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Reading the Bible With Deeper Understanding

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Before the ring, there must be love
Creative Commons License photo credit: Daniel Jinsub Lee

When your words came I ate them ….” (Jeremiah 15:16)

There are three levels of interpretation possible when reading the Bible.

They are:

1. the historical/literal translation. The Bible has historical relevance. It happened in time and space. It is also “his story” – meaning it is the story of mankind.

2. the symbolic interpretation. Every name of person or place, every number and event in the Bible has a symbolic meaning that applies to the psyche and is therefore relevant to each and every one of us.

3. the practical interpretation. This is the understanding of how the Bible relates to our personal lives so that we can apply its message directly.

Only when we read the Bible on all three levels can we fully comprehend its message to us. Such internalizing of the word allows us to see that every story in the Bible was chosen not only because it reflects a historical & literal truth but for its relevance to our inner life. When we digest and assimilate each passage completely then our understanding of ourselves and the world around us is transformed. We become the word. This is why I call the Bible an alchemical text. It provides instruction that allows us to refine our ego baseness into the gold of pure consciousness which leads to transformation on a cellular level.

Paul says,

“…he is a new creation, the old has gone.” (2 Corinthians, 5:17)

6 Responses

  1. Hi Elizabeth, I like to think of the Bible as a reflection of our inner relationship with various aspects of ourselves.

    In your example from Psalms, for instance, reading this verse prompts me to ask, “What part of me threatens to “swallow me up?” and, “What part of my self ‘reproaches me?’ ”

    For me the answer is easy: the ego, with its stories and false beliefs threatens to swallow me whole and my higher Self reproaches it by revealing the lie!

    There lies within each of us a high frequency or higher self that believes and has complete faith, AND there is a low frequency expression of myself that undermines and tries to take over my mind.

    Seeing the Bible as a dialog between these parts helps me glean great meaning from verses such as those you include above.

    One last comment: we all cast judgment … judgment is not the problem, but when we believe our judgments rather than question them, THEN we experience pain and suffering.

    Thanks for your question. Hope this helps.
    Blessings,

  2. Hey Lynne-
    I have a question abou the Bible. From what I understand of universal principles, and have experienced, any negative thought or judgement that I have about someone else, is ultimately reflecting that characteristic in myself. So, for instance, if I am irritated at my mom for her political belief, then I probably hold that belief myself/ or some negative thought that generates the opinion that I see as negative, etc.
    When I read the Bible I see so much in it it that seems to be “justified” judgement. For example in Psalms it says, ” he reproaches the one who would swallow me up” or Psalm 59 which is titled the “assured judgement of the wicked”. To me it makes this seems like the believers are the just, and the non-believers are the wicked. I can’t really come to terms with the Bible’s separation of the “just” and “wicked” in light of the principal of mirroring. When I read these kinds of things, there is a sense of comfort that if I believe/ have faith I will be protected and comforted from the wicked. But if I am just mirroring this negativity, how does the Bible make a separation between between someone who is good and the other. And how can the particular author cast judgement?

  3. I can only share with you what works for me regarding the question of who Christ is as differentiated from Buddha, Mohamed etc.

    I think of Jesus as the embodiment of the Christ Energy and all others as having connected and merged with that same energy. Jesus came as deity in man for the purpose of showing us how to embody deity within ourselves.

    Most spiritual teachers achieve nirvana or a merged state of consciousness thru various disciplines that link them directly with the One True Source. Jesus was said to be born with the knowledge of his mission and heritage as deity. This is a powerful distinction between Jesus Christ and the other masters.

    Personally it makes sense to me that Jesus came as an embodiment of the Christ Energy and that he is the same Divine Intercessor that all spiritual masters now and always have linked to through their unwavering hearts desire and intention to know Source.

    I think of Christ as the gateway or doorway to enter the presence of Source. Such an understanding gives me a way to personally relate to Source and that suits me well.

