At the end of 1894, Mary Baker Eddy made a radical and unique decision about the church she had founded. She established that two books, the Bible and her Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, would serve as the church’s pastor, and that Bible Lessons drawn solely from these two books would constitute its sermons. A few months later she united all branches of the Church of Christ, Scientist, under this model, harmonizing a significant element of the church’s pursuit of “healing and saving the world from sin and death” (Manual of The Mother Church, p. 19). This model still stands today.
These Bible Lesson-Sermons, published in the Christian Science Quarterly, are simple in concept, but rich in substance. They reach a broad audience, and can be studied by anyone, from children to newcomers to experienced Christian Science practitioners and teachers. Composed entirely of Bible texts and correlated passages from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, they offer “the inspired Word of the Bible” (Science and Health, p. 497), accessible to all. These Lessons never become outdated—rather, students frequently apply these teachings to current events and comment on how perfectly that week’s Lesson helps them address present needs in their own and others’ lives.
The Lessons are a constant presence in the lives of Christian Scientists. They unite students around the world in individual study during the week; congregants then listen to them on Sunday; younger students mine them for insights and instruction in Sunday School; and often Wednesday testimony meetings include accounts of how the Lessons supported a healing. This practical centrality of the Bible Lessons to Christian Scientists may at least partly explain why they are described as lessons “on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends” (Church Manual, p. 31).