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Bible Lens

Bible Lens—November 16–22, 2020

Subject: Soul and Body

From the November 16, 2020 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Bible Lens Cover
© JOHN B. MUELLER PHOTOGRAPHY/MOMENT/GETTY IMAGES

The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

Isaiah 60:19

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


from the Responsive Reading

Isaiah 55:3

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live.

incline: lean; turn

Isaiah 55:10, 11

As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God’s Word, according to a scholar, “is the divine revelation working through the whole of history and the life of nature.” He continues, “Christian hopes for the world are not self-born; they have come down from heaven. They are not destined to return with purpose unfulfilled. Steadfast confidence in God’s word is essential to sharing its victory.”

prosper: succeed

Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Arise and risen are closely related in this verse, but the concepts behind them are distinct. The root of the Hebrew verb translated arise is qūm—to rise, to go up, or to get up. It describes both getting up from a physical position and rising up against oppression. Risen comes from the Hebrew term zarach, signifying irradiate or dawn.

Isaiah 60:19

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.

God’s presence is commonly portrayed by light in the Scriptures. Like this passage in Isaiah, the first and last chapters of the Bible refer to divine light. In Genesis 1:3, God commands, “Let there be light”—and light appears before the sun and moon have been created. Revelation 21:23 (Citation 17) echoes Isaiah in presenting God’s glory as the only illumination.

from Section 1

1 | Psalms 84:1

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! 

Although amiable generally means pleasant or agreeable, the Hebrew adjective in this affirmation (yādîd) signifies well-loved. It is the term of endearment in the assurance, “The beloved [yādîd] of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him” (Deuteronomy 33:12). The Psalmist sees God’s habitation as dearly loved and cherished.

Psalm 84 is believed by some to be a pilgrim’s song, perhaps celebrating a trip to Jerusalem. One commentary suggests, “It effectively articulates the experience of generations of pilgrims, who, trusting God (v. 12), have ‘seen’ God (v. 7) in various times and places and have derived from their experience of God a strength that transforms them and their lives.”

Translation
1 | Psalms 84:1, 2, 4

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. . . .. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.

• • •

Lord All-Powerful, 
     how lovely is your Temple! 
I want more than anything 
     to be in the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 
My whole being wants 
     to be with the living God….
Happy are the people who live at your Temple;
     they are always praising you.

—New Century Version

2 | Exodus 33:9

It came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.

Cloudy pillars occur repeatedly during the Israelites’ flight from Egypt. As with light, this phenomenon came to represent God’s presence among them. And clouds often accompanied divine appearances (see examples in Numbers 12:5I Kings 8:10, 11Matthew 17:5, Citation 14).

Moses’ tabernacle at this meeting would have been a humble tent rather than a more formal structure for worship.

2 | Exodus 33:13, 14

I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

During the wilderness experience, called by one scriptural authority an “adventure of faith,” Moses petitions Yahweh for help—and adds the reminder that Israel is His people. Another source explains, “Only upon the condition of God’s presence is Israel’s existence viable.”

2 | Exodus 33:19

I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

gracious: showing divine favor and love
mercy: kindness; forgiveness

Translation
3 | I Corinthians 2:9, 10

As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

• • •

… as it is written in the Scriptures: 

“No one has ever seen this. 
     No one has ever heard about it. 
No one has ever imagined 
     what God has prepared for those 
     who love him.” 

But God has shown us these things through the Spirit. The Spirit knows all things, even the deep secrets of God.

—International Children’s Bible

from Section 2

Translation
4 | II Corinthians 5:1, 2, 6, 8

We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: . . . Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: . . . We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

• • •

We know that if the life we live here on earth is ever taken down like a tent, we still have a building from God. It is an eternal house in heaven that isn’t made by human hands. In our present tent-like existence we sigh, since we long to put on the house we will have in heaven. . . .. So we are always confident. We know that as long as we are living in these bodies, we are living away from the Lord. . . .. We are confident and prefer to live away from this body and to live with the Lord.

—GOD’S WORD Translation

Translation
5 | Acts 17:28

In him we live, and move, and have our being.

• • •

“By his power we live and move and exist.”

—New Century Version

from Section 3

6 | Daniel 12:3

They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Translation

The wise people will shine like the brightness of the sky. Those who teach others to live right will shine like stars forever and ever.

