The Sabbath School Bible Study Guide is published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. The current quarter's edition is shown above.


Official Adventist Resources:

Adult Bible Study Guide

Search the Complete Published Ellen G. White Writings


Support this project

If you would like to support this website, please click on the following link to donate online or you may mail your check to: Life Assurance Ministries, PO Box 905, Redlands, CA 92373. Mark your check "Bible Studies."


Fourth Quarter 2018 • October, November, December


Week 10: December 1–7
COMMENTARY ON "Unity and Broken Relationships"


Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).




In this lesson I will address the whole week at once. There are some very good lessons and discussions about relationships. On the surface all is well but there is something below the surface that needs addressing.

In my own lifetime steeped in Adventist and EGW theology, I had a wrong idea of forgiveness of sins. It’s taken a long time to re-educate me, but I would like to share what I’ve learned. On the surface the difference may look quite subtle and even unimportant, but I believe it is actually quite deep and profound.

I understood salvation to be a single entity. When we sin we are to ask forgiveness and it will be given—1 John 1:9. So far so good.

Without ever being directly taught, as far as I can remember, I understood that when I sinned, I was essentially lost again and had to re-repent to be restored or re-saved.

A further extension of this idea is the notion that even one unconfessed sin will keep me from heaven. That teaching one is not so subtle. Consider these Ellen White quotes:

A perversion of right principles is a transgression of God’s law. Those who in their actions pervert the grand principles of His holy law are under condemnation, for the righteousness of Christ cannot cover one unconfessed sin. 17 MR 241

Or this:

The whole character will be perverted by one unconfessed sin. 13 MR 190

How much time have you spent wracking your brain looking for some sin you didn’t confess? Maybe when you were five you took a pencil from another student’s desk without asking. Or, maybe on the way to work, you silently, or out loud, cursed at the crazy driver next to you who had a cup of coffee in one hand, his phone in the other, and was apparently steering with his elbows or even his feet! Or do you judge a homeless person as lost and unimportant because he/she is dirty and probably on drugs? And don’t forget about the sins of omission—the time you didn’t admit that you were wrong, or the time you didn’t “share the gospel” of Adventism with someone who might listen.

Before we experience very much of that, if we are honest with ourselves, it’s just time to give up.

In learning to study the Bible for myself, rather than just accept what I was told, I began to understand that salvation is not so one dimensional.

Think of it as two aspects: positional and relational.

It takes an understanding of the human spirit and being dead, separated from God when we are born, to grasp these two sides of salvation.

Our position when we are born is that we are separated from God, dead in our inherited sin nature. When we know Jesus and accept His free gift, that position changes to life that is forever connected to Him. As Jesus said in John 10:28, 29, no one can take us from His hand or from God’s hand. NO ONE and that includes us as well. When we are there, it is forever and unchanging.

In fact when the Bible says that Jesus’ payment on the cross forgives all our sins, it is easy to miss the fact that that payment was made long in the past, way before we were even born. That clearly contradicts the idea that at the point of salvation our past sins are forgiven but not the ones we commit after that time.

Now, in our lives, we do sin both knowingly and unknowingly. That is where the relational part comes in.

As a perfect, sinless being, God cannot dwell with sin, so when we sin, we have damaged our relationship with Him. That is where 1 John 1:9 comes in. We confess our sin and He immediately restores the relationship.




Just a couple of EGW quotes comprise Friday’s lesson followed by some interesting questions.

The references in question #3 to “our church” and “the SDA church” are illogical. God recognizes only one church and that is the Body of Christ made up of all who believe.

The question, “What is the greatest thing holding us back” from sharing Adventism—“Is it our teachings and doctrines? Of course not,” completely misses the point that it IS the teachings and doctrines that keep them back from true unity with all of God’s church. As long as Adventists look down on the people in any church but their own, unity is impossible.

Again, it can be as simple as confusion over the difference between unity and united. To unite is to join with and, by implication, to agree with. That Christians can’t do with open error and false teaching.

On the other hand, unity is loving, forgiving and being at peace with others, even if we do not agree with everything they say. It is working towards the same goal and giving preferential treatment to others in place of our own wants. It is thinking more highly of others than ourselves. It is a natural outgrowth of love—the only true love that is from Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit which is sealed in us from the moment we believe. A love that will never fail us.

Adventism in general does not know this love and the unity that results from it. Because Adventism teaches a different gospel, it is not able to participate in biblical unity. Only in repenting and in trusting Jesus alone can unity with other born-again believers be possible.




Copyright 2018 All rights reserved. Revised November 29, 2018. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: