The Authority of the Inspired Word

Modernists today claim that writings produced by God’s prophets are not all of equal inspiration, and many of them are not inspired at all. They say that the Word of God is not really fully inspired, and thus not fully from God and not fully safe to study-and -obey. Obviously, if Scripture is not fully inspired by God  —   all of it,  —  it is not an authority to govern our lives today. These Christian modernists also claim that Scriptural writings are not infallible and therefore less trustworthy or reliable. in reality, these men do not want to submit their lives to the authority of God’s Word. The authority of God’s inspired Writings is the basic issue.

What does the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy tell us about these matters? Let us consider the instruction of the Bible first:

The Bible

How much of God’s written Word was given by His direct inspiration?

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." — 2 Timothy 3:16.

How did God inspire these writings?

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as the were moved by the Holy Ghost." — 2 Peter 1:21.

"Men and brethren; this scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas." — Acts 1:16.

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets." — Hebrews 1:1.

Is the Word of God infallible?

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God shall stand forever." — Isaiah 40:8.

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away." —  Matthew 24:35.

"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." — 1 Corinthians 2:11,10.

"The whole company of Israel [in the wilderness] were making history for future generations. This history the unerring pen of inspiration must trace with exact fidelity." — 4 Testimonies, 370

"The Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine with the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ " — Great Controversy, 7.

"Man is fallible, but God’s Word is infallible.. Let us meet all opposition as did our Master, saying, ‘it is written.’ Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline." — 1 Selected Messages, 416.

"God and heaven alone are infallible. God alone is infallible. His Word is true, and in Him is no variableness, or shadow of turning. — 1 Selected Messages, 37.

("Outside evidences confirm the trustworthiness and reliability of the Scriptures as the infallible revelation of God’s will." — Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 11.)

We recognize that Roman Catholicism does not consider these books to be infallible, but have fundamental Protestants considered them to be so?

"Wycliffe now taught the distinctive doctrines of Protestantism — salvation through faith in Christ, and the sole infallibility of the Scriptures." — Story of Redemption, 337; Great Controversy, 89.

"He [Zwingli] presented the Word of God as the only infallible authority." —  Great Controversy, 177

"He [Zwingli] submitted himself to the Bible as the Word of god, the only sufficient, infallible rule.. ‘The Scriptures,’ said Zwingli ,‘come from God, not from man, and even that God who enlightens will give thee to understand that the speech comes from God. The Word of God cannot fail’ . . The doctrine preached by Zwingli was not received from Luther. It was the doctrine of Christ." — Great Controversy, 173-174.

"To the Law and to the Testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." —  Isaiah 8:20.

Does the Word of God teach that only part of Scripture is inspired, or that parts of it are inspired less than other portions?

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." — 2 Timothy 3:16.

"Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth." — John 17:17.

"Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name." — Psalm 138:2.

"Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me." — John 5:39

("The Bible does not teach partial inspiration or degrees of inspiration. These theories are speculations that rob the Bible of its divine authority." —  Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 11.)

How can God’s Word help us today?

"The holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." — 2 Timothy 3:15.

"Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." — John 6:68.

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and alight unto my path." — Psalm 119:105.

"For whatsoever things were written afore time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." —  Romans 15:4.

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." — Acts 17:11.

"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." — 1 Corinthians 2:11.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." —  1 Corinthians 2:14.

"Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the Words of his mouth more than my necessary food." — Job 23:12.

"Open Thou my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." — Psalm 119:18.

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him." — Ephesians 1:17.

"Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." — Proverbs 2:3-5.

"Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." — Luke 24:45.

"But He said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it — Luke 11:28.

The Spirit of Prophecy

A special teaching of Christian modernists in many churches, including our own, is that Scripture is not infallible, — and because it is not, we need to listen carefully to the interpretations of learned Ph.D.s in order to understand its true meaning. Modernists in our church claim that Ellen White taught that Scripture is not infallible. But if you will read the passage they refer to (it is found in 1 Selected Messages, page 16:2), you will find that she was there referring to the possibility that some minor errors might have been made by copyists or translators of Scripture, but she adds:

"The mistakes will not cause trouble to one soul, or cause any feet to stumble," and that Inspired Scripture "is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world, [and] bequeathed to them that, by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way." — 1 Selected Messages, 16.

The authority of the inspired Writings is a very important matter in our lives. The degree to which we study and obey those writings can affect our eternal destiny. Since there is no such thing as partial inspiration, we know that the Spirit of Prophecy was written under the same full inspiration as that of the earlier prophets of God. What does the Spirit of Prophecy teach us about the process of inspiration, how it operates, and how we should receive it?