—International Children’s Bible

Like the book of Revelation, the second part of the book of Daniel is apocalyptic—conveying visions of an end time, when a divine world is revealed and the old world is destroyed. Apocalyptic writing often arose in periods of crisis and uncertainty, and used symbols to communicate its message.

7 | II Corinthians 11:3

I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Translation

. . . I’m afraid that your minds might be seduced in the same way as the snake deceived Eve with his devious tricks. You might be unable to focus completely on a genuine and innocent commitment to Christ.

—Common English Bible

Appealing to the Christians at Corinth to remain steadfast in their faith, Paul contrasts the craftiness of the serpent in Genesis with sincere devotion to Christ. Though biblical usage of subtil can be positive (as in Proverbs 1:4, where subtilty signifies wisdom), more often it alludes to guile and deceit.

corrupted: changed from good to bad; made impure

8 | I John 4:1, 6

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. . . . We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Here the author reminds the beloved—those who know God and follow Christly teachings—that their spiritual understanding empowers them to detect and reject false doctrine. 

“Spirit of truth” is viewed as a reference to the Holy Spirit or Comforter (see John 14:16, 17). Error is a translation of the Greek word planē, which means roaming or going astray—including wandering from the path of virtue and truth. 

Translation
8 | I John 4:1, 5, 6

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. . . . They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

• • •

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. . . . Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

—New Living Translation

from Section 4

10 | Matthew 5:1, 2

Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him; and he opened his mouth, and taught them.

“When he was set” depicts the Master’s sitting down in the traditional position of teacher. And “he opened his mouth” is more than an introduction—it signals a formal or heartfelt saying. A scholar notes, “. . . the very use of this phrase indicates that the material in the Sermon on the Mount is no chance piece of teaching. It is the grave and solemn utterance of the central things; it is the opening of Jesus’ heart and mind. . . .”

10 | Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Jesus defines Christian purpose in terms of shining—not in order that believers can be seen as good, but so the goodness of God can be seen. 

Two Greek words for good recur in the New Testament—agathos and kalos. Agathos means intrinsically good, beneficial in quality or effect. Kalos, the term describing works in this admonition, adds a sense of outward virtue, beauty, and harmony.

10 | Matthew 5:48

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Translation

You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.

—Amplified®

Christ Jesus’ exhortation concludes his instruction about love for others, including enemies (see vv. 38–47). In this context, the maturity signified by the Greek word translated perfect (teleios) implies the willingness to love completely and without reservation. 

As one source points out, “. . . a man is perfect if he realizes the purpose for which he was created and sent into the world. . . . Man was created to be like God. The characteristic of God is this universal benevolence, this unconquerable goodwill. . . . To put it at its simplest, the man who cares most for men is the most perfect man.”

11 | Matthew 7:29

[Jesus] taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Scribes were originally copyists who acted as clerks for their governments or temples. In postexilic Israel, these men became essential to the work of compiling Hebrew Scripture. Over time their influence increased greatly to encompass interpretation and teaching. Not surprisingly, Jesus regularly spurned their limited explanations of sacred texts. In turn they joined the Pharisees in opposing his ministry (see Matthew 23:1–33Luke 6:711:53, 54).

from Section 5

13 | John 13:31

Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Jesus speaks these words immediately after he identifies Judas as his betrayer (see v. 30). The Master is already aware of his impending passion: “Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father” (v. 1). Now the final events leading to his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension are set in motion—and the Master acknowledges the divine glory they will manifest. 

“Son of man” connotes Jesus’ humanity as Savior of mankind. It is his most common way of identifying himself, and no one else addresses him this way. He rarely calls himself “Son of God,” though he commends Peter’s recognition of this divine status (see Matthew 16:16–19).

