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Weekly Bible Study Resources
Bible Characters for Your Weekly Bible Study
Compiled by Lt Gen C. Norman Wood, USAF (Ret), Burke, VA 22015
For week of December 13 - 19, 2010
Kenyon, William C., “Respecting the Subconscious,” Christian Science Journal, Vol. 26 (May 1908),
p. 96.
--The scientist…who insists exclusively on the materialistic philosophy as a working formula, is by his
own limitations debarred from any scientific discussion of Mind, for having no scientific definition of
matter,—it being indeterminable by material science,—how can he discuss Mind, which is superior to
• Even "force," which is a manifestation of intelligence, is, in physical science, scientifically
undetermined, while intelligence, without which force is not understandable or indeed even thinkable, is
self-evidently an attribute of Mind.
---That matter should precede Mind, and thus be superior to it, would not be an
intelligent proposition; neither would be the proposition that the lower or imperfect forms of
consciousness are superior to the higher,—the subconscious to the super-conscious.
SECTION II: The prophecy of the Messiah (Isa 7: 14 the)
RELATED SCRIPTURE: Isa 7: 11, 12; 8: 8; Matt 1: 23
TIME LINE AND AUTHOR: Written by the prophet Isaiah in the Pre-Exilic period, c.700 BC.
“Differences in the English translations confirm that a range of problems are raised by Isa.7:14
for Jewish and Christian interpreters.” (HarperCollins Bible Commentary) “The Greek translation of the
Bible, the LXX, chose the Greek word for virgin (parthenos) to translate the Hebrew and so provided
an opportunity for Matthew’s interpretation.” (Eerdmans Commentary) "Against the Christian
understanding of Isaiah 7.14 as a prediction of Christ's virgin birth, the Jew Trypho (second century
[AD]) insisted that the Hebrew word means simply 'young woman,' that no virgin birth is involved, and
that the reference is to the natural birth of Hezekiah." (Oxford Guide to Ideas & Issues) Peake’s
Commentary says “a young woman is correct; ‘virgin’ derives from LXX. An ‘almāh’ is a young
woman of marriageable age, whether virgin or not.”
With respect to Isaiah v.14, "Since Ahaz refused to choose a sign (vv.11,12), the Lord chose His
own sign, whose implementation would occur far beyond Ahaz's lifetime. This prophecy [a virgin]
reached forward to the virgin birth of the Messiah as the NT notes (Matt 1:23)." (MacArthur Bible
Commentary) “A virgin should better be read ‘the virgin.’ The use of the Hebrew definite article ha in
connection with the woman in the passage indicates that a definite woman is in view to the mind of the
prophet.” (King James Bible Commentary)
“a virgin” weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
“Even in the twentieth century the virginal conception is still the subject of a debate which
shows no signs of abating….What is at issue is a virginal conception, not a virgin birth, and so the
technically correct term will be used….” (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels)
"All sexual behavior that did not produce legitimate Israelite offspring to the holy
commonwealth was, in varying degrees, censured or controlled, and there was a concomitant double
standard with regard to sexual behavior. Premarital virginity, for example, was incumbent only upon
females; there is no indication that males were expected to be virgins at marriage, and there is no
provision in the Hebrew Bible for lifelong virginity. If a husband accused his wife of not having been a
virgin at the time of her marriage, and if his charges were substantiated, the woman was stoned."
(Oxford Guide to Ideas & Issues)
[İ man'yoo uhl] ("God is with us")
Immanuel is the name of a child whose birth symbolizes the presence of God (‘god [is] with
us’).” (Eerdmans Dictionary) “The name Immanuel appears in only two places in the Bible, in Isaiah
(7:14; 8:8) and in Matthew (1:23), where many translations render it ‘Emmanuel.’” (All the People in
the Bible)
“The question has long stood as to whether the prophecy was a sign or a warning. It seems to
have fulfilled both functions.” (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels) "Israelite prophets could give
names to individuals in accord with a specific message they were trying to communicate. In the same
way that Hosea named his three children to correspond with his message, so Isaiah noted, 'I and the
children whom Yahweh has given me are for signs': Shear-jashub, meaning 'a remnant will return';
Maher-shalal-hash-baz, meaning 'swift is the booty, speedy is the prey'; and Immanuel, meaning 'God is
with us.'" (Oxford Guide to People & Places)
Mims, Mrs. Sue Harper (CSD, Lecturer, and Mrs. Eddy’s Pleasant View Household, “The
Progressive Revelation of the Immaculate Concept,” Christian Science Journal, Vol. 26 (May 1908),
p. 68.
