Bible Study Guides – “Ask, and It Shall Be Given You”

February 19, 2012 – February 25, 2012

Key Text

“Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 139–149.


“Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 142.


  • Why is prayer so important? John 16:24; I Corinthians 10:12.

Note: “It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.” The Great Controversy, 525.

“Prayer is both a duty and a privilege. We must have help which God alone can give, and that help will not come unasked. If we are too self-righteous to feel our need of help from God, we shall not have His help when we need it most. If we are too independent and self-sufficient to throw ourselves daily by earnest prayer upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, we shall be left subject to Satan’s temptations.” Our High Calling, 129.

  • What desire expressed by Christ’s disciples should also be ours? Luke 11:1. How did the Lord respond to the disciples’ request? Luke 11:2–4.

Note: “The Saviour does not … restrict us to the use of these exact words [as found in the Lord’s prayer]. As one with humanity, He presents His own ideal of prayer. … We are taught to come to God with our tribute of thanksgiving, to make known our wants, to confess our sins, and to claim His mercy in accordance with His promise.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103.


  • How only can we expect the Lord to stand behind His promises? John 15:7.

Note: “Those who bring their petitions to God, claiming His promise while they do not comply with the conditions, insult Jehovah. They bring the name of Christ as their authority for the fulfillment of the promise, but they do not those things that would show faith in Christ and love for Him.

“Many are forfeiting the condition of acceptance with the Father. We need to examine closely the deed of trust wherewith we approach God. If we are disobedient, we bring to the Lord a note to be cashed when we have not fulfilled the conditions that would make it payable to us. We present to God His promises, and ask Him to fulfill them, when by so doing He would dishonor His own name.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 143.

“All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God has a heaven full of blessings for those who will cooperate with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of His promises.” Ibid., 145.

  • What is one reason why many prayers remain unanswered? Malachi 3:6–8.

Note: “If we withhold from Him [God] that which is His own, how can we claim His blessing? If we are unfaithful stewards of earthly things, how can we expect Him to entrust us with the things of heaven? It may be that here is the secret of unanswered prayer.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 144.

  • How does Jesus illustrate the importance of persistent prayer? Luke 18:1–7.

Note: “Often He [God] delays to answer us in order to try our faith or test the genuineness of our desire. Having asked according to His word, we should believe His promise and press our petitions with a determination that will not be denied.

“God does not say, Ask once, and you shall receive. He bids us ask. Unwearyingly persist in prayer. The persistent asking brings the petitioner into a more earnest attitude, and gives him an increased desire to receive the things for which he asks.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 145.


  • What is a key point regarding prayer, and why? Matthew 5:23, 24; 6:12.

Note: “Are you estranged from your brother, because you think he has injured you? Are there no heart-burnings among you? Is there no bitterness in your hearts, no envy, no jealousy, no evil surmising, no misjudging of your brethren? Is there no emulation, no desire for special favor or honors, no wish to have the supremacy? These feelings should not exist among Christians.” Gospel Workers (1892), 429.

  • After completing the Lord’s prayer on the Sermon on the Mount, what essential thought did Jesus specifically reemphasize to aid us? Matthew 6:14, 15.

Note: “He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.

  • Why is a forgiving spirit especially important in these last days? James 5:9.

Note: “He who is full of envy looks upon the one he envies with dislike and seeks to show himself superior to his rival; unless he sees and repents of his sin, he will grudge against the one he envies, and all love of Christ will die out of his heart.” The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1894.

“No resentment must come into our hearts. When reviled, we must not revile again. O jealousy and evil surmising, what mischief have ye wrought! how have ye turned friendship and love into bitterness and hatred! We must be less proud, less sensitive, have less self-love, and be dead to self-interest.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 566.


  • How should the attitude of the psalmist be reflected in our prayer life, and especially in how we view others? Psalm 66:18–20; Luke 18:10–14; Romans 2:1–4.

Note: “If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions. Our own merit will never commend us to the favor of God; it is the worthiness of Jesus that will save us, His blood that will cleanse us; yet we have a work to do in complying with the conditions of acceptance.” Steps to Christ, 95.

“How cruel it is to judge, condemn, and pass sentence upon your brother when he has not the slightest suspicion that you are not his friend. …

“Let us reverently inquire, What does the Lord require of me in my relation to my brother?” The Review and Herald, August 16, 1892.

  • What assurance comes as we seek a purer relationship with God and with others—including those who may have hurt us? Ephesians 2:13; 4:31, 32.
  • What truth is to strengthen our prayer life? Luke 11:5–8, 13; I John 5:14, 15.

Note: “Our prayers do not always seem to receive an immediate answer; but Christ teaches that we should not cease to pray. Prayer is not to work any change in God; it is to bring us into harmony with God. When we make request of Him, He may see that it is necessary for us to search our hearts and repent of sin. Therefore He takes us through test and trial, He brings us through humiliation, that we may see what hinders the working of His Holy Spirit through us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 143.

  • Why are too many of our prayers offered in vain? James 4:2, 3.

Note: “Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 142.


  • What serious, thought-provoking challenge comes to all who truly desire to pray according to Christ’s model? Matthew 6:10.

Note: “Is your interest selfishly shut up to your own family or to your own church? God pity your narrowness! You should have that undying zeal, that far-reaching love, that encircles the world. There are hundreds of millions of men, women, and children who have never heard the truth, and multitudes are constantly going down to the grave without any sense of their accountability to God. How can you who repeat the Lord’s prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ [Matthew 6:10], sit at ease in your homes without helping to carry the torch of truth to others? How can you lift up your hands before God and ask His blessing upon yourselves and your families when you are doing so little to help others?” Historical Sketches, 287, 288.

  • What may well be the greatest need for which we should pray? I John 4:16.

Note: “The working out of the principle of love is true sanctification. Those who walk in the light will be the children of the light, and will diffuse light to those who are around them in kindness, in affection, in unmistakable love.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 8, 1894.

“Personal effort for others should be preceded by much secret prayer; for it requires great wisdom to understand the science of saving souls. Before communicating with men, commune with Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 149.

“There are many who long to help others, but they feel that they have no spiritual strength or light to impart. Let them present their petitions at the throne of grace. Plead for the Holy Spirit. God stands back of every promise He has made.” Ibid., 147.


