That the man of God may be perfect - The object is not merely to convince and to convert him; it is to furnish all the instruction needful for his entire perfection. The idea here is, not that any one is absolutely perfect, but that the Scriptures have laid down the way which leads to perfection, and that, if any one were perfect, he would find in the Scriptures all the instruction which he needed in those circumstances. There is no deficiency in the Bible for man, in any of the situations in which he may be placed in life; and the whole tendency of the book is to make him who will put himself fairly under its instructions, absolutely perfect.
Thoroughly furnished unto all good works - Margin, “perfected.” The Greek means, to bring to an end; to make complete. The idea is, that whatever good work the man of God desires to perform, or however perfect he aims to be, he will find no deficiency in the Scriptures, but will find there the most ample instructions that he needs. He can never advance so far, as to become forsaken of his guide. He can never make such progress, as to have gone in advance of the volume of revealed truth, and to be thrown upon his own resources in a region which was not thought of by the Author of the Bible. No new phase of human affairs can appear in which it will not direct him; no new plan of benevolence can be started, for which he will not find principles there to guide him; and he can make no progress in knowledge or holiness, where he will not feel that his holy counsellor is in advance of him still, and that it is capable of conducting him even yet into higher and purer regions. Let us, then, study and prize the Bible. It is a holy and a safe guide. It has conducted millions along the dark and dangerous way of life, and has never led one astray. The human mind, in its investigations of truth, has never gone beyond its teachings; nor has man ever advanced into a region so bright that its light has become dim, or where it has not thrown its beams of glory on still far distant objects. We are often in circumstances in which we feel that we have reached the outer limit of what man can teach us; but we never get into such circumstance in regard to the Word of God.
How precious is the book divine,
By, inspiration given!
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine.
To guide our souls to heaven.
It sweetly cheers our drooping hearts.
In this dark vale of tears:
Life, light, and joy, it still imparts,
And quells our rising fears.
This lamp, through all the tedious night.
Of life, shall guide our way;
Till we behold the clearer light.
Of an eternal day.
That the man of God - The preacher of righteousness, the minister of the Gospel, the person who derives his commission from God, and always appears as his herald and servant.
May be perfect - Αρτιος· From αρω, to fit or adapt. It properly signifies an integer or whole number in arithmetic, to which nothing needs to be added to make it complete.
Throughly furnished - Εξηρτισμενος· From εξ, intensive, and αρτιος, complete; see above. Not only complete in himself as to his integrity, religious knowledge, faith in Jesus, and love to God and man, but that he should have all those qualifications which are necessary to complete the character, and insure the success of a preacher, of the Gospel. Timothy was to teach, reprove, correct, and instruct others; and was to be to them a pattern of good works.
From what the apostle says here concerning the qualifications of a Christian minister, we may well exclaim: Who is capable of these things? Is it such a person as has not intellect sufficient for a common trade or calling? No. A preacher of the Gospel should be a man of the soundest sense, the most cultivated mind, the most extensive experience, one who is deeply taught of God, and who has deeply studied man; one who has prayed much, read much, and studied much; one who takes up his work as from God, does it as before God, and refers all to the glory of God; one who abides under the inspiration of the Almighty, and who has hidden the word of God in his heart, that he might not sin against him. No minister formed by man can ever be such as is required here. The school of Christ, and that alone, can ever form such a preacher.
