The One Essential Book

“We all need a guide through the many straight places of life, as much as the sailor needs a pilot over the sandy bar or up the rocky river; and where is this guide to be found?”

“The one book that is essential for all to study is the Bible. Studied with reverence and godly fear, it is the greatest of all educators. Its pages are filled with truth. Would you gain a knowledge of God and of Christ, whom the Father sent into the world to live and die for sinners? An earnest, diligent study of the Bible is necessary in order to gain this knowledge.

“The words of the Bible and the Bible alone should be echoed from the pulpits of our land. This book is our great director, given us by God. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It flashes its light ahead, that we may see the path over which we are traveling, and its rays are thrown back on the past, showing the most perfect harmony in that which, to the mind in darkness, appears like error and discord. In that which seems to the worldling an inexplicable mystery, the student of God’s Word sees light and beauty.

“We all need a guide through the many straight places of life, as much as the sailor needs a pilot over the sandy bar or up the rocky river; and where is this guide to be found? We point you to the Bible. Inspired of God, written by holy men, it points out with great clearness and precision the duties of both old and young. It elevates the mind, softens the heart, and imparts gladness and joy to the spirit. The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; it is an infallible guide under all circumstances, even to the end of the journey of life.

“Had it been essential for us to study the writings of the early fathers, Christ would have told us to do this. But the fathers do not all speak the same thing. Which of them shall we choose as a guide? There is no need for us to trust to such uncertainty. We pass by the fathers to learn of God out of His Word. This is life eternal, to know God. O, how thankful we should be that the inspired Word of God has been placed in our hands. Holy men of old wrote this Word as they were moved by the Spirit.

“The commentaries written about the Word do not all agree. Often they come into collision with one another. God does not ask us to be guided by them, but by His Word. All can search the Scriptures for themselves. And they may know that the teaching of this precious Book is unchangeable. The opinions of human beings differ, but the Bible always says the same thing. The Word of God is from everlasting to everlasting.

“God did not leave His Word to be handed down from generation to generation by oral transmission and traditional unfolding. Had He done this, the Word would gradually have been added to by man. Let us thank God for His written Word.

“The Bible is the key that unlocks the mysteries which it is essential for human beings to understand in order to gain eternal life. The Bible is its own expositor. Its bright beams are to shine into all parts of the world, that sin may be revealed. The Bible is a chart, pointing out the waymarks of truth. Those who are acquainted with this chart will be enabled to tread with certainty the path of duty, wherever they may be called to go.

“He who will search the Bible with a humble, teachable spirit will find it a sure guide, pointing out the way of life with unfaltering accuracy. This book contains nothing that is non-essential, nothing that has not a bearing upon our lives. It teaches man how to simplify life’s complicated experiences. It is an educator, endowing the simple-hearted followers of Christ with the wisdom that comes from the Author and Finisher of their faith.

“If you would be strong, if you would have the integrity and wisdom of a Joseph or a Daniel, study the Scriptures. Parents, if you would teach your children to serve God and do good in the world, make the Bible your textbook. It exposes the wiles of Satan. It is the great elevator of the race, the reprover and corrector of moral evils, enabling us to distinguish between the true and the false. There is a rich mine of truth in this holy Book.

“The sailor who has in his possession chart and compass, and yet neglects to use them, is responsible for placing the lives of those on board his vessel in peril. The vessel may be lost by his neglect. We have a Guide-book, the Word of God, and we are inexcusable if we miss the way to heaven, for plain directions have been given us.

“Whoever will prayerfully study the Bible, desiring to know the truth, that he may obey it, will receive the divine enlightenment. He will understand the meaning of the words,’If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.’ As he endeavors to reach the highest standard, the Bible is as a light to guide his footsteps homeward. By studying it, he finds that he is a joint-heir with Christ to an immortal inheritance. The Guide-book points him to the unsearchable riches of heaven. Day by day the peace of God is his reward, and by faith he sees a home of everlasting sunshine, free from all sorrow and disappointment.

“Every means of grace should be diligently improved, that the grace of God may abound in the soul more and more. We must have spiritual knowledge that we ‘may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ,’ that we may ‘be filled with all the fulness of God.’ ”1

*     *     *

“I saw that God knew that Satan would try every art to destroy man; therefore He had caused His word to be written out, and had made His purposes in regard to the human race so plain that the weakest need not err. After having given His word to man, He had carefully preserved it from destruction by Satan or his angels, or by any of his agents or representatives. While other books might be destroyed, this was to be immortal. And near the close of time, when the delusions of Satan should increase, it was to be so multiplied that all who desired might have a copy, and, if they would, might arm themselves against the deceptions and lying wonders of Satan.

“I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible; yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err, for not only is the Word of God plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed.”2


1. Signs of the Times, March 21, 1906.

2. The Story of Redemption, pp. 390, 391