1 What four elements should be included in our prayers?

2 What are some hindrances that prevent prayers from being answered?

3 Why does God consider deeply our attitude toward His other children?

4 For what purpose may the Lord be delaying the answer to our prayers?

5 What does the Spirit of Prophecy reveal as true sanctification?

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

Bible Study Guides – Cultivating the Mind

February 12, 2012 – February 18, 2012

Key Text

“Gird up the loins of your mind.” I Peter 1:13.

Study Help: Education, 123–134.


“Discipline and control the mental faculties.” Our High Calling, 219.


  • In this day of professed intellectual enlightenment, what timeless admonition is sorely needed? I Timothy 6:20, 21.

Note: “Human science is not divine enlightenment. Divine science is the demonstration of the Spirit of God, inspiring implicit faith in Him. The men of the world suppose this faith to be beneath the notice of their great and intelligent minds, something too low to give attention to; but here they make a great mistake. It is altogether too high for their human intelligence to reach.

“The gospel message is far from being opposed to true knowledge and intellectual attainments. It is itself true science, true intellectual knowledge. True wisdom is infinitely above the comprehension of the worldly wise. The hidden wisdom, which is Christ formed within, the hope of glory, is a wisdom high as heaven.” Our High Calling, 364.

  • How does the Bible provide greater blessing than most realize? Isaiah 55:1–3.

Note: “As a means of intellectual training, the Bible is more effective than any other book, or all other books combined. The greatness of its themes, the dignified simplicity of its utterances, the beauty of its imagery, quicken and uplift the thoughts as nothing else can. No other study can impart such mental power as does the effort to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation. The mind thus brought in contact with the thoughts of the Infinite cannot but expand and strengthen.” Education, 124.


  • What keen observation should make the scholar ponder? Ecclesiastes 12:12.

Note: “The Christian should possess more intelligence and keener discernment than the worldling. The study of God’s word is continually expanding the mind and strengthening the intellect. There is nothing that will so refine and elevate the character, and give vigor to every faculty, as the continual exercise of the mind to grasp and comprehend weighty and important truths.

“The human mind becomes dwarfed and enfeebled when dealing with commonplace matters only, never rising above the level of the things of time and sense to grasp the mysteries of the unseen. The understanding is gradually brought to the level of the subjects with which it is constantly familiar. The mind will contract its powers and lose its ability if it is not exercised to acquire additional knowledge and put to the stretch to comprehend the revelations of divine power in nature and in the Sacred Word.

“But an acquaintance with facts and theories, however important they may be in themselves, is of little real value unless put to a practical use. There is danger that those who have obtained their education principally from books will fail to realize that they are novices so far as experimental knowledge is concerned.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 545, 546.

  • Where is the adequate source of knowledge in contrast with the inadequate source? Jeremiah 2:13.

Note: “It is acquaintance that awakens sympathy, and sympathy is the spring of effective ministry. To awaken in the children and youth sympathy and the spirit of sacrifice for the suffering millions in the ‘regions beyond’ [11 Corinthians 10:16], let them become acquainted with these lands and their peoples. In this line much might be accomplished in our schools. Instead of dwelling on the exploits of the Alexanders and Napoleons of history, let the pupils study the lives of such men as the apostle Paul and Martin Luther, as Moffat and Livingstone and Carey, and the present daily-unfolding history of missionary effort. Instead of burdening their memories with an array of names and theories that have no bearing upon their lives, and to which, once outside the schoolroom, they rarely give a thought, let them study all lands in the light of missionary effort and become acquainted with the peoples and their needs.” Education, 269.


  • What makes the true Christian distinct in this world? II Corinthians 4:18.

Note: “While the worldly wise is skimming along the surface, grasping the things of sight and sense, the one who fears and reveres God is reaching into eternity, penetrating the deepest recesses and gathering the knowledge and riches that are as enduring as eternity. …

“To walk the world a pure man of untarnished morals, bearing the sacred principles of truth in your heart, its influence seen in the acts of your life; to live uncorrupted by the baseness, falsity, and dishonesty of a world which must soon be purified of its moral corruption by the fires of God’s retributive justice, is to be a man whose record is immortalized in heaven, honored among the pure angels who weigh and appreciate moral worth. This is what it is to be a man of God.” Our High Calling, 80.

  • What plain command comes to every receiver of present truth? Ezekiel 33:7–9.

Note: “So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same responsibility as was the prophet of Israel to whom came the word. [Ezekiel 33:7–9 quoted.]

“Are we to wait until the fulfillment of the prophecies of the end before we say anything concerning them? Of what value will our words be then? Shall we wait until God’s judgments fall upon the transgressor before we tell him how to avoid them? Where is our faith in the word of God? Must we see things foretold come to pass before we will believe what He has said? In clear, distinct rays light has come to us, showing us that the great day of the Lord is near at hand, ‘even at the doors’ [Matthew 24:33]. Let us read and understand before it is too late.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19, 20.

“It is not only by preaching the truth, not only by distributing literature, that we are to witness for God. Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity, and that a cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling. Not all the books written can serve the purpose of a holy life. Men will believe, not what the minister preaches, but what the church lives.” Ibid., 21.


  • Following his experience in Athens, why did the highly-educated apostle Paul change his evangelistic approach? Acts 17:15–17; 18:1; I Corinthians 2:2.

Note: “The apostle Paul had all the privileges of a Roman citizen. He was not behind in the Hebrew education; for he had learned at the feet of Gamaliel; but all this did not enable him to reach the highest standard. With all this scientific and literary education, he was, until Christ was revealed to him, in as complete darkness as are many at this time. Paul became fully conscious that to know Jesus Christ by an experimental knowledge was for his present and eternal good. He saw the necessity of reaching a high standard.

“It had been Paul’s custom to adopt an oratorical style in his preaching. He was a man fitted to speak before kings, before the great and learned men of Athens, and his intellectual acquirements were often of value to him in preparing the way for the gospel. He tried to do this in Athens, meeting eloquence with eloquence, philosophy with philosophy, and logic with logic; but he failed to meet with the success he had hoped for. His after-sight led him to understand that there was something needed above human wisdom. God taught him that something above the world’s wisdom must come to him. He must receive his power from a higher source. In order to convict and convert sinners, the Spirit of God must come into his work and sanctify every spiritual development. He must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.” The Review and Herald, July 18, 1899.

  • Like Paul, what is the main assignment given to each of us? II Timothy 2:1, 2.

Note: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.

“The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19.


  • What should be the goal of all mental growth? I Peter 1:13–16; Ephesians 4:13.

