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How We should read the Bible

        Prayerfully and reverently, for in each word there is another drop of eternal truth, and all the words together make up the boundless ocean of the Eternal Truth.

        The Bible is not a book, but life; because its words are spiritual life (John 6:63). Therefore its words can be comprehended if we study them with the spirit of its spirit, and with the life of its life.

        It is a book that must be read with life — by putting it into practice. One should first live it, and then understand it.

        Here the words of the Savior apply: “Whoever, is willing to do it — will understand that this teaching is from God” (John 7:17). Do it so that you may understand it. This is the fundamental rule of Orthodox exegesis.

        At first one usually reads the Bible quickly, and then more and more slowly, until finally he will begin to read not even word by word, because in each word he is discovering an everlasting truth and an ineffable mystery.

        Everyday read at least one chapter from the Old and the New Testament; but side by side with this put a virtue from each into practice. Practice it until it becomes a habit to you.

        Let us say, for instance, that the first virtue is forgiveness of insults. Let this be your daily obligation. And along with it pray to the Lord: “O gentle Lord, grant me love towards those who insult me!”

        And when you have made this virtue into a habit, each of the other virtues after it will be easier for you, and so on until the final one.

        The main thing is to read the Bible as much as possible. What the mind does not understand, the heart will feel; and if neither the mind understands nor the heart feels, read it over again, because by reading it you are sowing God’s words in your soul.

        And there they will not perish, but will gradually and imperceptibly pass into the nature of your soul; and there will happen to you what the Savior said about the man who “Casts seed on the ground, and sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, while the man does not know it” (Mark 4:26-27).

        The main thing is: sow, and it is God Who causes and allows what is sown to grow (1 Cor. 3:6). But do not rush success, lest you become like a man who sows today, but tomorrow already wants to reap.

How to Read the Bible by Archimandrite Justin Popovich Return to the first page





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