Bible Study Guides – What to do with Doubt and Unbelief

March 10-16, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 105–113.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Doubts are seeds—if we water them they will germinate and grow.

INTRODUCTION: “While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God’s word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light.” The Great Controversy, 527.

1 What does God say we should not do to His Word? Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32.

NOTE: “Satan works on human minds, leading them to think that there is wonderful knowledge to be gained apart from God. By deceptive reasoning he led Adam and Eve to doubt God’s word, and to supply its place with a theory that led to disobedience. And his sophistry is doing today what it did in Eden. Teachers who mingle the sentiments of infidel authors with the education they are giving, plant in the minds of youth thoughts that will lead to distrust of God and transgression of His law. Little do they know what they are doing. Little do they realize what will be the result of their work.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 108.

2 What does Jesus say we should do to eliminate doubts and unbelief? John 7:17.

NOTE: “Disguise it as they may, the real cause of doubt and skepticism, in most cases, is the love of sin. The teachings and restrictions of God’s word are not welcome to the proud, sin-loving heart, and those who are unwilling to obey its requirements are ready to doubt its authority. In order to arrive at truth, we must have a sincere desire to know the truth and a willingness of heart to obey it. And all who come in this spirit to the study of the Bible will find abundant evidence that it is God’s word, and they may gain an understanding of its truths that will make them wise unto salvation.” Steps to Christ, 111.

3 Against what does Paul say we should guard our hearts? Hebrews 3:12.

NOTE: “There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.

4 How did Zacharias respond to Gabriel’s message of a son to be born to him and his wife? Luke 1:18–20.

NOTE: “Zacharias well knew how to Abraham in his old age a child was given because he believed Him faithful who had promised. But for a moment the aged priest turns his thought to the weakness of humanity. He forgets that what God has promised, He is able to perform. What a contrast between this unbelief and the sweet, childlike faith of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, whose answer to the angel’s wonderful announcement was, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word’! Luke 1:38.” The Desire of Ages, 98.

5 What invitation received and acted upon will banish all doubts and unbelief? Psalm 34:8.

NOTE: “There is an evidence that is open to all,—the most highly educated, and the most illiterate,—the evidence of experience. God invites us to prove for ourselves the reality of His word, the truth of His promises. He bids us ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ Psalm 34:8. Instead of depending upon the word of another, we are to taste for ourselves. He declares, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ John 16:24. His promises will be fulfilled. They have never failed; they never can fail. And as we draw near to Jesus, and rejoice in the fullness of His love, our doubt and darkness will disappear in the light of His presence.” Steps to Christ, 111, 112.

6 After inviting Thomas to touch His recent wounds, what did Jesus say to reprove him for his unbelief? John 20:27–29.

NOTE: “Jesus accepted his acknowledgment, but gently reproved his unbelief:…The faith of Thomas would have been more pleasing to Christ if he had been willing to believe upon the testimony of his brethren. Should the world now follow the example of Thomas, no one would believe unto salvation; for all who receive Christ must do so through the testimony of others.” The Desire of Ages, 807.

7 What did Peter’s lack of faith and doubting spirit cause him to do? Matthew 14:28–32.

NOTE: “When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.” The Ministry of Healing, 250.

8 What consequences did Jesus say our words will eventually have on us? Matthew 12:36, 37.

NOTE: “When Satan tempts you, breathe not a word of doubt or darkness. If you choose to open the door to his suggestions, your mind will be filled with distrust and rebellious questioning. If you talk out your feelings, every doubt you express not only reacts upon yourself, but it is a seed that will germinate and bear fruit in the life of others, and it may be impossible to counteract the influence of your words. You yourself may be able to recover from the season of temptation and from the snare of Satan, but others who have been swayed by your influence may not be able to escape from the unbelief you have suggested. How important that we speak only those things that will give spiritual strength and life!” Steps to Christ, 119.

9 What did the man, who was seeking healing for his son, cry out to Jesus? Mark 9:20–24.

NOTE: “In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ You can never perish while you do this—never.” The Desire of Ages, 429.

10 If we do not have the Holy Spirit to guide us, what does Peter warn can possibly happen? 2 Peter 3:16–18.

NOTE: “There are many things apparently difficult or obscure, which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them. But without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we shall be continually liable to wrest the Scriptures or to misinterpret them. There is much reading of the Bible that is without profit and in many cases a positive injury. When the word of God is opened without reverence and without prayer; when the thoughts and affections are not fixed upon God, or in harmony with His will, the mind is clouded with doubts; and in the very study of the Bible, skepticism strengthens.” Steps to Christ, 110.

11 What kept many of the children of Israel from going into the Promised Land? Hebrews 3:15–19.

NOTE: “For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 69.