Note: “He [God] wants you to have great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, and lofty purposes of action. …

“Is our earthly, temporal work done with a thoroughness, a fidelity, that will bear scrutiny? Are there those whom we have wronged who will testify against us in the day of God? If so, the record has passed up to heaven, and we shall meet it again. We are to work for the great Taskmaster’s eye, whether our painstaking efforts are seen and appreciated by men or not. No man, woman, nor child can acceptably serve God with neglectful, haphazard, sham work, whether it be secular or religious service. The true Christian will have an eye single to the glory of God in all things, encouraging his purposes and strengthening his principles with this thought, ‘I do this for Christ.’ ” Our High Calling, 369.

  • What is the highest level that the human mind can achieve? II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 2:5–8.

Note: “Self-control is a power that all may possess. It is gained by placing the will wholly on the side of God, taking the will of God for your will.

“Christ … can and will, if we submit to Him, fill the chambers of the mind and the recesses of the soul with His Spirit. Then our will will be in perfect harmony with the Divine will. Our spirit and will may be so identified with His Spirit and will that in thought and aim we shall be one with Him.” Our High Calling, 219.


1 How does the human quest for progressive knowledge relate to the gospel?

2 Of what pitfalls do we need to beware in the “information age” of today?

3 What makes the true Christian peculiar in the sight of the world?

4 In what way is Paul’s growth in wisdom while in Corinth a lesson for us?

5 What is the highest education we can receive, and for what goal would it be?

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

Bible Study Guides – Aiming High

February 5, 2012 – February 11, 2012

Key Text

“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14.

Study Help: Education, 262–271.


“Kneeling in faith at the cross, he [the sinner] has reached the highest place to which man can attain.” The Acts of the Apostles, 210.


  • Why do we know that we each have an important part in God’s great plan? Mark 13:34. What responsibility does this imply? Mark 13:35–37.

Note: “To His servants Christ commits ‘His goods’—something to be put to use for Him. He gives ‘to every man his work’ [Mark 13:34, last part]. Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326, 327.

  • What is true of every human being, whether we realize it or not? Job 37:7.

Note: “God has not given talents to merely a chosen few, but to everyone He has committed some peculiar gift to be used in His service. Many to whom the Lord has given precious talents have refused to employ them for the advancement of the kingdom of God; nevertheless, they are under obligation to God for their use of His gifts. Everyone, whether serving God or pleasing himself, is a possessor of some trust, whose proper use will bring glory to God and whose perverted use will rob the Giver.” Our High Calling, 289.


  • As followers of Jesus, how are we to take up our cross every day? Matthew 10:38, 39; 16:25.

Note: “We are to give God all there is of us; and in giving to God our all, are we to consider that we sustain a great loss?—No, for in giving to Him our talents, we are doubling them.” Our High Calling, 18.

“The Lord has given man capacity for continual improvement, and has granted him all possible aid in the work. Through the provisions of divine grace, we may attain almost to the excellence of the angels.” Ibid., 218.

  • How should we respond to the Giver of every good gift? Psalm 116:12–14.

Note: “It is not the amount entrusted or the improvement made that brings to men the approbation of Heaven, but it is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service rendered, that brings the divine benediction, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord’ [Matthew 25:23]. This reward of joy does not wait until our entrance into the city of God, but the faithful servant has a foretaste of it even in this life.” Our High Calling, 289.

  • What key principle should underlie our Christian experience? Philippians 2:4.

Note: “God has given all something to do. Those who are willing to work in self-denial and self-sacrifice will find their place. But those who seek only a safe and easy place need to be converted. Until their hearts are renewed, their purposes changed, God has no use for them in His work. By an unreserved consecration we are to prepare ourselves for His service. Our ministers are not to hover over the churches, regarding the churches in some particular place as their special care. And our churches should not feel jealous and neglected if they do not receive ministerial labor. They should themselves take up the burden, and labor most earnestly for souls. Believers are to have root in themselves, striking firm root in Christ, that they may bear fruit to His glory. As one man, they are to strive to attain one object—the saving of souls.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.


  • What plan should we adopt for the advancement of God’s work? John 9:4; Philippians 3:13, 14.

Note: “God is waiting for men and women to awake to a sense of their responsibilities. He is waiting for them to link themselves with Him. Let them mark the signals for advance, and no longer be laggards in working out the will of the Lord.

“Do we realize how large a number in the world are watching our movements? From quarters where we least expect, will come voices urging us forward in the work of giving to the world the last message of mercy. Ministers and people, wake up! Be quick to recognize and seize every opportunity and advantage offered in the turning of the wheel of providence.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.

  • What must we realize about the sacredness of our calling? Ephesians 5:8–13.

Note: “There must be no pretense in the lives of those who have so sacred and solemn a message as we have been called to bear. The world is watching Seventh-day Adventists because it knows something of their profession of faith and of their high standard, and when it sees those who do not live up to their profession, it points at them with scorn.

“Those who love Jesus will bring all in their lives into harmony with His will. They have chosen to be on the Lord’s side, and their lives are to stand out in vivid contrast with the lives of worldlings. The tempter will come to them with his blandishments and bribes, saying: ‘All this will I give thee if thou wilt worship me.’ But they know that he has nothing worth receiving, and they refuse to yield to his temptations. Through the grace of God they are enabled to keep their purity of principle unsullied. Holy angels are close beside them, and Christ is revealed in their steadfast adherence to the truth. They are Christ’s minutemen, bearing, as true witnesses, a decided testimony in favor of the truth. They show that there is a spiritual power that can enable men and women not to swerve an inch from truth and justice for all the gifts that men can bestow. Such ones, wherever they may be, will be honored of heaven because they have conformed their lives to the will of God, caring not what sacrifices they are called upon to make.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 23, 24.


  • What should be foremost in our mind when beginning or changing our life work? I Corinthians 3:13; 10:24.

Note: “We should carefully weigh the matters relative to the work we take up. Will this work be a blessing to souls? God has not given us work merely to keep us busy, but for His name’s glory. Many are busily engaged gathering wood, hay, stubble. But this will all be consumed. …

“By God’s appointment each man has his post of duty. The careful, prayerful inquiry is to be made, What duty is assigned us individually, as men and women under accountability to God? And whether our labor be wholly limited to spiritual things, or whether it is temporal and spiritual combined, we are to faithfully discharge our work. … Man is to remember that God has the ownership of all, and that his pursuits are invested with a sacredness that they did not possess before he enlisted in the army of the Lord. Every action is to be a consecrated action, for it occupies God’s entrusted talent of time.” Our High Calling, 220.

