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Commentary on "Jonathan: Born for Greatness"



Day 7: Friday, October 22, 2010 - Further Study


Today’s Sabbath School Quarterly lesson is, as usual, a reading from Ellen White followed by a few questions.

Since Ted Wilson’s nomination as President of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ellen White as prophet and critical figure of the Church will continue to gain momentum. Either Ellen White is a prophet of God, or she is a false prophet; she cannot have been only an inspirational Christian woman, given many of her claims. Until you have studied this issue we suggest that instead of reading Ellen White that you read the Bible alone.

From the beginning of this week we have been suggesting that you read 1st Samuel during this week. The content of this book is unique in God’s word. In it we find a relationship between two men, Jonathan and David, which provides a beautiful picture of how a believer and their Lord relate.

One thought about one of today’s questions. The fourth question in today’s lesson is:

Discuss the life of Jonathan in the light of Hebrews 11:32–40. What can you take away from those texts that perhaps could help you in situations that, at least from your perspective now, have dismal outcomes?

Jonathan is not even mentioned in those verses from Hebrews, the so-called, Faith Hall of Fame. For anyone to discuss truth, based on an absence of something being mentioned is to walk on very dangerous ground. It is this type of thinking that results in theology that avoids music in worship, avoids modern conveniences, avoids modern music, avoids, avoids, avoids.

Let’s not set ourselves up on an improper hermeneutic (the practice of interpreting a text.) Let us understand what God means by what he has said, not by what he has not said. This week’s lesson is an example of trying to understand what God has said about many things based on the absence of that information from his word; particularly from those sections of his word that the Quarterly has suggested for reading.

Jesus made some unusual statements about greatness. In Matthew his disciples came to him to ask about greatness in his kingdom. Jesus’ response is both simple and profound. Matthew 18:1-7 reads, in the ESV,

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 "Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!

Let’s always strive for the greatness that Jesus has given us.



  1. Have you finished reading First Samuel? If not, it will take you no more than 5 days, or as little as 2 ½ hours. Start anytime!
  2. David was a type of the Messiah who was to come. Likewise, Jonathan is a type of the Church that was to come.
  3. If you’re not sure about reading Ellen White, why not just read the Bible? It is God’s only specially-revealed book!


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