14 | Matthew 17:1, 2

Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

raiment: clothing

14 | Matthew 17:9

As they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Christ Jesus directed people to keep his demonstrations of spiritual power private several times—after healings of a leper, a deaf man with a speech impediment, and Jairus’ daughter, for instance (see Matthew 8:4Mark 7:36Luke 8:56). Following Peter’s confession of Jesus as Christ, the Savior had given this instruction to all of his disciples (see Matthew 16:20). Here he specifies a time when the news can be shared, apparently perceiving that the resurrection would prepare thought to understand and accept it.

from Section 6

16 | Psalms 84:11

The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

withhold: refuse to give; hold back

17 | Revelation 21:2, 22

I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. . . . And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

In ancient Judah the Temple at Jerusalem was the focal point of Jewish worship, and in Ezekiel’s prophecies it is the centerpiece of the city (see Ezekiel, chaps. 41–48). So the absence of a temple in New Jerusalem might have seemed incomprehensible to some followers of Christ. But John reveals God’s presence as no longer defined by a sacred space in a physical structure—His presence is the temple. 

Jesus had cleansed the Temple and then predicted its destruction (see Matthew 21:12, 1324:1, 2). His assertion to a Samaritan woman clarifies his meaning and foreshadows the Revelator’s vision: “The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . . But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:21, 23).

adorned: beautifully decorated or dressed

17 | Revelation 21:23

The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Jesus is first called the Lamb of God by John the Baptist (see John 1:29). Christians embraced this sacrificial image, finding support for it in Isaiah 53:7: “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” (This text was expounded by Philip to the eunuch in Acts 8:30–35.) First Peter compares Jesus to “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1:19), and the book of Revelation includes over two dozen mentions of God’s Lamb.

To learn more about the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons, 
go to https://quarterly.christianscience.com.

Resources quoted in this issue

RR: 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. 1: Keck, Leander E., et al., eds. The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 4, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Introduction to Hebrew Poetry, Job, Psalms. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996–2001.

Cit. 2: Radmacher, Earl D., Allen, Ronald Barclay, and House, H. Wayne. The NKJV Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007; Keck, Leander E., et al., eds. The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 1, General and Old Testament Articles, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996–2001.

Cit. 10: Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1955. Revised and updated by Saint Andrew, 2001. Reprinted as The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001–04.

Copyright

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 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 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 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.

Related healing ideas


Temple

By Julio Rivas
From the February 2009 issue of The Christian Science Journal

As I sat suffering from back pain, severely restricted in my movements, Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual explanation of the word temple gave me something to pray with. I knew it well, but I was seeking new insights.

Of course, I reasoned, a finite material body cannot be the dwelling place of its complete opposite, infinite Spirit. Christian Science metaphysics makes clear that matter and Spirit never mingle because matter is an illusion of the human mind. Spirit, God, is the only reality.

As we grasp and are changed by even the smallest spiritual epiphany, we are healed. And this spiritually based healing is a life-altering experience. Our human consciousness, sentiments, and bodily conditions are re-engineered by Spirit’s perfection-enforcing laws.

Understanding the spiritual meaning of the word temple can dematerialize our vision of who we are. It helps us comprehend that we are infinitely more than just mortal personalities stuffed into skin-sacks of material elements. It’s exhilarating to realize that we are incorporeal expressions of divine Life. This burgeoning conviction unleashes tremendous healing power throughout the human system.

The restorative and transformational effects on our lives that result from a more spiritual sense of body/temple show us that we’re realizing more of our Soul-derived identity. More than we imagined possible, we are liberated from the restrictions and failures of matter-concepts. We then experience harmonizing effects in a multiplicity of ways. The repercussions of this mental shift reach deeply into our lives and into the lives of those people we pray for.

Although a matter-obfuscated mind makes it hard to see, to a Spirit-instructed consciousness it becomes obvious that our being, or body, is a perfect arrangement of the divine Mind’s eternal ideas. The inner workings of Mind, Spirit, comprise the spiritual elements and forces of which incorporeal man is made. This nonmaterial individuality is the eternal superstructure of Truth.

After thinking about these ideas, I was inspired by new revelations. I stood up effortlessly and without pain. The alterative effects of the Holy Spirit made me forget that some minutes before I had been suffering. I was healed and went out for a jog! Every moment of free movement was an expression of gratitude and honor to divine law. I knew better than before that my true being is a super-construct of Mind. A temple—a holy shrine—to God.

Thought for every day

May matter-focused views of living fade.
May Soul-derived perceptions shine forth, clear.
May thought in angel vestments be arrayed
Today, and every day throughout the year.

By Joseph W. Paddock
From the June 22, 1981, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


© 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.

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