WHAT THIS BOOK CAN MEAN TO YOU
The Bible is the most important book that has ever been published. It has had more influence on history and has affected more people’s lives than any other book.
It was not written by one person but, through divine Inspiration, it is the compilation of the thoughts and ideas of many whose words were passed down from generation to generation by mouth and by scroll. It did not receive publication for hundreds of years after the original words were conceived.
Today we think of the Bible as being a part of the household of the Christian world.
It is printed in many languages and each year more Bibles are sold than any other book, but few are read in comparison to the numbers sold. Many people feel that they ought to read it and try, but they give up because they do not understand it. Many of those who do read it take it literally, without knowing the inner meaning, and miss the best part.
How Some Have Studied the Bible
There are many people who devote their lives to studying the Bible. Some study it as history. Some try to prove its authenticity from an archeological viewpoint. Others can tell you just how many times a word appears in the Bible.
Some have found certain passages that seem to foretell the modern freeways, automobiles, airplanes, and even space travel.
To many, the end of the world is clearly foretold and modern wars predicted. As Jesus said about the Pharisees of his day who were also meticulous students, “verily . . . They have their reward.”
Their interest and their complete absorption in the subject is, in itself, a reward. But there are richer and greater rewards for those who are willing to seek them.
FREE YOUR MIND AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW
Have you shied away from the Bible, considering it a series of genealogies, bloodthirsty battles, and “thou shall nots” for the morally self-righteous? Have you considered that much of it was too colorful to be read aloud to the children?
Do you have a casual acquaintance with the Psalms and a speaking acquaintance with the New Testament, but frankly never get around to reading the rest?
Then, I would like to introduce you to the best guidebook to modern-day living that has ever been written. If you have thought that the Bible was dull, bewildering, contradictory, difficult and antiquated, I hope to show you in this book that the Bible is a storehouse of inspiration designed to fit every human need, a treasure trove of usable ideas, an infinite source of wisdom; most of all, a book of life, your life and my life.
PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING
It is important that we put aside all of our prejudices, our preconceived notions. Let’s see what some of them are.
Some have thought that since the Bible was written many years ago, everything that needs to be said about it has already been said—and should be respected. This prejudice should be set aside immediately if we wish to gain an understanding of the greatest of all books. We have just as much right as anyone to dig into the true meanings in the Bible, letting our own inner Wisdom guide us into right understanding.
Another preconceived notion is that the Bible is old-fashioned, having no application to today’s problems. Anything based on Truth is forever timely or applicable. Truth was revealed to the prophets of old just as it is revealed to us today and will always be revealed to all whose minds are open to receive it.
The Bible is the best self-help textbook that has ever been written and its teaching applies to us today as if it were written for each one individually.
Another fallacy is that the Bible is contradictory. It is only contradictory on the exoteric side. To those who go beyond the physical and even the mental meaning into the hidden or esoteric meaning, there will be no contradiction. On the contrary, it will all be drawn together, interrelated as basic Truth always is.
There are those who say it is dull and bewildering. So would we if we were to read a letter written in a secret code. It would not make very much sense to us, would it? Once we are given the secret code, the clues that open to us the hidden meanings in the Bible, it becomes fascinating, an exciting adventure in self-discovery.
Some dispose of the Bible in one fell swoop. It couldn’t have been written by God, they think, so there’s nothing of Truth there at all.
The Bible has been written by God, through man. The men who brought us the inspiration contained in the Bible were men who were willing to let themselves be used by the Spirit within for this purpose. Thus, there were many scribes but only one Author—one Author writing about Himself as Creator, Creative Medium and Creation. As one understands this, the Bible turns out to be an autobiography, the Life of God in each one of us.
There are those, brought up in religions not acceptable to their intelligence, who became completely prejudiced. These people might even feel guilty about studying the Bible, in the light of discovering new meaning beyond that given by the parents, lest they somehow damage the image of the parents.
Let us put aside all of these prejudices. Take the Bible as if it were completely new to us. Pretend that we have never heard of it before and start from there.
THE STORY OF EVERY MAN'S LIFE
Actually, the Bible is the story of YOUR LIFE AND MY LIFE. It is the unfolding of the spiritual life of every man. As one grows in spiritual perception, he grows into a deeper understanding of the Bible.
Each time he reads it, it contains a new and richer meaning.
It is as if the pages come to life. What was once a gory battle becomes an allegory, giving the reader an insight into his own spiritual unfoldment.
Jesus said that the enemies are all those of our own household. They are enemy thoughts of our own mental households which can be overcome by Truth.
The Bible is the story of man’s journey from Paradise to Paradise. Along the way he meets all of the temptations and problems of everyday living. To quote from Judge Troward, a man with a deep understanding of the Bible.
The Bible is the Book of the Emancipation of Man. The emancipation of man means his deliverance from sorrow and sickness, from poverty, struggle, and uncertainty, from ignorance and limitation, and finally from death itself.
This may appear to be what the euphuistic colloquialism of the day would call “a tall order,” but nevertheless it is impossible to read the Bible with a mind unwrapped by antecedent conceptions derived from traditional interpretation without seeing that this is exactly what it promises, and that it professes to contain the secret whereby this happy condition of perfect liberty may be attained.
The Bible, which literally means THE BOOK, contains sixty-six books which tell in allegory, prophecy, epistle, parable and poem, man’s generation, degeneration and regeneration. Over and over again, from every conceivable approach, we read of the experience of each one of us as he seeks to discover the Truth about himself and his relationship to Life.
The first two chapters of Genesis (meaning the beginning) and the last two chapters of Revelation, the final book, tell of the will of God for man. In the beginning we find man created in the “image” and “likeness” of God and given dominion “. . . over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” In Revelation we again have the vision of that perfection which rightfully belongs to man.
All the rest of the Bible is concerned with the journey of the soul back to its original awareness of perfection, man as a child of God. It is the story of the struggle of man who, cheated by the senses into thinking that satisfaction comes from without, struggles to exert his will against God, the infinite Goodness and Perfection within him.
Story after story describes man’s voluntary journey into bondage, the thing that happens to man when he chooses to become established in a consciousness apart from God. It is the story of the prodigal son; it is the story of the children of Israel, leaving their own lands, going down into Egypt into bondage and their great desire to get back to the promised land.
This story is repeated over and over, like the theme in a symphony, in many different settings and circumstances so that each one wandering in the wilderness of unenlightened thought can find himself and his particular problem.
Through it all the Love of God seeks to reconcile man to Himself. God speaks through the prophets and all those who have ears to hear, offering to reclaim rebellious man and restore him to the Kingdom of Heaven, that divine order of perfection, that dominion which is man’s rightful heritage as a child of God.
This is the regeneration. It is not that man has really ever been lost; it is only that he has chosen to think of himself as separated from his Maker. It has seemed easier to him to trust in the evidence of his senses rather than the Truth of his Being.