12 When Christ returns, what will the redeemed know? 1 Corinthians 13:10–12.

NOTE: “By faith we may look to the hereafter and grasp the pledge of God for a growth of intellect, the human faculties uniting with the divine, and every power of the soul being brought into direct contact with the Source of light. We may rejoice that all which has perplexed us in the providences of God will then be made plain, things hard to be understood will then find an explanation; and where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken purposes, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony.” Steps to Christ, 112, 113.

Editorial – Doubting Prophet

The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “ ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me’ (Jonah 1:1, 2). …  As the nature of this commission, with all its difficulties and seeming impossibilities loomed up before Jonah, he began to question the wisdom of the call. As he questioned, he forgot that the God whom he served was all-wise and all-powerful, and he began to doubt whether he should undertake to carry out such a commission. While he hesitated, still doubting, Satan overwhelmed him with discouragement. Seized with a great dread, he ‘rose up to flee unto Tarshish.’ Going down to Joppa, and finding there a ship ready to sail, ‘he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish’ (Jonah 1:3).” The Review and Herald, December 4, 1913.

About six weeks later after a most successful evangelistic campaign in Ninevah, “When Jonah learned of God’s purpose to spare the city that had corrupted its ways b efore him, he should have cooperated heartily in this merciful design. But he yielded to his inclination to question and doubt, and, as the result, was once more overwhelmed with discouragement, and lost sight of the interests of others in his concern over himself. He felt as if he would rather die than live to see the wicked city spared; and in his dissatisfaction he exclaimed, ‘Now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.’ ”  Ibid., December 11, 1913.

Through some trial of discouragement, is the devil keeping you from doing what God wants you to do and has instructed you to do in His Word?

“Satan attacks us at our weakest points, but we need not be overcome. However severe or unexpected the attack, God has provided help for us, and in His strength we may conquer. … The hour of man’s necessity is God’s opportunity. He sees our danger and provides help for us.” In Heavenly Places, 262.

“God loves His purchased possession, and He longs to see them overcome the discouragement with which Satan would overpower them. Let no thought of unbelief afflict your souls; for unbelief acts as a paralysis upon the spiritual energies. Do not magnify your difficulties, but keep the Lord in your remembrance, watching unto prayer.” The Signs of the Times, September 10, 1896.

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.

Editorial – Uncertain Voices and Unsafe Paths

  1. Eve lost paradise by listening to the voice of doubt, questioning and conjecture: “We must be careful not to listen to agents of the great adversary, who would guide our feet into forbidden paths, as our first parents were led into transgression.” The Signs of the Times, October 29, 1885.
  2. “Doctrines are being taught that lead into bypaths and forbidden paths; doctrines that lead men to act in harmony with their own inclinations and to work out their unsanctified purposes.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 231.

What are these doctrines?

  1. You can commit sin but be free from the consequences: “… the mass of humanity love a doctrine that permits them to commit sin, and yet frees them from its consequences. … Men … do not think it is in harmony with their dignity to inquire into the ways of God. Therefore they go into false ways, into forbidden paths, become self-sufficient, self inflated.” The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894.
  2. higher criticism
  3. evolution
  4. spiritualism
  5. theosophy
  6. pantheism
  7. Practices that lead God’s professed people into forbidden paths.
  8. Attempting to control and rule fellowlaborers: “The man who holds office in the church should stand as a leader, as an advisor and a counselor and helper in carrying the burdens of the work. … But he is not appointed to order and command the Lord’s laborers. The Lord is over His heritage.” The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters (1985), 298.
  9. Seeking and following the counsel of counsellors not under the control of the Holy Spirit:

“The sins against which ancient Israel were warned have led modern Israel into byways and forbidden paths. The professed people of God have made those who are trampling under foot His commandments their counselors.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 130.

  1. Participating in worldly amusement
  2. Studying skeptical and sensual literature
  3. Being very religious while the heart is somewhere else.

[All emphasis supplied.]

Bible Study Guides – Listening Without Doubting

August 28, 2016 – September 3, 2016

Key Text

“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:2).

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 105–113.


“It would be the ruin of many a soul always to have unclouded assurance in joyful feelings that they are accepted to God. Without feeling we must learn to lean upon His word. … The doubts and fears against which we have been called to struggle are the precious trials of our faith, God’s workmen that work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The Signs of the Times, April 18, 1895.


  • When doubt confronts us, what can we do to address it? Psalm 37:3–7.

Note: “Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith.” Steps to Christ, 105.

  • Why will we not be able to answer every question or resolve every uncertainty? Isaiah 55:8, 9.

Note: “If it were possible for created beings to attain to a full understanding of God and His works, then, having reached this point, there would be for them no further discovery of truth, no growth in knowledge, no further development of mind or heart. God would no longer be supreme; and man, having reached the limit of knowledge and attainment, would cease to advance. Let us thank God that it is not so.” Steps to Christ, 109.


  • How important is it to ask questions and develop our mind intellectually as far as possible? Proverbs 4:7. What example did Jesus provide? Luke 2:52.

