Bible Study Guides – A Teachable Spirit

May 15, 2011 – May 21, 2011

Key Text

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Proverbs 8:33.

Study Helps: Testimonies, vol. 5, 682–691; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 313–316.


“The obedient ear will receive reproof with humility, patience, and teachableness.” Sons and Daughters of God, 166.


  • Name one of life’s first duties. Proverbs 1:8, 9.

Note: “You must not walk independently of all counsel. It is your duty to counsel with your brethren. This may touch your pride, but the humility of a mind taught by the Holy Spirit will listen to counsel, and will banish all self-confidence. When counsel is given that conflicts with your personal wishes, you are not to think that your own wisdom is sufficient for you to give counsel to others, or that you can afford to neglect the counsel given.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 315.

  • How does God regard the unteachable? Proverbs 12:15.

Note: “Some who are imperfect in character are connected with solemn, sacred interests; and when chosen for a special work, they should not feel that their own wisdom is sufficient, that they need not be counseled, reproved, and instructed. Brethren, if you feel thus, you will separate from the Source of your strength, and will be in peril. You may be left to your own supposed sufficiency, to do as Judas did—betray your Lord.” Gospel Workers, 414.

  • How should we regard counsel? Proverbs 25:9–12.

Note: “Those who are the most closely connected with God are the ones who know His voice when He speaks to them. Those who are spiritual discern spiritual things. Such will feel grateful that the Lord has pointed out their errors.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 134.


  • How can a healthy church relationship foster the making of wise plans? Proverbs 11:14; 15:22.

Note: “The evils of self-esteem and an unsanctified independence, which most impair our usefulness and which will prove our ruin if not overcome, spring from selfishness. ‘Counsel together’ is the message which has been again and again repeated to me by the angel of God. By influencing one man’s judgment, Satan may endeavor to control matters to suit himself. He may succeed in misleading the minds of two persons; but, when several consult together, there is more safety. Every plan will be more closely criticized; every advance move more carefully studied. Hence there will be less danger of precipitate, ill-advised moves, which would bring confusion, perplexity, and defeat. In union there is strength. In division there is weakness and defeat.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 29, 30.

  • In what ways do we each benefit from the knowledge and experience of one another? Proverbs 15:31, 32; 20:5.

Note: “Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in the wisdom of our brethren. We must be willing to take advice and caution from our fellow laborers. …

“It is a mistake to withdraw from those who do not agree with our ideas. This will not inspire our brethren with confidence in our judgment. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren, and to heed their advice. We are to seek their counsel, and when they give it, we are not to cast it away, as if they were our enemies. Unless we humble our hearts before God, we shall not know His will.

“Let us be determined to be in unity with our brethren. This duty God has placed upon us. We shall make their hearts glad by following their counsel, and make ourselves strong through the influence that this will give us. Moreover, if we feel that we do not need the counsel of our brethren, we close the door of our usefulness as counselors to them.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 500.


  • What do we too often forget about Godly counsel? Proverbs 13:1, 8, 10; 27:9.

Note: “There will be men and women who despise reproof and whose feelings will ever rise up against it. It is not pleasant to be told of our wrongs. In almost every case where reproof is necessary, there will be some who entirely overlook the fact that the Spirit of the Lord has been grieved and His cause reproached. These will pity those who deserved reproof, because personal feelings have been hurt. All this unsanctified sympathy places the sympathizers where they are sharers in the guilt of the one reproved. In nine cases out of ten if the one reproved had been left under a sense of his wrongs, he might have been helped to see them and thereby have been reformed. But meddlesome, unsanctified sympathizers place altogether a wrong construction upon the motives of the reprover and the nature of the reproof given, and by sympathizing with the one reproved lead him to feel that he has been really abused; and his feelings rise up in rebellion against the one who has only done his duty. Those who faithfully discharge their unpleasant duties under a sense of their accountability to God will receive His blessing. God requires His servants to be always in earnest to do His will. In the apostle’s charge to Timothy he exhorts him to ‘preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine’ [II Timothy 4:2].” Testimonies, vol. 3, 359, 360.

  • What balanced understanding is needed when seeking counsel from others? Jeremiah 17:5–7.

Note: “Some of our conferences are weak in Christian experience because their leading men—and the people have followed their example—have sought for the approval of man with far greater anxiety than for the approval of God. They have looked to man for help and counsel more than to God. They have made men their burden-bearers, and have accepted human wisdom just when and where they should have depended upon God. And too often those of whom they sought counsel needed help themselves; for their souls were not right with God.” Gospel Workers, 414.


