Shining a light on the weekly Bible Lessons published in the Christian Science Quarterly®

Soul and Body

from the Responsive Reading

Jeremiah 31:3, 7, 11, 25

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. . . . thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. . . . For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. . . . For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.

In Scripture, remnant (Hebrew, še ’ērît) commonly describes people who survive a catastrophe—for instance, the Israelites who returned from captivity in Babylon. Joseph employs this Hebrew term, rendered posterity in Genesis 45:7, in reassuring his brothers after the famine: “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”

Remnant occurs in several biblical texts, offering encouragement and comfort to God’s children in every circumstance. Second Kings 19:30 and Isaiah 37:31 foretell, “The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.” Micah 2:12 promises, “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.” And Paul applies the remnant concept to believers, calling them “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).

drawn: brought; moved forward; attracted
publish: make known generally or publicly
ransomed: freed from sin or captivity
satiated: completely satisfied
replenished: filled or built up again

from Section 1

2 | II Corinthians 6:16

What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God.

Translation

Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, . . .

—Contemporary English Version

Paul’s query is last in his series of five rhetorical questions using distinct synonyms (fellowship, communion, concord, part, agreement) to emphasize the impossibility of union between God and any apparent opposite to Him (see vv. 14, 15). 

From early Jewish times, even before the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, temple referred to the habitation of the one God. Now Paul defines the community of believers as a spiritual temple consecrated to God. The Greek noun translated temple in this text (naos) signifies the inner sanctuary—the most sacred space of the Temple complex. A scholar observes, “The Spirit of God no longer can be localized in a sacred building: it is to be found in the gathered community of God’s elect people in Christ.”

Commentaries identify several Hebrew Bible passages as supporting Paul’s declaration: Exodus 29:45Leviticus 26:11, 12, citation 1; I Kings 6:13Ezekiel 37:27. One source points out that Paul may not have cited Scripture exactly because, like nearly everyone else, he needed to quote from memory. (At that period papyrus rolls were long and unwieldy; no chapter or verse divisions were noted; and no concordance existed.) This source continues, “It was not the letter of scripture but the message of scripture which mattered to him.”

4 | Romans 12:2

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Translation

. . . do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

—Amplified® Bible

conformed: shaped; made to fit with something

from Section 2

5 | Proverbs 2:10, 11, 20

When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: . . . That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

Translation

. . . wisdom will enter your heart,
       and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
      Understanding will keep you safe. . . .
So follow the steps of the good,
      and stay on the paths of the righteous.

—New Living Translation

The book of Proverbs is plainly intended to teach. Although its sayings often read as everyday or common sense observations, the book’s underlying focus is God’s government of the world and His people’s obedience to His will. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7) is one of its first messages.

A thinker who fully embraces wisdom, these texts affirm, is able to make consistently solid decisions. A Bible authority explains, “Wisdom enters the core of one’s being or ‘heart’ and thereby enables right conduct toward God and neighbor.”

6 | Romans 8:19, 21

The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. . . . the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Translation

The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. . . . that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

—Common English Bible

“Earnest expectation” (Greek, apokaradokia) is a dramatic phrase employed to convey intense anticipation. Waiteth, translated here from another Greek term portraying eager expectancy (apekdekhomai), underscores this outlook. “To Paul,” a scholar writes, “life was not a weary, defeated waiting; it was a . . . vivid expectation.”

Ktisis, the Greek term rendered creature, denotes the thing made, the act of creating, or all of creation. Another commentator remarks that transformation in Christ is so complete that it is equivalent to an act of creation.

7 | Psalms 42:5

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Jesus echoes these words in the garden of Gethsemane: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful,” later adding, “Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:34, 36). While centuries apart, both cries recognize God’s supremacy even in the depths of anguish.

from Section 3

10 | Psalms 107:8, 9, 13, 14

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. . . . Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

Translation

You should praise the LORD
     for his love
     and for the wonderful things
     he does for all of us.
To everyone who is thirsty,
     he gives something to drink;
to everyone who is hungry,
     he gives good things to eat. . . .
You were in serious trouble,
     but you prayed to the LORD,
     and he rescued you.
He brought you out
of the deepest darkness
     and broke your chains.

—Contemporary English Version

11 | Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

A shepherd’s rod and staff were used to prod, lead, guard, and rescue his sheep. The rod was likely a short tool that could be used defensively; the staff was a walking stick employed to guide the flock. In this psalm they symbolize God’s protection and care.

from Section 4

13 | John 5:19, 21

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. . . . For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

Translation

So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. . . . Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, in the same way the Son gives life to those he wants to.

—Good News Translation

Jesus is replying to the Jews’ objection that he is “making himself equal with God” (v. 18). His wise response depicts his relationship to God as one of both dependence and power. A scriptural authority suggests: “His authority is absolute, not in spite of the fact that he does nothing by himself, but because of it. . . . In all that he does he is subject to his Father and totally dependent on his Father’s power and love.”

Quicken (Greek, zōopoieō) refers to giving, maintaining, and restoring life. Some Jews believed in resurrection, but many of them thought it would happen only at the final judgment and could be accomplished only by God. The Master asserts that the Son has been given the power to do what he has seen his Father do, a fact demonstrated in his healing work.