--IN mercy to mortals, Love's unfoldings of the truth come gradually to the understanding.
• When the spiritual senses are opened to discern this orderly process, statements of this truth
are more easily accepted and assimilated. To the faithful student of the Bible it is helpful to see that
throughout the Scriptures the highest proof of the truth of man's divine origin is clearly shadowed
forth….faith in an unseen power or creator has progressively revealed the superiority of spiritual law, as
it has risen above and annulled asserted material laws of "birth, maturity, and decay" (Science and
Health, p. 244).
--[A] step in this advancing revelation presents the far-seeing vision of Isaiah, who doubtless
understood the deeper meaning of these events, for he counseled: "Cease ye from man, whose breath is
in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?"
• Then in glad rejoicing: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin
shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." This prophetic concept was realized
in due time.
Rogers, Mrs. Margaret (CSB, CSN, Lecturer, 2nd Reader, Associate Editor, Bible Lesson Committee,
Contributing Editor, and Director; Boston, MA), “The logic of the virgin birth,” EDITORIALS FOR
THE RECORD, Christian Science Journal, Vol. 116 (December 1998), p. 36. weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
--…the virgin birth is much more than a dispensable doctrinal point or a miracle to be accepted on faith.
• In fact, an understanding of its logic is at the very heart of Christianity and Christian healing
---In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy gives a
thought-provoking exposition of the subject: “The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence
material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth,
demonstrating God as the Father of men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure
sense of the Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an
idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual
idea, though at first faintly developed.” [p.29]
--Mrs. Eddy had a profound appreciation for and high estimate of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
• The fact that she didn’t regard her as a divine being actually increases the significance of
Mary’s contribution to humanity.
---According to the Bible, she was a virgin. [See Luke 1:34]
• But her defining quality was the singular purity of her thought.
Fleer, Frances Tatum, “Immanuel,” POEM, Christian Science Sentinel, Vol. 26 (23 February 1924),
p. 507.
Father! I pray,
In this Thine hour,
To know enough of Thee
And Thy all-power
To bring to light
The healing proof
Of Thy great love
And Thy eternal truth.
Willis, John Buckley (CSB, Associate Editor, Bible Lesson Committee, and President), EDITOR’S
TABLE, Christian Science Journal, Vol. 20 (March 1903), p. 775.
--THE greatest word in the English language, is not English in its origin, but Hebrew, while its content
knows no limitation of language or nationality.
• From the thundering peaks of Horeb, and the illumined heights of Hermon, Immanuel, God
with us, has been spoken to the world, and its meaning for men gathers up the purpose and end of all the
exalted incidents and experiences of their history; all its revelation, its struggle for the right, its
sacrifice, its overcoming, and its joy.
--The voices heard by the prophets of the past, the visions of the seers, the incarnation, the resurrection,
the day of Pentecost, the ministry of the saints, the impulses and achievements of moral and religious
reform, all have witnessed to the eternal verity that the beginning, mean,
and end of all great events is God with us.
The Annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel concerning the birth of Jesus, and the Magnificat (Luke
1: 26-35 the angel, 38, 46, 47, 49)
RELATED SCRIPTURE: Luke 2: 19, 22-51
TIME LINE: Preparations for the birth of Jesus, March, 5 AD, in Nazareth weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
“Luke is emphatic that Mary, though betrothed to Joseph, was a virgin. Betrothed meant the
entering into the legal contract of marriage though consummation did not normally occur until the time
when, probably around a year later, the bride left her father’s house to join her husband’s.” (Oxford
The "scene [v.26], in which a betrothed virgin is visited by the angel of God and told of her
forthcoming pregnancy and of God's empowering protection of her, is the only biblical instance of
God's direct interest in such a woman." (Women's Bible Commentary) “The importance of the Virgin
Birth cannot be overstated. A right view of the Incarnation hinges on the truth that Jesus was virginborn. Both Luke and Matthew expressly state that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived.”
(MacArthur Commentary) "Some manuscripts add the phrase, 'Blessed are you among women' (cf.
RSV footnote), and this reading has contributed to the formulation of the 'Ave Maria.'" (Interpreter's
One-volume Commentary)
With respect to v.28, "local tradition states that Gabriel appeared to her as she was drawing
water at the fountain of the Virgin outside Nazareth, where the Church of the Annunciation now stands.