  • Whatever our occupation, what attitude does Christ teach? Matthew 20:27, 28; Luke 22:27.

Note: “Many a man whose talents are adapted for some other calling, is ambitious to enter a profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an artisan, or a nurse, fills inadequately the position of a minister, a lawyer, or a physician. There are others, again, who might have filled a responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or perseverance, content themselves with an easier place.

“We need to follow more closely God’s plan of life. To do our best in the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for the indications of His providence—these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation.

“He who came from heaven to be our example spent nearly thirty years of His life in common, mechanical labor; but during this time He was studying the word and the works of God, and helping, teaching, all whom His influence could reach. When His public ministry began, He went about healing the sick, comforting the sorrowful, and preaching the gospel to the poor. This is the work of all His followers.” Education, 267, 268.


  • What is expected of every soldier in the Lord’s army? I Peter 2:21–23; Colossians 2:10; 3:10.

Note: “We are not to walk according to our own ideas, and present before others in our example a human standard which they will follow; but we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are to keep the commandments and live.” The Review and Herald, July 12, 1892.

“Through His [Christ’s] sacrifice, human beings may reach the high ideal set before them, and hear at last the words, ‘Ye are complete in him’ [Colossians 2:10].” Our High Calling, 364.

  • What was the psalmist able to declare frankly regarding the wisdom he had gained, and why? Psalm 119:99. What kind of education did Paul emphasize? Ephesians 1:3–6.

Note: “Man’s learning may be considered supreme, but it is not that higher education which he can take with him into the kingdom of heaven. The learned men of the world, notwithstanding all their intellectual studies, know not the truth as it is in Jesus. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul brings to view a kind of education which these supposed intellectual stars have not: [Ephesians 1:3–6 quoted.]

“These divine heights the true believer may reach. All who will may see the mystery of godliness. But it is only through a correct understanding of Christ’s mission and work that the possibility of being complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved, is brought within our reach. His long human arm embraces the human family; His divine arm grasps the throne of the Infinite, that man may have the benefit of the infinite sacrifice made in his behalf.” The Review and Herald, July 18, 1899.


1 Within our individual sphere, what work has been assigned to us?

2 Why is the world shocked to hear Christ’s idea of human potential?

3 Why hasn’t the world yet been enlightened by the Three Angels’ Messages?

4 What guidelines are given to determine our place in God’s vineyard?

5 Describe the high ideal that is set before us.

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

Bible Study Guides – Tested on Stewardship

January 29, 2012 – February 4, 2012

The Christian’s Calling

Key Text

“How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship.” Luke 16:2.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 325–365.


“Every gift, every talent, every ray of light, is ours as a sacred trust, bestowed upon us that we may win souls to Christ.” The Review and Herald, February 27, 1894.


  • Why was God’s greatest gift bestowed upon us—unworthy as we are—and how should we respond to it? John 3:16, 17; Romans 5:6–10.

Note: “The gift of Christ to the world was beyond computation, and no power could compete with God by giving a gift that would bear any comparison to the value of heaven’s best treasure. The greatness of this gift was to furnish men with a theme of thanksgiving and praise that would last through time and through eternity. Having given His all in Christ, God lays claim to the heart, mind, soul, and strength of man. Looking upon the treasure which God has provided in the full and complete gift of Christ, we can exclaim: ‘Herein is love’ [I John 4:10]!” Our High Calling, 18.

  • What must we consider about our accountability toward the One who bestows every good gift and talent? Romans 14:10, last part, 12; James 1:17.

Note: “If you are true disciples of Christ, you will consecrate every talent, and be able to reach out for the unconverted, by ways and methods that will be effective. You will be active, working agencies for Christ.” The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1893.

“Every human being will have to give an account to God for the way in which he has used his entrusted talents.” This Day With God, 318.


  • How does our standing in the hour of judgment involve all that we have ever received from God? Luke 16:1, 2.

Note: “To every man God has entrusted talents for wise improvement. If rightly used, these talents will reflect glory to the Giver. But the most precious gifts of God may be perverted, and thus become a curse rather than a blessing.” Our High Calling, 218.

“We must train and improve our ability that we may not disappoint our Master, but reach the highest possible standard, and thus influence others to follow in the footsteps of our Example. We may say, ‘Neither society nor intimate companions must have their ideas of Christian character cheapened by my course of action.’ ” Ibid., 290.

“Why have you been so passive? Why have you done so little? … What have you gained by serving self at the sacrifice of the best interests of God’s cause?” The Review and Herald, December 5, 1907.

“The talents of God’s people are to be employed in giving the last message of mercy to the world.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 494.

“If we do but one third of that which we have entrusted talents to do, the other two thirds are working against Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 439.

  • When we consider the abilities and talents God has given us—whether small or great—what is our continual duty? II Corinthians 13:5, 6.

Note: “Every energy, every endowment, is a talent that should contribute to God’s glory by being used in His service. Our God-given capabilities should not be made to serve selfish ends. We should always be willing to impart, letting others know all that we know; and we should rejoice, if they in their work develop an energy and an intelligence superior to that which we possess.

“God’s gifts are not to be used for the exaltation of self, but are to be put out to the exchangers, so that He shall receive His own with usury. Let not one attempt to secure greatness, happiness, or self-gratification by diverting from their proper use the powers with which he is endowed; for by so doing he dishonors the Giver, and fails of fulfilling the purpose for which he was created.” This Day With God, 132.

“As a people we have had great light. Oh, that we were awake to the purposes of God and to our individual responsibility! Then would we use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time.” Pacific Union Recorder, August 28, 1902.


  • What did Christ say concerning Peter’s curiosity about John? John 21:20–22.

Note: “We have a personal work, an individual responsibility, a personal account to render, and it is our own salvation we must secure, for it is a matter of individual concern. … The piety and obedience of others will not save us or be doing our work. Their efforts will never be registered against our names as ours. …

“God has left to every one of us our work—not the temporal labor as planting, sowing, reaping, and gathering in the harvest, but to build up His kingdom, to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth, and to regard this as our first and highest duty. God has claims upon us. He has endowed us with capabilities and given us opportunities, if we will see them and improve them. These obligations to God none but ourselves, individually, can meet.” Our High Calling, 303.