14 | John 4:46–53

Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

Signs and wonders are related terms, occurring together multiple times to indicate God’s presence and healing activity. Jesus condemns the Pharisaic demand for material signs (see Mark 8:11, 12) but assures his disciples of the signs that would follow “them that believe” (see Mark 16:17, 18). 

That the nobleman’s family members and servants join him in believing in Christ Jesus illustrates a later Christian theme—that salvation of an individual encompasses his entire household (see examples in Acts 11:1416:31). In other cases, Zacchaeus is commended by the Savior with, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:9), and Lydia, after hearing Paul speak, is baptized along with her household (see Acts 16:14, 15).

besought: begged; requested urgently
ere: before
amend: grow better; improve

from Section 5

17 | II Peter 1:2, 3, 19

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: . . . We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

Translation

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. . . . Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.

—New Living Translation

Here readers are assured that their knowledge of Christ Jesus isn’t based on “cunningly devised fables” (v. 16) but on eyewitness accounts. Prophecy has been verified by this witnessing. “The basis of faith,” one source notes, “is not mythology spun out of speculative imagination, but authentic apostolic testimony of actual events (16–18) and the prophetic word of Scripture (19–21).”

pertain unto: belong to; relate to 
virtue: excellence of character; goodness

from Section 6

19 | Jeremiah 6:16

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Translation

This is what the LORD  says:
   “Stand where the roads cross and look.
          Ask where the old way is,
   where the good way is, and walk on it.
          If you do, you will find rest for yourselves.

—New Century Version

In this verse translators see the image of a traveler at a crossroads, needing to find his way. For Israel, that way was made clear in the “old paths”—the covenant with God—followed by their patriarchs, judges, and prophets.

Promise of the soul’s rest appears centuries later in Jesus’ invitation “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28, 29).

20 | I Thessalonians 5:16, 23

Rejoice evermore. . . . And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Translation

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); . . . And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

—Amplified® Bible Classic

Paul offers this prayer in a letter to the church he had recently founded, with Silas and Timothy, in the Macedonian capital of Thessalonica. They had encountered strong opposition from the local Jewish population (see Acts 17:1–8). Paul prays that these embattled new Christians find the peace of God—holiness that pervades their entire being. (Holotelēs and holoklēros, the words rendered wholly and whole respectively, convey completeness, soundness, and perfection.)

Coming is translated from the Greek term parousia. It signifies presence, but usage expanded its meaning to advent or arrival. Most occurrences of parousia in the New Testament allude to the expected second advent of Christ Jesus.

blameless: without fault or sin; pure

21 | Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Translation

Let Christ’s word with all its wisdom and richness live in you. Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to teach and instruct yourselves about God’s kindness. Sing to God in your hearts.

—GOD’S WORD Translation

admonishing: warning gently; counseling


Read a related article, “Spiritual identity” by Jeanne Steely Laitner, at jsh.christianscience.com/spiritual-identity.

from the Responsive Reading

Jeremiah 31:3, 7, 11, 25

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. . . . thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. . . . For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. . . . For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.

In Scripture, remnant (Hebrew, še ’ērît) commonly describes people who survive a catastrophe—for instance, the Israelites who returned from captivity in Babylon. Joseph employs this Hebrew term, rendered posterity in Genesis 45:7, in reassuring his brothers after the famine: “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”

Remnant occurs in several biblical texts, offering encouragement and comfort to God’s children in every circumstance. Second Kings 19:30 and Isaiah 37:31 foretell, “The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.” Micah 2:12 promises, “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.” And Paul applies the remnant concept to believers, calling them “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).

from Section 1

2 | II Corinthians 6:16

What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God.

Paul’s query is last in his series of five rhetorical questions using distinct synonyms (fellowship, communion, concord, part, agreement) to emphasize the impossibility of union between God and any apparent opposite to Him (see vv. 14, 15). 

From early Jewish times, even before the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, temple referred to the habitation of the one God. Now Paul defines the community of believers as a spiritual temple consecrated to God. The Greek noun translated temple in this text (naos) signifies the inner sanctuary—the most sacred space of the Temple complex. A scholar observes, “The Spirit of God no longer can be localized in a sacred building: it is to be found in the gathered community of God’s elect people in Christ.”

Commentaries identify several Hebrew Bible passages as supporting Paul’s declaration: Exodus 29:45Leviticus 26:11, 12, citation 1; I Kings 6:13Ezekiel 37:27. One source points out that Paul may not have cited Scripture exactly because, like nearly everyone else, he needed to quote from memory. (At that period papyrus rolls were long and unwieldy; no chapter or verse divisions were noted; and no concordance existed.) This source continues, “It was not the letter of scripture but the message of scripture which mattered to him.”

from Section 2

5 | Proverbs 2:10, 11, 20

When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: . . . That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

The book of Proverbs is plainly intended to teach. Although its sayings often read as everyday or common sense observations, the book’s underlying focus is God’s government of the world and His people’s obedience to His will. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7) is one of its first messages.

