The role of Ellen White's writings

I have found many people are confused about the role Ellen White's writings play in our church. Many times it seems we consider them as an addition to the Bible or on the flip side we brush them aside altogether considering them optional or even as a friend of mine says, act like a stupid angel inspired them.

The role of the Spirit of Prophecy in relationship to the Bible is an interesting and important study.  When I read Selected Messages, book 3, chapter 4, the roles became much clearer. It was helpful to me to summarize the chapter, and I hope my summary is helpful to others.

BIBLE - Rule of faith and practice
TESTIMONIES - Comfort and correction

BIBLE - Public evidence for our convictions
TESTIMONIES - Not to take the place of the Bible; brings confused minds back to the Bible

BIBLE - In ancient times God spoke through the mouths of prophets and apostles
TESTIMONIES - Now He speaks through the Testimonies; never was a time that God spoke more earnestly than now

BIBLE - Holy Ghost is author not to be twisted to mean what we want it to mean

BIBLE - Standard by which all teaching and experience is to be tested
TESTIMONIES - Not to supersede the Bible


  • Sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind
  • May be understood by those who desire to learn


  • Not an addition to the Word; brings minds back to the Word and gives clearer understanding
  • Some who profess to make the Word their study are living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings
  • The Testimonies leave them without excuse and bring them back to the Word
  • It is plain and pointed

BIBLE - General principles
TESTIMONIES - General principles and personal testimonies; calls attention to Bible principles


  • Practical lessons to govern life and conduct
  • The minute particulars for character, conversation and conduct are ignored


  • Not a new revelation; makes the lessons in the Word plain, corrects errors, points to the right way
  • Leaves His people without excuse


  • To be food, meat and drink
  • Its principles are to be the elements of our character
  • Then we will know how to better receive counsel from God

TESTIMONIES - Don't quote her while choosing to walk contrary to the light God has given; don’t quote her until you can obey the Bible; instead, just find out what the Bible says and do it (spoken to a General Conference that was/had been in rebellion)

TESTIMONIES - The Lord gave her light for His people to be taken line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, to correct errors and specify truth and to say "this is the way, walk ye in it"

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