  • What should we consider when tempted to compare ourselves with others? II Corinthians 10:12.

Note: “The delinquencies of others … will be no excuse for any one to follow their example, because Christ is lifted up as the only true Pattern—faultless, pure, uncorrupted.” Our High Calling, 303.

“What shall be said of those who, having had many years of experience in the truth, and many precious advantages for growth in grace, are yet inclined toward the world, and find pleasure in its amusements and display? Instead of going on from strength to strength, they are, little by little, departing from God, and losing their spiritual life. …

“Talent can never take the place of piety, nor can the applause of men recommend us to the favor of God.” Ibid., 218.

“The knowledge of the truth is altogether too precious to be hoarded up, and bound about, and hid in the earth. Even the one talent entrusted by the Master is to be faithfully employed.” Ibid., 290.

  • In Christ’s prayer to His Father, what task did He entrust to His followers? John 17:18.

Note: “We are individually responsible. We ourselves should be our concern. Are we in all our words and actions building up the kingdom of Christ, or are we tearing down?” Our High Calling, 303.


  • What sobering thought comes to mind when we consider our talents during the times in which we are living? John 9:4; Judges 5:23.

Note: “Could the ledger of Heaven be opened before us, we would be greatly astonished at the large proportion of professing Christians who really contribute nothing toward the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom, who put forth no efforts for the salvation of souls. Such are slothful servants. Many who are satisfied not to do much good, flatter themselves that they are doing no harm so long as they do not oppose the earnest, active workers. But this class are doing much harm by their example. …

“The slothful servant was not condemned for what he had done, but for what he had not done. There is no more dangerous enemy to the cause of God than an indolent Christian. An open profaner does less harm, for he deceives no one; he appears what he is, a brier, a thorn. The do-nothings are the greatest hindrance.” Our High Calling, 302.

  • In this busy age of constant struggle for economic survival, what should be foremost in the mind of all who profess to believe the present truth? Mark 8:36–38.

Note: “The heavenly Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar His entrance. Jesus is knocking through the prosperity He gives you. He loads you with blessings to test your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness to triumph? Will you squander God’s talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of the blessings He has given?” The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.

“We are living in a time when there should be deep thought and solemn consideration. What shall be the end of these things? What profit is there under the sun?” Ibid., March 6, 1894.

“What shall we say, what can we say, to arouse those who know the truth, both ministers and lay members, to a sense of their responsibility? How can they be led to feel the burden of imparting to others the truth God has imparted to them? O that they were awake to the purposes of God and to their individual responsibility! Then would they use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time. The number of laborers would greatly increase, and the work would grow in influence and extent. God’s people would be light bearers, shining amid the darkness of this degenerate age.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.


  • How do the signs of the times relate to our talents? Matthew 24:32, 33.

Note: “Am I [Ellen White] so familiar with the ‘sure word of prophecy’ that I can see in the events transpiring around me positive evidence that the coming King is even at the door? Do I sense the responsibility that rests upon me, in view of the light God has given? Am I using every talent entrusted to me as His steward, in well-directed effort to rescue the perishing? or am I lukewarm and indifferent, partly mixed up with a wicked world, using the means and ability God has given me, largely in self-gratification, caring more for my own ease and comfort than for the advancement of His cause?” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1897.

“If ever there was a time when men and women should have an assurance that they are co-partners with Christ in the saving of the world, it is now.” The Review and Herald, April 9, 1895.

  • What inspired declaration should echo in each heart? Galatians 6:14.

Note: “Call every talent into exercise to copy the Pattern. Christ died to save man, and He calls upon us to live as seeing Him who is invisible, that we may save souls. Then seek the Lord most earnestly. Eternal life at the right hand of God is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. Look to the cross of Calvary, and be no longer half-hearted. It is either life or death with every one of us; and when we surrender all, then Jesus will open ways that we may serve Him with every power of our being. The Lord would have us gather up the rays of light, and be witnesses for Christ.” The Signs of the Times, November 28, 1892.


1 What example did God demonstrate in giving us His Son?

2 In what ways may I be misusing the talents God has given me?

3 Why is competition to have no place in the Christian experience?

4 Why does the mere struggle for economic survival fall short of God’s plan?

5 As we consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, what should we do with the talents entrusted to us?

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

Recipe – Triple Sprout Salad


1 cup crunchy bean sprouts, such as lentils, green    peas, and adzuki beans ¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup mung bean sprouts ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
4 green onions, white and green parts chopped 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
½ cup sliced grape tomatoes 4 cups watercress
½ cup chopped orange bell peppers  
Toss together crunchy sprouts, mung bean sprouts, green onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, and sesame seeds in large bowl. Add dressing of 2 Tbsp. lime juice, 2 tsp. sesame oil and 1 tspn white miso, and toss to coat. Separate alfalfa sprouts with your fingers, and stir into salad mixture. Serve on bed of watercress.  


Food – No Dirt Required

Throughout the world there are seasons when fresh greens from the garden or market may not be available. Most of us in North America depend on fresh produce that is transported across half a continent. Though we may garden in the summer, winter stops all but the most dedicated, or most southern, gardeners. But there is one way to get a little homegrown veggie goodness in a matter of days: sprouts! The crisp, curly, sometimes leafy tendrils are a cinch to grow on the kitchen counter.

Home sprouting can supply delicious fresh food, without the environmental drawbacks of the Mega-farm produced fresh produce, and at a fraction of the cost. Sprouting at home takes only a few seconds a day and can produce a good part of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and the freshness is wonderful. If you can supply a jar, some screen or netting, and rinse the sprouts twice a day, you can grow delicious organic sprouts in four to six days.

Sprouts are very inexpensive (even when organic), always fresh (they grow until you chew them) and have the potential to help solve hunger and malnutrition problems in our communities and in developing countries, because they are so rich in nutrients, affordable, and easy to transport before sprouting. Sprouts are precious in winter, when the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables is declining as their price increases. In addition to providing the greatest amount of nutrients, sprouts deliver them in a form that is easily digested and assimilated.