  • How and why are we to avoid excessive or unnecessary burdening of others for counsel? Galatians 6:3–5.

Note: “There must be far more personal responsibility, far more thinking and planning, far more mental power brought into the labor put forth for the Master. This would enlarge the capacity of the mind, and give keener perceptions as to what to do and how.” Gospel Workers, 416.

  • How can we know God will answer as we counsel directly with Him? Proverbs 4:1, 2; 1 John 2:3–5; 5:13–15.
  • Why do prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered? Proverbs 8:33; 19:20; 28:9; James 4:3.

Note: “Let none deceive themselves with the belief that God will pardon and bless them while they are trampling upon one of His requirements. The willful commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit, and separates the soul from God. Whatever may be the ecstasies of religious feeling, Jesus cannot abide in the heart that disregards the divine law. God will honor those only who honor Him.” Messages to Young People, 114.

“When we make request of Him [God], 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.

  • What will come to those who reject God’s counsel as given through the Spirit of Prophecy? Proverbs 29:18.

Note: “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Proverbs 29:18. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony. He will bring in spurious visions, to mislead and mingle the false with the true, and so disgust people that they will regard everything that bears the name of visions, as a species of fanaticism; but honest souls, by contrasting false and true, will be enabled to distinguish between them.” The Faith I Live By, 296.


  • What type of counsel is increasing? Proverbs 19:27.

Note: “We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital interests of His work.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 108.

“Teachers of falsehood will arise to draw you away from the narrow path and the strait gate. Beware of them; though concealed in sheep’s clothing, inwardly they are ravening wolves. …

“We are not bidden to prove them by their fair speeches and exalted professions. They are to be judged by the word of God. [Isaiah 8:20; Proverbs 19:27 quoted.] What message do these teachers bring? Does it lead you to reverence and fear God? Does it lead you to manifest your love for Him by loyalty to His commandments?” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 145.

  • How are we warned against the extreme of totally submitting our mind to another’s will? I Timothy 6:20, 21; Jeremiah 17:5.

Note: “Satan often finds a powerful agency for evil in the power which one human mind is capable of exerting on another human mind. This influence is so seductive that the person who is being molded by it is often unconscious of its power. God has bidden me speak warning against this evil.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 23.

“This entering in of Satan through the sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, and mesmerism, he comes more directly to the people of this generation and works with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of probation.” Ibid., 19.

Review and Thought Questions

1 How will the godly respond to difficult reproofs?

2 Why is there benefit in “a multitude of counselors”?

3 Explain the problems that arise from false sympathy.

4 What should we realize about the Spirit of Prophecy?

5 When can counsel become dangerous?

Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Editorial – Our Need of Superior Wisdom

In writing to some Seventh-day Adventist leaders, Ellen White once said, “They thought they were too wise to be taught, and too secure to need caution, and if no one makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, I shall be surprised. Mistakes I saw would be made, and the men who are handling sacred things were not inclined to be controlled. Were they confidently relying upon the wisdom from above? No, but on their own supposed superior wisdom and prudence. O how sad to see men of little experience put on airs of importance, and act as though their own judgment of men and things were infallible. I know that things are not right now in the office.” 1888 Materials, 1186.

Today, we are in as great, and perhaps greater danger of making shipwreck of our faith. If we are to avoid eternal disaster, we must obtain a superior wisdom from God. There are several aspects to this superior wisdom that God wants to give us. The first and most important is the lessons of meekness and of silence. Notice how Jesus illustrated this in His own life.

“The Great Teacher held in His hand the entire map of truth, but He did not disclose it all to His disciples. He opened to them those subjects only, which were essential for their advancement in the path to heaven. There were many things in regard to which His wisdom kept Him silent. As Christ withheld many things from His first disciples, knowing that then it would be impossible for them to comprehend them, so today He withholds many things from us, knowing the capacity of our understanding.” Review and Herald, April 23, 1908.

“When the priests heard Pilate’s words, they broke out into a torrent of accusation. Standing behind Pilate, in view of all in the court, Christ heard the abuse, but to all the false charges against Him He answered not a word. His whole bearing gave evidence of conscious innocence. He stood unmoved by the fury of the waves that beat about Him. It was if the heavy surges of wrath, rising higher and higher, like the waves of the boisterous ocean, broke about Him, but id not touch Him. He stood silent, but His silence was eloquence. It was as a light shining from the inner to the outer man. Thus He gave evidence of His superior wisdom.” Signs of the Times, January 24, 1900.

