THERE'S one book I can never get enough of! To me, it's a best friend, a confidant, a counselor, the last (and first!) word on anything. The book is the Bible. It's not like other books, I find. To be understood, it needs study, deep study. It demands a life lived after its spiritual ideals.
Those who wrote this book were much more than teachers, poets, historians, prophets. They were people who were listening to God's voice in their lives. So the words they left flowed from more than human experience and intellect. The words flowed from realizing the powerful presence of God's love.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Christian Science Church, learned to love the Bible as she was growing up. Years later she turned to it in a time of extreme need, and it healed her. As a result of her renewed study and prayer, she discovered the divine laws that lay behind that healing, laws that enable us to heal today as in Jesus' time. Robert Peel, in his book Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery, reports an incident that occurred not long after this healing. While Mrs. Eddy was rooming with the Clark family, she called their son George, a young man at the time, into her apartment. She said to him, he recalled later, ``I want to tell you Georgie, that I have had a revelation, or a revealing of a mystery, that will give health, instead of sickness, and eternal life, to us, instead of death.'' Though she then several times read to George the few verses from Luke that had communicated this revelation, he admitted, ``It possessed to me, no more importance, than any other part of the Gospel, accorded to St. Luke'' (pp. 210- 211).
Clearly, Mrs. Eddy was bringing something more to her study of the Bible than George was. And yet, what Mrs. Eddy found wasn't just another way of looking at Christ Jesus. What she saw there in the Bible's message was provable! She wrote a book and founded a religion based on what she had learned. In this book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she says of the Bible, ``The divine Science taught in the original language of the Bible came through inspiration, and needs inspiration to be understood'' (p. 319).
God's love is what sparks our desire to know Him and provides the inspiration that makes it possible for us to know Him. ``In the beginning was the Word,'' we read in the New Testament Gospel of John, ``and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . In him was life; and the life was the light of men'' (1:1, 4).
The love and power of God have always existed. And the Biblical characters and writers experienced the presence and activity of the Word. So deep was their yearning for spiritual things that they saw clear glimpses of God; and so rich was their inspiration that they found the words to express what they perceived. So, the Bible holds more than words for us. It holds forever the powerful, holy inspiration of those writing.
But, of course, really to see what the Bible says, we have to bring our own measure of this holy inspiration to our reading. We must read with the same spirit that the writers knew. How do we get such inspiration? God is right now providing the inspiration with which we can read the Bible and know perfectly its daily message to us and to our own lives. We can reach out and accept the love and inspiration God is giving us. How wonderful it is to know that God, who inspired the Bible writers to record His Word, also inspires us as we read His Word. And when our reading of the Bible is God-inspired, it changes our lives!