Many seeds can be sprouted, but some sprouts cannot be eaten raw. The most commonly sprouted seeds include:

  • Pulses (pea family):alfalfa, fenugreek, mung bean, lentil, pea, chickpea, soybean
  • Cereals: wheat, maize (corn), rice, barley, rye, kamut and then quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat (these last three are used as cereal even if botanically they are not)
  • Oilseeds: sesame, sunflower, almond, hazelnut, linseed
  • Vegetables and herbs:broccoli, carrot, spinach, cabbage, celery, fennel, onion, parsley, radish, turnip, leek, watercress, mustard, rocket (arugula), lemon grass, lettuce, clover, mizuna (Japanese mustard), milk thistle

Sprouting 1–2–3

What you’ll need:

  • organic sprout seeds or beans
  • 1–quart canning jar
  • cheesecloth or screen
  • rubber band
  • water

Place seeds or beans in bottom of jar, filling no more than one-quarter full. Cover with water, and let stand five hours or overnight, depending on type of seed.

Drain water from seeds or beans and rinse. Cover top of jar with cheesecloth or screen secured with a rubber band. Set in a warm spot that gets indirect sunlight.

Pour cool water through the cheesecloth or screen to rinse seeds or beans twice a day. Drain off excess water through cheesecloth—the seeds or beans will begin to sprout in three to five days. Once they’ve sprouted, store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Health – Chew, Chew and Chew Some More!

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. There are so many fascinating things to learn about ourselves. I cannot wait until we get to heaven where time is unlimited and we will have an eternity to learn and understand the in-depth workings of the amazing bodies the Lord has provided us. But in the meantime, we need to be thankful for the understanding the Lord does provide to us of the simple actions of our bodies. What does happen to food once it leaves the mouth? The following information is very fascinating to learn about the travel of a meal in its journey through the body.

The Mouth

Man was created with a keen sense of taste. This serves a double purpose; first that great pleasure would be derived from the experience of eating, which is a necessary act of existence. The only time food gives any special pleasure is while it is in the mouth; once it is swallowed, the joy is over. It would seem natural that there would be a desire to prolong this joy to its utmost, which would automatically fulfill the second purpose of the sense of taste by keeping the food in the mouth long enough so that it will be thoroughly masticated and salivated. This is necessary to normal digestion and elimination and is a part of the Creator’s perfect plan for our existence.

Science has revealed that while chewing and tasting food the peristaltic activity of the colon is four times as vigorous as at other times. Consequently, if one chews and tastes his breakfast quickly for only ten minutes, he gets but little of this extra help toward elimination, while if he chews and tastes the meal for forty minutes, he receives four times as much help.

“When food is taken into the stomach, the movements of the tube become vigorous. Indeed, while the food is still in the mouth and being chewed, and before the morsel has been swallowed, the movements begin, and are four times as vigorous during the taking of a meal as at other times. This is a very excellent reason why constipated persons should eat deliberately, taking ample time at meals and chewing long and well. Food is the natural laxative. The act of eating starts the action of the muscular machinery by means of which first the food and later the food residues are transported along the alimentary canal, and so long as chewing continues new impulses are continually transmitted to the stomach and intestines which quicken the peristaltic movements and activity of the whole digestive machine. The observation of Hirsch, Case, and others have shown that the colon contents advance as far during the hour of eating as during four hours just before the meal.” J.H. Kellogg, M.D., The Itinerary of a Breakfast, Funk & Wagnalls, 1918, 13, 14, 87, 88.

The Stomach

After the chewing is finished the food passes into the stomach where it is mixed with the gastric juice, beginning the digestion of protein. After about four hours, the food should have passed out through the pylorus, which means gate keeper, into the duodenum where it receives the juice from the pancreas and the bile from the liver, and thence it passes into the small intestine where digestion is completed by the combined work of the saliva, gastric, and pancreatic juices and the bile. Now it is ready for absorption into the blood and to be used in rebuilding the body.

The Intestine

The interior of the small intestine, which is about twenty feet long, is provided with many millions of villi, which absorb the foods into the blood. Mineral oil cannot be absorbed, as it is only a lubricant, and so it smears over these villi and hinders them from passing the food into the blood. After about four hours in the small intestine, digestion should be completed and the nutrients passed into the blood and the residue into the colon for elimination.

Note: Four hours in the stomach and four in the small intestine. The residue should not take over sixteen hours to complete the journey so that no food would remain in the tract over twenty-four hours.

If foods move according to this schedule, the ordinary cases of sour stomach, intestinal decay, gas, and constipation will disappear, for this is normal.

“A breakfast should reach the colon with all of the good already absorbed by the body about noon and it should pass through and out of the body not later than after breakfast time the next day, and if we are perfectly normal the lunch and supper residue may go along with it. Anything slower than this is constipation, and is a retention in the intestine of residue for too long a time.

“Under normal conditions there is an impulse to move the bowels after each meal. A well-trained set of organs in a well-managed body will react in this desirable fashion under perfectly normal conditions.” C. Ward Crampton, M.D., Chairman National Committee on Education, National Congress of Parents and Teachers; and Director Health Service Clinic, Post Graduate Medical School, New York City.

But people do not live that way. If people secured an elimination for each meal, the majority of our ills would disappear; but most people believe that if there is one elimination each day they are doing well, and the majority do not succeed at that without taking some laxative or cathartic. (Americans spend fifty million dollars a year for seven hundred kinds of laxatives.) The X-ray has shown that most of the people who live on the one-a-day plan are holding the residue in the tract for fifty hours. Often there is delay in the stomach, producing fermentation. When fermented food reaches the small intestine and is held there overtime it decays; and when it remains in the colon for still more hours, its condition cannot be accurately described. …

Natural foods … will not ordinarily putrefy in the tract in twenty-four hours, so that if they remain in the stomach four hours, in the small intestine another four, they still have sixteen hours to pass through the twelve feet of the colon and yet be within the safety limit of twenty-five hours. But after twenty-five hours putrefaction begins, so that the people who live on the one-a-day plan and, unknowingly, carry the remains for fifty hours, are allowing twenty-five hours for putrefaction for every meal, every day, year after year. Decayed food is passing into the blood and thence to every organ, gland, nerve, and cell day and night during every hour of life. That program makes health impossible and the coming of disease sure. On the other hand, if all residues leave the body inside of twenty-five hours, there can be no sour stomach, gas, and putrefaction, and life will be one continuous joy. Why not live on that high plane?

