Exploring Bible Verses
An exploration of Bible citations from the Christian Science Quarterly® Bible Lessons
“. . . a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends."—Mary Baker Eddy
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
from the Golden Text
The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
—New King James Version®
From the Hebrew prayer known as the Shema, this line represents a distinct step away from the polytheism surrounding the Israelites. Though not denying the existence of other deities, the Hebrew people embraced Yahweh as their only God.
A Bible authority explains, “All of Israel’s neighbors had to come to terms in their daily lives with scores of gods, each with its own sphere of influence, its own limitations, its own petty self interests and its own morally erratic ways. But Israel could live serenely in the knowledge that all things and all times were under the rule of one divine King, whose ways are righteous and whose purpose with . . . and throughout [Israel] (as Yahweh, her God) is salvation for humankind. . . .”
from the Responsive Reading
The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
covenant: long-standing agreement between two people or parties
from Section 1
1 | Zechariah 14:9
The Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.
A heavenly kingdom—the universe ruled by a divine monarch—is an idea rooted in ancient Eastern cultures. Most people imagined their gods as having defeated other gods—as reigning supreme in the heavens and caring for the earthly nations that worshiped them. Jewish experience brought to light the existence of one omnipotent ruler, Yahweh.
Yahweh’s kingship is a frequent theme in Scripture, especially in the books of Psalms and Isaiah (see examples in Psalms 5:2; Isaiah 33:22). Even after Hebrew monarchies were established at the time of Samuel, kings were expected to obey God (see I Samuel 12:14). Over time, as Jewish rulers lost power, hope centered on a Messiah who would reinstate Hebrew sovereignty.
In the New Testament, “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” occur more than one hundred times. Christ Jesus’ teaching elevates the concept from a geographical or political entity to a spiritual kingdom “at hand” and “within you” (Matthew 4:17; Luke 17:21).
2 | Isaiah 60:4
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Jerusalem’s return to glory is depicted with stirring images, including the reuniting of families. A scholar writes: “Jerusalem lies upon the central ridge of the country. From the landward side she can see caravans streaming in; from the west over the Mediterranean ships are sailing in like flocks of pigeons. Along with this vast commerce come her returning exiled children.”
According to another source, “Zion’s joy . . . comes from participating in celebration and from seeing the nations acknowledge the sole divinity of Yahweh.”
2 | Isaiah 60:16
Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
Redeemer: Savior; someone who restores the rights of others
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. . . . and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. . . . The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
• • •
“Look and see, for everyone is coming home!
Your sons are coming from distant lands;
your little daughters will be carried home. . . .
You will know at last that I, the Lord,
am your Savior and your Redeemer,
the Mighty One of Israel. . . .
No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,
nor the moon to give its light by night,
for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.”
—New Living Translation
These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; . . . He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.
Written to the church at Sardis in the Roman province of Asia, these words are meant to awaken members from spiritual complacency. Sardis was a fabulously wealthy city, made famous by stories about Croesus, one of its kings. But its degeneration apparently affected the Christian community, earning the Revelator’s censure “I know thy works, that thou . . . art dead” (v. 1). Mention of white clothing would have been a reminder of victory, as Roman citizens celebrated military triumphs by wearing white.
Six other letters are addressed to specific churches—at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. All seven churches were located within about 140 miles (220 km) of each other on an important Roman route in present-day western Turkey. While other churches certainly existed at this time, these were likely among the most prominent Christian communities.
Seven—appearing over fifty times in Revelation—is considered a sacred number, exemplifying completeness. “Seven Spirits of God” is viewed by some commentators as the infinitely varied manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
3 | Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.
• • •
He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing.
from Section 2
6 | Isaiah 40:28
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?
Echoing verse 21, these questions remind Hebrews in exile that God’s nature has been known to them from ancient times. His unfailing dominion and strength have been proved to them repeatedly—and they can trust it in every place and experience.
7 | Isaiah 41:19
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together.
Trees listed here are native to Palestine. Shittim wood, cedar, olive, and fir were sources of building material—mentioned in texts about the construction of the Exodus tabernacle and the Temple of Solomon (see examples in Exodus, chaps. 25–27; I Kings 5:10; I Kings 6:31–33; II Chronicles 3:5). Pine and myrtle were used in religious celebrations (see Nehemiah 8:15), and the “box tree” may have been a species of cedar.
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. . . . That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
• • •
“The poor and needy are looking for water, but there is none.
