More Than Words

WHAT'S the thing about the Bible. It's not just words. It's published in our language and in almost every other language spoken on earth. But its power and meaning are so much more than mere words.

The Bible touches the heart. It convinces the intellect and it heals the body. Words alone could not possibly do this. On the farm where I grew up, hard work was the order of the day, but books and reading were the primary evening activities. And one book I found awe-inspiring. It was the Bible.

I recall opening its pages so many times. There was the time I fell on the tongue of the hay wagon and gouged my leg. Or when I felt absolutely crestfallen after a dispute with a Little League football coach. Or as a teen when I struggled to find myself socially at school. In each of these instances, the Bible did more than put me in a better frame of mind. What it said lifted my thought and healed me. Mere language would never have healed. What healed was the power behind the words. It was the sense of God's presence and unfailing love for man that is the reality behind the words.

If the Bible were just a human line of reasoning trying to express itself, it wouldn't carry the weight it does. After all, Christ Jesus didn't simply ``read up" on matters pertaining to God and man and then apply what he knew. Jesus himself appeared on earth as a result of the same wondrous power that found its way into the words that tell his story. The real story is in the divine power that brought him. This is what heals and inspires us.

I think a lot about the difference between words and spiritual power when I read the Biblical account of Jesus' joining two of his disciples as they walked to Emmaus, a town not far from Jerusalem. Jesus had been crucified and had risen. These two disciples didn't recognize him. Could not this be compared to reading a passage from the Bible as just words and missing its power and heavenly love? Later, Luke's Gospel tells us, as Jesus ate with the two disciples they did recognize the Master. ``Did not our

heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" they asked each other. It could not have been just spoken language that made hearts burn, but inspiration and power straight from the heart of Christ.

Christian Science itself is based upon the Bible and its message of truth. Its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, learned to love the Bible deeply when she was a child. After many years of Bible study together with earnest prayer to understand its message, the living Word of the Bible opened her understanding to its full revelation. The Bible had always been more than words to her; she had always loved its message. But there did come this definite time--the time of discovery--when she saw its compl ete spiritual message, a message that proved to be the foundation for her and others to learn and practice the power of Christian healing as Jesus practiced it. She writes of the Bible in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The Scriptures are very sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained." On the next page she notes: ``Christian Science separates error from truth, and breathes through the sacred pages the spiritual

sense of life, substance, and intelligence."

To take the Bible into our hands is no small matter. To open it and read can be the most important step we take in coming to grips with the challenges we face. And to read what's written with a willingness to be transformed by the power of the Word behind the words can make all the difference. It can be that nothing is ever the same because we are seeking--and finding--the inspired Word of God in its pages.

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