The Book That Gave My Bible Back to Me

Article excerpt

MY childhood faith was simple, wholehearted, and possibly naive. I wanted God to keep me out of trouble, and I loved the stories of Jesus and the examples they gave of a wonderful way to live. His instruction to love our enemies set a high goal; but it was one that I often found perplexing.

Later, my Bible was mentally put on the shelf as I learned more about the world in which I lived. This world, as I saw it, included wars and armies and killings, apparently for righteous causes. But I kept looking for a way that put into practice Christ Jesus' command "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

My childhood missionary zeal of wanting to bring everyone to Christ turned to political action, seeking merely human solutions for the problems I saw in the world. This, however, contradicted my early home and Sunday school training that had fostered a love of and trust in spiritual things.

The conflict between the material world and my spiritual yearnings was inevitable. Frustrating experiences demanded a practical religion. It was then that Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, came into my experience, and with it came a clearer understanding of the Bible. I felt close to Jesus once again, as I had as a child.

A verse in the Bible, in First Corinthians, connected in a sweet way my early love of the Bible with my mature needs. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (13:11). That verse meant to me that the Bible can meet the smallest child's need, but that we don't have to stay on the level of a child's faith. There was nothing wrong with my "becoming a man," with growing, in my pursuit of the Bible and its relevance to my life. I felt a thrill of promise that this new-to-me book, Science and Health, would show me how to obey the Bible's commandments as I had always longed to. …