Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to header Skip to footer

Bible Lens

Bible Lens—September 21–27, 2020

Subject: Reality

From the September 21, 2020 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Bible Lens Cover
© LUXY IMAGES CREATIVE/LUXY/GETTY IMAGES

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God.

I Corinthians 2:12

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


Christ shall give thee light.

Ephesians 5:14

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

Psalms 119:159, 160

Consider how I love thy precepts: . . . Every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Psalm 119 is a meticulously constructed ode to God’s law. In 22 stanzas—each corresponding to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and made up of exactly eight verses—the author celebrates not mere legal code or even Mosaic law but the Word of God. 

“The sheer existence of this extraordinary meditation on God’s Torah,” writes a commentator, “is a telling reminder that Israel’s Law was no heavy burden laid upon a people, constricting its life and energies. Rather, God’s Law is presented as the best gifts of a good God.”

Psalms 116:6, 7

The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Scholars interpret “the simple” to mean the inexperienced or guileless. In the New Testament Paul mentions them in a warning against false teachers, who “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18).

bountifully: generously

from Section 1

1 | Ecclesiastes 3:15

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been.

Translation
1 | Ecclesiastes 3:14, 15

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: . . . That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been.

• • •

I know that whatever God does will last forever; it’s impossible to add to it or take away from it. . . . Whatever happens has already happened, and whatever will happen has already happened before. 

—Common English Bible

Now and already—both translated from the Hebrew adverb kebār, alluding to length of time—strongly indicate God’s unchanging nature and activity.

2 | Psalms 85:11

Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Emet, the Hebrew term rendered truth in this verse, refers to stability, certainty, and trustworthiness. According to one source, truth “springs from the earth in the righteous living of people.”

3 | Isaiah 43:11

I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.

“I am the Lord” and “I am God” are repeated throughout the Hebrew Bible. Scriptural authorities see this chapter as an affirmation that God intentionally created His beloved people, and that He remains their only source of salvation. 

Translation
4 | Isaiah 11:9

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

• • •

None will harm or destroy another 
on My entire holy mountain, 
for the land will be as full 
of the knowledge of the Lord 
as the sea is filled with water.

—Holman Christian Standard Bible

5 | Isaiah 66:1

The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.

God’s boundless being is a recurring theme in the Bible. In dedicating the Jerusalem Temple, Solomon prays, “The heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built?” (I Kings 8:27). And Stephen cites Isaiah in his eloquent defense before his accusers: “The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool; what house will ye build me? saith the Lord” (Acts 7:48, 49).

Definitions from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
by Mary Baker Eddy

2 | 298:13–15

Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality.

fruition: enjoyment of success; accomplishment

3 | 122:1–7

The evidence of the physical senses often reverses the real Science of being, and so creates a reign of discord,—assigning seeming power to sin, sickness, and death; but the great facts of Life, rightly understood, defeat this triad of errors, contradict their false witnesses, and reveal the kingdom of heaven,—the actual reign of harmony on earth.

reign: government or authority

4 | 335:27

Reality is spiritual, harmonious, immutable, immortal, divine, eternal. Nothing unspiritual can be real, harmonious, or eternal. Sin, sickness, and mortality are the suppositional antipodes of Spirit, and must be contradictions of reality.

suppositional: based on belief without proof
antipodes: direct opposites

from Section 2

7 | Isaiah 43:2, 3

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.

Translation

7 | Isaiah 43:2

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

• • •

When you go through deep waters, 
     I will be with you. 
When you go through rivers of difficulty, 
     you will not drown. 
When you walk through the fire of oppression, 
     you will not be burned up; 
     the flames will not consume you.

—New Living Translation

Images of water and fire often represent danger and trouble in Scripture, and are commonly accompanied by words honoring God’s protection and care. Psalms 66:12 says, “We went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”

“The Holy One of Israel” as a name for Yahweh occurs nearly thirty times in the book of Isaiah—more than in the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures. Isaiah portrays the God of Israel as the one God, whose covenant relationship with His people ensures their redemption.

kindle: begin to burn

8 | Luke 10:19

Nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Jesus is addressing the seventy disciples upon their victorious return from the missionary work he has given them. The Master confirms their Christly authority over every danger, including “the power of the enemy” specified earlier in this verse. 

