Introduction - Spiritual Dictionary
Words and Thoughts
A number of years ago I was studying the Bible trying to understand what it meant, and especially the prophetic sections of Scripture. I had great difficulty trying to figure out what the symbols meant. I also had difficulty trusting the Bible in the context of such questions as “Did God want me to understand the Bible? Were the concepts of the Bible the same throughout the Bible? If you learned something in the Old Testament would it apply in the New Testament? Were the symbols the same? Were there predictable rules to guide you throughout the study? How could I tell if I was staying in the way God was trying to talk to me through or how would I know if I was just infusing Scripture with my own thinking?” These, and other questions would come to my mind and over time I have arrived at some answers. I would like to share some of my conclusions with you and then share with you why I have gathered the words and interpretations that I have in my Dictionary/Collection and why I have selected the sources that I have.
The first answer I acquired was that if you are to read the Bible you will inevitably have to accept certain concepts by faith. No amount of reasoning will answer all the questions that are possible. It is true that the Bible contains most answers but you still have to walk by faith and a lot of evidence but never all evidence. For example, in II Peter 1:21 it says that “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” In order to believe this you have to accept that there is a God by the name of the Holy Ghost, you have to understand what prophecy is, you have to figure out what it means to be moved, you have to understand what it means that holy men could not will prophecy, you have to believe that God is there with some ideas that He wants to give through prophecy and you have to believe that if you got one of these ideas you would have some hope of understanding these ideas. All of this boils down to faith Hebrews 11:6. I had to come to the idea that God was there, and that He wants to talk to me, and that when He is done He will have communicated with me and I with Him. If you do not have this kind of faith then the Bible will remain an interesting, quaint historical jumble of information and stories but nothing more.
I, personally, have decided to take the Bible literally. I believe that God wants to talk to me and that He is wise enough to do it in a way that I can understand. That if I study it the way that the Bible itself describes then I can follow in the footsteps of holy men who have gone before me, and that my experience will be similar to those men. So I would be able to follow the example of Paul and his counsel to Timothy in II Timothy 3:14-17 - study as you did when you were a child, study the Scriptures for they are able to make you wise, they will assist you in finding faith in Jesus, the Scriptures are given by the inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in right doing. The Scriptures will thoroughly furnish you to do the work that God has called you to do.
I also concluded that if you could trust Paul then you probably could trust Jesus, of whom Paul liked to talk about. Jesus reports that “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. Jesus always seemed to be interested in proving everything He said and did by the Bible so that you always had something solid to refer to rather than just feelings and impressions. For example Jesus, after His resurrection, did not focus the disciples on His ability to do miracles but on proving that all the things that happened to Him were from the Bible so that His disciples, would have the Word to secure them. Luke 24:25-27 and 44-48.
With the above in mind I set out to try my hand at the Bible and to see where God would lead me to and how He would do it. I simply started to read the Bible and to grasp as much as I could. I found that each time I read the Bible I would recognize certain things and then noticed that some thoughts seemed to repeat and seemed similar. I wondered if this clustering effect may be something that God had placed in the Bible. For example, the four gospels repeat the same story but with unique differences. Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles seem to cover the same information but overlap and amplify each other. I noticed that the Exodus story seemed to be important to God to the point that He repeated it in various sections of the Bible; Deuteronomy, Psalms 78 and 105-106; Nehemiah 9, Acts 7, I Corinthians 10, Hebrews 11 etc. Eventually I came to believe that God really had a plan in mind when He said “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” Isaiah 28:9-10. It seemed to me that God had written the Bible in such a manner that you were required to study it over and over, meditate on it (Psalms 119), and to look at it from many angles. It even conveyed the idea that you would have to surrender some of your own ideas in order to hear what God wanted you to hear and see and not what you wanted to see. As I came in contact with some of these ideas I had to accept them above my own because I didn’t want to make my ideas nullify God’s thoughts and commandments (Matthew 15:6-9).
Another experience came to me as I was studying and that was occasionally I would come across texts that appeared to be defining a word. I wondered if that indeed was what God was intending to do. As time went by I would record some of these words and try to remember them as I would do further reading. An example of this would be in John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd.” I wondered if when Jesus said that would it apply to the Old Testament references to the good shepherd. I tried to apply this to Psalms 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd.” When I did this I was immediately confronted by the problem of how would I know if Jesus was in the Old Testament or was this reference to God a general reference or was it to be applied to the Father, or to the Holy Ghost? As I prayed and studied my question God eventually led me to John 8:58. This text answered my question about the good shepherd. John 8:58 showed me that the God in the Old Testament was Jesus. Jesus Himself claimed to be the God of the burning bush speaking to Moses. If He was that God could He also be that God who was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and would He ever refer to His people as a flock (Zechariah 10:3) so that He could be the Shepherd? As I studied God continued to assist me in looking at things in new ways and hopefully in more trusting and coherent ways.
Thus over time I began to see and believe that He was trust worthy and if I followed His program I could make sense out of His Word.
