Pray for the people of Ukraine and for an end to war!
Holy Fathers
Orthodox Elders
Athonite Hermits
Icons & Frescoes
Holy Land
Monasteries, Churches
Pascha Holy Light
Monastic Obedience
Various Photos
What's Orthodoxy?
Who started it?
Is it 2000 year old,
before catholicism
and protestantism?

Athos Monks[play]
Th. Vassilikos[play]


Thus the Bible came to be what it is, came into existence, only in the context of the living, dynamic Church of Christ, which had its origin at Pentecost (although its antetype, of course, was to be found in the Chosen People whose history led to the incarnation of the Son of God). It was the life of the Church throughout the first seventy or so years of her existence which, guided by the Holy Spirit, gave rise to the written texts which in due course were to comprise the New Testament. And it was the continuing life of the Church for more than another three hundred years which was required to refine and define the exact contents of the Scriptures.

        Thus, it is pointless and misleading and even dangerous to discuss the Scriptures apart from the life of the Church. If the Scriptures as we know them could only come into existence through the action of the Holy Spirit upon and in the Church over a period hundreds of years, then obviously the rest of the experience of the Church during those same centuries (and subsequent ones as well) is of vital importance to their understanding.

        And what is this “Church?” It is the same Church which was founded by Our Lord, governed by the Apostles in the earliest decades, later guided and shepherded by their successors, the bishops. It is the same Church which suffered intermittent persecution for three hundred years, which finally attained freedom under the reign of St. Constantine, which by the guidance of the Holy Spirit defined the meaning of the Scriptures as it confronted the perpetrators of the various heresies. It is the same Church which in the holy Councils wrote the Nicene Creed, summarizing the very essence of the Faith and the Scriptures, which in these same Councils wrote the Canons which are the guidelines even to this day for its life.

        This is the same Church which teaches us to venerate the saints and their relics. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Church learned how to celebrate the holy Liturgy, the Lord’s Supper, with dignity and splendor, long before the time at which we can identify a final agreement concerning the contents of the Bible.

        And so we are forced, if we confront the facts with honesty and integrity, to one inescapable conclusion: it is only through the Church that we have access to the Bible at all. And it is likewise to the Church that we must turn for its understanding.

        This classic riddle “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is very much to the point here. In point of time, it should be apparent that the Church long precedes the Bible as an integral collection of books, and considerably precedes even the individual books of the New Testament. Thus, it is quite certain that the Church founded by Our Lord was not “based on the Bible.” The Church created by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost had no Bible as we know it and did not have to have it to be truly the Church.

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

[ Orthodox Resources / Multimedia / Screen Savers ]
[ Bookmark / Homepage ]

Recommended books for: orthodox & non-orthodox people

Copyright © 2003 - 2022 All rights reserved.