Early articles from the Christian Science periodicals

I John, 3: 1, 2, 3

by Prof. Hermann S. Hering

(from the Christian Science Sentinel, January 6, 1906, Vol 8, #19, page 291)


It may interest the First Readers of our Churches and Societies, as well as other students, to examine the renditions of 1 John, 3: 1, 2, 3, given by various writers and translators.

The capitalization given this passage by our Leader on page 460, Vol. III., of the Sentinel is significant: --

The Revised Version has it: --

Rotherham gives it in his translation: --

Ferrar Fenton translates it: --

The "Twentieth Century New Testament" gives it: --

These show that the words "he" and "him" in the three verses quoted are pronouns for Deity, and refer to God and God's appearing, or the Christ; and a very helpful interpretation is obtained when read with this in thought. Thus the third verse reads substantially, "And every man that hath this hope in God (God's appearing, or the Christ) purifieth himself because God is pure." A wonderful wealth of wisdom awaits us in these words of the the "beloved disciple."

Undue emphasis is sometimes placed on the pronoun "we" in the first verse, "that we should be called the sons of God," as though we were the only ones. The important fact in that sentence, as well as in the second verse, is that we are actually or in truth sons of God and not sons of men, in correlation with the "scientific statement of being" previously read, which says that "man is spiritual and not material."

The order in which our Leader has asked that these selections be read is also important. First, the "scientific statement of being" (and it should always be stated that this is from the Christian Science text-book), and then the announcement of the reading of the "correlative selection from 1 John 3: 1, 2, 3." The fact that this selection is a correlative is important, and the announcement, coming after reading from Science and Health, makes it possible for strangers and those not familiar with the Bible to know where our Leader's words end and those of St. John begin, which is difficult when these passages are read consecutively.

We feel deeply grateful to our Leader each Sunday for this beautiful ending of our Sunday service. These passages seem to be the kernel and epitome of all the Lesson-Sermons and are like the preacher's "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter." They place the seal of divinity on the service, after which we shall do well to go to our homes, enter our closet, shut the door of the material senses, meditate on the wonderful truth we have heard, and make it our own.


Boston, Mass., December 25, 1905

Dearly Beloved Leader: -- During my recent lecture tours I observed that many of the First Readers in the branch churches read the correlative selections from I John with emphasis which shows that they do not rightly understand this passage, and some of them announce the "scientific statement of being" and the verses from I John together, and then read the two consecutively, which is apt to confuse strangers who are not Bible students, and who might not know where your words end and those of St. John begin.

The passage "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be," is generally read as though it meant that we shall become something else than sons of God in the future. My understanding of this according to Science is that we are God's children now, but that this fact is not yet apparent.

In order to aid the brethren and bring about greater uniformity in our services, I have prepared the enclosed article, thinking it might be interesting to publish in the Sentinel if it meets with your entire approval. I regret trespassing on your time, but as this is a matter of interpretation and bears on the Field it could not well be done without you.

We were very glad to attend The Mother Church service again yesterday, after several weeks' absence. It was very beautiful and far exceeds that in any of the branch churches in spiritual insight, understanding, and power. This is as it should be, but it was never before quite so apparent to me.

With sincere love, in which Mrs. Hering joins me, I am

Your grateful student,



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