Their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them.
I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.
I will make rivers flow on bare hilltops.
I will make springs flow through valleys.
I will turn deserts into lakes.
I will turn dry land into springs. . . .
People will see and know.
Together they will consider and understand
that the Lord’s power has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
—GOD’S WORD Translation
from Section 3
8 | Isaiah 43:11
I, even I, am the Lord ; and beside me there is no saviour.
God is known as the supreme saving or delivering power throughout the Bible (see other instances in II Samuel 22:3; Psalms 70:5; I Timothy 4:10). A scriptural authority affirms, “God’s essence is revealed in his redemption of men.”
In the New Testament, the title Savior was also given to Jesus (see Philippians 3:20, for example), who embodied the spiritual power to save in his healing ministry.
8 | Isaiah 43:12
I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.
• • •
“First I predicted your rescue,
then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.
No foreign god has ever done this.
You are witnesses that I am the only God,”
says the Lord.
—New Living Translation
10 | Psalms 90:1
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Verses 1–5 of Psalm 90 were the inspiration for the well-loved hymn by Isaac Watts, “Our God, our help in ages past” (altered by John Wesley to read “O God”; see Hymn 213 in the Christian Science Hymnal). About the biblical text, one source comments, “The swift passing of [man’s] stay upon earth would render it meaningless and purposeless, were it not that God is everlasting and in Him is man’s abiding dwelling-place.”
11 | Psalms 147:5
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
• • •
Great is our [majestic and mighty] Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is inexhaustible [infinite, boundless].
from Section 4
14 | John 14:8–11
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me.
• • •
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves.”
—Common English Bible
15 | John 15:26
When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.
“I will send you the Helper from the Father. He is the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father. When he comes, he will tell about me.”
—International Children’s Bible
Twentieth-century Scottish Bible scholar William Barclay provides background on the Greek word translated Comforter (paraklētos). A related term, parakaleō, was used to urge soldiers forward in battle and to rally the timid or hesitant. “A paraklētos is therefore an encourager,” Barclay writes, “one who puts courage into the faint-hearted, one who nerves the feeble arm for fight, one who makes a very ordinary man cope gallantly with a perilous and a dangerous situation.”
Parakaleō is a word of entreaty in Ephesians 4:1 (citation 25): “I . . . beseech [parakaleō] you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”
proceedeth: comes from a source; moves forward
16 | Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
—New Century Version
baptizing: cleansing or purifying spiritually
17 | I John 5:7
There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Viewed as a late addition to scriptural canon, this verse makes clear that God is not divided into three persons. Ephesians 4:4–6 (citation 25) also presents divine oneness, emphatically pointing to “one body, . . . one Spirit, . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father.”
bear record: show that something exists or is true; act as a witness
from Section 5
18 | Psalms 71:22
I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
psaltery: ancient stringed instrument
19 | John 5:1, 5–9
Jesus went up to Jerusalem. . . . And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.
Ancient Jerusalem had two large public areas for ritual purification—the pool of Bethesda, where this story takes place, and the pool of Siloam. The intermittent movement of the water at this location (possibly the bubbling up of a subterranean stream) prompted superstitious belief in its healing capacity (see v. 4).
“Thirty-eight years” is regarded by some sources not as a specific duration of time but as symbolic of a very long time, perhaps alluding to the wilderness period recorded in Deuteronomy 2:14. In any case, the picture is one of hopelessness. Jesus’ question “Wilt thou be made whole?”—and his charge to stand up—effectively challenge despair and reverse the history of illness.
impotent: weakened by disease
20 | John 10:24
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly
• • •
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
—New Revised Standard Version
from Section 6
21 | Isaiah 45:11
Thus saith the Lord , the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
The Lord, the holy one of Israel and its maker, says: Are you questioning me about my own children? Are you telling me what to do with the work of my hands?
—Common English Bible
25 | Ephesians 4:1, 2
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.
beseech: beg; earnestly request
lowliness: humbleness; meekness; freedom from pride
forbearing: showing patience or forgiveness toward someone
25 | Ephesians 4:4
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.
Being called by God is a common Hebrew Bible concept. “When Israel was a child,” writes Hosea, “then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1). Individuals were also called—for instance, Abram (see Genesis 12:1–3), Moses (see Exodus, chap. 3), and Gideon (see Judges 6:11–24).
In the New Testament, invitations to follow Christ were considered calls. As the disciples and Paul were directly called by Christ Jesus, so all believers are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1).
