Interpretation of the Scriptures

As a beginner in Christian Science the writer had often been troubled by seeming inconsistencies in the interpretation of Scriptural passages. As an example, she remembers once reading an article in the Sentinel, which explained the Biblical narrative of Jacob's dream. A few days later she came across another article on this same subject, but the writer seemed to have drawn an entirely different lesson from the passage. These two interpretations did not contradict each other, but the second interpreter had taken the text from quite another point of view. At one time this puzzled the writer and led to a sense of discouragement, for it seemed to her that if advanced Christian Scientists did not agree upon the spiritual import of the Scriptures, it was surely difficult for a beginner in the study to get the true significance.

A very simple illustration helped to lift her out of this difficulty. In examining a diamond, she perceived that its many facets reflected the light differently. Some threw out flashes of blue, and others of green or of gold, and yet she realized that all reflected the same light. And so it dawned upon her thought that the Scriptural passages describing the various incidents in the history of Biblical characters, like precious jewels set in the sacred writings, might, while only reflecting the one true light, throw out different colors in different directions; that each individual in his study might receive flashes of inspired insight commensurate to his understanding and suitable to his need.

The writer does not mean to convey the impression that the Scriptures have more than one right interpretation, for Principle is absolute; but many helpful and varied lessons may be gleaned from the same passage. To this student one explanation is manifest, and to another the same words point a different sermon. Why be discouraged because we perceive one interpretation but not another? In the fullness of time we shall see each passage from every angle and in all its completeness. The beginner's vision may seem limited, but let him press on. Christ Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." And Mrs. Eddy writes in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 547): "The Scriptures are very sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained.... It is this spiritual perception of Scripture, which lifts humanity out of disease and death and inspires faith."

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February 14, 1920

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