But, as the angel 'came in' to her, she must have been in the house, perhaps engaged in prayer, as
painters are fond of representing her" (Dummelow Commentary)
"Mary was naturally perplexed by all of this, though she accepted it [vv.29-33]." (King James
Bible Commentary) “Throughout the annunciation and infancy stories Mary is portrayed as favored of
God (v.30), deeply thoughtful (v.29; 2:19,51), obedient (v.38), believing (v.45), worshipful (v.46), and
devoted to Jewish law and piety (2:22-51).” (HarperCollins Bible Commentary)
“The third and by far the largest unit of the episode is Mary’s song (vv.46-55), the Magnificat,
so termed from the opening word in the Latin translation.” (Interpretation Commentary) The
Magnificat, a “glorious song of praise, which has been used in the services of the Church from early
times, tells us more than anything else in the NT of the character of our Lord’s mother, and of her
spiritual fitness for her exalted destiny.” (Oxford Bible Commentary)
[Gay’bree-uhl] (“champion [or strong man] of God”)
Gabriel is "one of the most prominent of archangels in the post-exilic Jewish literature and in
Christian texts, especially extra-canonical literature. He is portrayed as one of the seven archangels in 1
Enoch 20:7; elsewhere he is one of the four angels close to God's throne. This proximity to God results
in his distinctive functions." (Oxford Guide to People & Places) As “the messenger of divine comfort,
Gabriel is accorded a place in Jewish theology second only to Michael.” (Who’s Who in the New
Testament) “Gabriel appears by name only three times in the Bible. The first is in the book of Daniel,
where he appears in the form of a man to help Daniel interpret his vision (Dan 8).” (All the People in
the Bible) Then, “he appears in [Daniel] 9:21-27, and in the NT, only in Luke 1:11-20,26-38.”
(HarperCollins Dictionary)….
"The gospel according to Luke identifies Gabriel with 'the angel of the Lord' (Luke 1: 11,19,26)"
(Anchor Bible Dictionary) "In Luke's birth narrative Gabriel appears again in a revelatory role,
announcing to Zachariah and Mary the fulfillment of eschatological hopes in the births of John, the
Elijah-like forerunner of the Lord (Luke 1:11-20), and Jesus, the messianic king from the line of David
(vv.26-38)." (Eerdmans Dictionary) He describes himself in the words, "I am Gabriel, that stand in
the presence of God" (Luke 1: 19). weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
Joseph was a descendant of David, and was a carpenter of Nazareth. He was chosen to take
charge of Mary by the high priest of the Temple (not as his wedded wife but as a ward entrusted by the
Temple officials to his care). “Upon learning of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph, being a righteous man,
sought to put her away without public disgrace.” (Holman Dictionary) “His willingness not to have
Mary stoned when she was found to be pregnant, and his acceptance of the message of the angel (Matt
1:18), have made him an icon of compassion and openness to God’s will….Matthew and Luke tell us
that Joseph was betrothed to Mary when she conceived.” (All the People of the Bible) Some writings of
the 2nd century declare Joseph to have been elderly at that time, but this has no basis in the Gospel
accounts. "At the time of the annunciation of the angel Gabriel of the pending birth of a child, he
married Mary, and after the birth of Jesus, adopted him as his son." (Who's Who in the NT)
"Joseph is mentioned in Matthew, Luke, and John but does not appear in Mark, except indirectly
at 6:3 in a few manuscripts…which read 'the son of a carpenter.'" (Anchor Bible Dictionary) “The
infancy narratives in Matt 1-2; Luke 1-2 provide most of the information about this Joseph.” (Eerdmans
Dictionary) The few references within the Gospels suggest that he was humble, kindly, and generous,
and conscientious parent who probably taught Jesus the carpenter’s trade. “It is apparent that Joseph
played an important role in the early rearing of Jesus, because he was still alive when Jesus was
twelve.” (All the People in the Bible) Perhaps Jesus’ respect for Joseph is, in some measure, reflected
in his deliberate adoption of the affectionate title of Abba—“Daddy”—for God, and his deep personal
apprehension of the fatherhood of God….
[Mare’ē] (Gk. personal name equivalent to Hebrew Miriam; the name of
six women in the New Testament).