Klēsis, the Greek word rendered calling, is translated vocation in verse 1.
25 | Ephesians 4:4–6
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
• • •
There is one body and one Spirit. And God called you to have one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God and Father of everything. He rules everything. He is everywhere and in everything.
—International Children’s Bible
Related healing ideas
A place to find God
By Jewel Simmons
From the November 2001 issue of The Christian Science Journal
The outside steps led down to the lower floor of the cozy Sunday School room. I carried the small chunky Bible Mom had given me. My teacher had soft eyes and wore a pretty hat. Her name was Miss Barber.
Miss Barber asked me if I knew who God was, and we talked about Him. Then, on the first page of Genesis in my Bible, she began underlining God’s name in pencil. Her gentle hands helped me hold the book while I peered at the word till I could recognize it. It had a capital letter. It appeared many times on that page. This was the first idea I had that God was so big.
After Sunday School, I stood outside in the parking lot, still staring at that page. I asked Mom if I was allowed to underline the word God on every page of the book. She laughed and said, “Sure.” Soon, I copied it in pencil in the book. So the first word I learned to read, and then to write, was God.
That small black Bible was my very own to keep in my bedroom. A special book to look at while sitting at my desk by the window overlooking the cornfield behind our yard. As I grew up, the book became the first place I went when I had a problem. Often, Mom guided me to verses that answered my questions, like, “Who is God?” “How big is He?” “What is He?” “Where is He?” “How do I know He’s there?”
My little Bible was a great place to find healing, too. One day, I was outside, running barefoot on the cool dirt of the path next to the cornfield. I stepped on a sharp rock. It hurt a lot. Mom helped me find the 91st Psalm, where it said that God’s angels would carry me if I dashed my foot against a stone. If God was carrying me, I thought, how could my foot hurt? That made me feel better, and I ran back outside to look for clovers with my friends, and later I brought some back to press between the pages of my Bible.
I’m not a child anymore, but I still have that little black leather Bible. I can almost fit my whole hand around it. It smells musty, and the pages are yellow, with tiny rips. The pressed clovers are in the same piece of waxed paper where I left them. They remind me of happy moments when I was looking closely for something special, and then found it.
Mom told me that the Bible had been a Christmas gift from her older brother—and that it had cost 50 cents. On the second page of the book, I can still see the impressions where Mom had written her name and address. It was erased so I could write my own name there. Someday, I’d like to give the Bible to someone who is just starting Sunday School, like I was that day.
I hope you have a Bible of your own. It’s a place to think and grow. It’s a place to look closely for God—and find Him. The pencil marks Miss Barber and I made are so faint I can barely see them now. But they helped me learn about God and who He is.
To learn more about the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons,
go to https://quarterly.christianscience.com.
Resources quoted in this issue
GT: New King James Version®, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved; Barker, Kenneth, et al., eds. The NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.
Cit. 2: Buttrick, George Arthur, Harmon, Nolan B., et al., eds. The Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 6, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Twelve Prophets. Nashville: Abingdon, 1951–57; Mays, James L., Blenkinsopp, Joseph, et al., eds. Harper’s Bible Commentary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988.
Cit. 8: Buttrick, George Arthur, Harmon, Nolan B., et al., eds. The Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 5, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah. Nashville: Abingdon, 1951–57.
Cit. 10: Cohen, A. The Psalms: Hebrew Text & English Translation with an Introduction and Commentary. London, Jerusalem, New York, The Soncino Press, 1977.
Cit. 15: Barclay, William. New Testament Words. London: SCM Press LTD, 1974.
Scriptural quotations marked New Living Translation are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scriptural quotations marked Amplified® Bible are taken from the Amplified® Bible, copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org.
Scriptural quotations marked GOD’S WORD Translation are taken from GOD’S WORD®, copyright © 1995 God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God’s Word Mission Society.
Scriptural quotations marked Common English Bible are taken from the Common English Bible, copyright © 2011 by the Common English Bible. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Scriptural quotations marked International Children’s Bible are taken from the International Children’s Bible®, copyright © 1986, 1988, 1999 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scriptural quotations marked New Century Version are taken from the New Century Version®, copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scriptural quotations marked New Revised Standard Version Bible are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2020 The Christian Science Publishing Society. The design of the Cross and Crown is a trademark owned by the Christian Science Board of Directors and is used by permission. Bible Lens and Christian Science Quarterly are trademarks owned by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.