Evangelic and Orthodox approaches to the Bible
Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:37 PM
I have been following various threads on monachos for some time now but this is my first post - I hope this is the right forum.
From the little I know (despite being Orthodox since birth...) the role of the Bible in the Orthodox liturgy is very different to the role of the Bible in Evangelical services. My initial understanding is that the difference lies in the Holy Eucharist, where the words of the Bible become literally true in the Divine Liturgy, whereas in the Evangelical service, Holy Communion is a symbolic act, thus the Bible is interpreted (correct my terminology as I might be very wrong). I am planning to read on the subject to understand the difference more fully and deeply but until I get there I would appreciate any thoughts on the topic. I have a very close friend who is Evangelical and I am starting to think I should be somewhat vigilant when we talk about the Bible because it may not be as harmless as I first thought just because we're both Christian and there aren't many people to talk to about God.
My second question is this: what is the relationship between the place of the Bible in the liturgy, and the place of the Bible in our daily lives. I am puzzled by the Evangelical way of reading. It seems too intellectual, even though all the Evangelicals I have met 'warn' me not to read the Bible as a 'book' but as God's word. Lastly, is there an Orthodox way of reading the Bible? I will admit I haven't read the Bible from cover to cover and I keep thinking that I have/need/should to, only that I am not sure how to go about it. I don't want to set up a schedule like my friend does - it feels like taking the soul of something outside of the body that carries it, if that makes any sense.
Thank you very much for reading this - hopefully in future posts I will have more insights and less questions!
Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:18 AM
Not to side step your questions, but have you used the search feature for key words in your post above. I think you will find several threads even in recent couple of months on these same topics. If not, I am sure others will chime in.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:33 AM
In Orthodoxy though the Bible does not exist as the sole authority or source of our faith. We have the Liturgy, the Fathers, and the whole of Tradition of which the Scriptures are only a part. And for us the Scriptures are never read nor understood on their own, but rather within the whole of the life and the teaching that the Church gives us.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 04:51 AM
One Orthodox Christian approach to start reading our Holy Scripture would be to get three bookmarks, and then use them to keep your place in the Psalms, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. Start at Psalm 1.1, Genesis 1.1, and Matthew 1.1. Each and every day, read at least one chapter from the Psalms, from the Old Testament, and from the New Testament; the next day, continue onto the next chapter from where you left off in the Psalms, in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament. Continue your readings at least until you have finished the entire Holy Scripture.
It is worthwhile to begin and finish your readings with an appropriate prayer.
Sometimes, you will vary your reading speed depending upon what you are reading. Try to let the Holy Spirit guide you as you read and pray.
When you are able to, read explanations of the Holy Scripture which are written by our Holy Fathers of our Holy Orthodox Church. As you read and reread our Holy Scripture, you will find that the Psalms, the Old Testament, and the New Testament will help explain one another.
I hope this helps!
With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,
+ Father Stephanos
Edited by Father Stephanos, 16 August 2012 - 05:26 AM.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 03:23 PM
You should check out Bishop Kallistos Ware's article, "How to Read the Bible."
It can be found by googling it online (e.g., http://intervarsity1...u/text/ware.pdf).
It's also in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible, if you have a copy.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:57 PM
Anna, I understand and I totally agree with you, thank you for putting it so clearly. I think my worry was that if I set up a schedule and read the Bible on my own, I wouldn't be able to see how everything comes together in the Orthodox Tradition, and that scared me. Now I realise this is an ungrounded fear so I will stop worrying and start reading.
Thank you Father Stephanos, your advice is most helpful, the three bookmarks are already in place!
John, thank you very much for the link - the article answers my most urgent questions. I don't have a copy of the Orthodox Study Bible but I read about it on a different thread and I am considering ordering one.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:31 AM
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