In many people's experience (not only that of this Author), Bible Promises have often been referred to by many a priest, pastor or clergy-person. Notwithstanding, it may be up for debate, regarding the meaning that each individual assigns to the subject of Bible Promises; let alone whether any particular meaning is either accurate or correct.
What the Author proposes to place before the visitor is simply what he has come to understand and accept as the meaning and intent of the subject of Bible Promises, based upon his own course of study on the overall subject. Before getting underway, the inquirer is offered a polite reminder of the quotation first mentioned on the Home Page - namely (quoting loosely), that this Author cannot place an idea into the mind of his audience, but can only put it before them, and each recipient will make of it whatsoever they will.
Having said so, at least one definition seems appropriate at this point - specifically, the meaning of the word: "promise". One such definition follows hereunder:
promise: an express assurance on which expectation is to be based
If one were to walk through the above definition, here's what may be found. The word: "express", as used here, is an adjective meaning: definite or explicit, i.e., there is no ambiguity associated with the subject. The word: "assurance", means a positive declaration, intended to give confidence. And, last but not least, "expectation", may mean: an attitude of looking towards some object, with reason or justification, that said object will indeed come into being. It should also be noted that, expectation can be synonymous with belief or faith; at times, all three words are interchangeable with each other.
Thus, we may proceed with the rest of this discourse, with a reasonably clear understanding of what the Bible Promises are. Obviously, they constitute statements recorded within the pages of the Bible, but, more significantly, the Bible Promises are statements intended to imbue the reader with assurance, and to invoke the adoption of an expectant attitude in the mind of the reader towards the realization of some particular object.
Perhaps the obvious question that arises at this point is: What is that object?
Possibly the best overall answer that this Author can give is: the production of literally any contemplated and desired end-result in a person's objective or external world, via the person's exercise of the creative power of thought.
It has been briefly mentioned in the discussion on "Faith", and might be mentioned again on another occasion, that at least one authority on the subject of the working of the Mind considered the Bible to be "an instruction manual for Man's use of his inherent Creative Power Of Thought". Expounding further, the contents of this instruction manual, when studied and clearly understood, are intended to guide Man towards a right exercise of his inherent creative faculty. As has also been mentioned previously, the creative power of thought is perpetually in operation, whether exercised consciously and deliberately or not, and Man can never "turn it off", and the sooner that Man recognizes this and conducts himself accordingly - both individually and collectively - the better. In addition (and careful observation will substantiate this) Man does not come into this world "pre-programmed" with the requisite knowledge of how to rightfully employ his ability to initiate causation in his individual world, and so, from the philosophical standpoint, it is the purpose of the Bible to impart such knowledge. And it might be possible to apply a similar proposition to the texts and writings of other religions and philosophies - but for now, the focus is specifically on the Bible Promises.
A careful perusal of both the Old and New Testaments will reveal to the inquirer the presence of numerous statements which constitute the Bible Promises. Said statements assure the reader of their ability to realize all sorts of desirable things in their individual world. It would be a relatively long exercise to list each and every such statement, so only a few examples shall follow here. For ease of reference, all quotations which are listed here are taken from the 1994 New International Version of the Bible (which are all stated in modern-day English):
Promise of the realization of Bodily Health:
"Who satisfies your desires with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
- Psalm 103, verse 5
Promise of the attainment of Peace of Mind:
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You."
- Book of Isaiah, chapter 26, verse 3
Promise of the realization of Material Wealth:
"Then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you."
- Book of Job, chapter 22, verse 25
Promise of the acquisition of Power to Accomplish Goals and Objectives:
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain: 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him."
- St. Mark's Gospel, chapter 11, verse 23
Promise of the Prolongation of Physical Life:
"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed."
- Book of Isaiah, chapter 65, verse 20
And, last but by no means least, Promise regarding the Conquest of Death:
"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death."
- St. John's Gospel, chapter 8, verse 51
If it has not been mentioned previously, it is done so now - the inquirer would do well to grasp that the power, capacity or ability to accomplish the objective either contained in or referred to by these and other Bible Promises does not reside in the words which constitute the statement - whether spoken aloud, or recited mentally - but rather in the state of consciousness or mental attitude that is established in the mind of the individual, who understands the rationale behind the Bible Promises and gives them personal application. And this mental attitude is what the Bible often refers to as Faith or Belief. This is perhaps best reflected in a quotation attributed to an individual who is commonly regarded as an authority on the subject of the Mind and its working, during his earthly life:
"Belief creates the actual fact."
- William James (1842-1910)
And there is what might be considered a further basis, upon which the inquirer might come to a deeper understanding of the Bible Promises.
Back in the discussion on Mind Power, it was put forth that the Original Creative Power (also known as Universal Mind, among other names), being a non-physical entity, could only possess a non-physical mode of action - and, so far as is known, the only non-physical mode of action that exists, is Thought. Additionally, it was also postulated that everything that exists in the physical universe effectively came into being, through the exercise of the creative power of thought by the Universal Mind, backed by that motive or inherent desire that is ever-present within the Universal Mind, for self-expression. This may serve to explain why the Original Power is sometimes referred to as "All-Originating Spirit"; i.e., that it is the one and only Source, out of which all things originate. It was also highlighted that the human mind is, for all practical purposes, a miniature reproduction of the Universal Mind, and therefore possesses the ability to exercise the creative power of thought, of the same exact quality that was (and still is) demonstrated by Universal Mind - the only significant distinction between these modes of operation being: while the action of Universal Mind may be said to operate upon the entire universe, or the Macrocosm, the action of the Individual Mind operates upon the personal world of the individual, or the Microcosm.
