Can We Trust What We Read?

No theory is perhaps more hazardous to faith than the suggestion that something which is inspired is really just falsehood and cannot be trusted.

All Scripture Is Pure

The Bible tells us that all scripture is given by God:

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16.

The Scriptures were written by holy people under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21.

This is a holy book. It is not one in which there are human ideas and errors mixed. It did not come by the will of man, but the will and moving of God.

In our study we also make reference to all the scriptures. See Miller’s Rules.

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27.

This “all scripture” is pure.

5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30: 5, 6.

What does God do with that pure word?

6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6, 7.

Let’s realise something important here: God preserves His pure Word.

“The Bible is the most ancient and the most comprehensive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and throughout the ages a divine hand has preserved its purity.” Education, p. 173:1.

Therefore, we can trust the Bible. When it rebukes or instructs us, instead of doubting it, we should accept it as Jesus’ loving counsel.

On Dangerous Ground

What about when we try to argue that something inspired really isn’t, or think we can ignore it and go our own way?

“[W]hen we have found what saith the Scriptures, let us act upon the written word; for it is perilous to sit in judgment on the words of inspiration. That which has been written is for our instruction, admonition, and comfort.” Review and Herald, December 20, 1892 par. 8.

“There are professed Christians who read the Bible without a fine perception of the gems they are handling. There are portions of Scripture that they are not sure are inspired, and they think that in God’s word there are errors and human reasoning. With the lamp of life in their very hands, they stumble. They interpret the Scriptures to suit themselves; they cannot appreciate the wisdom of God, and their own human wisdom is the light that guides them.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 26, 1895, pars. 6 & 7.

What are we to do with that which is inspired?

“There are some that may think they are fully capable with their finite judgment to take the Word of God, and to state what are the words of inspiration, and what are not the words of inspiration. I want to warn you off that ground, my brethren in the ministry. ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ There is no finite man that lives, I care not who he is or whatever is his position, that God has authorized to pick and choose in His Word.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 919.

“I would have both my arms taken off at my shoulders before I would ever make the statement or set my judgment upon the Word of God as to what is inspired and what is not inspired….

Do not let any living man come to you and begin to dissect God’s Word, telling what is revelation, what is inspiration and what is not, without a rebuke. Tell all such they simply do not know. They simply are not able to comprehend the things of the mystery of God. What we want is to inspire faith. We want no one to say, ‘This I will reject, and this will I receive,’ but we want to have implicit faith in the Bible as a whole and as it is.” SDA Bible Commentary [EG White Comments], vol. 7, pp. 919, 920.

What happens if we are not led by the Holy Spirit in study of the Bible?

The spirit in which you come to the investigation of the Scriptures will determine the character of the assistant at your side. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. But if the Bible is opened with irreverence, with a feeling of selfsufficiency, if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God’s word in a perverted light.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 108:1.

What is the enemy’s purpose in bringing in doubt?

Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan’s delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles. If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth. Our feet should be shod with the preparation of the gospel, and the truth of God should be our shield and buckler. We must know for ourselves that we have the truth of God. Therefore let no one entertain the question whether this or that portion of the word of God is inspired.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888, par. 24.

Same Issue with the Testimonies

God has given a gift of the Spirit to his church, that of prophecy.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.

“[T]he testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10.

This gift of prophecy operates, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the same way God worked through “holy men of God” whose writings form the Scriptures. The same rules of inspiration, preservation and interpretation apply.

And the same doubts and attacks have also been experienced.

“Many times in my experience I have been called upon to meet the attitude of a certain class, who acknowledged that the testimonies were from God, but took the position that this matter and that matter were Sister White’s opinion and judgment. This suits those who do not love reproof and correction, and who, if their ideas are crossed, have occasion to explain the difference between the human and the divine.

“If the preconceived opinions or particular ideas of some are crossed in being reproved by testimonies, they have a burden at once to make plain their position to discriminate between the testimonies, defining what is Sister White’s human judgment, and what is the word of the Lord. Everything that sustains their cherished ideas is divine, and the testimonies to correct their errors are human—Sister White’s opinions. They make of none effect the counsel of God by their tradition.” Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 68:1, 2.

“I have my work to do, to meet the misconceptions of those who suppose themselves able to say what is testimony from God and what is human production. If those who have done this work continue in this course, satanic agencies will choose for them.” Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 70:3.

“Those who have helped souls to feel at liberty to specify what is of God in the Testimonies and what are the uninspired words of Sister White, will find that they were helping the devil in his work of deception.” Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 70:4.

What if we have no confidence in the Testimonies?

“What reserve power has the Lord with which to reach those who have cast aside His warnings and reproofs, and have accredited the testimonies of the Spirit of God to no higher source than human wisdom? In the judgment, what can you who have done this, offer to God as an excuse for turning from the evidences He has given you that God was in the work?” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 466.

What challenge must one accept if they do not want to accept the whole?

“Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 691:2.


It is vital for us to humbly study and trust God’s Word and pray for the presence of His Spirit.

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24.

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