Quoted from Facts and Fables
18. In the study of God’s messages to women, I wish you to approach His Book as though, like a pagan, you had never seen it before, and knew nothing about it. Will you endeavour to cultivate this spirit of fresh inquiry? When we have heard, over and over again, with unquestioning belief an explanation of a thing, even though the explanation be grotesque, it comes back to us with all the force of natural fact…
19. Therefore, we will accept no views as authoritative simply because that book, so valued among the Jews, the Talmud, teaches them,–not even because Christian tradition teaches them. We will test matters by the general trend of Bible teaching itself. The famous Earl of Chatham said, once, in a great speech in the House of Commons, “I confess that I am apt to distrust the refinements of learning, because I have seen the ablest and most learned men equally liable to deceive themselves, and to mislead others.” Let us maintain this attitude of mind.
20. Savonarola wrought a revolution in the morals and manners of Florence, and he did it by adhering, and teaching the people to adhere, to two underlying principles upon which he based the chapters of his remarkable book, The Triumph of the Cross. These were, “Nothing has been learnt from any man,” and, “We accept no authority save our own experience and reason.” Dr. Campbell Morgan has recently voiced the same spirit in his words, “Do interpret our Bible by what the Bible says, and not by what men say that it says.” We will take these as our basic principles in Bible study.
21. But does not Savonarola’s use of the word “reason” savor of scepticism? Yes, as to the worth of “traditions of men;” and it savors also of the “glorious liberty of the children of God,” to study the Bible for themselves, under the immediate tuition of the Holy Spirit. Savonarola further explains himself: “Not that faith, the spontaneous gift of God, can be acquired through reason, but because reason is a useful weapon with which to combat unbelievers, or open to them the way of salvation, to arouse the lukewarm, and give strength to the faithful” (1 Peter 3:15). But while not bowing to any human authority as final, yet we will glean what information we can from writers; we will quote them to corroborate our statements, especially if we might have expected the one quoted to have taken an opposite view, had it been tenable at all; and make use of their works in any manner useful to our purpose: But always remembering that we bow to no authority as final but the Word of God, as illuminated by the Spirit. We will endeavor to “interpret the Bible by what the Bible says, not by what men say that it says.”
1. The object of these lessons is at least three-fold:
(1) To point out to women the fallacies in the “Scriptural” argument for the supremacy of the male sex.
(2) To show the true position of women in the economy of God.
(3) To show women their need of knowing the Bible in its original tongues, in order the better to equip themselves to disprove these fallacies, and also to show that such a knowledge of the Bible would have great influence for good on the progress of the Church and womanhood.