This insightful work is a rich elaboration on the author's The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science. Troward viewed the whole Bible as a commentary on the words "man is the image and likeness of God" and pursues this thread throughout. He also considered it as the book of emancipation of mankind for deliverance from sickness, sorrow, poverty, uncertainty and limitation.
The Bible is not just a collection of fables or incomprehensible dogmas but a statement of universal laws. In chapter 1, The Creation, it is emphasized that God is One and man is made in His likeness. The creation narrative is explained as Spirit working on Itself - the Spirit of God upon the waters or psychic stuff of the cosmos, when the laws were set in motion, like the law of cause and effect. The Fall looks at the allegory of the two trees in the garden of the soul. The tree of life is the perception of spirit and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is mankind's habit of seeing 2 powers, i.e. considering evil as a subject of knowledge.
The deluge is explained as psychic forces that overwhelmed mankind because of rampant occultism. Many ages later the Patriarchs appeared; this is a transition from allegory to history. Troward analyses the three syllables of the name Israel, with reference to Egyptian and Mesopotamian religion. These others had part of the truth but it was not in balance. The three elements of the name Israel represent three modes of one life, symbolizing wholeness. In the chapter The Mission of Moses, he explores the holy name I AM and its significance, that of Being in the Absolute. Moses' task was to build a nation based on the recognition of the principle of the One, the people of the I AM. This nation was to be the custodians of truth until the coming of Jesus Christ through whom all nations would come to the light. See also The Irrevocable Calling in this regard.
Chapter 5, The Mission of Jesus, considers the metaphor of the shepherd and the stone and the concepts of sacrifice and covenant. The universal cannot act on the plane of the particular except by becoming individualized upon that plane. Christ's was a voluntary sacrifice; he is the foundation and crowning stone and also the rock of our salvation. The next chapter covers the meaning and symbolism of Solomon's Temple with its two pillars called Yachin and Boaz, whilst chapter 7 examines the Name of the Lord as a source of strength and protection. The name is explored in its 4 Hebrew syllables Yod, Hey, Waw, Hey, letter by letter to derive at the logical meaning. The name of the first woman, Hawa in Hebrew, derives from the second syllable. In this chapter the author points out how Jesus used this verb and considers the meaning of the creation of the cosmos by the divine word.
Chapter 8, The Devil, looks at the negative disintegrating force as a manifestation of the integrating power operating at a lower level. The negative power has its root in our denial of the affirmative. This section also deals with the law of attraction and the nature of disembodied spirits. The antidote to all these things is the right conception of God as the one and only Originating Power. The law of liberty is discussed next; the law of the Bible is the law of human individuality. We are individual centers for the expression of Spirit. To be ourselves, expressing life by the creative power of thought is the law of liberty that leads to perfect social harmony.
In the Teaching of Jesus, Troward provides a connected idea of the general scope and purpose of the Master's teachings, by referring inter alia to the parables of the prodigal son and the talents. He explains that the law is not vindictive but causal, and reminds the reader of the words of Jesus in John 16: "The Father himself loves you". In short, the gist of it is: "You are a conscious individual expression of the One Universal Spirit; recognizing this truth will set you free; you must believe that That which is infinite finds a centre in you." I was struck by the similarity of Geza Vermes' conclusions in his book The Authentic Gospel of Jesus.
Chapters 11 and 12 are about sin and forgiveness. Sin is a statement of the law of correspondence, but Spirit desires to forgive. An essential quality of Spirit's self-recognition in its relation to the human race is its ability and willingness to forgive and heal. Further interesting topics in these chapters include the reasons why Jesus said "your sins are forgiven" in some of his healing miracles, as well as thoughts on specters, hauntings and ghosts. Chapter 13 deals with Divine Giving, the desire of God to give to us in fullness and why one must cultivate receptivity. In order to receive, the individual has to become an expectant receiver. The Bible is filled with promises and by the law of creative power God provides in a multitude of wonderful ways.
The last chapter is titled The Spirit of Antichrist. Denial of God is the opposite of the principle of Sonship. Referring to St Paul in Thessalonians and Daniel 11 & 12, Troward explains God as the originating spirit Animus Dei and the Anima Mundi as the eternal feminine, receptive subconscious mind or the soul of nature through which He operates. The Anima Mundi is amenable to suggestion, and therein lies the danger. A certain class of people with a powerful leader will shape the neutral Anima to their own thought and volition in a principle of self-deification. Those with God in their hearts will also work so that Anima Mundi is knocked out of the equation, leaving only the opposing forces. And the greatest of that is Divine Personality, our Everlasting Father. This scenario is frightening but also comforting and reassuring. I have found Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning to be a most illuminating and thought-provoking work.
Books of related interest that I recommend include The Hidden Power of the Bible by Ernest Holmes and The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life by Emmet Fox.