“All the authentic information about her comes from Scripture.” (Westminster Dictionary)
“The Bible tells nothing of Mary’s birth or childhood. We first meet her at the time of the conception of
Jesus. Tradition, however, names her parents as Joachim and Anne (or Hannah) and says that Anne was
born and raised in Sapphoris, a city near Nazareth.” (All the People of the Bible) "Luke introduces
Mary in the middle of his story about Elizabeth and Zechariah." (Women in Scripture) Mary was the
child of Jewish parents Joachim and Anna and was born in Jerusalem or Sepphoris in Galilee. Joachim
and Anna, “a childless pair, who like Hannah (I Sam 1) vowed that in case their prayer for offspring
should be answered, they would consecrate the child to a life of service in the Temple.” (Funk &
Wagnall Dictionary) She seems to have been related to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and
wife of the priest Zechariah. “If ‘kinswoman’ in Luke 1:36 is a reference for family line and not a
relationship established by marriage, then Mary’s family heritage may have been priestly.” (Holman
"At the time when she conceived, she was betrothed to Joseph, who is said to have been 'of the
house of David' (Luke 1:27 and the genealogies)." (Interpreter's Dictionary) The angel Gabriel appeared
to Mary in her mid-teens to say that she had “found favor with God” and would give birth to His child
in Nazareth of Galilee though she was a virgin. "The angel Gabriel links the experience of Mary to that
of Elizabeth." (Women in the NT) By way of encouragement, the angel Gabriel had announced to Mary
the news of her cousin Elizabeth. “Luke relates the story of the visit of the angel to the peasant girl
Mary with consummate artistry.” (Who Was Who in the NT)…. weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
[Gē’zus] (“the Lord is salvation”)
(Passages in this week’s Bible Lesson are highlighted in red)
The Lord Will Send a Prophet (Deut 18:15-19)
Prophecy of the Head Stone (Ps 118:22)
Virgin Birth Prophesied (Isa 7: 14)
Prophecy of the Prince of Peace (Isa 9: 6)
Prophecy of the Living Stone (Isa 28:16)
The Coming of Christ (Isa 42:1-9)
Preliminary Events
An Angel Appears to Joseph (Matt 1: 18-25)
Birth Foretold by an Angel
The Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1: 26-38)
In Infancy
Birth of Jesus (Luke 2: 1-7)
Visit of the Shepherds (Luke 2: 8-17)
Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2: 22-24)….
Jesus was the name of five men in the Bible. Most important was Jesus, the son of Mary, also
known as Jesus Christ….
“The genealogy of Jesus appears in both Matthew and Luke, and they differ in one respect:
Matthew gives Joseph’s genealogy, and Luke gives Mary’s even though it indicates Joseph’s”
(Interpreter’s Bible).
“Modern researchers have determined that Jesus was born sometime between 6 and 4 [BC],
most likely in either the spring or fall.” (All the People of the Bible) “There is no reason to challenge
the tradition that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, although there is a question as to whether Mary and
Joseph traveled there at the time of his birth (Luke 1:26) or actually lived there and moved to Nazareth
after they returned from Egypt as Matthew implies (Matt 2:19).” (All the People in the Bible) When
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Herod the Great ruled all Palestine under the suzerainty of Rome. Early in
his life he was taken to Nazareth, a town of Galilee. "When forty days old He was taken to the temple
at Jerusalem; His parents returned to Bethlehem and soon took Him to Egypt to escape Herod's
massacre of the infants there." (Baker Encyclopedia) Very little is known about Jesus’ early life before
the time of John the Baptist….
Holy Ghost
"HOLY GHOST. Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love." (S&H 588)
(Abbreviated) weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
"The word 'ghost' is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means 'spirit' or 'soul.' Ghost, spirit, or soul—
whatever it be called—represents something intangible which can be regarded as the essence of life,
apart from the material body." (Asimov's Guide to the Bible) HOLY GHOST [is the] KJV designation
for the Holy Spirit." (Holman Dictionary)
"HOLY SPIRIT [is the] mysterious third Person of the Trinity through whom God acts, reveals
His will, empowers individuals, and discloses His personal presence in the Old and New Testament."
“When we enter upon the NT we find the doctrine of the Spirit marvelously enriched, the main
idea involved being still that of power.” (Funk & Wagnalls Bible Dictionary) "The N.T. treats of
Messianic times and the dispensation of the Spirit, and consequently the Spirit is mentioned much
oftener in the N.T. than in the O.T. The doctrine of the Spirit advances beyond the teaching of the O.T.
chiefly in becoming more definite in respect to his personality. Though the word ‘spirit’ is neuter in
Greek and fem. in Hebrew, yet the spirit is referred to in English by the masc. form of the pronoun
(John 14:26; 16:13)." (Westminster Dictionary) “In the NT the word spirit (pneuma) is to be understood
as the spirit of God approximately 275 times; in as many as 92 of these occurrences, the expression is
‘holy spirit’ (pneuma hagion).” (Dictionary of NT Background)….
“Stand for Children,” Monitor (31 May 1996), p. 17.
--The Bible offers hope and help to those concerned with the welfare of children.
