G. E. Hutches wrote this article from Michigan where he worked as the Educational Secretary of the Lake Union Conference.

Once upon a time Adventists seemed to be familiar with every doctrine and teaching of the church. The Bible and the Bible only was used as backing and proof for all our positions. A famous evangelist of another denomination said in the early 1900's, "Every Seventh-day Adventist you meet is a preacher, even if he is a boy only seventeen years of age." This was indeed an enviable reputation and inspired me as a youth to want to be a minister or a Bible teacher.

Prophets and Kings, page 626, states that "the words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit," and this was taken very literally. Seldom was a minister seen in the pulpit with anything other than the Bible and a few notes. Statements from popular speakers, magazines, articles, and newspaper clippings were not recognized as necessary to bolster thoughts and inspire audiences.

Many key Bible texts were memorized in church school and in the home. Our youth were able, from the training in the home and in the school, to give Bible studies on key topics from memory with the use of the Bible only. This was my own experience by the time I was fourteen years of age, and I now bow my head in thanksgiving for parents who recognized the importance of Bible study, family worship in the home, and the importance of the influence of the church school.


Each succeeding day brings to us again an opportunity to take stock of where we are going and resolve to make the Bible our first Book for study and reading. If reverence for the Bible is taught in early childhood, children will grow up to respect and love it throughout their lives.

A wealthy, elderly whitehaired Jew was once the object of my interest while Ingathering. After several days delay we received an appointment with him. During our conversation he asked me if we had respect for the Old Testament Scriptures. I answered, "Oh, yes, we do," and explained that in childhood I had been taught to memorize many Old Testament passages. He commented that no Gentile could love and respect the Old Testament like the Orthodox Jew for they were not only taught to read and memorize but before they could even handle the Scriptures they must go to a basin of water and with soap thoroughly wash their hands, and if they were to hold the Bible on their laps they must wear clean clothes.

There can be no better preparation for further study in depth and doctrine than a loving reverence for the Word of God and its Author. Fortunate indeed are all who have early learned to trust the Word. But, unfortunately, in nearly all of our churches there are young people who do not know the Bible in such a way as to love it. These young people, who have not had the privilege of learning to know the Bible as a precious book, probably could best be served through organized study or baptismal classes. Then Bibles could be presented at the beginning of the class to those who do not have their own.

In all churches there are groups that need to be sought out and encouraged to join baptismal or Bible study classes. The very young, on the other hand, may request baptism. I have long believed that children who desire baptism should have that interest nurtured immediately in a special class. In such a group each child should have his own Bible. It isn't enough merely to have access to one. Surely a child of nine is not too young to have a Bible with his name on it in full.

The words of Wycliffe are often quoted, when he stood at the pulpit with a chained Bible in his hands, "If I could but possess one of these volumes, I would ask no other earthly treasure."

Six centuries have passed since his translation of the Bible into English. Many books have had their day and slipped into obsolescence. But the Bible alone still stands the test of time because it is the Book Divine a record of what God has done and revealed of Himself to man. It is God's Word. There is proof in itself. "The word of our God shall stand forever" (Isa. 40:8). It is the foundation of our faith through truth, fact, history, and prophecy. It is the Sacred Volume that teaches the will of God, adequate for our salvation.

May we as Adventists of this generation follow in the footsteps of the pioneers and increase our knowledge of the Bible and continue to treat it with reverence.

G. E. Hutches wrote this article from Michigan where he worked as the Educational Secretary of the Lake Union Conference.