DOES it take ``magic thinking'' to understand the Bible? That's what my little daughter thought. We had been reading a children's picture book that tells how Joseph, an Old Testament character, saved his family from starvation after his own brothers had sold him into slavery. The Bible quotes Joseph as saying, ``God did send me before you to preserve life.''1 I suggested that while it was wonderful that Joseph was able to save his family and others, perhaps the lesson for us today is that God sends us each day to preserve life, and that we should never be discouraged by our problems, because helping in preserving an understanding of God's creation is the reason for our lives, too.
My daughter -- who is four -- liked that. ``Daddy,'' she said delightedly, ``that's magic thinking.'' We both laughed -- daughters that age sometimes think everything Daddy does is wonderful. But she had hit on an important question. Is the Bible's message hidden or mysterious? Or can anyone understand the message of this timeless book?
The Bible itself provides a reliable answer. It's a record of God's Word being given to mankind -- and we're meant to understand it. There are no limitations based on gender, race, nationality; the Bible -- God's Word -- is for everyone, the world over.
Understanding the Bible isn't magic, nor is it dependent on any personal quality. But we do need to study the Bible with an open heart. It's a bit like opening all our windows all the way to allow the breezes and sunlight of God to blow through unimpeded. When we're willing to learn, we're not like those Christ Jesus described when he said, ``This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.'' Instead, we are learning to put away our personal opinions, religious prejudices, and snap judgments so that we deserve his commendation ``Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.''2
The Bible is the Word of God. It tells who He is and how He creates man. Since God is divine Spirit and man is God's spiritual offspring, it is really spiritual sense with which we understand the Bible. The misconception that would reduce everything to a question of material cause and effect is totally opposed to God as Spirit, to man as the spiritual child of God, and to the spiritual light of truth on the Bible's pages.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, worked from the basis of the spiritual light she saw in the Scriptures. ``The Scriptures are very sacred,'' she writes reverently. ``Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained.''3
The light Mrs. Eddy caught from the Bible illuminated her healing work. To her -- and to us -- a new world unfolds from the pages of the Bible. And it's the real world -- with the genuine, spiritual view of man, life, and intelligence. Christian Science is filled with this new world and itself aids us in further understanding the Bible's message. ``Christian Science separates error from truth,'' Mrs. Eddy says, ``and breathes through the sacred pages the spiritual sense of life, substance, and intelligence.''4
Spiritual sense is not really a private possession of some individuals but not of others. It belongs exclusively to God, and He provides it, like sunshine, so that all may see and hear and understand what's in that wonderful book -- the Bible.
1Genesis 45:5. 2Matthew 13:15, 16. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 547. 4Ibid., p. 548.