Many people do not know that an elimination for each meal is the health rule. They would know it if they but stopped to think. An untrained child often has to go to the toilet before the meal is finished. There is proof that the rule is right. Here is another. When your nose gets the aroma of delicious food, your mouth “waters.” Why? Because the nose said to the mouth, “Something good is coming, get ready for it.” And the mouth prepared the saliva. Likewise, when the food is in the mouth an advance message goes to the stomach saying that food is coming, and it in turn prepares the gastric juice before the food arrives. In similar manner, when the food is in the mouth and also while it is in the stomach other advance messages go on to the intestine announcing that something is coming and that room should be prepared for it, and the only way room can be ready for it is for the intestine to pass its contents to the colon and the colon eliminate its contents. That is easy to understand once you think about it. Any rhythm slower than this is some degree of constipation. Establish this rule and follow what you are reading until you attain this ideal.

Remember, for good health chew your food well!

Adapted from Abundant Health, by Julius Gilbert White, Teach Services, Inc., 2005, 116–118.

Children’s Story – God Chose One Weak

Over 160 years ago, before there were any Seventh-day Adventists, something very wonderful and special happened. God’s true people had just experienced a bitter disappointment. They had studied their Bibles deeply and carefully and learned that Jesus was going to clean His sanctuary. These sincere Bible students thought the earth was the sanctuary to be cleansed. They thought it meant that Jesus was coming back to this earth, and they were so excited and happy. However, there was one problem. They did not understand what the sanctuary was or where it was. Jesus did not come to this earth as they expected. What a disappointment! Anyone who has ever looked forward to a very special visitor coming to visit, and they never arrive, can well understand the feeling. That is how it was for these people, only far worse. The special guest they had anticipated was Jesus, and He did not come, at least not in the way they had expected.

When Jesus did not return, many quit following Him. But there were some who remained true and were deeply troubled. They wondered where they had been mistaken. Jesus loved these people dearly. He knew their sincerity. So He did something extraordinary for His dear ones.

One day, as a young seventeen-year-old girl, Ellen Harmon was earnestly praying with four friends. They became alarmed when Ellen quit breathing and had no awareness of her surroundings. They soon noticed that though Ellen was not breathing, her pulse was regular, her skin was healthy looking, and her eyes were open and looking at something as though far off in the distance. They watched and waited. What they did not know at the time was that Ellen was experiencing a heavenly vision. God was showing and telling her special things.

When the vision was over, Ellen told her friends what she had seen. God had shown her the travels of His children on their way to the heavenly city. The friends were so happy and praised God for His goodness. Ellen herself was happy, thinking her duty done. However, one week later, the same angel visited her again and told her God wanted her to share with others what she had been shown.

At that time a group of believers were meeting in the home of Ellen’s parents for Bible study and prayer. The leader asked Ellen to tell the group what God had shown her. Now, Ellen became afraid. She was just a young girl and very weak as a result of a serious accident that had occurred when she was nine years old.

Because of her fear, like Jonah, she ran. On the day of the meeting she got into a sleigh and traveled four miles to the home of a friend. Alone, in an upstairs room she spent the entire day praying to be released from her duty. Finally, near evening, she surrendered to God’s will, promising to share what she had been shown. By the time she arrived home the meeting was over. But when they met again, Ellen faithfully related what God had shown her in vision. This brought great happiness and comfort to the faithful believers.

A few days later, Ellen’s father noticed she was still troubled. When questioned, she talked of how God had told her to share with others what she had seen. She wondered why the Lord had chosen someone weak, young, poor, and having no one with whom to travel. How could she do what the Lord asked? Who would arrange the meetings and how could the people ever hear her soft, hoarse voice. Besides, she felt that the people would only laugh at her.

As Ellen bemoaned the difficulties, feeling weak and frail indeed, her father tenderly spoke to her. “Ellen, if God has called you to do a work for Him, He will make you strong enough to do it, and He will open a way for you to begin. We will pray for you in our meeting tonight.”

That very night, as they prayed, God sent her fresh courage to do His work. She was willing to do anything, go anywhere, if she could only have the smile of Jesus on her.

Just a couple days later, Ellen’s brother-in-law came in a sleigh from 30 miles away, asking her to visit them. Ellen saw God’s hand opening the way to fulfill His call and gladly went. Though the air was icy and her breathing painful due to the cold, she was happy because she was obeying God’s will. When Ellen stood to speak, she tried for five minutes to share her vision, but her voice was so weak and hoarse that it could barely be heard. Suddenly, her voice rang out clear and loud. For two hours she shared about the travels of God’s people on their way to heaven, the second coming of Jesus and the glories of heaven. When she sat down, her voice became weak and hoarse again.

Many people wondered why the Lord chose someone so weak, so frail to do His work. But when they heard the miracle of her voice, they knew the message was from the Lord. They knew that God had strengthened her to give them evidence of His power and care for them.

For many years God worked through Ellen. Through her He sent many messages of hope, comfort, guidance, instruction, even warnings and reproof, always in love, to protect His people and lead them to the heavenly home with Him.

Story adapted from Stories of My Grandmother, by Ella M. Robinson, Review and Herald Publishing, Takoma Park, Maryland

Customs of Bible Times – Parental Position in the Home

Unlike within most homes today, in Bible times each member of the family held a certain position in the home, which came with specific duties.

Position of the Father

The Eastern idea of the family is a little kingdom within itself, over which the father is supreme ruler. Every company of travelers, every tribe, every community, every family, must have a father who is the head of the group. A man is said to be the father of what he invents. Jubal “was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe.” Jabal was “the father of such as dwell in tents, and have cattle” (Genesis 4:20). Because he was a preserver and protector, Joseph said that God made him “a father to Pharoah” (Genesis 45:8). The Eastern mind cannot conceive of any band or group without somebody being the father of it.

Supremacy of the Father Under the Patriarchial System

Under the patriarchial administration, the father is supreme in command. This gives him authority over his wife, his children, his children’s children, his servants, and all of his household. If he is the sheik, it extends to all the tribe. Many of the Bedouins today are under no government except this patriarchial rule. When Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sojourned, living in tents while looking forward to the Promised Land, they were ruled by this same system. And when the law of Moses was given to Israel, the authority of the parent, and especially the father, was still recognized. One of the Ten Commandments is “honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). In many ways the father was the supreme court of appeal in domestic matters.

Succession of Authority

In a majority of cases, the great authority, which the father had, was handed down to his eldest son, who took over the position of leadership upon the death of the father. Thus Isaac became the new sheik over his father’s household upon the death of Abraham. He and Rebekah had been living in that household under his father’s authority, but the succession of authority passed on to him as the son. Ishmael, being son of the handmaid, did not succeed to the place (Genesis 25). In some cases, the father bestowed the succession of authority on other than the eldest son, as when Isaac bestowed it upon Jacob instead of Esau (Genesis 27).

