THE Bible has long been an object of mankind's search for meaning. It has been plumbed for clues as to the origin of life. And it has been examined over and over again as history, as legacy, as lesson and lore and literature. To Christ Jesus the Scriptures clearly transcended all merely human knowledge. The Old Testament he knew so well was not some compilation of scholarly secrets for learned minds; not simply a record of religious traditions and moral codes; not only a guidebook or reference book. It was the book, the Word of God -- the life-giving revelation of Truth to be revered, studied, and above all, understood.
Jesus began his ministry by reading this from Isaiah in the temple of Nazareth: ``The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.'' He then stunned his audience by saying, ``This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.''1 It was as though he were saying, ``The power of God is present -- now, in your lives.''
He rebuked the shallow sense of God evident in the lives and words of those who tried to discredit his mission. ``Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God,''2 he once said.
The master Christian taught his journeyman apostles the spiritual import of God's Word, and he fully expected his disciples to bring healing to others as well as to instruct them in his teachings, that all might do the works that he did.
The Scriptures figured as prominently in the close of his mission as they had at its inception. Prior to Jesus' ascension, Luke writes of the disciples, ``Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.''3 The book of Acts records what flowed from their understanding of Scripture: multitudes were physically healed and many turned to a holier way of life.
Since the advent of Christianity, people have openly and silently wondered at the marvelous healing work Jesus did. They have questioned, too, why such works did not still seem possible.
Over a century ago Mary Baker Eddy probed the Scriptures to know how Jesus healed. She writes, ``The search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing.'' She says further, ``The revelation of Truth in the understanding came to me gradually and apparently through divine power.''4 Her discovery she named Christian Science, for it was the spiritual knowledge -- the Science -- of the Christ, which Jesus lived. She learned that God is not only powerful but all-powerful; not only the source of goodness but all-good. Omnipotent good means that evil is not simply less potent than good but altogether impotent and therefore without genuine life, substance, reality. And man is entirely spiritual -- the image of the creator, infinite Spirit.
The healings which Mrs. Eddy brought about as a result of practicing this Science -- and which her writings have aided others in accomplishing -- proved to her the validity of what she had discovered and showed that the healing power of the Scriptures lay in their spiritual meaning. She made plain in the Christian Science textbook that what she had seen was in full accord with the Scriptures. ``The Bible has been my only authority,'' she writes. ``I have had no other guide in `the straight and narrow way' of Truth.''5
In the decades since the Science of Jesus' teachings was first articulated, the public record of healing has been reestablished through the lives of those who have found in Christian Science victory over physical ailments and every sort of hardship. These acts of modern-day Christian apostles have also added a link in the chain that connects all who have ever turned for guidance and renewal to the Scriptures.
Jesus' works demonstrate that what the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets saw and did was true. Mrs. Eddy's writings bring to light the divine Principle of Jesus' works, which point to the Bible's inspired practicality. We can be sure that if we seek its spiritual meaning, the Bible will become for us the Book of books, and we will begin to see the Science of its revelation.
1Luke 4:18, 19, 21. 2Matthew 22:29. 3Luke 24:45. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 109. 5Ibid., p. 126. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Every word of God is pure. Proverbs 30:5