• The coming of the infant Jesus was prophesied, announced, and preserved by angels.
---It is natural to trust our children today to the care of angels.
--Some of the most important occasions in the Bible were attended by the presence of “God’s thoughts
passing to man.”
• Sometimes they were identified by the name as angels; Michael and Gabriel appear in
Scripture as bringing God’s word and reassurance on several occasions, and a blessing always occurs in
their presence.
---Gabriel often has the task of announcing good; this angel told of the coming of both
John the Baptist and of Jesus (see Luke chap. 1).
Sutherland, Myrtle Timmons, "Gabriel and Michael," Christian Science Sentinel, Vol. 31 (20
October 1928), p. 144.
--It was Gabriel who announced the coming of John the Baptist, and the coming of Jesus.
--Students of Christian Science gratefully accept the practical and beautiful definition of "angels" given
by Mrs. Eddy…: "God's divine messages."
• Every sentence of Mrs. Eddy's own writings bears the heavenly signet of pure revelation,
intuition, inspiration. The Bible also, spiritually interpreted, brings the angelic host of God's ideas to
consciousness. As one reads and studies and ponders these inspired writings, he finds that two activities
are proceeding constantly: erroneous beliefs are being uncovered and destroyed, and he is receiving
revelation and assurance of the presence of spiritual concepts of right.
--The gentle Gabriel still imparts understanding.
Walker, Channing, (CS and Contributing Editor; Glendora, CA), “The quiet role of Joseph,”
STARTING POINT, Christian Science Journal, Vol. 120 (January 2002), p. 5.
--Joseph, according to the Bible, wasn’t biologically involved in the conception and birth of Jesus. So,
on the surface, that might stamp him as irrelevant in the birth and life of Joseph. But Joseph’s example
says a lot. Joseph’s unique circumstances, and his largely unacclaimed response to them, gave him a weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
head start in understanding the birth of Jesus as the advent of the Christ. The role he played not only
sheltered the birth, but also delivered each member of the holy family—including himself—from a
diabolical political regime.
--Often, the male ego is seen as a generator of territoriality or pride. But in Joseph’s case, the male ego
was noticeably absent. At the very moments when high emotional drama might have been the norm for
most people, Joseph was found quietly listening—to angels.
Blackwell, Hazel A., “Mary, Maid of Galilee,” POEM, Christian Science Journal, Vol. 69 (November
1951), p. 567.
O Mary, maid of Galilee, to you the angel came,
more tender than the fluttering dove,
a gracious presence from above,
and Gabriel was his name.
For Gabriel is the peace that comes when human hearts are purified,
when self is still,
when stubborn will
goes down, and we are free from pride.
And in that pure and sinless calm, thought can
behold God’s son,
the holy one
that Christ revealed, the true and only man.
Hogue, Mrs. Blanche Hersey, “The Office of the Angel,” Christian Science Journal, Vol. 55 (May
1937), p. 71.
--Throughout both the Old and New Testament are found many incidents of angelic messages coming to
those who sought God. These lovely records become understandable to the student of Christian Science
when he accepts as true the definition of “angels” in the Christian Science textbook, “Science and
Health with Key to the Scriptures.” There Mrs. Eddy writes on page 581: “ANGELS. God's thoughts
passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and
immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.”
--God’s knowledge of man and man’s reflection of God constitute the for-ever-living unity between
God and man. Through individual consciousness, through mental recognition and understanding, true
acquaintance with God comes to men. Christian Science reveals God to be divine Mind, boundless,
limitless, and purely good, knowing nothing less than infinite perfection.
--Mrs. Eddy writes on page 298 of Science and Health, “Spiritual ideas lead up to their divine origin,
God, and to the spiritual sense of being.”
Stewart, Rev. Isabella M. (CSD and Lecturer), “The Scientific Universe,” Christian Science Journal,
Vol. 11 (December 1893), p. 399.
--What do we learn of the government of…Mind?
• As we view the Horeb height of God we learn to distrust the evidence before the material
senses, and we must look to Principle, if we would learn of the government of Mind, God.
---Obedience at this point brings freedom, and leads to the Sinai where the spiritual law
is revealed.
---Obedience to divine law brings the manifestation of a saving Principle always
conceived by the virgin thought, and to the virgin is given the command, "Thou shalt call his name
Jesus," — Joshua or Saviour. weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
--That which constitutes the Scientific Universe, is eternal, "the same yesterday, to-day and forever."
• The Scientific turning from one into one, that one of endless duration, therefore, is the
Universe of God, the primary and ultimate creation.