Note: “Under the controlling influence of Christ, the human intellect can achieve wonderful things. The youth should be encouraged to reach the highest standard of intellectual acquirement. If the fear and knowledge of God are made first, there is no danger that the student will soar too high. The knowledge of God, the understanding of His will in His word, as far as human minds may grasp it, incorporated into the thoughts and woven into the character, will make efficient men and women. The study of the word of God will enable us to do His work intelligently and acceptably. The mind will be enriched, enlarged, and broadened. Those who thus constantly study the Word will go upward and forward toward the highest standard, because they are partakers of the divine nature.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1899.

  • What is necessary in finding answers to our questions? James 1:5–8.

Note: “Many look to their ministers to bring the light from God to them, seeming to think this a cheaper way than to be to the trouble of going to God for it themselves. Such lose much. If they would daily follow Christ and make Him their guide and counselor, they might obtain a clear knowledge of His will, and thus be gaining a valuable experience. For want of this very experience, brethren professing the truth walk in the sparks of others’ kindling; they are unacquainted with the Spirit of God and have not a knowledge of His will, and are therefore easily moved from their faith. They are unstable, because they trusted in others to obtain an experience for them. Ample provisions have been made for every son and daughter of Adam to obtain individually a knowledge of the divine will, to perfect Christian character, and to be purified through the truth. God is dishonored by that class who profess to be followers of Christ and yet have no experimental knowledge of the divine will or of the mystery of godliness.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 644.


  • What must be separated from our personal understanding of God’s message? Mark 7:6–9.

Note: “The Bible is the rule of life, teaching us of the character we must form for the future, immortal life. Our faith, our practice, may make us living epistles, known and read of all men. Men need not the dim light of tradition and custom to make the Scriptures comprehensible. It is just as sensible to suppose that the sun, shining in the heavens at noon-day, needs the glimmerings of the torchlight of earth to increase its glory. The fables or the utterances of priests or of ministers are not needed to save the student from error. Consult the divine Oracle, and you have light. In the Bible every duty is made plain, every lesson is comprehensible, able to fit men with a preparation for eternal life. The gift of Christ and the illumination of the Holy Spirit reveal to us the Father and the Son. The Word is exactly adapted to make men and women and youth wise unto salvation. In the Word is the science of salvation plainly revealed. … ‘Search the Scriptures’ (John 5:39), for therein is the counsel of God, the voice of God speaking to the soul.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 390, 391.

“Man’s authority bears the signature of man. We are not to permit the rank and file of our people to come under the generalship of the weak, confused sentiments of man. God’s authority is to stand supreme. And I must call upon His people to recognize His authority, which bears the evidence of its divine origin.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 69.

  • When we place tradition above the word of God, what will we be led to do? Matthew 23:23.

Note: “When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice—all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. The one great Offering that has been made is ample for all who will believe.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 388.


  • How can we know the way to heaven? John 14:6; 6:63; 8:31, 32. On the other hand, how will many of us lose heaven?

Note: “My heart is sad when I think how many will miss the way to heaven because they did not study the guide God has given them. There is no possible arrangement whereby these souls can be saved who, having the voice of God speaking to them in His word, have not interest sufficient to search and become acquainted with the directions God has given them, pointing out the only path that leads heavenward. Well may the apostle ask, ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). Our youth should be presented with a pledge to sign that they will not touch idle tales, but that they will make diligent search of the Scriptures, that they will give their minds the most nourishing, wholesome food, in order to become strong in contemplating the works of Christ Who became surety for the fallen race.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1887.

  • What should we ask of God to protect us from doubting? Psalm 139:23, 24.

Note: “Let us look closely and critically to ourselves. Are not the vows we entered into at our baptism violated? Are we dead to the world and alive unto Christ? Are we seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God? Is the cable cut which anchored us to the eternal Rock? Are we drifting with the current to perdition? Shall we make no effort to press and urge our passage up stream? Let us not hesitate longer but vigorously apply the oars; and let us do our first works ere we make hopeless shipwreck.” The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.

“Submit your heart to be refined and purified; then you will become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:4). Then you will ‘be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear’ (I Peter 3:15). The peace of Christ will be yours.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 333.


  • What will our experience be like when we overcome doubting? Matthew 21:21, 22.

Note: “Through faith in Christ, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellency developed.

“ ‘Ye are complete in Him’ (Colossians 2:10).

“Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand. Christ says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them’ (Mark 11:24). He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.” Education, 257, 258.

  • What will our attitude be towards our fellow believers? John 17:20, 21.

Note: “Those who are fighting the battles for the Prince of life must point their weapons of warfare outward, and not form a hollow square and aim their missiles of destruction at those who are serving under the banner of the Prince Emmanuel. We have no time for wounding and tearing down one another.” Christ Triumphant, 235.


1 Why does God allow the possibility of doubt?

2 What is our own responsibility in removing doubt?

3 What is a common source of doubt?

4 How can we overcome all doubt?

5 What will be the result of being free from doubt?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.