Bible Reading for Orthodox Christians

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Bible Reading for Orthodox Christians




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Presentations text content in Bible Reading for Orthodox Christians

Slide1

Bible Reading for Orthodox Christians

It’s Good for

You!

Part I

Slide2

Overview of the Series

Try to do this in four parts

Today: What is the Bible?

Next: Basic Avenues of Biblical Interpretation

Then: “Issues” That We Bring to Bible Study

Finally: How Then Should We Proceed

A Modest Proposal for Bible Study

Slide3

Hyfalutin’ Term

Hermeneutics: “the science and methodology of interpretation, esp. the Bible”

American Heritage Dictionary

Slide4

Presuppositions to this Study

I’m a Layman

No formal theological study

Advantages and disadvantages

There is a problem today with Bible Study

Two-fold Problem

We Orthodox don’t know

much/enough about

the Bible

And neither do most other Christians

Slide5

Why a problem?

For Protestants

Sola Scriptura

: central unifying principle

Luther’s three

sola

Sola

gratia

Sola fide

Sola Scriptura

Everything based on Bible

“Bible-believing Christians”

Slide6

Why is this a Problem?

Luther insisted

Bible is essentially transparent

Any sincere Christian can

understand/explain

And would come up with same interpretation

Result

Emphasis on Bible Study

33,000 different Christians sects (at last count)

Teaching opposing doctrines

Nature of salvation; Church; sacraments; ministries;

Mary; saints; Eschatology;

Slide7

Why is this a Problem?

For Orthodox

Ill-equipped

To understand Orthodox dogma

To explain Orthodox dogma

To appreciate our Faith

To serve as missionaries

That outreach thing

Slide8

Why don’t we read the Bible

Historic (part of our tradition---”little ‘t’”)

Levels of literacy

Availability of Bibles

Concerns of the hierarchy

Sense of Church = Scriptures

Liturgy

Icons

Slide9

How Serious is the Problem?

Here’s one solution:

“No task is more important than for the church to take the Bible out of the hands of individual Christians in North America.”

Stanley

Hauerwas

, Methodist theologian & professor, Duke University.

Slide10

Centrality of Scripture

For Catholics

Scripture & Oral Tradition

For the Orthodox

Centerpiece of Holy Tradition

For Protestants

Only Authority (

sola Scriptura)

For the World

Book by which Christianity is evaluated/critiqued

Slide11

So

To understand our own Faith

To outreach to other Christians

To evangelize among the

non-believers

To defend the Faith from “the heathen”

WE NEED TO READ THE BIBLE!

Slide12

What is the Bible?

Book of Science?

Book of history?

Book of Mythology?

Book of ethics/morality?

Book of God’s inerrant word (cf.

Quran

)?

As a “vicar of God?”

Context for

Hauerwas’s

comment

Slide13

What is the Bible?

Greek Term:

βιβλιος

= record; document; book

Greek speaking Jews: applied to Hebrew Scriptures

Holy Scriptures: used by (all?) Christians

From Latin

scribo

---to write

Slide14

What is the Bible?

Old Testament

Testamentum

: will; (Vulgate mistranslates Greek)

Covenant best translation?

O.T.

Law (Torah); Prophets; Writings

Also includes history books (

Joshua/Judges/Kings

, etc.)

N.T.

Synoptic Gospels; Gospel of John;

Acts; Epistles; Revelation

Slide15

Where did bible Come From?

O.T.

Septuagint:

Greek trans. of earlier texts

The Bible

for the early Church

Masoretic Text (M.T.) Hebrew trans of 1

st

-2

nd

c. A.D.

Fewer books

Different trans.

Spurred in part by Church use of Septuagint

Slide16

W. d. Bible c. f.?

N.T.

No writings by Our Lord

An oral society

Lord’s imminent return

Apostles provided living, oral witness

No need for a new religion

Does Paul know he’s starting the Bible?

Slide17

The N.T.

Paul begins his written work in the ‘50s

Letters of encouragement/reproof/instruction to various communities

Gospels begin to appear in ‘60s

Apostles were dying

Church under persecution

In it for the long haul

Growing separateness from Jewish origins

Slide18

The N.T.

By around A.D. 100: all books of N.T. written

But so were a bunch of other allegedly Christian texts

Histories/Doctrines/Prophecies/Apocalypses

Many purported to be written by “authorities”

Gospels of Mary; Philip; Thomas

Acts of Peter and Mary; of Pilate

Apocalypse of Peter

Some were mainstream; others taught weird stuff

Abhorrent

Gospel of

Basilides

Slide19

An Authorized New Testament

Quasi-Gnostic heretic:

Marcion

of Rome (2

nd

c.)

Dualist

God of love vs. Jehovah

So

Rejects entire O.T.

Severely edits Luke; adds 10 Pauline epistles

In essence: starts the process

Was this authoritative Scripture?

Slide20

An Authoritative N. T.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (177-200)

4 canonical Gospels

Muratorian

Canon (c. 180)

Named for its discoverer (18

th

c. Fr.

Muratori

)

Churches around Rome?

Lists 4 Gospels; 13 Pauline epistles (no Hebrews); Jude; 1-2 John; and the Revelation.

Hebrews; 1-2 Peter; 3 John missing

Includes

Wisdom of Solomon; Apocalypse of Peter

Slide21

An Authoritative N.T.

By early 300s: Eusebius’s

History of the Church

Provides status update

Recognized: Today’s N.T. minus

Disputed: James; Jude; 2 Peter; 2-3 John

Spurious (doubtful): Acts of Paul; Shepherd of

Hermas

; Revelation of Peter; Epistle of Barnabas;

Didache

; and Revelation of John

Clearly heretical: Gospels of Peter; Thomas; Matthias; Acts of Andrew; John; other apostles.

Slide22

An Authoritative N.T.

St. Athanasius the Great (367)

Custom to write all his churches to announce

Pascha

(same date)

Includes list of books to be read in the churches

“in these [27 writings] alone the teaching of godliness is proclaimed. No one may add to them, and nothing may be taken away from them.”

Slide23

An Authoritative N.T.

Within 50 years near universal acceptance

382: Council in Rome

397: Council in Carthage

A New Testament

Canon

Where did it come from?

Simplest answer: From the Church; from the scholarship and debate and mistakes and prayer of the Church

Slide24

The Christian Bible

Of course---Church did not attribute this prodigious, four centuries long work of scholarship to its own efforts alone.

But this leads us to the interpretation of these writings, which we will consider next time.


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