Smith, Judge Clifford P. (CSB, Assistant Secretary in Mrs. Eddy's Household, CoP, and Editor),
"Soul," EDITORIAL, Christian Science Sentinel, Vol. 34 (2 April 1932), p. 610.
--The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, had as an essential part of her
great work to find the best terms with which to express the Science of being.
--…”When reading the Scriptures, the substitution of the word sense for soul gives the exact meaning in
a majority of cases” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 481, 482).
• In the Bible, oftener than otherwise, the word in question means either material or spiritual
sense, as the context may require.
---For one instance, when Jesus spoke as if soul could be destroyed, he must have meant
material sense (Science and Health, p. 196).
---For a different instance, when Mary, his mother, said, “My soul doth magnify the
Lord” (Luke 1:46), she must have referred to her spiritual sense (Unity of Good, by Mrs. Eddy, pp. 29,
• The explanatory rule quoted at the beginning of this paragraph will interpret nearly all Bible
texts containing the word “soul” in which its meaning is not evident.
Cheney, Albert M., “The Holy Ghost,” Christian Science Journal, Vol. 53 (February 1936), p. 635.
--Christian Science, as discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, reveals to all unprejudiced
thinkers just what the Holy Ghost is.
• In the textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p.588), Mrs. Eddy thus
defines it: “HOLY GHOST. Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love.”
---The divine Principle of Christian Science is God, and he who would experience the
“descent” of the Holy Ghost and its beneficent results must begin an active and earnest preparation for
this holy experience and must gain, at least to some degree, an understanding of the eternal at-one-ment
of perfect God and perfect man.
• There is no better time than now to strive for the understanding and reception of God’s
unlimited goodness.
--Today, through Christian Science, the Scriptural promises are again being fulfilled for every honest,
sincere seeker of Truth.
SECTION III: The decree by Caesar; Jesus is born in Bethlehem; and the shepherds are confused,
but, reassured as the angels rejoice (Luke 2: 1, 3-14)
RELATED SCRIPTURE: Rom 5: 1; Rev 5: 11
TIME LINE: 5 AD at Bethlehem
“As at the beginning of chs. 1 and 3, Luke is anxious to set the events of God’s salvation
through Jesus within the context of secular history.” (Oxford Commentary) "Luke's primary aim is to
place the birth in the city of David, because Jesus' continuity with the royal house of David was
important for Luke's Christology, his depiction of Jesus' identity." (HarperCollins Commentary) weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
“Jesus is born in Bethlehem. According to Luke this event occurred in the Judean city because
of an imperial census. Augustus, Roman emperor from 27BC to AD14, decreed that the entire empire
should be enrolled.” (Interpreter’s One-volume Commentary) "Fixing a precise date for this census is
problematic." (MacArthur Commentary)
“Betrothal was almost equivalent to marriage, and could not be broken off without a formal
divorce: cp. On John 8:3 and Deut 22:23,24…. Both here and in Luke 1:35 the miracle of the
conception is ascribed emphatically to the ‘Holy’ Spirit, to mark the fact that Jesus was conceived
sinless, and in a manner the most sacred imaginable.” (Dummelow Commentary)
Host, v. 13 is “a term used to describe an army encampment….Revelation 5:11 suggests that the
number of the angelic host may be too large for the human mind to fathom. Note that here the heavenly
army brought a message of peace and goodwill (v.14).” (MacArthur Bible Commentary)
“This [Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, v.14] is not to be taken as a universal
declaration of peace toward all humanity. Rather, peace with God is a corollary of justification.”
(Eerdmans Commentary)
Caesar Augustus/Octavian
[Aw gus’tus] (Lat. “august, revered”)
Julius Caesar (great uncle)
Atia (mother) =
Augustus (Giaus Julius Caesar Octavianus)
Augustus was a title of honor bestowed upon Octavian, the first Roman emperor and great
nephew of Julius Caesar, by the Roman senate in 27 BC, when it confirmed his powers to rule. He
reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD. “Octavian was a brilliant, shrewd, ruthless, and cold-blooded politician
who had little military acumen but had the wisdom to rely on the counsel of those who did.” (All the
People of the Bible)
“He was principally educated by his great uncle Julius Caesar, and was made his heir.”
(Peloubet’s Dictionary) He ruled the Roman Empire, including Palestine, when Jesus was born and
ordered the taxation that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1).
“Augustus reigned during a time of peace and extensive architectural achievements. After his
death, the title 'Augustus' was given to all Roman emperors.” (Who Was Who in the Bible) Though
Augustus was in fact the sole ruler of the empire, he ostensibly contented himself with only the
necessary powers of rule, the supreme command of most of the army, and the consular powers over the
city of Rome.