"Brethren, let not a mind or hand be engaged in criticizing the Bible. It is a work that Satan delights to have any of you do, but it is not a work that the Lord has pointed out for you to do. Men should let God take care of His own Book, His living oracles, as He has done for ages. They begin to question some parts of revelation, and pick flaws in the apparent inconsistencies of this statement and that statement." — 1 Selected Messages, 17.

"Brethren, cling to your Bible, as it reads, and stop your criticisms in regard to its validity, and obey the Word, and not one of you will be lost." — 1 Selected Messages, 18.

"The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers." — Great Controversy, 7.

"The writers of the Bible had to express their ideas in human language. It was written by human men. These men were inspired of the Holy Spirit.. The Scriptures were given to men, not in a continuous chain of unbroken utterances, but piece by piece through successive generations, as God in His providence saw a fitting opportunity to impress men at sundry times and divers places. Men wrote as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost." — 1 Selected Messages, 19-20.

"The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers. It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts." — 1 Selected Messages, 21.

"The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of the people." —  1 Selected Messages, 20.

"Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education." — 1 Selected Messages, 22.

"God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do His work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, none the less, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth." — 1 Selected Messages, 26.

"In those letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision — the precious rays of light shining from the throne." — 5 Testimonies, 67.

"The Word of the Lord comes to us all who have not resisted His Spirit by determining not to hear and obey. This voice is heard in warnings, in counsels, in reproof. It is the Lord’s message of light to His people. If we wait for louder calls or better opportunities, the light may be withdrawn, and we left in darkness"  — 1 Selected Messages, 28.

"As the end draws near and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel’s message from its very rise." — 5 Testimonies, 654.

"The message came to me, dedicate yourself to the highest work ever committed to mortals. I will give you high aspirations and powers and a true sense of the work of Christ. You are not your own, for you are bought with a price, by the life and death of the Son of God. I gave myself, my whole being, to God to obey His call in everything, and since that time my life has been spent in giving the message, with my pen and in speaking before large congregations. It is not I who controls my words and actions at such times." — 1 Selected Messages, 39.

"As inquiries are frequently made as to my state in vision, and after I come out, I would say that when the Lord sees fit to give a vision, I am taken into the presence of Jesus and angels, and am entirely lost to earthly things. I can see no farther than the angel directs me. My attention is often directed to scenes transpiring upon earth.

"At times I am carried far ahead into the future and shown what is to take place. Then again I am shown things as they have occurred in the past. After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, and the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom. Sometimes the things which I have seen are hid from me after I come out of vision, and I cannot call them to mind until I am brought before a company where that vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that He is pleased to have me relate or write them." — 2 Spiritual Gifts, 292-293.

"I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met. The sins they are to shun are pointed out. The counsel that they desire can be found here." 2 Testimonies, 605.

"Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation." — 1 Selected Messages, 37

"A wealth of moral influence has been brought to us in the last half century. Through His Holy Spirit the voice of God has come to us continually in warning and instruction, to confirm the faith of the believers in the Spirit of prophecy. Repeatedly the word has come, "Write the things that I have given you to confirm the faith of My people in the position they have taken. Time and trial have not made void the instruction given, but through years of suffering and self-sacrifice have established the truth, the testimony given. The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days. Those who are indifferent to this light and instruction must not expect to escape the snares which we have been plainly told will cause the rejecters of light to stumble, and fall, and be snared, and be taken. If we study carefully the second chapter of Hebrews, we shall learn how important it is that we hold steadfastly to every principle of truth that has been given — 1 Selected Messages, 41

"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue." — 4 Testimonies, 148.

It does not become anyone to drop a word of doubt here and there that shall work like poison in other minds, shaking their confidence in the messages which God has given, which have aided in laying the foundation of this work, and have attended it to the present day, in reproofs, warnings, correction, and encouragement's. To all who have stood in the way of the Testimonies, I would say, God has given a message to His people, and His voice will be heard, whether you hear or forbear. Your opposition has not injured me; but you must give an account to the God of heaven, who has sent these warnings and instructions to keep His people in the right way. You will have to answer to Him for your blindness, for being a stumbling block in the way of sinners." — 1 Selected Messages, 43

"It requires much wisdom and sound judgment, quickened by the Spirit of God, to know the proper time and manner to present the instruction that has been given. When the minds of persons reproved are under a strong deception, they naturally resist the testimony; and having taken an attitude of resistance, it is difficult for them afterward to acknowledge that they have been wrong.

