Although not as widely read now as it was in the early 20th century, Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures has influenced generations of thinkers, including New Thought proponent Ernest Holmes and positive-thinking minister Norman Vincent Peale. At the heart of Eddy’s teaching is a unique connection between the mind, healing and the words found in Scripture. It is the illuminating of this relationship that makes up the core of Dr. Sara Lincoln’s BibleAlive.
Here, Lincoln attempts to use the Socratic Method—asking critical questions to stimulate deep thinking—to increase our awareness about one’s true relationship with God. Some of the key inquiries Lincoln asks: Are we made in the image of God? What is evil? What is underlying Jesus’ Beatitudes? And what layers of meaning can be found in the Lord’s Prayer? All of this, as the author writes, is to stir readers to “rise to a more spiritual concept of [self] and find [increased] strength, health, usefulness, beauty, freedom, dominion, and productivity.”
Lincoln is intelligent and well-read. Her musings on the Bible as an outline of the progression of human consciousness—from humanity’s first flawed attempt at getting along with each other and God (the Adam and Eve story) to the obedience of the great patriarchs like Abraham to the transcendent nature of Jesus and hope of resurrection—is astute and thought-provoking. However, the book has a breathless quality to it that can leave readers feeling overwhelmed. Lincoln’s thoughts come flying at you with little in the way of transition. It’s as if a good teacher has just heard that school is closing early and she’s racing to finish her lessons before the bell rings — admirable, but confusing as well. Moreover, there are some punctuation and repetition issues that need addressing.
Overall, BibleAlive is a flawed, but energetic work. Students of Christian Science may find Lincoln’s musings on Eddy’s work of interest.