“This is the designation of that type of life in which the main source and means of support is the
raising of herds of cattle or flocks of sheep and goats.” (Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary) "Shepherds as a
group were not considered to be simple, gentle people in the first century Palestine. Rather, shepherds
had a certain reputation for dishonesty and breaking the law, such as letting their flocks graze on land
belonging to others." (Mysteries of the Bible) weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
“In a nomadic state of society every man, from the sheikh down to the slave, is more or less a
shepherd. The progenitors of the Jews in the patriarchal age were nomads, and their history is rich in
scenes of pastoral life.” (Peloubet’s Dictionary) "Abel was a keeper of sheep (Gen 4:2). The
occupation of the patriarchs from Abraham to Jacob and his sons was pastoral (ch. 13:1-6)."
(Westminster Dictionary)
“The shepherd’s office…required great watchfulness, particularly by night.” (Peloubet’s
“The New Testament mentions shepherds 16 times. They were among the first to visit Jesus at
[his] birth (Luke 2:8-20).” (Holman Bible Dictionary) “The only literal reference to shepherds in the
NT is found in Luke 2:8-20; elsewhere they appear in parables and figures of speech.” (Mysteries of the
McKenzie, Rev. William P. (CSB; "First Member;" Pleasant View Household; Trustee, CSPS;
Lecturer; and Editor), President, Director), THE LECTURES, Christian Science Sentinel, Vol. 10 (23
May 1908), p. 749. [—The Williamsport Sun]
--About nineteen centuries ago,
when cruel, pagan Rome, under Augustus Caesar, ruled the world;
when the Church of the true God was at its lowest ebb, under the blighting curse of dogma,
tradition, and ritualism;
when "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" was the law and practice;
when love and charity had scarce an abiding-place;
when might made right and error in every form dominated the thought of the human race, there
appeared upon the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea a new religious force and thought, known to
the world to-day as Christianity.
• Jesus of Nazareth, of humble parentage, born in a stable, was the Founder and
promulgator of this new religion.
Knobelsdorff, Kerry M., “And there were abiding in the fields—shepherds,” POEM, Christian
Science Sentinel, Vol. 87 (1 July 1985), p. 1096.
Are you one of those abiding?
Unsung, unknown,
except by those
whose hearts you warm
with simple truths
that set them free.
You give them hope.
You teach them love,
ablaze with wonder,
you show them God,
in your modest corner
of the field, O shepherd!
Sinclair, Duncan ((CSB, Associate Editor, President, Normal Class Teacher, and Editor)), “The
Principle of Peace,” EDITORIAL, Christian Science Journal, Vol. 39 (March 1922), p. 600. weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
--OVER nineteen centuries ago there was born into the world one whose coming was heralded by "the
angel of the Lord" in the sweetest language that has ever reached mankind.
• The "shepherds abiding in the fields" by night heard the message; and even to-day, with all
those many hundreds of years between, it is still resounding among all who are longing for its
---"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." What a lofty
• …it is asked by many, will the Christ, Truth, come to be known in its fullness and so insure the
perpetual reign of good will and peace among men?
--To insure universal and enduring peace it must be obvious that the need is for a greater understanding
of Principle, for a fuller knowledge of God as Love.
SECTION IV: Jesus heals the man “sick of the palsy” (Matt 9: 2-8)
PARALLEL GOSPELS: Mark 2: 2-12; Luke 5: 18-25
TIME LINE: The Year of Popularity and Fundamental Principles (Jesus’ 2nd year of ministry), 28 AD
at Capernaum.
“a man sick of the palsy”
This story is told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In Matthew and Mark it is called “The Sick of
the Palsy;” in Luke it is called “The Paralytic.” “This conflict episode is the first of five conflict
episodes (2:1-2; 13-17, 18-22, 23-28; 3:1-6).” (MacArthur Commentary) “The story presupposes that
the infirmity has a spiritual cause (cf. Ex 20:5; I Cor 11:29-30; James 5:14-15; in [Matt] 9:32-34 a
demon makes a man deaf and dumb). So by forgiving sins Jesus uproots the cause of the paralysis.”
(Oxford Bible Commentary)
"Jesus had been traveling throughout Galilee, preaching and teaching, and people keep coming
to him to be healed and cured. His reputation as a miracle worker is dogging him, and it seems to
handicap him when he wishes to preach about God’s kingdom because the good news does not
necessarily save one from suffering or death." (On Your Mark) His "entry into Capernaum was
unknown by the public," but when "someone discovered his presence, the news spread like wildfire."