9 | Daniel 3:24, 25, 27

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. . . . And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Scholars suggest that Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, identified the fourth man as a godlike being or angel rather than the Jewish Messiah. And while he blesses “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,” he does not require reverence toward their God. Rather, he decrees that no one “speak any thing amiss” against Him, saying, “There is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (vv. 28, 29). By contrast, after Daniel was delivered from the den of lions, King Darius commands “that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel” (6:26).

astonied: dazed; stunned
singed: slightly burned

Definitions from Science and Health

7 | 161:5

Holy inspiration has created states of mind which have been able to nullify the action of the flames, as in the Bible case of the three young Hebrew captives, cast into the Babylonian furnace; while an opposite mental state might produce spontaneous combustion.

Babylonian: related to Babylon, an ancient Asian city
spontaneous combustion: sudden bursting into flame without an apparent cause

11 | 242:9

There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in divine Science shows us this way. It is to know no other reality—to have no other consciousness of life—than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses.

superior to: beyond the power or influence of

from Section 3

Translation
11 | Job 4:13–15

In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up.

• • •

In profound thoughts, visions of night, 
     when deep sleep falls on people, 
          fear and dread struck me; 
               all of my bones shook. 

A breeze swept by my face; 
     the hair of my skin bristled.

—Common English Bible

12 | Ephesians 5:14

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Identified as part of an early Christian hymn based on Isaiah 60:1, this charge is meant to stir the faithful to more spiritual activity—to rouse believers to “awake” and unbelievers to “arise” from spiritual deadness. Verse 8 reminds them, “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” As one source explains, “Enlightened living means being a light in dark places . . . , which has the effect of transforming darkness into light.” 

Definitions from Science and Health

16 | 128:22

If one would not quarrel with his fellow-man for waking him from a cataleptic nightmare, he should not resist Truth, which banishes—yea, forever destroys with the higher testimony of Spirit—the so-called evidence of matter.

cataleptic: paralyzing

from Section 4

13 | Jeremiah 10:19

Woe is me for my hurt!

Speaking on behalf of Yahweh, Jeremiah laments the unfaithfulness of the Israelites (see vv. 17–22). The prophet became known for his chastisements—and centuries later jeremiad became a term to describe long complaints. But he is also remembered for such comforting reminders as God’s declaration “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (31:3).

Definitions from Science and Health

23 | 261:27

Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight. 

supernal: divine; heavenly
preens: trims or dresses feathers with the beak

from Section 5

Translation
17 | James 3:17

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

• • •

. . . the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. Then it is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help those who are troubled and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest.

—International Children’s Bible

18 | Luke 13:14, 15

The ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

Christ Jesus healed on the Sabbath several times. In addition to this instance, he cures a man with a withered hand, an invalid, and a blind man (see Matthew 12:10–13John 5:1–9John 9:1–7, 14). Each time, he is met with objections from Pharisees and others who cite the Fourth Commandment (see Exodus 20:8–11). The Master shifts the focus from a rigid, ritualistic interpretation of religious codes to a higher sense of obedience to God’s law, which includes compassion and healing.

In calling the synagogue ruler a hypocrite—a rebuke of Jewish elders recorded multiple times in the Gospel of Matthew—Jesus points to the pretense of a stage actor (the original meaning of the Greek word hypokritēs).

Definitions from Science and Health

24 | 30:19–21

As the individual ideal of Truth, Christ Jesus came to rebuke rabbinical error and all sin, sickness, and death,—to point out the way of Truth and Life.

rabbinical: relating to Jewish law or teachings

26 | 405:26–27

If sin is not regretted and is not lessening, then it is hastening on to physical and moral doom.

hastening: moving quickly
doom: terrible future event or state

from Section 6

19 | Mark 1:14, 15

Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Translation
19 | Mark 1:15

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

• • •

“The right time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Change your hearts and lives and believe the Good News!”

—New Century Version

Kingdom, writes a Bible authority, “designates not simply the realm or place where God reigns, but . . . the ‘active ruling of God.’ ” This divine activity is “at hand”—immediate and lasting.

20 | Mark 16:17, 18

These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Translation

These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.