The first great lesson in all education is to know and understand the will of God. We should bring into every day of life the effort to gain this knowledge. To learn science through human interpretation alone is to obtain a false education, but to learn of God and Christ is to learn the science of heaven. The confusion in education has come because the wisdom and knowledge of God have not been exalted. CT 447.1
The students in our schools are to regard the knowledge of God as above everything else. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18, 19, 25, 30, 31. CT 447.2
*****Read in context »
Able ministers of Christ are required for the work in these last days of peril, able in word and doctrine, acquainted with the Scriptures, and understanding the reasons of our faith. I was directed to these scriptures, the meaning of which has not been realized by some ministers: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and 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.” “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 1T 648.1
The man of God, the minister of Christ, is required to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. A pompous minister, all dignity, is not needed for this good work. But decorum is necessary in the desk. A minister of the gospel should not be regardless of his attitude. If he is the representative of Christ, his deportment, his attitude, his gestures, should be of such a character as will not strike the beholder with disgust. Ministers should possess refinement. They should discard all uncouth manners, attitudes, and gestures, and should encourage in themselves humble dignity of bearing. They should be clothed in a manner befitting the dignity of their position. Their speech should be in every respect solemn and well chosen. I was shown that it is wrong to make coarse, irreverent expressions, relate anecdotes to amuse, or present comic illustrations to create a laugh. Sarcasm and playing upon the words of an opponent are all out of God's order. Ministers should not feel that they can make no improvement in voice or manners; much can be done. The voice can be cultivated so that quite lengthy speaking will not injure the vocal organs. 1T 648.2
Ministers should love order and should discipline themselves, and then they can successfully discipline the church of God and teach them to work harmoniously like a well-drilled company of soldiers. If discipline and order are necessary for successful action on the battlefield, the same are as much more needful in the warfare in which we are engaged as the object to be gained is of greater value and more elevated in character than those for which opposing forces contend upon the field of battle. In the conflict in which we are engaged, eternal interests are at stake. 1T 649.1Read in context »
Parents would better burn the idle tales of the day and the novels as they come into their houses. It would be a mercy to the children. Encourage the reading of these storybooks, and it is like enchantment. It bewilders and poisons the mind. Parents, I saw that unless you awake to the eternal interest of your children, they will surely be lost through your neglect. And the possibility that unfaithful parents will be saved themselves is very small. Parents should be exemplary. They should exert a holy influence in their families. They should let their dress be modest, different from the world around them. As they value the eternal interest of their children, they should rebuke pride in them, faithfully rebuke it, and encourage it not in word or deed. Oh, the pride that was shown me of God's professed people! It has increased every year, until it is now impossible to designate professed advent Sabbathkeepers from all the world around them. I saw that this pride must be torn out of our families. 1T 135.1
Much has been expended for ribbons and laces for the bonnets, for collars [The question has often been asked me if I believed it wrong to wear plain linen collars. My answer has always been No. Some have taken the extreme meaning of what I have written about collars, and have maintained that it is wrong to wear one of any description. I was shown expensively wrought collars, and expensive and unnecessary ribbons and laces, which some Sabbathkeepers have worn, and still wear for the sake of show and fashion. In mentioning collars, I did not design to be understood that nothing like a collar should be worn, or, in mentioning ribbons, that no ribbons at all should be worn. E. G. W., note to second edition.] and other needless articles to decorate the body, while Jesus the King of glory, who gave His life to redeem us, wore a crown of thorns. This was the way our Master's sacred head was decorated. He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Yet the very ones that profess to be washed by the blood of Jesus, spilled for them, can dress up and decorate their poor, mortal bodies, and dare profess to be followers of the holy, self-denying, humble Pattern. Oh, that all could see this as God sees it and showed it to me! It seemed too much for me to bear, to feel the anguish of soul that I felt as I beheld it. Said the angel: “God's people are peculiar; such He is purifying unto Himself.” I saw that the outside appearance is an index to the heart. When the exterior is hung with ribbons, collars, and needless things, it plainly shows that the love for all this is in the heart; unless such persons are cleansed from their corruption, they can never see God, for only the pure in heart will see Him. 1T 135.2