"Testimonies of warning have been repeated. I inquire: Who have heeded them? Who have been zealous in repenting of their sins and have been earnestly pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus?." — 2 Testimonies, 483. 484.

"If those whose errors are pointed out make confession of their wrongdoing, the spell of the enemy may be broken. If they will repent and forsake their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive their sins, and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness. Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer, will remove the filthy garments from them, give them change of raiment, and set a fair miter upon their head. But so long as they refuse to turn from iniquity they cannot develop a character that will stand in the great day of judgment." — 1 Selected Messages, 51

For years you have had many evidences that the Lord has given me a work to do. These evidences could scarcely have been greater than they are. Will you brush away all these evidences as a cobweb, at the suggestion of a man’s unbelief? That which makes my heart ache is the fact that many who are now perplexed and tempted are those who have had abundance of evidence and opportunity to consider and pray and understand; and yet they do not discern the nature of the sophistries that are presented to influence them to reject the warnings God has given to save them from the delusions of these last days." —  1 Selected Messages, 52

"When the Lord last presented your case before me, and made known to me that you had not regarded the light which had been given you, I was bidden to speak to you plainly in for His anger was kindled against you. These words were spoken to me: ‘Your work is appointed you of God. Many will not hear you, for they refused to hear the Great Teacher; many will not be corrected, for their ways are right in their own eyes. Yet bear to them the reproofs and warnings I shall give you, whether they will hear or forbear..’ " — 1 Selected Messages, 29

"Some sit in judgment on the Scriptures, declaring that this or that passage is not inspired, because it does not strike their minds favorably. They cannot harmonize it with their ideas of philosophy and science, "falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20). Others for different reasons question portions of the Word of God. Thus many walk blindly where the enemy prepares the way. Now, it is not the province of any man to pronounce sentence upon the Scriptures, to judge or condemn any portion of God’s Word. When one presumes to do this, Satan will create an atmosphere for him to breathe which will dwarf spiritual growth. When a man feels so very wise that he dares to dissect God’s Word, his wisdom is, with God, counted foolishness. When he knows more, he will feel that he has everything to learn. And his very first lesson is to be come teachable. ‘Learn of me,’ says the Great Teacher; ‘for l am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ You who have been educating yourselves and others in a spirit of criticism and accusing, remember that you are imitating the example of Satan. When it suits your purpose, you treat the testimonies as if you believed them, quoting from them to strengthen any statement you wish to have prevail. But how is it when light is given to correct your errors? Do you then accept the light? When the testimonies speak contrary to your ideas, you treat them very lightly." (Matthew 11 :29).  —  1 Selected Messages, 42

"In many cases the testimonies are fully received, the sin and indulgence broken off, and reformation at once commences in harmony with the light God has given. In other instances sinful indulgences are cherished, the testimonies are rejected, and many excuses which are untrue are offered to others as the reason for refusing to receive them. The true reason is not given. It is a lack of moral courage — a will, strengthened and controlled by the Spirit of God, to renounce hurtful habits. " — 4 Testimonies, 32.

"Many excused their disregard of the testimonies by saying, Sister White is influenced by her husband; the testimonies are molded by his spirit and judgment. Others were seeking to gain something from me which they could construe to justify their course or to give them influence. It was then I decided that nothing more should go from my pen until the converting power of God was seen in the church. But the Lord placed the burden upon my soul. I labored for you earnestly. How much this cost both my husband and myself, eternity will tell. Have I not a knowledge of the state of the church, when the Lord has presented their case before me again and again for years? Repeated warnings have been given, yet there has been no decided change. " — 1 Selected Messages, 26-27

"Those who would in anyway lessen the force of the sharp reproofs which God has given me to speak, must meet their work at the judgment." — 5 Testimonies, 19.

"Brethren, I entreat you not to interpose between me and the people, and turn away the light which God would have come to them. Do not by your criticism take out all the force, all the point and power, from the testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of human wisdom — 5 Testimonies, 691.

