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The Interpretation of the Bible
by Fr. Thomas Hopko

The Bible is the book of sacred writings for God's People, the Church. It was produced in the Church, by and for the Church, under divine inspiration as an essential part of the total reality of God's covenant relationship with His People. It is the authentic Word of God for those who belong to God's chosen assembly of believers, to the Israel of old and to the Church of Christ today and forever. more


The Gospel
by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

It is of the Gospel that I wish to say a few words to you. In countries that are nominally Christian or allegedly Christian it is very difficult for one to recapture the true meaning of the word and of the event of the Gospel. What is the Good News? What is new in it? What is good in it? O, something very wonderful and very simple - it is life but only those who were ill can know what it means to be whole, only those who were dead can appreciate what it means to be alive. more

The Scripture and Tradition
by Fr. Thomas Zell

Some would say Christians disagree over the proper interpretation of Scripture because there is no proper interpretation. These people would claim, "The Bible is not divinely inspired and has no unified message." Frankly, who can blame people for being skeptical? With over 22,000 different Christian denominations and sects in existence today, and with an average of five new groups appearing each week, almost all claiming to base their beliefs on the teachings of the Bible, how could it not appear to those outside the Christian Faith that the Scriptures have no unity, no underlying theme, and no divinely inspired message? To the skeptic, the spectacle of modern Christianity proves that the Bible is simply another book of history, a random collection of religious writings reflecting the sociological development of a portion of Middle Eastern culture. I obviously don't agree with that position, but in deference must admit that if I were on the outside looking in at all this chaos, I might be tempted to believe it. If you are reading this booklet as a skeptic, but one who would like to believe there is more to the message of the Bible than what you might have experienced so far, I wish to encourage you not to give up. There is more to the story-much more. Please, keep reading! more


How to Read the Bible
by Bishop Kallistos Ware

We believe that the Scriptures constitute a coherent whole. They are at once divinely inspired and humanly expressed. They bear authoritative witness to God's revelation of Himself—in creation, in the Incarnation of the Word, and the whole history of salvation. And as such they express the word of God in human language. We know, receive, and interpret Scripture through the Church and in the Church. Our approach to the Bible is one of obedience.

We may distinguish four key qualities that mark an Orthodox reading of Scripture, namely

  • our reading should be obedient,
  • it should be ecclesial, within the Church,
  • it should be Christ-centered,
  • it should be personal. more

Which Came First: The Church or the New Testament?
by Fr. James Bernstein

As a Jewish convert to Christ via evangelical Protestantism, I naturally wanted to know God better through the reading of the Scriptures. In fact, it had been through reading the Gospels in the "forbidden book" called the New Testament, at age sixteen, that I had come to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our promised Messiah. In my early years as a Christian, much of my religious education came from private Bible reading. By the time I entered college, I had a pocket-sized version of the whole Bible that was my constant companion. I would commit favorite passages from the Scriptures to memory, and often quote them to myself in times of temptation-or to others as I sought to convince them of Christ. The Bible became for me-as it is to this day-the most important book in print. I can say from my heart with Saint Paul the Apostle, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

That's the good news!

The bad news is that often I would decide for myself what the Scriptures meant. more


On Holy Scripture
by Elder Cleopa of Romania

Each Christian has the need to read Holy Scripture, yet each Christian does not also have the authority or ability to teach and interpret the words of Scripture. This privileged authority is reserved for the Church via its holy clergy and theologians, men who are instructed in and knowledgeable of the true faith. When we consider how our Saviour gave the grace of teaching to His Holy Apostles (Mat. 28:20) and not to the masses it is easy for us to see that the prerogative to teach is held only by the bishops, priests and theologians of our Church. It was the Apostles who were sent by Christ to teach and to celebrate the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments). Our Apostle Paul says: How shall they preach, except they be sent? (Rom. 10:15). Accordingly, the bishops are the lawful successors to the Apostles and those sent for the preaching (κήρυγμα) to the people. Paul entrusts the heavy burden of the instruction of the people to Timothy and not to the faithful. He speaks of this elsewhere: Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? (1 Cor. 12:29) Again he says to Timothy that the clergy must be apt to teach others (1 Tim. 3:2). He does not, however, say the same thing for the faithful. He makes a distinction between shepherd and sheep, between teacher and those taught. more

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