did he establish them? He went into a field where there was nothing. He was a carpenter. He would build his house, and then call in the people, and hold Bible readings. There he would work till a good, strong church was established. Then did he stand and say, Look at the good work I have done? No; he would go to another place, and repeat the same thing. This he did over and over again.

“Where did this brother get his education? I will tell you. He got it in the same manner that John the Baptist got his education, when he went into the desert and into the wilderness. The priests and rulers were so troubled and distressed because John did not walk according to the old, regular order in getting his education. Yet Jesus said there was not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.

“We do not say that you should go nowhere or anywhere to get an education, but we do say that every man is not dependent upon a school or college education to do work for the Master, if he is converted to God, soul, body, and spirit. He is in connection with the great Teacher, the greatest Missionary that the world ever knew.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 8, 1901.


  • What is the most effective protection against sin? Psalm 119:11.

Note: “The urgent necessities that are making themselves felt in this time demand a constant education in the word of God. This is present truth. Throughout the world there should be a reform in Bible study, for it is needed now as never before.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 131.

  • Explain the depth of the Bible’s role in true education. Proverbs 9:10.

Note: “The great work of life is character-building; and a knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education.” Christian Education, 64, 65.

“We commend to every student the Book of books as the grandest study for the human intelligence, as the education essential for this life, and for eternal life.” Special Testimonies on Education, 217.

  • How are we blessed by studying and obeying God’s word? Jeremiah 15:16; John 6:63; II Timothy 3:16, 17.

Note: “The word must be searched in order to purify and prepare those who receive it to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 132.

“As they [God’s hungering, thirsting people] feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ [Matthew 4:4]. This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 391.


  • When we are truly educated, what fruits are seen? James 3:17.

Note: “While the gospel constantly sanctifies and ennobles the receiver, it will never lead us to cherish selfish and exalted ideas of our own ability or merit in contrast with that of others. It never nurtures pride and self-esteem. Every soul who sees Christ as He is, will abase self. He will exalt the Saviour as the ‘chiefest among ten thousand,’ the One ‘altogether lovely’ [Song of Solomon 5:10, 16].

“The most essential, enduring education is that which will develop the nobler qualities, which will encourage a spirit of universal kindliness, leading the youth to think no evil of any one lest they shall misjudge motives and misinterpret words and actions. The time devoted to this kind of instruction will yield fruit to everlasting life.” Christian Education, 201, 202.

“The essence of true politeness is consideration for others. The essential, enduring education is that which broadens the sympathies and encourages universal kindliness. That so-called culture which does not make a youth deferential toward his parents, appreciative of their excellences, forbearing toward their defects, and helpful to their necessities; which does not make him considerate and tender, generous and helpful toward the young, the old, and the unfortunate, and courteous toward all, is a failure.” Education, 241.

  • What should educators ever keep in mind? II Corinthians 3:5.

Note: “We want more of God and less of self. When we get the education that is needful, we should impart it.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 8, 1901.


1 Why is our era distinct in what needs to be taught in education?

2 What should we learn from the education of John the Baptist?

3 How did the attitude of Brother Shireman reveal his higher education?

4 Why is the Bible the most effective textbook we can have?

5 Instead of exaltation by degrees, what does God honor in education?

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.