(King James Commentary) "As Jesus arrives at Capernaum, some people carry to him a man who was
unable to walk, presumably near the shore in the hope that Jesus will heal him ([Matt] 9:2-8)."
(Eerdmans Commentary) "Brought to Jesus on a bed, the man's paralysis was severe. Jesus' words of
forgiveness [v.2] may indicate that the paralysis was a direct consequence of the man's own sin."
(MacArthur Commentary)
Arise (Mark 2:11). “The same word [is] used at the resurrection. Here and elsewhere the
vocabulary of the healing stories points beyond the particular story to the cross-resurrection event.”
(People’s NT Commentary)
“The peculiarity of this miracle is that it was worked to prove a doctrine, and that in the face of
opposition. There were present certain scribes and Pharisees, some of whom had doubtless come from
Jerusalem expressly to oppose Jesus. Jesus at once threw them a challenge by saying to the man, ‘Son,
thy sins be forgiven thee.’ The scribes understood this to mean that He claimed to forgive sins as only
God can do. Instead of repudiating this suggestion, as a mere man would have done, Jesus accepted it,
and proceeded to prove His claim by a miracle.” (Dummelow Commentary) "In response to the
scribes' and Pharisees' questioning, Jesus claims that 'the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive
sins' ([Luke]5:24)." (Eerdmans Commentary) "It is certainly easier to claim the power to pronounce
absolution from sin [whether is easier, Matt v.5] than to demonstrate the power to heal." (MacArthur
Bible Commentary) weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
"[Luke] alone mentions the glorifying of God by the paralytic [v.25], and the fear of the
bystanders." (Peake's Commentary) "The audience was stunned again when Jesus healed the man of his
paralysis [Matt 9:8]; and they marveled, (lit., they were afraid)." (King James Bible Commentary) “The
crowds praise God, who has given this kind of (divine) power to ‘human beings’ ([Matt] 9:8). They
perceive that God’s power is being democratized.” (Theological Bible Commentary) “The more general
expression of this power at the end of the story…supports Matthew’s view that the church community
can forgive sins ([Matt] 16:13-19; 18:15-20).” (Eerdmans Commentary)
McLellan, Archibald (CSB, Lecturer, Editor, and Director), "’Be of good cheer,’” EDITORIAL,
Christian Science Sentinel, Vol. 19 (16 September 1916), p. 50.
--BECAUSE the healing of the sick is more readily seen and acknowledged than the other reforms
which Christian Science has brought about in human experience, the impression has prevailed with
many persons that it is the sole objective of this religious system; but such is not the case.
• Mrs. Eddy, in answer to the question, "Is healing the sick the whole of Science?" says:
"Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle-call to thought
and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness. The emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the
healing of sin; and this task, sometimes, may be harder than the cure of disease" (Rudimental Divine
Science, p. 2).
---In this view of Christian Science we see that it readily conforms to the requirements of
Christ Jesus' teachings and practice, and thereby proves its status as the revival of primitive Christianity,
for the reason that through its ministrations the sick are healed, the sorrowing find comfort, and those
dead in trespasses and sins awake to a new sense of life.
• That Jesus regarded sickness and sin as equally contrary to the law of God, is shown by his
saying to the "man sick of the palsy": "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."
Palmer, Ezra W. (CBS, Lecturer, and Clerk), SELECTED ARTICLES, Christian Science Sentinel,
Vol. 19 (16 September 1916), p. 48. [in The Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Col.]
--In a recent issue of the News, under the department of religion and social service, a clergyman in an
address on the healing of sickness, at the Y. M. C. A., is quoted as making some references to Christian
Science and healing by spiritual means which might be misleading.
--The speaker is quoted as saying that Jesus made a distinction between sickness and sin, and that he
"could not consider a mental error as the cause of illness." No sayings or incidents in the life of our
Master are quoted in support of this statement, and it is evidently merely a personal opinion. This
gentleman has overlooked the fact that Jesus clearly taught that sin and sickness are interchangeable
terms, and he healed them both by the same method. In the case of the man sick with the palsy Jesus
showed that sickness and sin are both errors of the human mind and are overcome through knowledge
of God.
--Jesus said: "Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say,
Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to
forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy
way into thine house."
The Bibliography is provided only in the notes of the first Sunday of the month. weekly Bible Study resources
Bible Characters for your weekly Bible study — December 13 - 19, 2010
*The weekly Bible Lessons are made up of selections from the King James Version of the Bible
and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,
the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. weekly Bible Study resources