Bible Study Guides – Before the Mirror

January 16, 2011 – January 22, 2011

Key Text

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22.

Study Helps: The Great Controversy, 582–592; Patriarchs and Prophets, 303–314.


“The very principles of the law must be planted in the heart.” The Signs of the Times, October 29, 1896.

1 First Commandment—How may we be breaking the first commandment even while professing to keep the law? Matthew 19:20–22; 6:24; Philippians 3:18, 19.

Note: “Anything which tends to abate our love for God, or to interfere with the service due Him, becomes thereby an idol. With some their lands, their houses, their merchandise, are the idols.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1011, 1012.

“Mammon is the idol of many. Its golden chain binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. These are Satan’s snares, set for unwary feet.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 83.

“The sin of this age is gluttony in eating and drinking. Indulgence of appetite is the god which many worship.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 409.

2 What warning is given to professed believers who worship false gods? I John 5:21. What will be the end of those who practice idolatry in any form? Galatians 5:20, 21.

Note: “It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone.” The Great Controversy, 583.

“Thousands are following after the gods of this world—after riches, fame, pleasure, and the pleasing fables that permit man to follow the inclinations of the unregenerate heart.” Prophets and Kings, 177.

3 Fourth Commandment—What kind of obedience do God’s commandments require? Psalms 40:8; 119:4; 19:7.

Note: “Obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love. … Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.” Steps to Christ, 60, 61.

4 How does God view partial Sabbath keeping? James 1:22–25.

Note: “You make the keeping of God’s law a matter of convenience, obeying or disobeying as your business or inclination indicates. This is not honoring the Sabbath as a sacred institution. You grieve the Spirit of God and dishonor your Redeemer by pursuing this reckless course.

“A partial observance of the Sabbath law is not accepted by the Lord and has a worse effect upon the minds of sinners than if you made no profession of being a Sabbathkeeper.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 248.

5 Besides rest from secular activities, what else is covered by the fourth commandment? Isaiah 58:13; Matthew 5:20; 12:12.

Note: “God has given men six days wherein to labor, and He requires that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is to be strictly avoided. ‘Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and … honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure.’ Isaiah 58:13. Nor does the prohibition end here. ‘Nor speaking thine own words’ [verse 13, last part], says the prophet. Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy day.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307, 308.

6 Sixth and Seventh Commandments—What are ways by which the sixth commandment is often broken? I Corinthians 3:16, 17; I John 3:15.

Note: “All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for ‘whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer’ [1 John 3:15]); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure health—all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

“The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan; and it led him to put to death the Son of God. Whoever cherishes malice or unkindness is cherishing the same spirit.” Sons and Daughters of God, 61.

7 What light did Jesus shed on the seventh commandment? Luke 16:18; Matthew 5:27, 28. How are many ensnared?

Note: “This [the seventh] commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

“He who finds pleasure in dwelling upon scenes of impurity, who indulges the evil thought, the lustful look, may behold in the open sin, with its burden of shame and heart-breaking grief, the true nature of the evil which he has hidden in the chambers of the soul. The season of temptation, under which, it may be, one falls into grievous sin, does not create the evil that is revealed, but only develops or makes manifest that which was hidden and latent in the heart.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 60.

“If the body is serving lust, the mind cannot maintain consecration to God. To preserve a sanctified mind, the body must be preserved in sanctification and honor. The mind will then serve the law of God, and yield willing obedience to all its claims.” The Review and Herald, March 8, 1870.

8 Eighth Commandment—What instruction did Paul give in connection with this precept? Romans 13:8, first part.

9 How far-reaching is the eighth commandment?

Note: “The eighth commandment condemns manstealing and slave dealing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage oneself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud in the books of heaven.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309.

10 How is our stewardship of the Lord’s goods related to the eighth commandment? Malachi 3:8–10.

Note: “Covetousness is an evil of gradual development.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 496.

“This evil exists not in the world alone, but in the church. How common even here to find selfishness, avarice, overreaching, neglect of charities, and robbery of God ‘in tithes and offerings’ [Malachi 3:8]. Among church members ‘in good and regular standing’ there are, alas! many Achans. Many a man comes statedly to church, and sits at the table of the Lord, while among his possessions are hidden unlawful gains, the things that God has cursed. For a goodly Babylonish garment, multitudes sacrifice the approval of conscience and their hope of heaven.” Ibid., 497.

“A tithe of all our increase is the Lord’s. He has reserved it to Himself, to be employed for religious purposes. It is holy. Nothing less than this has He accepted in any dispensation. A neglect or postponement of this duty, will provoke the divine displeasure.” Counsels on Stewardship, 67.

“The command to pay tithe is so plain that there is no semblance of excuse for disregarding it.” Evangelism, 250.

“Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work.” Gospel Workers, 225.

11 Ninth and Tenth Commandments—What are the implications of the ninth commandment? Colossians 3:9.

Note: “False speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the countenance, a falsehood may be told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every effort to injure our neighbor’s reputation by misrepresentation or evil surmising, by slander or tale bearing. Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309.

12 What does the tenth commandment forbid and how easily can it be broken? Exodus 20:17; James 1:13–15.

Note: “Covetousness has taken its abode in the hearts of professing Christians. Those who have all for which heart can wish, live for self-gratification, while the poor lie at their gates, unnoticed and unhelped.” The Youth’s Instructor, April 17, 1902.

“The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God’s law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309.

Review and Thought Questions

1 In what ways may professed believers be guilty of idolatry?

2 How is the fourth commandment often violated?

3 What implications of the sixth and seventh commandments are sometimes unnoticed by mere surface readers?

4 What are the requirements of the eighth commandment?

5 How can a person tell a lie without uttering a word?

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