Read Ellen G. White, “What to Do With Doubt?” pp. 105-113 in Steps to Christ. Read section 8 in the Document “Methods of Bible Study”, which can be found at www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/materials/bible-interpretation-hermeneutics/methods-bible-study.
In the Bible are many mysteries that finite human beings find difficult to comprehend and that are too deep for us to explain fully. This is why we need a humble mind, and should be willing to learn prayerfully from Scripture. Faithfulness to Scripture allows the biblical text — even though its meaning goes against our grain — to say what it actually says. Faithfulness to Scripture will respect the text rather than alter the text (yes, some actually change the texts themselves) or evade its true meaning.
“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. The enemy takes control of the thoughts, and he suggests interpretations that are not correct. Whenever men are not in word and deed seeking to be in harmony with God, then, however learned they may be, they are liable to err in their understanding of Scripture, and it is not safe to trust to their explanations. Those who look to the Scriptures to find discrepancies, have not spiritual insight. With distorted vision they will see many causes for doubt and unbelief in things that are really plain and simple”. — Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, pp. 110, 111.
1- Why are the attitudes toward the Bible that we discussed this week so foundational for a proper understanding of Scripture? What other attitudes toward the Bible do you believe are crucial in helping you better understand it?
2- Why should we not be surprised to find things in the Bible that are hard to explain and understand? After all, how many things of the natural world itself are at times hard to understand? To this day, for instance, water (water!) is filled with mysteries.
3- As Adventists, how can we answer the question of Luke 23:43, where (according to most translations) Jesus is telling the thief that he will be in heaven with Jesus on that day? What are honest ways to respond? How, for instance, can texts like John 20:17, Ecclesiastes 9:5, and 1 Corinthians 15:16-20 help us understand the issue in question here?