Now, a little consideration of much of what has preceded this discussion would reveal that, at the initial starting-point of creation, nothing existed except the Original Power, which, as also previously mentioned in the discussion on "Universal Mind", subsists independently of both Time and Space, i.e., on what is referred to as the plane of the Absolute. From the philosophical standpoint, it can be amply demonstrated that, when all is said and done, all conditions - which themselves exists in the physical universe, or the plane of the Relative - can be resolved into some combination of what might be considered the two original conditions (Time and Space), so that, since the creation of the universe and all that is contained within took place independently of any or all conditions, the creative power of thought - whether acting from the standpoint of Universal Mind, or that of the individual mind - is likewise independent of any or all conditions. Accordingly, we are brought face-to-face with the conclusion that (All-Originating) Spirit does not act upon, or interact with any or all existing or antecedent conditions; rather it literally brings into being, or creates conditions, relations, laws - in summary, whatsoever is required to support the ultimate production of whatsoever is intended to be realized. Therefore, the factor which ultimately determines what shall be the end-product of any mental action can only be that state of consciousness, or mental attitude associated with the particular Mind or Thinking-Center under consideration.
At this moment, it is well to recall a point first mentioned in the discussion on Conscious Creation - namely that Man is able, if he so applies himself, to give definite direction to the working of Spirit or Universal Mind in his individual world, via the exercise of his Thought or Mental Action. Now, notwithstanding that each and every person is an individualization of Spirit or Universal Mind, which is ultimately the Creator of all that is, we ourselves are not the actual creator of anything in our individual world. Rather, and as at least one authority on the matter put it, Man is the distributor and specializer of that original power. Said authority reached that conclusion, based upon the origin of the word: "Man", which, when traced out, comes from a root word which means, the measurer or distributor. The verb "distribute" has, as one of its meanings: to divide and give out in shares. In that respect, the postulation is that Man, so-to-say, "divides" the Original Creative Entity (Spirit) and sends it out in various directions. Similarly, the verb: "specialize" means: to arrange in a particular or specific manner. At this moment, the inquirer would do well to pay careful attention to another postulation; one that states that creation has transpired to produce the physical universe, as it is now, by virtue of Spirit operating under certain generic conditions which are said to occur spontaneously in nature, but that Spirit, being both infinite and eternal, should be capable of operating in new and different ways, if conditions which do not spontaneously occur in nature are provided, thereby putting it into a new and different mode of action. And, as stated here, and as also mentioned in from previous discussions, Spirit's one and only mode of action is Thought, and therefore, the only conditions that can determine the action or movement of Spirit are mental conditions, a.k.a., Thought. Thus, by putting two and two together, it can be propositioned that, by exercising his instrument of Thought in a particular way, Man can - literally - direct Spirit to operate in different ways and under the influence of specific conditions, as opposed to its normal course of action produced by generic conditions.
Accordingly, each of the Bible Promises may also be considered concise statements of the creative action of Thought, reduced to possibly the utmost simplicity, i.e., stripped of all theories and explanations, regarding the nature of their operation. To make an otherwise long story short, it is the individual's establishment of the mental attitude of Faith or Belief in the Bible Promises, that will enable him (or her) to consciously and deliberately implement them, and receive their fulfilment. This effectively places all persons, whether they be considered learned or un-learned, on an equal footing, with regard to implementing any or all of the Bible Promises, to the realization of any desired object.
In closing, this Author is obligated to insert one caveat - one that will, in all likelihood, be repeated elsewhere. From the discourse on Anima Mundi, it was first highlighted that there are TWO processes by and through which objects come into complete manifestation - namely, a Creative Process and a Constructive Process. As mentioned previously, both Processes are not contradictory to each other, but complimentary, and both are required for any work to proceed to true completion. Stated in its simplest manner, the Creative Process involves the creation of particular conditions through the exercise of the creative power of thought. The Constructive Process involves the taking of action upon those conditions, in order to produce the final "end-product". Hence, the practical implementation of any or all of the Bible Promises is merely to bring about - perhaps indirectly, but surely - the conditions in the individual's world, which correspond to the final desired end-result, and upon which, the individual must take action, in order to bring about the realization of that end-result, in physical form. This is a most important fact, which should never be lost sight of, and many of those now-gone authorities on the subject have taken care to put that fact before their respective audiences, as these three examples (out of many) may illustrate:
"You must not rely upon thought alone, paying no heed to personal action ... Man must not only think, but his personal action must supplement his thought"
- Wallace D. Wattles, "The Science Of Getting Rich" (c. 1910)
"The Creative Process brings the materials and conditions for the work to our hands; then we must make use of them with diligence and commonsense. GOD will provide the food, but He will not cook the dinner."
- Thomas Troward, "The Dore Lectures On Mental Science" (c. 1909)
"Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions."
- James L. Allen, "As A Man Thinketh" (c. 1902)
Therefore, no matter how fascinating the prospect may appear that, by proper application of the Bible Promises, any person may bring about the realization of different conditions than they may be presently experiencing, so far as our knowledge goes up to today, said new conditions still require action on the part of the person, in order that the final desired end-result is to be attained. And that is something, not only worth keeping in mind, but important enough to deserve implementation, by one and all.
Possibly the most comprehensive description of both the nature and working of the Bible Promises encountered to date by this Author is to be found in the writings of Thomas Troward - one such example is presented below; specifically, a chapter from the book: "THE LAW AND THE WORD" (c. 1917). While it would be a very good idea to read the entire book from the beginning on some other occasion, this chapter's specific value is in its revelations regarding the Bible Promises, as well as what can be accomplished by understanding and using them. To view online and read said chapter, click the web link below; a new browser window will open:
CHAPTER SIX - THE PROMISES (specifically, the Bible Promises)