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How To Annotate the Fillmore Study Bible

Mark Hicks

Hi Friends -

My hope is that those of you who do metaphysical bible interpretation for personal study or for Sunday lessons will consider extending your study so that your work benefits others through the Fillmore Study Bible. Here are steps to constructing annotations and for passing them in for applying them to the text.

Steps For Annotating the Fillmore Study Bible

1. Select your chapter. Go here to see a list of all the chapters in the Old and New Testaments. There are 1,189 of them in a Protestant Bible. The chapters that are highlighted in yellow and that are underlined are already annotated. If your chapter is yellow, then someone has already done the research and annotated the chapter. If your chapter is not yellow, or if the chapter does not have an active link, then you have an opportunity to be the annotator for your selected chapter (or book). The chapter you select is your choice.

2. Open your chosen chapter in the World English Bible (WEB). (If it's not an active link, let me know and I will setup it up for you; in the mean time, you can go to step #3.) This is the text you will be annotating. You get to this page by by clicking on one of the chapters in the page you opened in step #1 above. For example, click on John 2.

3. Open the same chapter in the American Standard Version Bible (ASV). The page you opened in step #2 above has a link that reads (Online ASV WEB). Click on the ASV link or go here and click on the link for John 2. You now have your chapter open in the WEB and the ASV. You will annotate the WEB page and the source of your annotations is found on the ASV page. So let’s look at the ASV page.

4. Look for resources in the ASV page. It is possible to do this with a smart phone, but the layout will be different and cumbersome. We have opened the page for the Gospel of John, chapter 2. Your task is to assemble a set of notes from the many hyperlinks you find for that chapter. These hyperlinks are found in two places. First is the hyperlinks in the text, which are links to the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary and the Revealing Word. Second are the hyperlinks you see in the upper right corner of the page. Both types of hyperlinks are circled in red in the following screenshot:

screenshot of John 2 in Fillmore Study Bible

5. Create a preliminary set of annotations. Read the hyperlinks and extract from them concise annotations of the most important concepts, making note of the particular verse that the annotation references. This step is somewhat mechanical—you copy/paste “snippets” of what you find from the Fillmore resource into your word processor. Because there are multiple hyperlinks for passages and verses, there will be duplicate annotations. The result is that a set of annotations may be from a combination of the MBD, the Revealing Word, a commentary in Unity magazine, an Ed Rabel lecture or a passage from Mysteries of John.

6. Refine the annotations for importance and for style. This step requires your judgment—your judgement of what points are most important, your judgement of how the concept should be structured so that it reads like an annotation, and your judgement of how concise the annotation should be. Try to use as much of the original text as possible but edit it so that it looks like a footnote or an annotation. For examples, see what has been done in the the Gospel of John, the Acts of the Apostles or the Letter to the Romans.

As much as possible, differentiate "metaphysical" meaning from "less metaphysical" or "historical, literary" commentary. For example, here is the annotation for Acts 2:47:

assembly (church). Metaphysically, the church is a harmonious aggregation of spiritual ideas in the mind of the individual. Less metaphysically, the Church of Christ is the great brotherhood which Jesus Christ established in Spirit. It is not made of creeds and forms, nor is it contained in walls of wood and stone. Its temple is the heart of man.

Also, construct annotations using 1st person, plural (“we statements”) instead of 2nd person “you statements” or 3rd person “a person or one should statements”. Here is the annotation for Luke 22:61:

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. When we turn our attention within and examine our faith in the light of his I AM power, we sometimes find it deviating from its rightful center. A true disciple is always open to repentance. We may backslide and seem to be slipping spiritually, but our spiritual nature finally asserts its supremacy. The turning about of the Lord or the revealing of the face of the Lord represents discernment.

7. Construct your annotation for the editor. Here is how an annotation should be structured: (1) the verse #, (2) the phrase being annotated from WEB, (3) the annotation and (4) a short sentence about the source of the annotation and/or any comments the annotator wants to convey to the editor. Here is an example for the annotation of John 2:

verse: 2
phrase: the passover of the Jews was at hand.
annotation: In individual consciousness, the “passover of the Jews” represents the time set aside for fasting and prayer, the cleansing and renewing of the body temple through denial and affirmation, making it ready for the coming of the Lord.
source/comment: taken from Unity Bible Lessons March 1919.

