The ancient delphic maxim, “Know thyself,” voices a recurring theme in religion, philosophy, and science. It is natural to want to understand our nature and purpose.
Studying this week’s Bible Lesson titled “Adam and Fallen Man,” I was reminded of a hide-and-go-seek game my two-year-old grandson and I play. He stands very still in front of me, closes his eyes, and then covers his face with his hands.
The Responsive Reading of this week’s Bible Lesson, titled “Everlasting Punishment,” is taken from the book of Hosea, written after the calamitous fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 bc—where Hosea lived. In the first 13 chapters of this book Hosea describes how Israel has fallen away from worshipping the one true God—bemoaning the fact that “they [Israel] sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen” ( Hosea 13:2 , Responsive Reading).
The word probation is usually understood to be a process or period in which a person’s fitness, as in work or membership in a social group, is tested—a time of proving one’s legitimate value. Through a study of Bible Lessons such as this week’s, titled “Probation After Death,” we learn that our true worth as the children of God is already established, but that we must prove that identity.
This week’s Bible Lesson, titled “Doctrine of Atonement,” shows us the way to “draw nigh unto God” (Golden Text, Hebrews 7:19 ). How? Not through rituals and creeds, but through “our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” ( Romans 5:11 , citation 16).
This Thanksgiving, we can feel a heart full of praise for God’s abundant gifts.
The question in this week’s Bible Lesson, titled “Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?” challenges us all. We are helped to answer “No!” using forgiveness and compassion.
This week’s Bible Lesson titled “Unreality” sheds light into dark corners of fear, and things that appear harmful and frightening turn out to be the absence of reality, nothing. The Lesson shows that God did not create voids or negatives, rather His creation is filled with goodness and light.
What is the meaning of the word perfect, which is so prominent in this week’s Bible Lesson, titled “Reality”? Strong’s Concordance online includes these descriptors in its outline of the biblical usage of this word: “complete, whole, entire,” “sound, healthful,” “wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity,” “what is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact. ” These rich meanings can be further augmented, as is shown in this week’s Golden Text, “ As for God, His way is perfect” (II Samuel 22:31, New King James Version), and in the New International Version’s rendering of verse 33, “[God] keeps my way secure.
Did you ever study mythology? I learned that, although unquestionably believed by ancient Greeks and Romans, myths are fictitious—fables about imaginary situations, not to be accepted as true, real, or life-affecting. This week’s Bible Lesson exposes its subject, “Matter,” to be as flimsy and false as any other myth.