National Bible Week in the United States has caused me to pause over this book that has both inspired and guided me. Starting with the Old Testament and right through, the Scriptures give hope and comfort, culminating in the New Testament, particularly the message of the Gospels. The word gospel literally means “to tell good,” and these books of the Bible recount the life and works of Christ Jesus. The good news he reveals is that God is Spirit and that everyone has a relationship to God as His child (see John 4:24, and I John 3:1, 2 respectively).
The idea that man is created in the image and likeness of God is introduced in Genesis, and continues to develop in different ways throughout the book. The true nature of man is shown in the lives of those who glimpse something of it, until we see man’s spiritual nature ultimately demonstrated in the pinnacle of Jesus’ healing works. Christ Jesus shows that man is actually spiritual, not limited by a decaying material basis, and goes on to prove this by healing the sick, the sinning, and even raising the dead through the spirit of God, which he exemplified. His example encourages his followers to prove man’s spiritual nature through their own healing work.
To more fully understand this good news of healing and salvation, the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” written by Mary Baker Eddy, explains this message of man’s spiritual nature, as well as how to practically apply this understanding in everyday life. She explains that discerning the spiritual message of the Bible is crucial to understanding the influence of this book. She writes, “Take away the spiritual signification of Scripture, and that compilation can do no more for mortals than can moonbeams to melt a river of ice” (Science and Health, p. 241). In praying to look beyond what we see through the physical senses, we can glimpse what those senses don’t perceive – our nature as the image of God, who is divine Love. Our God-given being reflects all that belongs to our creator, including intelligence, unselfishness, strength, health, and wholeness. Such spiritual qualities, representing God’s nature, characterize the true identity of all of us.
Praying about my inherent spiritual nature has increasingly transformed my thinking from selfishness, pride, timidity, and fear, to a more unselfish love, more faith and trust in Spirit, God. Through this transformation of thought I have come to experience physical healing, a peaceful home, guidance in my career, and even more supply when I appeared to be lacking something.
In one case, I experienced symptoms of pneumonia that made it difficult to breathe. Unable to speak a whole sentence without pausing for breath, I began to turn wholeheartedly to God in prayer. With scriptural authority, I affirmed that my life and well-being were not dependent on a material condition but on God, eternal Spirit. The power of this divine fact quelled my fear, and I became completely free of this condition in just two days.
The Bible’s spiritual meaning emphasizes God’s nature as omnipotent Truth, which can never lapse into discord – as universal Love, forever caring for His creation. The power of our spiritual nature, expressing God, is a reality that no material circumstance can overthrow.
In this way, the Bible is more than some ancient artifact. When it is spiritually understood, it becomes a powerful influence for healing and teaching. This is the Bible’s purpose: to lift us out of the hopelessness of believing we’re stuck with suffering, into spiritual understanding that brings healing and reformation. This is good news!