"What voice will you acknowledge as the voice of God? What power has the Lord in reserve to correct our errors and show you your course as it is? What power to work in the church? If you refuse to believe until every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of doubt is removed, you will never believe. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to faith. Faith rests upon evidence, not demonstration. The Lord requires us to obey the voice of duty, when there are other voices all around us urging us to pursue an opposite course. It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks from God. We must resist and conquer inclination, and obey the voice of conscience without parleying or compromise, lest its prompting cease, and will and impulse control." — 1 Selected Messages, 27-28

"Some express their views that the testimony of Sister White cannot be reliable. This is all that many unconsecrated ones want. The testimonies of reproof have checked their vanity and pride; but if they dared, they would go to almost any length in fashion and pride. God will give all such an opportunity to prove themselves and to develop their true character." — 3 Testimonies, 313.

"But others will be greatly helped by the messages. Though not personally addressed, they will be corrected, and will be led to shun the evils specified.. The Spirit of the Lord will be in the instruction and doubts existing in many minds will be swept away. The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture. Many will read with eagerness the messages reproving wrong, that they may learn what they may do to be saved.. Light will dawn upon the understanding, and the Spirit will make an impression on minds, as Bible truth is clearly and simply presented in the messages that since 1846 God has been sending His people. These messages are to find their place in hearts, and transformations will take place." — 1 Selected Messages, 41-42

"Wrongs must be called wrongs. Grievous sins must be called by their right name. All of God’s people should come nearer to Him. .Then will they see sin in the true light and will realize how offensive it is in the sight of God." — 3 Testimonies, 324.

"The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel." — 3 Testimonies, 269.

"Others have called me a prophetess, but I have never assumed that title. I have not felt that it was my duty thus to designate myself. Those who boldly assume that they are prophets in this our day are often a reproach to the cause of Christ."

"My work includes much more than this name signifies. I regard myself as a messenger, entrusted by the Lord with messages for His people."   —  I Selected Messages, 36

"One has stood by my side and said: ‘God has raised you up and has given you words to speak to the people and to reach hearts as He has given to no other one. He has shaped your testimonies to meet cases that are in need of help." — 2 Testimonies, 607-608.

"God has given you your testimony, to set before the backslider and the sinner his true condition and the immense loss he is sustaining by continuing a life of sin. God has impressed this upon you by opening it before your vision as He has to no other one now living." — 2 Testimonies, 608.

"I am now instructed that l am not to be hindered in my work by those who engage in suppositions regarding its nature, whose minds are struggling with so many intricate problems connected with the supposed work of a prophet. My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there. It embraces much more than the minds of those who have been sowing the seeds of unbelief can comprehend." —   1 Selected Messages, 36


"it is not those who openly reject the testimonies, or who cherish doubt regarding them, that are on dangerous ground. To disregard light is to reject it." — 5 Testimonies, 680.

"Soon every possible effort will be made to discount and pervert the truth of the testimonies of God’s Spirit. We must have in readiness the clear, straight messages that since 1846 have been coming to God’s people."

"There will be those once united with us in the faith who will search for new, strange doctrines, for something odd and sensational to present to the people. They will bring in all conceivable fallacies, and will present them as coming from Mrs. White, that they may beguile souls."

"Those who have treated the light that the Lord has given as a common thing will not be benefitted by the instruction presented."

"There are those who will misinterpret the messages that God has given, in accordance with their spiritual blindness."

"Some will yield their faith, and will deny the truth of the messages, pointing to them as falsehoods." and will deny the truth of the messages, pointing to them as falsehoods."

"Some will hold them up to ridicule, working against the light that God has been giving for years, and some who are weak in the faith will thus be led astray."

"Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words that have been given to me by the Lord will still have life and will speak to the people. But my strength is yet spared, and I hope to continue to do much useful work. I may live until the coming of the Lord; but if I should not, I trust it may be said of me, ‘Blessed are the deed which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.’ (Revelation 14:13)." — 1 Selected Messages, 55-56 "Those most closely connected with God are the ones who know His voice when He speaks to them. Those who are spiritual discern spiritual things. Such will feel grateful that the Lord has pointed out their errors." — 5 Testimonies, 134.

"If you lose confidence in the testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth.. Should one be given crossing your track, correcting your errors, would perfect liberty to acceptor reject part or the whole? That which you will be least inclined to receive is the very part most needed." — 5 Testimony, 98.

"They think the testimony of the Spirit of God in reproof is uncalled for or that it does not mean them. Such are in the greatest need of the grace of God and spiritual discernment, that they may discover their deficiency in spiritual knowledge." — 5 Testimonies, 674-675.

"Satan is constantly pressing in the spurious — to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony. — 1 Selected Messages, 48

"It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction." — 4 Testimonies, 211.

"There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded."  — 1 Selected Messages, 48