The next question I have attempted to solve was whether you could trust the Old Testament or since the New Testament was written should we only trust it for after all it was New and maybe it was more accurate than the Old. Another question that came up for me was what should we do with other “prophets” as they might come up. How would we know whether God had stopped giving prophecies or when He said that He would send more (Acts 2:1-18; Revelation 12:17; and 19:10) did He really mean it. I solved my question again by studying the Bible to see what it had to say about my questions. Jesus and the apostles used the Old Testament primarily since it was the only Bible that was in existence until the New Sections were added after Pentecost and after the dispersion and after Paul was writing letters among the Gentile converts. Jesus and the apostles seemed to do very well with the Old Testament even proving that Jesus was the Messiah (Luke 24; Acts 8:26-39; Acts 13:14-42; Acts 18:24-28; Acts 28:22-31). Even after the New Testament had been assembled there did not seem to be any conflict between them since they were both written by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Peter 1:21. Peter even states the following, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” II Peter 3:1-2.
After settling the Old Testament/New Testament question I then turned to the issue of whether there would ever be additional prophets and how would I know? Again the Bible gives it’s own solution. The Bible itself sets up the issue of the fact that there will be prophets and that these prophets need to be tested in order to assess whether they are from God or not. I John 4:1 and Matthew 24:11. To protect us God has given us a series of tests to check the claims of anyone who claims to be sent from God. Five Bible tests are as follows:
1. The spirit of the prophet must confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. I John 4:2.
2. The prophet must confess that Jesus is the Messiah (the anointed One.) I John 2:22.
3. The fruit of the prophet must be Christlike. Matthew 7:15-20.
4. The prophet must agree with the law and the testimony. Isaiah 8:20.
5. The prophet must predict correctly and not lead to other gods. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 and 18:21-22.
Any person professing to be a prophet must be tested by at least these five tests and if they do not fulfill them they must be accounted as false. On the other hand anyone who meets these tests must be accepted as from God.
In my collection of spiritual definitions I have concluded that the Bible is the most straightforward source of spiritual definitions. As you read you will see many words in my collection that you agree with and you may see some words that should be in the collection. I have left space for you to add your own. All Bible references, unless specifically noted, are from the King James Version of the Bible. I have also included numerous quotes form the writings of Ellen G. White a person that I believe meets the criteria of a prophetess. You will have to decide for yourself as you read and study. I have also collected some terms that I have determined, for myself, are spiritual definitions by my interpretation of many Scriptures related to the specific subject. I have recorded these with the initials CO, for collector’s opinion. Any and all words are subject to your prayerful study and assessment.
To assist you in identifying the books of Ellen G. White I am including a listing of all the books that I have quoted from so that you can check context, tone, and fruit. I trust that God will lead you to a conclusion that will be in harmony with His will for you and for Him.
KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS OF ELLEN WHITE’S BOOKS
AA – Acts of the Apostles, The
AG – Amazing Grace
AH – Adventist Home, The
1BC – Ellen G. White Comments in the Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary, The, Vol 1 (2BC, etc, for vols. 2-7)
BTS – Bible Training School
CC – Conflict and Courage
CD – Counsels on Diet and Foods
CG – Child Guidance
CH - Counsels on Health
COL – Christ’s Object Lessons
CL – Country Living
CON - Confrontation
CS – Counsels on Stewardship
CSW – Counsels on Sabbath School Work
CT – Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students
CTBH – Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene
CW – Counsels to Writers and Editors
DA – Desire of Ages, The
ED – Education
EV – Evangelism
EW – Early Writings
FE – Fundamentals of Christian Education
FLB – Faith I Live By, The
GC – Great Controversy, The
GCB – GC Bulletin
GW – Gospel Workers
HC – Our High Calling
HS – Historical Sketches
IHP – In Heavenly Places
KH – That I May Know Him
Letter – Ellen G. White Letter
LS – Life Sketches
MA - Maranatha
MB – Thoughts From The Mount Of Blessing
MH – Ministry of Healing, The
MLT – My Life Today
MR – Manuscript Release (Volumes 1-21)
MS – Ellen G. White Manuscript
MYP – Messages to Young People
PK – Prophets and Kings
PP – Patriarchs and Prophets
RB – Revival and Beyond
RH – Review and Herald
SC – Steps to Christ
SD – Sons and Daughters of God
1SG – Spiritual Gifts, vol 1 (2SG, etc for vols. 2-4)
SL – Sanctified Life, The
1SM – Selected Messages, book 1 (2SM for book 2)
1SP – Spirit of Prophecy, The, vol. 1 (2SP etc, for vols. 2-4)
SR – Story of Redemption, The
ST – Signs of the Times
SW – Southern Watchman
1T – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, (2T, etc, for vols. 2-9)
TE – Temperance
TM – Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers
VSS – The Voice in Speech and Song
WM – Welfare Ministry
YI – Youth’s Instructor, The