To Sense Our Limitations
"God will not impart to men divine light, while they are content to remain in darkness. In order to receive God's help, man must realize his weakness and deficiency; he must apply his own mind to the great change to be wrought in himself; he must be aroused to earnest and persevering prayer and effort. Wrong habits and customs must be shaken off; and it is only by determined endeavor to correct these errors, and to conform to right principles, that the victory can be gained. Many never attain to the position that they might occupy, because they wait for God to do for them that which He has given them power to do for themselves. All who are fitted for usefulness must be trained by the severest mental and moral discipline; and God will assist them by uniting divine power with human effort." —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 248.
To Seek God in Prayer
"Search the Scriptures for yourselves.... Know for yourselves what is truth. Do not take any man's words, any man's prejudices, any man's arguments, any man's theories. This has been done by ministers to the injury of their experience, and it has left them novices when they should be wise in the Scriptures and in the power of God. Take your Bibles, humble yourselves, and weep and fast and pray before the Lord, as did Nathaniel, seeking to know the truth."—Manuscript 8a, 1888.
"Whenever the study of the Scriptures is entered upon without a prayerful, humble, teachable spirit, the plainest and simplest as well as the most difficult passages will be wrested from their true meaning." —The Great Controversy, p. 521.
"He who studies the truth, who prayerfully opens the eyes of his understanding to see and his heart to receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, will be in harmony with the messenger and the message God sends. All the opposition, all the prejudice, all the suggestions of the enemy, will never make the truth less precious or less true. . . . Brethren, God has most precious light for His people. I call it not new light; but O, it is strangely new to many."— Manuscript 8a, 1888.
"Many, many will be lost because they have not studied their Bibles upon their knees, with earnest prayer to God that the entrance of the word of God might give light to their understanding. All selfish ambition should be laid aside, and you should plead with God for His Spirit to descend upon you as it came upon the disciples who were assembled together upon the day of Pentecost." —Week of Prayer Readings, Dec. 15, 1888.
To Be Humble in Heart
"As we take up the study of God's word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long-established traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded. Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years ago." —Review and Herald, July 26, 1892.
To Be Obedient to God
It is because so many who handle the word of God in opening the Scriptures to others are not diligent students of the Scriptures or doers of the word themselves, that they make so little advancement in growth of grace and in coming to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. They take largely the interpretation of the Scriptures from others' lips, but do not put their minds to the tax of searching the evidences for themselves, to know what is truth." —Week of Prayer Readings, December 15, 1888.
It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light, and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought, and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help, we are to form our opinions for ourselves, as we are to answer for ourselves before God." —The Great Controversy, p. 598.
To Keep the Mind Open for the Truth
"When the search is properly conducted every effort is made to keep a pure understanding and heart. When the mind is kept open and is constantly searching the field of revelation, we shall find rich deposits of truth. Old truths will be revealed in new aspects, and truths will appear which have been overlooked in the search." —Ellen G. White, Manuscript 75, 1897.
"There should be a closer and more diligent study of the Revelation, and a more earnest presentation of the truths it contains, truths that concern all who are living in these last days. Into the very designs and principles of the church of God these truths are to enter. If we take up the study of this book in a receptive frame of mind, with hearts susceptible of divine impressions, the truths revealed will have a sanctifying influence upon us."— Signs of the Times, January 28, 1903.
To Follow God, Not Men
"The great plan of human redemption is as yet but faintly understood, because men do not place themselves in the divine channel of light. There is too much following of men, and limiting the light by men's opinions and traditions. The wonderful truth of God is to be sought out by every mind, and the results of many minds are to be brought together from many sources as God's hereditary trust, and the divine power will work in such a way that true harmony will exist." —Review and Herald, October 25, 1894.
To Study Diligently
"In this time we have opportunities and advantages that it was not easy to obtain in generations past. We have increased light, and this has come through the work of those faithful sentinels who made God their dependence, and received power from Him to let light shine in clear, bright rays to the world. In our day we have increased light to improve, as in times past men and women of noble worth improved the light that God gave them. They toiled long to learn the lessons given them in the school of Christ, and they did not toil in vain. Their persevering efforts were rewarded." —Ibid., March 10, 1903.
"You want every ray of light which God may impart through any of His agencies. Seat yourselves as children at the feet of Jesus, to learn the truth as it is in Him. You should fear to pass judgment upon any new light upon the Bible, until upon your knees, with humble hearts, you have searched its pages and sought wisdom of God, to know what is truth. I hope you do not take it for granted that there is no more light or truth to be given to us; for I know this is not true. There are before us broad fields of truth yet to be explored, and every portion of these fields is to be ploughed and dug over with painstaking effort to find the truth, —glorious, precious truth, which exalts Jesus, but humbles us to the place of learners." —Letter 43, 1888.
"Very many teachers are content with a supposition in regard to the truth. They have crude ideas, and are content with a surface work in searching for truth, taking for granted that they have all that is essential. They take the sayings of others for truth, being too indolent to put themselves to diligent, earnest labor, represented in the word as digging for hidden treasure. But man's inventions are not only unreliable, they are dangerous; for they place man where God should be. They place the sayings of men where a "Thus saith the Lord" should be. The world's Redeemer alone possesses the key to unlock the treasure-house of the Old Testament"—Review and Herald, July 12, 1898.
To Sense the Seriousness of the Times
"Let not the solemn scenes, that prophecy has revealed are soon to take place, be left untouched. If our people were awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed by John, such a reformation would be made in our churches that many more would believe our message. We are God's messengers, and we have no time to lose, for He calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But do not be too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Present the truth as it is in Jesus. Let Daniel speak, let Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, "the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Pacific Union Recorder, January 14, 1904.
To Seek the Aid of the Holy Spirit
"It is not enough to have an intellectual knowledge of the truth. This alone cannot give the light and understanding essential to salvation. There must be an entrance of the word into the heart. It must be set home by the power of the Holy Spirit. The will must be brought into harmony with its requirements. Not only the intellect but the heart and conscience must concur in the acceptance of the truth." —Review and Herald, September 25, 1883.
"We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know 'what saith the Lord'." —The Desire of Ages, p. 390.
Ellen G. White, the Lord's messenger for the Remnant Church and one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.