I saw that the ax must be laid at the root of the tree. Such pride should not be suffered in the church. It is these things that separate God from His people, that shut the ark away from them. Israel have been asleep to the pride, and fashion, and conformity to the world, in the very midst of them. They advance every month in pride, covetousness, selfishness, and love of the world. When their hearts are affected by the truth, it will cause a death to the world, and they will lay aside the ribbons, laces, and collars; and, if they are dead, the laugh, the jeer, and scorn of unbelievers will not move them. They will feel an anxious desire to be separate from the world, like their Master. They will not imitate its pride, fashions, or customs. The noble object will be ever before them, to glorify God and gain the immortal inheritance. This prospect will swallow up all beside of an earthly nature. God will have a people separate and distinct from the world. And as soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. They are the children of the world and of darkness. They lust for the leeks and onions of Egypt, that is, desire to be as much like the world as possible; by so doing, those that profess to have put on Christ virtually put Him off, and show that they are strangers to grace and strangers to the meek and lowly Jesus. If they had acquainted themselves with Him, they would walk worthy of Him. 1T 136.1Read in context »
There are youth in these countries whom God has graciously endowed with mental ability; but in order to do their best work, their powers must be properly directed. They should use their God-given talents for the attainment of high scholarship, becoming workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, wise unto salvation. This talent needs developing, and since a school is about to be established here, it certainly is not wisdom to send pupils at so great expense to America. The work is to be done here. This is missionary ground, and every individual who is thought worthy of the education that our American schools could give, should obtain an education right here on the ground of their future labors. Those who have ability can be trained here so that they can put their knowledge into practical use at the earliest opportunity, and become agents in the hands of the Lord for the dissemination of light and truth. FE 204.1
But were none of these responsibilities laid upon you, were there no missionary fields to enter, it would yet be necessary that your children should be educated. Whatever business parents might think suitable for their children, whether they desired them to become manufacturers, agriculturists, mechanics, or to follow some professional calling, they would reap great advantages from the discipline of an education. Your children should have an opportunity to study the Bible in the school. They need to be thoroughly furnished with the reasons of our faith, to understand the Scriptures for themselves. Through understanding the truths of the Bible, they will be better fitted to fill positions of trust. They will be fortified against the temptations that will beset them on the right hand and on the left. But if they are thoroughly instructed and consecrated, they may be called, as was Daniel, to fill important responsibilities. Daniel was a faithful statesman in the courts of Babylon; for he feared, loved, and trusted God; and in time of temptation and peril he was preserved by the power of God. We read that God gave Daniel wisdom, and endowed him with understanding. FE 204.2
Those who obtain a knowledge of God's will, and practice the teaching of His word, will be found faithful in whatever position of trust they may be placed. Consider this, parents, and place your children where they will be educated in the principles of truth, where every effort will be made to help them to maintain their consecration, if converted, or if unconverted, to influence them to become the children of God, and thus fit them to go forth to win others to the truth. FE 205.1Read in context »
By rising early and economizing their moments, ministers can find time for a close investigation of the Scriptures. They must have perseverance, and not be thwarted in their object, but persistently employ their time in a study of the word, bringing to their aid the truths which other minds, through wearing labor, have brought out for them, and with diligent, persevering effort, prepared to their hand. There are ministers who have been laboring for years, teaching the truth to others, while they themselves are not familiar with the strong points of our position. I beg of such to have done with their idleness. It is a continual curse to them. God requires them to make every moment fruitful of some good to themselves or to others. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” 2T 500.1
It is important for ministers of Christ to see the necessity of self-culture, in order to adorn their profession and maintain a becoming dignity. Without mental training they will certainly fail in everything they undertake. I have been shown that there is a decided lack with some who preach the word. God is not pleased with their ways and ideas. Their haphazard manner of quoting Scripture is a disgrace to their profession. They claim to be teachers of the word, and yet fail to repeat Scripture correctly. Those who give themselves wholly to the preaching of the word should not be guilty of quoting one text incorrectly. God requires thoroughness of all His servants. 2T 500.2
The religion of Christ will be exemplified by its possessor in the life, in the conversation, in the works. Its strong principles will prove an anchor. Those who are teachers of the word should be patterns of piety, ensamples to the flock. Their example should rebuke idleness, slothfulness, lack of industry and economy. The principles of religion exact diligence, industry, economy, and honesty. “Give an account of thy stewardship” will soon be heard by all. Brethren, what account could you render if the Master should now appear? You are unready. You would as surely be reckoned with the slothful servants as they exist. Precious moments are yet left you. I entreat you to redeem the time. 2T 501.1Read in context »