Moses learned this lesson which resulted in making him one of the greatest men that has ever lived. Of him we are told, “Moses ‘was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,’ and this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all others. Says the Scripture, ‘The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.’ Psalm 25:9. The meek are guided by the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. . . . God does not force the will of any; hence He cannot lead those who are too proud to be taught, who are bent upon having their own way.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 384.

Counseling the pioneer self-supporting workers, the Lord instructed, “Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It will not be well for you to open to everybody all things concerning the work in Nashville and in Madison. There are those who are associated with us, and who occupy positions of trust, who may not stand the test. It will not be safe to try to make all understand everything. Those things that are of a private character, you should not make public. Let them be kept within the knowledge of your special few.” Spaulding-Magan, 393.

We must learn the same lesson of superior wisdom today or we will become entangled in insuperable problems which unnecessarily hinder God’s work.

“In the advancement of His cause in the earth, He would have men appointed to deal with the erring who will be kind and considerate, and whose characters reveal the similitude of the divine,— men who will show the wisdom of Christ in dealing with matters that should be kept private, and who, when a work of correction and reproof must be done, will know how to keep silence before those whom it does not concern. Unbelievers should not be given opportunity to make God’s people, be they ministers or laymen, the objects of their suspicion and unrighteous judgment.” Review and Herald, November 14, 1907.

Bible Study Guides – Life-Giving Words

November 16, 2013 – November 22, 2013

Key Text

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11.

Study Help: The Voice in Speech and Song, 140–147; Ibid., 367–377.


“The word of God, spoken by one who is himself sanctified through it, has a life-giving power that makes it attractive to the hearers, and convicts them that it is a living reality.” The Desire of Ages, 142.


  • What character qualities are parents to exhibit in the family circle if they would raise God-fearing children? Colossians 3:21; II Timothy 2:25, first part; I Corinthians 15:58, first part.
  • What disposition should parents cultivate in the home? Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:32.
  • How can fathers and mothers promote kindness in their children? Proverbs 31:26; Ephesians 6:4.

Note: “Jesus was the pattern for children, and He was also the father’s example. He spoke as one having authority, and His word was with power; yet in all His intercourse with rude and violent men He did not use one unkind or discourteous expression. The grace of Christ in the heart will impart a heaven-born dignity and sense of propriety. It will soften whatever is harsh, and subdue all that is coarse and unkind. It will lead fathers and mothers to treat their children as intelligent beings, as they themselves would like to be treated.” The Desire of Ages, 515.


  • Which aspects of the life of old-time Reformers assured the success of their ministry? II Timothy 1:7, 8.

Note: “He [Wycliffe] was an able and earnest teacher and an eloquent preacher, and his daily life was a demonstration of the truths he preached. His knowledge of the Scriptures, the force of his reasoning, the purity of his life, and his unbending courage and integrity won for him general esteem and confidence. Many of the people had become dissatisfied with their former faith as they saw the iniquity that prevailed in the Roman Church, and they hailed with unconcealed joy the truths brought to view by Wycliffe; but the papal leaders were filled with rage when they perceived that this Reformer was gaining an influence greater than their own.” The Great Controversy, 81.

“[While before the Diet of Worms] Luther, understanding his danger, had spoken to all with Christian dignity and calmness. His words had been free from pride, passion, and misrepresentation. He had lost sight of himself, and of the great men surrounding him, and felt only that he was in the presence of One infinitely superior to popes, prelates, kings, and emperors. Christ had spoken through Luther’s testimony with a power and grandeur that for the time inspired both friends and foes with awe and wonder.” Ibid., 161, 162.

  • In what sense did John Wesley follow the example of Christ in his work for the Master? Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 7:21.

Note: “While preaching the gospel of the grace of God, Wesley, like his Master, sought to ‘magnify the law, and make it honorable’ (Isaiah 42:21). Faithfully did he accomplish the work given him of God, and glorious were the results which he was permitted to behold. … His life presents a lesson of priceless worth to every Christian. Would that the faith and humility, the untiring zeal, self-sacrifice, and devotion of this servant of Christ might be reflected in the churches of today!” The Great Controversy, 264.


