Study the letter means what?

Thousands upon thousands of theologians have dedicated their lives to the study and regurgitation of the every detail of the Holy Bible - volumes upon volumes have been written, endless debates about historical details, translations, etc. How much of all this has improved what Christ Jesus, the prophets and apostles have left us? Are the Christians of today more devout, more active than those of the first 300 years of Christianity?

Enter Mary Baker Eddy who provides Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as a divine, definitive revelation. And what do we have 150 years later? Endless volumes of class notes, lectures, anecdotes, analysis, etc. How much of all this has improved what Mary Baker Eddy has given us? Do the Christian Scientist of today have more understanding, or are they more effective healers than those during Mrs. Eddy's time?

These are important questions as we consider what is meant by "study thoroughly the letter," a requirement to progress in Science as recorded in the textbook of Christian Science. Here is our take:

1. The letter refers to the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

2. Since there are hundreds of references and allusions to the Bible in the textbook, the Bible is a necessary companion in the study of the textbook. Those who leave the Bible out have no idea of the context in which much of the textbook is written, and they will surely miss the spirit of so much that is put forth.

3. Study is far more than reading passively. Study requires application in order to gain understanding. 

4. Other Christian Science literature that serve to energize one's study of the textbook can be useful, BUT anything that tries to systemize this Science is, in effect, humanizing it, and acts as an intercessor between the student and his relation to the divine. 

5. True study of the divine is sacred - the student communing with the divine, the student listening or tuning in to what his Maker is providing for the moment.