Feel free to not type out “verse”, “phrase”, “annotation” or “source.” You can just place all four of these items on separate lines with a blank line between each annotation.

8. Rephrase the “pericope.” Note that all the text in the Fillmore Study Bible is broken up into “passages.” A Bible passage is known as a “pericope.” Pericopes have a header, such as “The Wedding at Cana” or “Jesus Cleanses the Temple” in John 2. The Fillmore Study Bible is different from other study Bibles in that the annotations are displayed at the end of a pericope instead of being displayed at the bottom of the page.

You are encouraged to change the header for the pericope to something more relevant to a metaphysical Bible student. The default headers are taken from the NRSV. For example, the headers in John 2 could be rephrased so that “The Wedding at Cana” could be renamed “The Marriage of Intuition and the I AM”.

9. Review each pericope for a balance of “metaphysical hints” and “metaphysical explanations.” Ideally, the reader should have enough metaphysical explanation so that one can “discover for oneself” the inner meaning of the passage. Sometimes the inner meaning is so important or so easily missed that you as the annotator may need to spell out the meaning in an explicit, unmistakable way. That is a judgment each annotator must make. Try to keep the annotations as minimal and short as possible while providing the essential deeper meaning that the reader needs to know for interpreting the passage.

10. Send the annotations by email. Assemble the annotations for each pericope (passage) in your chapter and email then to me at mark at I prefer that you paste the entire work in the body of your mail, but if you wish you can place them in a word processing document and attach the document to an email.

Other Things To Know

I will get your annotations posted within a few days. When it’s posted, I’ll send you an email to let you know and to ask you to review my posting. Contact me if you don’t get a reply from me in 2-3 days. Sometimes I get behind in posting, but that doesn’t happen too often. If I get way behind, I’ll contact you.

My role as Editor will eventually be taken by a peer-review committee and a more formal editing process. For the time being, please know that I will likely edit your contribution so that there is a consistency in style and content. I’m open to discussion, but please don’t get your feelings hurt if I change the annotation. If it’s significant, I’ll let you know what was changed and why. It is likely that at some point we will need to review some annotations. My request is to grant me the general editor responsibility until we are structured enough to form a peer-review committee.

A special note about creators of Bible Study Booklets. I have found that some collaborators wish to “go deeper” than what the commentary from Charles Fillmore and his students have to offer. For two reasons, the Fillmore Study Bible is intended to remain limited to Fillmore commentary and commentary from his students: to conserve space in the printed product and to provide commentary that is as true as possible to conveying what Charles Fillmore and his students once wrote.

That limits our ability to include new and useful commentary. But, because we have the ability to generate separate booklets for each book of the Bible (or groups of books) we now have the ability to generate separate booklets where the collaborator can be more creative. Here’s how:

Have you ever been in a Christian bookstore and noticed aisles filled with Bible Study books and pamphlets? Have you ever wanted to be part of a group that studies a particular book of scripture from the perspective of metaphysical Christianity? We now have the ability to easily publish the same sort of books and pamphlets for ourselves. Our intention is for these several booklets to be augmented with more comprehensive commentary, discussion items and learning resources for group Bible study purposes.

We can, for example, add “Introduction” type paragraphs of commentary before each pericope and have “Questions for Discussion” after each pericope. We can also have entire chapters of background information before the chapters and their annotations, as well as graphics and maps interspersed throughout the text. Keep this in mind as you annotate a particular chapter.

Don’t overthink it! Last, and maybe most important, is to know that the task for the annotator is not so much biblical scholarship as it is the ability to glean, organize and condense the commentary from Unity magazine and the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary. In other words the work is more editing than creating. The reason for that is because the reader we are trying to serve is not looking for a deep exegesis of the passage. The reader likely doesn’t know much about the MBD or even Unity. The reader will need annotations at the level they might get in a Sunday sermon – “metaphysically, John means this and Jerusalem means that ... the passage “is about what happens when our highest intellectual capacity finds itself in the holy city of peace in consciousness...” So, as you are developing the annotations, focus on what would “preach well in a Sunday lesson.”

Thanks so much!

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Mark Hicks
General Editor
April 11, 2021


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