  • Outline the step-by-step method used by Paul to reach the Jews. Acts 17:1–4; 28:23.

Note: “Paul did not approach the Jews in such a way as to arouse their prejudices. He did not at first tell them that they must believe in Jesus of Nazareth; but dwelt upon the prophecies that spoke of Christ, His mission and His work.” Gospel Workers, 118.

  • How did Paul adapt his approach to suit the mind of the Gentiles? Acts 17:22–28.

Note: “Paul’s words contain a treasure of knowledge for the church. He was in a position where he might easily have said that which would have irritated his proud listeners and brought himself into difficulty. Had his oration been a direct attack upon their gods and the great men of the city, he would have been in danger of meeting the fate of Socrates. But with a tact born of divine love, he carefully drew their minds away from heathen deities, by revealing to them the true God, who was to them unknown.” The Acts of the Apostles, 241.

  • Explain why and how Paul improved the thrust of his approach before all men and women. I Corinthians 2:1–5, 13.

Note: “He [Paul] avoided elaborate arguments and discussion of theories, and in simplicity pointed men and women to Christ as the Saviour of sinners.” The Ministry of Healing, 214.

  • What lesson can we learn from him about working with higher classes? I Timothy 6:17–19.

Note: “The way of worldly policy is not God’s way of reaching the higher classes. That which will reach them effectually is a consistent, unselfish presentation of the gospel of Christ.” The Ministry of Healing, 214.


  • What direct health benefits are promised to those who habitually speak kind, sympathizing words to their fellowmen? Proverbs 12:18; 16:24; 17:22.

Note: “When human sympathy is blended with love and benevolence, and sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus, it is an element which can be productive of great good. Those who cultivate benevolence are not only doing a good work for others, and blessing those who receive the good action, but they are benefiting themselves by opening their hearts to the benign influence of true benevolence. Every ray of light shed upon others will be reflected upon our own hearts. Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrowful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to supply the necessities of our fellow beings, given or done with an eye to God’s glory, will result in blessings to the giver. Those who are thus working are obeying a law of heaven and will receive the approval of God. The pleasure of doing good to others imparts a glow to the feelings which flashes through the nerves, quickens the circulation of the blood, and induces mental and physical health.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 56.

  • How can we exercise good stewardship over our vocal organs, both in a spiritual and a physical sense? I Peter 4:10, 11.

Note: “Careful attention and training should be given to the vocal organs. They are strengthened by right use, but become enfeebled if used improperly. Their excessive use, as in preaching long sermons, will, if often repeated, not only injure the organs of speech, but will bring an undue strain upon the whole nervous system. The delicate harp of a thousand strings becomes worn, gets out of repair, and produces discord instead of melody.

“It is important for every speaker so to train the vocal organs as to keep them in a healthful condition, that he may speak forth the words of life to the people. Everyone should become intelligent as to the most effective manner of using his God-given ability, and should practice what he learns.” Evangelism, 667.


  • Identify and discuss the right and wrong way of bringing reproof, as presented in God’s word. Proverbs 25:11, 12; Galatians 6:1.

Note: “In giving reproof or counsel, many indulge in sharp, severe speech, words not adapted to heal the wounded soul. By these ill-advised expressions the spirit is chafed, and often the erring ones are stirred to rebellion. All who would advocate the principles of truth need to receive the heavenly oil of love. Under all circumstances reproof should be spoken in love. Then our words will reform but not exasperate.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 337.

  • What will be the result if we are blunt and aggressive in giving reproof? Show by an example what is meant by a rough rebuke. Psalm 52:4; James 3:6; Jeremiah 18:18, last part.

Note: “Some pride themselves on being outspoken, blunt, and rough, and they call this frankness; but it is not rightly named, it is selfishness of the deepest dye. These persons may have virtues; they may be liberal, and have kind impulses; but their discourteous manners render them almost insupportable. They criticize, they wound, they say disagreeable things. Will the character they are cultivating recommend them to Jesus? Will it fit them for the society of heaven? We do well to examine ourselves to see what manner of spirit we are cherishing. Let us learn to speak gently, quietly, even under circumstances the most trying.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 141.


1 In what way should we correct the shortcomings of our children?

2 Name some exemplary speaking qualities of the old-time reformers.

3 What can we learn from Paul’s adaptable teaching methods?

4 What will kind, sympathetic words do for our own health?

5 Explain how words of reproof can reform instead of exasperate.

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.