Reverence of the Children for the Father

Reverence of children for their parents, and especially the father, is well-nigh universal in the East down to modern times. Among the Arabs, it is very seldom that a son is heard of as being undutiful. It is quite customary for the child to greet the father in the morning by the kissing of his hand, and following this, to stand before him in an attitude of humility, ready to receive any order or waiting for permission to depart. Following this, the child is often taken upon the lap of the father.

The Mosaic Law demanded obedience to parents, and a rebellious and disobedient son could be punished by death (Deuteronomy 21:18–21). The apostle Paul reiterated the injunction that children must obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20).

Position of the Wife in Relation to the Husband

The wife held a subordinate position to that of her husband, at least in office, not in nature. The ancient Hebrew women did not have unrestrained freedom as the modern women of the Occident [Western world] have. In the East, social intercourse between the sexes is marked by a degree of reserve that is unknown elsewhere. Dr. Thomson says, “Oriental women are never regarded or treated as equals by the men.” They never eat with the men, but the husband and brothers are first served, and the wife, mother, and sisters wait and take what is left; in a walk the women never go arm in arm with the men, but follow at a respectful distance; the woman is, as a rule, kept closely confined, and watched with jealousy; when she goes out she is closely veiled from head to foot. (W. M. Thomson, in early edition of The Land and the Book, quoted and paraphrased by E. P. Barrows in Sacred Geography and Antiquities, American Tract Society, 438.)

This attitude toward women can be illustrated from the Bible. Notice how Jacob’s wives, when traveling, were given places by themselves and not with him (Genesis 32). And nothing is said about the prodigal’s mother being present at the feast, which the father served his son (Luke 15:11–32). All this is in keeping with Eastern custom.

But while these things are true, it must be understood that the Old Testament does not picture the wife as a mere slave of her husband. She is seen to exert tremendous influence for good or ill over her husband, and he showed great respect for her in most cases. Sarah was treated by Abraham as a queen, and in matters of the household, she ruled in many ways. Abraham said to her, concerning Hagar, who had given birth to Ishmael, “Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee” (Genesis 16:6). The tribute to a Hebrew wife and mother in the book of Proverbs indicates that she was a person of great influence with her husband: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her” (Proverbs 31:11). “She openeth her mouth with wisdom” (verse 26). “Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also; and he praiseth her” (verse 28).

Position of the Mother in Relation to the Children

Children in the East show nearly the same respect toward the mothers as they do toward the fathers. The mother is believed to be entitled to honor and to have authority from God. Actually, the father and mother are looked at as being the representatives of God in the matter of authority. They are considered as having this position no matter how poorly they fulfill their obligations. Hebrew children in general held their mothers in great respect, even when they became adults. This may be illustrated by the great influence exerted by queen mothers on the kings of Judah and Israel (I Kings 2:19; II Kings 11:1; 24:12.).

Excerpts from Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, Fred H. Wight, The Moody Institute of Chicago, 1953, 103–106.

Although customs have changed over time and even today are different in the West from those in the East, the significance that the Bible places on parental authority remains unchanged. Honor is still required of children for their mothers and their fathers in keeping with the counsel provided in inspired writings.

Keys to the Storehouse – Strange Infatuation

One of the meanings for the word infatuation is unreasoning admiration or love. There is a strange infatuation, a strange unreasoning admiration or love for the things that Satan presents. What is it that makes the words of the great deceiver more attractive to the majority of people than the word of God? What makes them even more attractive to even those professing Christianity at times? Is it that unreasoning admiration—that strange infatuation?

“The Majesty of Heaven in tears! the Son of the infinite God troubled in spirit, bowed down with anguish! … Jesus, looking down to the last generation, saw the world involved in a deception similar to that which caused the destruction of Jerusalem. The great sin of the Jews was their rejection of Christ; the great sin of the Christian world would be their rejection of the law of God, the foundation of his government in Heaven and earth. … Millions in bondage to sin, slaves of Satan, doomed to suffer the second death, would refuse to listen to the words of truth in their day of visitation. Terrible blindness! strange infatuation!” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 23.

You must not be entangled in this strange infatuation—for it is very deadly and will cause your eternal death if not recognized. We need to know and understand the word of God now to escape the deception, which leads to eternal death.

Remember: “The one who promised Adam life in disobedience was the great deceiver. … ‘Ye shall not surely die;’ and this declaration, resting solely upon the authority of Satan, is echoed from the pulpits of Christendom, and received by the majority of mankind as readily as it was received by our first parents. The divine sentence, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die’ (Ezekiel 18:20), is made to mean, The soul that sinneth, it shall not die, but live eternally. We cannot but wonder at the strange infatuation which renders men so credulous concerning the words of Satan, and so unbelieving in regard to the words of God.” Ibid., 353.

You do not want to be part of those blinded by this strange infatuation because they will at the last day say: “ ‘All this,’ cries the lost soul, ‘I might have had; but I chose to put these things far from me. Oh, strange infatuation! I have exchanged peace, happiness, and honor, for wretchedness, infamy, and despair.’ All see that their exclusion from Heaven is just. In their lives they declared, We will not have this Jesus to reign over us.” Ibid., 483.

“Although some are so estranged from God that they do not recognize His voice, though a strange infatuation leads them in their perversity of heart to strive against the manifestations of the Spirit of God, let not those who are striving earnestly to do the work and will of God become discouraged. Let each work earnestly, prayerfully, holding his torch in his hand, shedding light upon willing and unwilling eyes. Having their orders from heaven, they are to be true and faithful, in all things representing the compassion of Christ.” Pamphlet, 149, 51.

“Doubters, unbelievers, and skeptics turn the truth into a lie.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 360.

Are you turning the truth into a lie by professing to live for Jesus but listening to the devil’s lie? Oh, strange infatuation!

(All emphasis supplied.)

Father: Preserve me from turning the truth into a lie in my life. Give me spiritual discernment. I never want to exchange peace, happiness, and honor, for wretchedness, infamy, and despair. Preserve my soul from Satan’s lies that I may not fall under the spell of this strange infatuation that strives against the manifestations of the Holy Spirit and leads to eternal loss and death. Amen.