A couple of weeks ago, a project my mother shared with me prompted me to consider more carefully the resources that we have available to facilitate the deepening and expansion of our understanding of God, and how to apply that understanding in our Christian life. The focus of her project is the Christian Science Bible Lesson as the curriculum of a spiritual education.
Twice throughout year, Christian Science churches progress through a 26-week series of lessons designed as a complete spiritual education. Though these lesson are read aloud in Sunday church services, they are developed for self-study.
Each weekly Bible Lesson addresses a particular spiritual topic, and begins with a Golden Text and Responsive Reading that introduce the theme of the lesson. The 26 topics are adapted from the International Series (an interdenominational Bible study publication). Each lesson is divided into sections that address different facets of the theme, or layout the progress of a particular bible story that illustrates the theme; and the biblical passages are paired with explanatory citations from the textbook of Christian healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy.
Citations for the weekly Bible lesson are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly, as well as a monthly full-text edition. The King James Version of the Bible is the most common translation used, though many students of Christian Science will often refer to other translations, as well as concordances and interpreter’s Bibles to enhance their study during the week.
The Bible and Science and Health were ordained as the Pastors of all Christian Science churches by the founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in 1895. Thus, the goal in reading and studying the Bible Lesson individually is to have daily and weekly interaction with your Pastor to acquaint yourself more deeply with God’s word, to cultivate your own understanding of your Father-Mother God and your identity as his precious idea, and in this way find healing in your life.
The 26-week lesson cycle begins again this year on the week of June 29, with the first lesson read at Christian Science churches on Sunday, July 5. That week’s lesson subject and theme is “God” and the Golden Text is from Jude, “To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.” (Jude 1: 25 (to 1st .)).
So, How do you define God? What do you want to know about God? Is what you know about God based on the Bible?
The first ten lesson topics in the spiritual education series include:
- Christ Jesus
Resources for your spiritual education, including the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons and monthly full-text editions, can be found in any Christian Science Reading Room. Even if you’ve never been in a Christian Science Church, or met a student of Christian Science, you’ve probably seen a Christian Science Reading Room in your city. They are part library, part book store where you can use or purchase study materials, or find a quiet place to read and study yourself. Reading Room attendants are also always ready to answer your questions and help you find anything you’re looking for.