    As for our ability to forgive ourselves, it seems to me as if we play god by NOT forgiving ourselves! To forgive is to let go of our story or opinion about the way things should be so that we can allow the grace of Source to move through and heal us. To hold on to resentments towards ourselves and others keeps us from allowing universal forgiveness. Healing cannot take place as long as we hold onto negative ideas/story about ourselves.

  4. Thank you for these insights, it gives me a lot to chew on. But, of course, I have more questions…
    How does the Christ energy of Jesus Christ differ than that other spiritual leaders such as Muhammed and Buddha? When I pray, it gives me comfort to visualize Jesus Christ, but couldn’t I be doing the same thing visualizing other leaders? Do you think Jesus Christ is the only complete embodiment of the Christ energy? Do you know what Buddha or Muhammad would say about that? Do you think the fact that I relate to Jesus, just a result of Christianity being part of my culture?

    Also, I have been wondering about the notion of asking for forgiveness, versus being able to forgive myself. If I try to forgive myself for certain things, isn’t that like assuming I am the Christ, that I have that much power? That seems presumptuous, and kind of scary. I like to think that there is a power outside of myself, that I can rely on to help me change. But then where does self-reliance, and self-confidence fit into that equation? Is the only difference between someone like Byron Katie and Jesus, that Katie is in an ongoing dialogue, and Christ, well, I actually don’t know how to complete this question, but I think you get my drift…

  5. The words, “I am the way, the truth and the life …” reflect a basic truth about the role of the Christ Energy in our lives as the mediating energy between us and a God/Source that is beyond our meager comprehension.

    I compare this understanding of Christ to the analogy of bringing electricity into our homes. A transformer to step down the electrical current to a safer level is necessary before we can bring it into our homes. Otherwise the raw power of the electricity is too much and runs the risk of burning our homes up.

    The same is true in our connection with the One and Only True Source, a Life Force that is way beyond our capacity to contain or be close to. The Christ energy is the mediating force, or transformer, that allows us access to a Life Force that is way beyond our ability to comprehend.

    Christ represents the doorway that makes relationship possible with an otherwise unknowable God.

    If we look at Christ through the three levels of interpretation we see that 1, Christ was a historical figure that came to show us what right relationship with God looks like 2, Christ is a symbol of that Divine Spark within us that identifies each of us as a son or daughter of God and 3, Christ was a role model for us. He demonstrated through his life path the initiations we must each go through to “become one with the Father.”

    It is said that the Christ teachings came down to us even before Jesus embodied the Christ. We can go all the way back to Ancient Egypt and the stories told about Hermes Trismegistus, who was credited for a body of work referred to as the “Corpus Hermeticum.” In that collection of writings by Hermes was one entitled, “The Divine Pymander,” which describes spiritual truths purportedly handed down to Hermes by an Entity who called Itself the “Divine Pymander.” Translated into English, that name is, “Good Shepherd.” How often have you heard Christ called the “Good Shepherd of men?”

    Might the Divine Pymander be the one and same Christ energy that came through Jesus the Christ? Could it be that the Christ Energy has always been available to mankind as an ongoing mediating energy between us and God? Is it possible that even in the times of Hermes, the Christ Energy was in fact “the way, the truth and the Life?”

    I like to think so.

    I hope this is helpful.
    Blessings, Lynne

  6. I am a interested in understanding Jesus Christ on all of these levels, but also in a general context (or any context you would like to offer). I have always struggled with the way the traditional church interprets “I am the way, the truth, and the life. He who believes in me shall live”. Whenever I have heard a sermon on this, the pastor seems to convey the idea that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God are not saved. This statement seems to condemn those who are not “Christians”. When I have adopted that thought for a time, it gives me a sense of seperation or superiority along the lines of “I am believing this, so I am blessed, and others are not”. I do not like this feeling, and I am sure Christ would not have condoned it. So, I would appreciate any insights you have on conceptualizing Jesus Christ as the Son of God i.e. what does it mean to be the Son of God?

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