Bible Study Guides – A Little Leaven

February 27, 2011 – March 5, 2011

Key Text

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” I Corinthians 5:6.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 198–211; 272–283.


“It is not only by resistance but by neglect that the soul is destroyed.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

1 How did Pharaoh destroy himself? Exodus 4:21.

Note: “There was no exercise of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king. God gave to Pharaoh the most striking evidence of divine power, but the monarch stubbornly refused to heed the light.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 268.

“It is not God that blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths; it is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened.” The Desire of Ages, 322.

2 How do sinners destroy themselves? Galatians 6:7; Romans 2:5.

Note: “Just what took place in Pharaoh’s heart will take place in every soul that neglects to cherish the light and walk promptly in its rays. God destroys no one. The sinner destroys himself by his own impenitence. When a person once neglects to heed the invitations, reproofs, and warnings of the Spirit of God, his conscience becomes seared, and the next time he is admonished, it will be more difficult to yield obedience than before. And thus with every repetition. Conscience is the voice of God, heard amid the conflict of human passions; when it is resisted, the Spirit of God is grieved.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 120.

“He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 268.

3 Why is it so dangerous to resist the first impressions of the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 4:30; John 16:13.

Note: “We want all to understand how the soul is destroyed. It is not that God sends out a decree that man shall not be saved. He does not throw a darkness before the eyes which cannot be penetrated. But man at first resists a motion of the Spirit of God, and, having once resisted, it is less difficult to do so the second time, less the third, and far less the fourth. Then comes the harvest to be reaped from the seed of unbelief and resistance.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 120.

4 Why is the process of apostasy almost unnoticed to those yielding to the power of Satan? Isaiah 44:18; Jeremiah 5:21.

Note: “A knowledge of the state of the backslider from God seems to be hidden from him. Has the candlestick been removed out of its place? I call upon all who are resting unconcerned in their present state of spiritual deadness, to arouse and arise from the dead, and Christ will give them light. Many rest as content as though the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night were sheltering and guiding them. Many profess to know God, and yet deny Him in their works. They reckon themselves among God’s peculiar, chosen people, who have a special, solemn message entrusted to their keeping to sanctify their lives and to give to the world, and yet the power of the truth is scarcely felt or manifested in our midst in zealous work for God. How great is our darkness, and we know it not! The light has not diminished, but we walk not in its rays.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 451.

“It is not God that blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths; it is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened. Often the process is gradual, and almost imperceptible. Light comes to the soul through God’s word, through His servants, or by the direct agency of His Spirit; but when one ray of light is disregarded, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned. So the darkness increases, until it is night in the soul.” The Desire of Ages, 322.

5 What is the relationship between little things and big things? Luke 16:10.

Note: “The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin. Here, as well as elsewhere, we should not despise the day of small things. It is one of Satan’s most successful devices, to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would shrink with horror from some great transgression, are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul. The feet which enter upon a path diverging from the right way are tending toward the broad road that ends in death. When once a retrograde movement begins, no one can tell where it may end.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1017.

6 How does the neglect of little things affect our lives? The Song of Solomon 2:15.

Note: “It is the little foxes that spoil the vines; the little neglects, the little deficiencies, the little dishonesties, the little departures from principle, that blind the soul and separate it from God.

“It is the little things of life that develop the spirit and determine the character. Those who neglect the little things will not be prepared to endure severe tests when they are brought to bear upon them. Remember that the character building is not finished till life ends. Every day a good or a bad brick is placed in the structure. You are either building crookedly or with the exactness and correctness that will make a beautiful temple for God. Therefore, in looking for great things to do, neglect not the little opportunities that come to you day by day. He who neglects the little things, and yet flatters himself that he is ready to do wonderful things for the Master, is in danger of failing altogether. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices and wonderful achievements, but of little things.” The Review and Herald, December 29, 1910.

“They [the truths of the word of God] will brighten the common life, supplying motives for obedience and principles for the formation of a right character.” The Adventist Home, 189.

7 How may we be in danger of playing into the hands of Satan in a careless moment? Matthew 12:34, second part.

Note: “Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are. It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous to question and criticize divine light.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

8 What often triggers the downward spiral of apostasy? Luke 11:24–26. How does a neglect of prayer and Bible study hasten this? Mark 4:19.

Note: “It is not only by resistance but by neglect that the soul is destroyed.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

“Many become so absorbed in business that they have no time for prayer, no time for the study of the Bible, no time to seek and serve God. At times the longings of the soul go out for holiness and heaven; but there is no time to turn aside from the din of the world to listen to the majestic and authoritative utterances of the Spirit of God. The things of eternity are made subordinate, the things of the world supreme. It is impossible for the seed of the word to bring forth fruit; for the life of the soul is given to nourish the thorns of worldliness.

“And many who are working with a very different purpose, fall into a like error. They are working for others’ good; their duties are pressing, their responsibilities are many, and they allow their labor to crowd out devotion. Communion with God through prayer and a study of His word is neglected.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 51, 52.

“When secret prayer and reading of the Scriptures are neglected today, tomorrow they can be omitted with less remonstrance of conscience. There will be a long list of omissions, all for a single grain sown in the soil of the heart. On the other hand, every ray of light cherished will yield a harvest of light.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 120.

9 What shows that professed believers may unwittingly join the ranks of Satan without leaving the church? Matthew 7:22, 23.

Note: “One safeguard removed from conscience, the indulgence of one evil habit, a single neglect of the high claims of duty, may be the beginning of a course of deception that will pass you into the ranks of those who are serving Satan, while you are all the time professing to love God and His cause. A moment of thoughtlessness, a single misstep, may turn the whole current of your lives in the wrong direction. And you may never know what caused your ruin until the sentence is pronounced: ‘Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity’ [Matthew 7:23].” Testimonies, vol. 5, 398.

10 What happens when church members fail to make a complete surrender to Christ? Romans 6:16.

Note: “He who does not give himself wholly to God is under the control of another power, listening to another voice, whose suggestions are of an entirely different character. Half-and-half service places the human agent on the side of the enemy as a successful ally of the hosts of darkness. When men who claim to be soldiers of Christ engage with the confederacy of Satan, and help along his side, they prove themselves enemies of Christ. They betray sacred trusts. They form a link between Satan and the true soldiers, so that through these agencies the enemy is constantly working to steal away the hearts of Christ’s soldiers.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 94.

Review and Thought Questions:

1 What will take place in every soul who neglects to walk in the light received?

2 How do people get their eyes blinded and their hearts hardened?

3 If the little digressions from the path of truth and righteousness continue, what is the unavoidable result?

4 Name two seeds from which self-destruction is reaped.

5 What things mark the beginning of the road that ends in damnation?

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