—New Living Translation

Similar to “the Great Commission” in Matthew 28:18–20, this passage describes the post-resurrection healing ministry of the disciples. Examples of most of the signs listed here are recorded in the book of Acts (see 2:43:1–816:16–1828:3–5).

Definitions from Science and Health

31 | 222:11–14

Food had less power to help or to hurt him after he had availed himself of the fact that Mind governs man, and he also had less faith in the so-called pleasures and pains of matter.

availed . . . of: made use of; took advantage of

from Section 7

Translation
21 | Revelation 21:3, 4

I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

• • •

. . . I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Now God’s presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.”

—New Century Version

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

Resources quoted in this issue

RR, Cit. 19: Harrelson, Walter J., ed. The New Interpreter’s Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 2003.

Cits. 2, Cit. 19: Mays, James L., Joseph Blenkinsopp, et al., eds. The HarperCollins Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.

Cit. 12: Hill, Andrew E. Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Baker Publishing Group, 2012.

Copyright

Scriptural quotations marked New International Reader’s Version are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version®, copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scriptural quotations marked Contemporary English Version are taken from the Contemporary English Version, copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

Scriptural quotations marked Amplified® Bible Classic are taken from the Amplified® Bible Classic, copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org.

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


Citizenship in heaven

By Julia M. Johnston
From the June 1950 issue of The Christian Science Journal

One of the greatest sayings recorded in literature was uttered by a man who lived in a province under the authority of Rome at the beginning of the Christian era.

To those who thronged this holy man— to the bewildered, oppressed, and broken in spirit, to the sick, sinful, and sorrowful— there came from his lips an utterance that was to outlast his human experience and the rule of the Roman Empire. This utterance was the immortal declaration (Luke 17: 21), “The kingdom of God is within you.” 

In declaring that the kingdom of heaven is within man, the son of God, the Master implied that man’s true citizenship is in spiritual existence; a very different picture from the one presented by the physical senses. Yet, he proved what he said. 

The kingdom of God within is closer to an individual than any external form of human government. Human law would have annihilated the Master and his work. Divine government delivered him from destruction and perpetuated his mission. 

Christ Jesus taught that man’s privileges as a citizen of heaven are divine, inalienable rights. Human rights can be trampled upon and abrogated; divine rights are preserved and energized by immutable law. Oneness with God, freedom from evil, mental integrity, preservation of individuality, and everlasting spiritual dominion are among the divine rights of man. 

In the kingdom of God the citizens do not run or ruin the government; they are obedient to it and glorified by it, for God works in them “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). True knowledge of this delivers human experience from mortal misjudgment and mismanagement.

Under divine government nothing can arise that menaces existence; nothing can rob the individual of aught that he has inherited from his Father-Mother God; no one can encroach upon his aloneness with his Maker. In God’s kingdom man never becomes friendless, debased, or forgotten. He cannot vary from his high status of divine offspring. 

Christian Science has come to awaken humanity to the presence of the universal kingdom of God at the center and circumference of all true being. Wherever a person may be, whether in a poverty-stricken country, a compulsory labor camp, or removed beyond all seeming possibility of human aid; whether without country, lost to family, or oppressed by political aggression; whether helpless, imprisoned, or wandering over the face of the earth, the presence of divine Love is with him to claim him as a citizen of the kingdom of God. As he acknowledges this true status of his being, the laws of his eternal homeland operate in his behalf to deliver him to the uttermost. Then he finds that man has never been separated from the power of his heavenly kingdom; he has never been pressed by circumstances beyond the reach of its authority.

Obedience to spiritual government solves political as well as physical problems. And as man’s spiritual citizenship is acknowledged and faithfully practiced by the inhabitants of earth, the signs of our times will be the world-wide appearing of the kingdom of God.

To read the entire article, which has been adapted to fit the print Sentinel, go to jsh.christianscience.com/citizenship-in-the-kingdom.


© 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.

Access more great content like this

Welcome to JSH-Online, the home of the digital editions of The Christian Science Journal, Sentinel, and Herald. We hope you enjoy the content that has been shared with you. To learn more about JSH-Online visit our Learn More page or Subscribe to receive full access to the entire archive of these periodicals, and to new text and audio content added daily.

Subscribe Today

More in this issue / September 21, 2020

concord-web-promo-graphic

Explore Concord — see where it takes you.

Search the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures