In Unity, we interpret the meaning of scripture metaphysically. In other words, we look beyond the literal details of a particular scripture to understand the deeper, spiritual meaning underlying everything. In this way, every person in a particular scriptural story is an aspect of our own selves in potential. Likewise, each place or thing within the scripture also has a deeper meaning that we can apply in our own lives.
For many of us who grew up in other Biblical traditions, metaphysical interpretation of scripture is likely very different from what we may have learned in Sunday school. Interpreting scripture metaphysically usually reveals deeper meanings that may have been overlooked by more traditional approaches. In this article, I would like to step you through the process of Bible interpretation, Unity style! Even though this is only a very cursory look at a particular scripture, I hope it will make you curious to begin looking more closely at your own favorite Bible stories in a new and deeper light.
Choose a Scripture
When doing a metaphysical interpretation of scripture, any good scripture will work. When you begin doing it, choose a scripture that resonates with you. For this particular interpretation, I am choosing a scripture that is traditionally read during Advent Season. This past Sunday’s Advent theme was peace. One of the scriptural readings for last Sunday is from the Book of Baruch, which is found in the Catholic Bible, and also in the Apocrypha Books, for those who weren’t raised Catholic. It will work perfectly for our purposes here.
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
For God will give you evermore the name, “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.”
Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them.
Now at first read, you might look at this lovely scripture and think: “So what! What does this have to do with me and my life right now? I am not Jerusalem, and I don’t understand how this applies to my life. What is going on here?” I understand, but let’s unpack this powerful scripture a bit more and see if you still feel the same.
Unpacking the Nouns
We begin by listing all the nouns (persons, places or things) in the scripture, and then looking up what they mean, or symbolize, metaphysically speaking. There are two great resources available to serve you in your metaphysical exploration. The first is Charles Fillmore’s Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, which can be purchased in the UCOH Bookstore. The second is the website, TruthUnity.net, which was put together by Licensed Unity Teacher Mark Hicks, and features the online version of Fillmore’s MBD. By the way, if you don’t already have it bookmarked, do yourself a favor and bookmark TruthUnity.net in your browser. It is the best resource for Unity teachings. Anyway, back to our metaphysical Bible interpretation. Having noted all the nouns in the scripture, now just write them down in a list, and begin looking up the meaning of each one, as I have done below with Baruch 5:1-5.
Garment: radiation or aura around the body
Jerusalem: dwelling place of peace
Righteousness: a physical force of God, being directly connected to God’s vibrational field, to be anchored within God’s own aliveness
Diadem: to know God as a loving, merciful, kind, compassionate Father, not as an angry and revengeful deity, great rejoicing crowns the soul and adorns the whole consciousness of the individual, this rejoicing makes one strong
Name: What does it mean to be given a name? Metaphysicians have found that this name held in mind persistently gives the mind freedom from narrow beliefs. It lets the imagination soar away from its dimensional concepts of God, and there flows into the mind, in consequence, a whole flood of expanded ideas.
Heaven: a state of consciousness in which the soul and the body are in harmony with Divine Mind
Mountain: represents an exalted state of mind where the divine plan may be perceived and unfolded; a state of spiritual realization
East: represents within
Children: thoughts of reality or the true ideas about Being that have to be brought out in every part of man’s consciousness
West: represents the without, or expression, intellect
Restating the Original Scripture
With that many nouns in one passage, there is a lot of interpreting to be done. One way to begin is to substitute the actual word with the metaphysical meaning of the word. This might feel weird to you at first, but try it anyway. For example, “Take off the garment of sorrow and affliction” becomes “take off the energy (or aura) of sorrow and affliction.” “O Jerusalem” becomes “Oh, dwelling place of peace.” Do this for the whole verse.
Then read it again, with the “metaphysical meaning” substituted for the original words. After you have, just sit with it. Go within, seeing how this “metaphysical interpretation” may apply to some aspect of your own life in the here and now. At first, interpreting the Bible using this method may seem clunky, even difficult, to you. However, as you practice with this method of sorting out the nouns, looking up their metaphysical meaning, restating the scripture with the meaning plugged in, and then going within for guidance, you will find it becomes easier and more natural. As you breathe metaphysical meaning into the original words, eventually the deeper, more personal meaning of the scripture will begin to emerge and flow in your consciousness.
Making Sense of It All
Ultimately, your interpretation of the scripture passage is as meaningful as any other, because you are bringing your own experience to the interpretation, and the meaning you derive will have value for you in your life. After going through the steps and spending some meaningful time in the silence, this is how I interpreted the original verses:
Release, let go of the energy of sorrow and affliction, I am the place of peace, and I put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
I put on the energy of the righteousness – the energy of God itself; knowing God as loving, merciful, kind and compassionate; knowing God will show my splendor everywhere under heaven.
Release the limitations of limited thinking of this world and be “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.”
Arise, O place of peace within me, to my state of spiritual realization; I look within and see all my thoughts and creations as springing from the good, the One, rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For me, this verse became the perfect scripture to welcome in the incarnation of the Christ Consciousness. It is a reminder of the step-by-step process for changing my energy. When I go back to the Truth of me, that I am made in the image and likeness of God, then I know that so it is with my own creations, my own thoughts. Being willing to explore deeper metaphysical meaning reminds me to release what I think I know, and to remain open to other possibilities.
Practicing metaphysical interpretation of Biblical scripture is a great way to deepen your own experience as you walk the path of Truth. It is certainly a much different way of reading scripture than I was taught as a child, and it took me a little time to get into the flow of it. But the experience of really feeling that the scripture verse has practical meaning and value in my life, right here and right now, has been worth all the effort. So I invite you to venture into the wonderful world of metaphysical Bible interpretation for yourself. I promise you it will deepen your appreciation for the wisdom underlying scripture.