A thinker who fully embraces wisdom, these texts affirm, is able to make consistently solid decisions. A Bible authority explains, “Wisdom enters the core of one’s being or ‘heart’ and thereby enables right conduct toward God and neighbor.”

6 | Romans 8:19, 21

The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. . . . the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

“Earnest expectation” (Greek, apokaradokia) is a dramatic phrase employed to convey intense anticipation. Waiteth, translated here from another Greek term portraying eager expectancy (apekdekhomai), underscores this outlook. “To Paul,” a scholar writes, “life was not a weary, defeated waiting; it was a . . . vivid expectation.”

Ktisis, the Greek term rendered creature, denotes the thing made, the act of creating, or all of creation. Another commentator remarks that transformation in Christ is so complete that it is equivalent to an act of creation.

7 | Psalms 42:5

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Jesus echoes these words in the garden of Gethsemane: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful,” later adding, “Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:34, 36). While centuries apart, both cries recognize God’s supremacy even in the depths of anguish.

from Section 3

11 | Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

A shepherd’s rod and staff were used to prod, lead, guard, and rescue his sheep. The rod was likely a short tool that could be used defensively; the staff was a walking stick employed to guide the flock. In this psalm they symbolize God’s protection and care.

from Section 4

13 | John 5:19, 21

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. . . . For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

Jesus is replying to the Jews’ objection that he is “making himself equal with God” (v. 18). His wise response depicts his relationship to God as one of both dependence and power. A scriptural authority suggests: “His authority is absolute, not in spite of the fact that he does nothing by himself, but because of it. . . . In all that he does he is subject to his Father and totally dependent on his Father’s power and love.”

Quicken (Greek, zōopoieō) refers to giving, maintaining, and restoring life. Some Jews believed in resurrection, but many of them thought it would happen only at the final judgment and could be accomplished only by God. The Master asserts that the Son has been given the power to do what he has seen his Father do, a fact demonstrated in his healing work.

14 | John 4:46–53

Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

Signs and wonders are related terms, occurring together multiple times to indicate God’s presence and healing activity. Jesus condemns the Pharisaic demand for material signs (see Mark 8:11, 12) but assures his disciples of the signs that would follow “them that believe” (see Mark 16:17, 18). 

That the nobleman’s family members and servants join him in believing in Christ Jesus illustrates a later Christian theme—that salvation of an individual encompasses his entire household (see examples in Acts 11:1416:31). In other cases, Zacchaeus is commended by the Savior with, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:9), and Lydia, after hearing Paul speak, is baptized along with her household (see Acts 16:14, 15).

from Section 5

17 | II Peter 1:2, 3, 19

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: . . . We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

Here readers are assured that their knowledge of Christ Jesus isn’t based on “cunningly devised fables” (v. 16) but on eyewitness accounts. Prophecy has been verified by this witnessing. “The basis of faith,” one source notes, “is not mythology spun out of speculative imagination, but authentic apostolic testimony of actual events (16–18) and the prophetic word of Scripture (19–21).”

from Section 6

19 | Jeremiah 6:16

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

In this verse translators see the image of a traveler at a crossroads, needing to find his way. For Israel, that way was made clear in the “old paths”—the covenant with God—followed by their patriarchs, judges, and prophets.

Promise of the soul’s rest appears centuries later in Jesus’ invitation “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28, 29).

20 | I Thessalonians 5:16, 23

Rejoice evermore. . . . And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul offers this prayer in a letter to the church he had recently founded, with Silas and Timothy, in the Macedonian capital of Thessalonica. They had encountered strong opposition from the local Jewish population (see Acts 17:1–8). Paul prays that these embattled new Christians find the peace of God—holiness that pervades their entire being. (Holotelēs and holoklēros, the words rendered wholly and whole respectively, convey completeness, soundness, and perfection.)

Coming is translated from the Greek term parousia. It signifies presence, but usage expanded its meaning to advent or arrival. Most occurrences of parousia in the New Testament allude to the expected second advent of Christ Jesus.


Read a related article, “Spiritual identity” by Jeanne Steely Laitner, at jsh.christianscience.com/spiritual-identity.

Resources quoted in this issue

Cit. 2: Mays, James Luther, et al., eds. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Vol. 33, First Corinthians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1982–; Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Letters to the Corinthians. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1955. Revised and updated by Saint Andrew, 2001. Reprinted as The New Daily Study Bible: The Letters to the Corinthians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001–04.

Cit. 5: Keck, Leander E., et al., eds. The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary. Vol. 3, Introduction to Hebrew Poetry, Job, Psalms, Introduction to Wisdom Literature, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. Nashville: Abingdon, 2015.

Cit. 6: Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Letter to the Romans. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1955. Revised and updated by Saint Andrew, 2001. Reprinted as The New Daily Study Bible: The Letter to the Romans. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001–04; Barnes, Albert. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible. New York, 1834–85. Also available at biblehub.com/commentaries.

Cit. 13: Michaels, J. Ramsey. New International Biblical Commentary—John. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1984.

Cit. 17: Gaventa, Beverly Roberts. The New Interpreter’s Bible: One-Volume Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010.

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