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How to read the Bible: An Orthodox perspective

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Christmahanikwanzikah
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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:43 pm

Dyakovo wrote:
Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:
How To Read the Bible: An Orthodox Perspective

Step 1: Read currently-accepted Church doctrine
Step 2:

Apparently the Orthodox perspective (at least according to Dis) is that lay people aren't smart enough to read the bible themselves...


It's more that the Church's perspective must be accepted in order for the Scripture to have power. Or something.

I mean, honestly, the church plays an integral role in the growth and resolution of one's faith - that's why Paul wrote Titus and 1Timothy and so on. The church is present in dealing with members of the faith that aren't truthful (Acts), deep into sexual immorality (1 Corinthians), and so on. And the members of churches must be directed in accordance to "sound doctrine" from the church elders. (Titus)

To say, though, that the interpretation of the Bible is based on doctrine and tradition, rather than doctrine and tradition based on the Bible, seems foolish to me. Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.

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Postby Norstal » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:47 pm

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote: Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.

What, you've never studied math before? :P
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Christmahanikwanzikah
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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:47 pm

Seleucas wrote:Distruzio, what do you think of TULIP Calvinism? I tend to like Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity more because they are more humane (I am an atheist, BTW), but the God in the Bible does seem like a creep a lot of the time, which seems to go with mass-murderer John Calvin's interpretation of the Bible.


L (limited election) is probably the weakest point of Calvin's doctrine. The only reason why it stands is the notion that a group of people won't go to heaven, and that itself is a rather elementary point to make.

Maybe he saw that he had the acronym "TUIP" lined up and needed to make his point more memorable.

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Christmahanikwanzikah
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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:48 pm

Norstal wrote:
Christmahanikwanzikah wrote: Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.

What, you've never studied math before? :P


At least you're allowed to go complain to a math professor if you feel you've been wronged. :P

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Not a pipe
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Postby Not a pipe » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:51 pm

My opinion the way to read Bible is just to read it, and think about it in your own way, consider what is correct/wrong about it, find the version of your preference, with or without the deuterocanonical and so on (my own preference is to include all of them).
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Postby Norstal » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:55 pm

Not a pipe wrote:My opinion the way to read Bible is just to read it, and think about it in your own way, consider what is correct/wrong about it, find the version of your preference, with or without the deuterocanonical and so on (my own preference is to include all of them).

The problem is that people start believing things like Noah's story which, according to Arch, the Orthodox never believe in the first place.
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Not a pipe
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Postby Not a pipe » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:57 pm

Norstal wrote:
Not a pipe wrote:My opinion the way to read Bible is just to read it, and think about it in your own way, consider what is correct/wrong about it, find the version of your preference, with or without the deuterocanonical and so on (my own preference is to include all of them).

The problem is that people start believing things like Noah's story which, according to Arch, the Orthodox never believe in the first place.
Yes, I know there are problems but I still think we should have our own freedom to think how you want to. (I also don't believe Noah's story, but I don't care if you do; the problem is when it causes you to do bad things.)
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Postby Swith Witherward » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:59 pm

My opinion on it...

People tend to translate things by perspective. I've seen too many well-meaning Christians corrupt a biblical passage (or a single verse) to support their own belief.

On the other hand, you have the Church interpreting. Granted, these men have far more insight than the armchair bible scholar but that does not necessarily make them correct. They do, at least, impart the totality of the work. Ancient writing (no matter the source) can be difficult to fully comprehend if nothing is known of the time in which it was written. The Church can more accurately guide than Betty Jo the Housewife who "got it into her head" that she knows ancient history because she's read all the OT "bible stories".

I believe that any undertaking should be done properly. "Bible books", like sutras, are better read as one piece and in a logical order.
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Postby Radiatia » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:02 pm

Interesting as this perspective is, I probably would have found it more interesting if I had remained a Christian.

As an atheist all I see is either "You worship the wrong god", or in this case "You worship the right god, but incorrectly".

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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:05 pm

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.


Alright, so to nip criticism of this point in the bud, I'll further elaborate. Yes, obviously, since doctrine is based on revelations and other prophecies in the Bible, it is technically based on people who are fallible. Yet, doctrine is based wholly on Holy intervention, from The infallible.

There are, obviously, doctrinal statements after the canonization of the Bible that were so inspired. However, there are classic examples (Copernicus/Galileo, and most recently the ban of contraceptives, immediately springs to mind) of central Church doctrine that have been accepted as infallible by the Church, and yet do not appear to have any Biblical hint of inspiration. Not to say that these examples are the crux of my argument against Orthodoxy (as I don't know much about its central doctrine), but the notion of an infallible doctrine that is devised centrally and must be accepted globally is highly suspicious to me.

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Postby Seperates » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:07 pm

I find it amusing that he doesn't trust a republic to keep freedom, but he trusts the church, a far more authoritarian and much more "freedom" squashing montrosity (when it is allowed to interfere in politics, that is).
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Postby Gillical » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:08 pm

Genivaria wrote:Step 1. Pick up bible.
Step 2. Open bible to first page.
Step 3. Move your eyes down the page.
Step 4. Turn to next page.
Repeat steps 3-4 until book is finished. Congratulations, your now reading the the bible like a pro.



But then also think about what its saying. Like every other book, there is no use just scanning your eyes down the page. Think about it - then you are reading it like a pro! :hug:

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Postby New Vaticana » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:10 pm

Hi Distruzio. I'm Catholic and study theology on the side. You seem to have attracted a few dissidents already, and I was hoping I could help you clear up some concerns (assuming you're okay with that).

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:To say, though, that the interpretation of the Bible is based on doctrine and tradition, rather than doctrine and tradition based on the Bible, seems foolish to me.


The early Church was in existence well before the Bible was compiled and its contents codified. I mean, just look at the Church in Acts of the Apostles -- were they basing their actions on the not-yet-existent Bible? Now there's a miracle if I ever saw one.

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.


Church doctrine is not "directed by a man that is fallible." Of course the Pope, the Patriarch of Istanbul, and indeed all bishops are fallible (though that's not to say they cannot make infallible declarations on the faith--not that those happen weekly or something), but no single man decides all matters of doctrine or something. It's mostly handled by the Magisterium for the Catholic Church. Not sure about Orthodoxy. Of course it's a bit silly to say that we men are leading the Church at all; it's guided by the holy spirit, and bishops are mere Vicars of Christ, not absolute monarchs of the people or something.

Now with that said I really don't want to get into an argument about this stuff and derail Distruzio's thread, since I'm interested to hear more about how the Orthodox interpret the Bible, so I'm going to stop.
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Postby Tmutarakhan » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:11 pm

Genivaria wrote:Step 1. Pick up bible.
Step 2. Open bible to first page.
Step 3. Move your eyes down the page.
Step 4. Turn to next page.
Repeat steps 3-4 until book is finished. Congratulations, your now reading the the bible like a pro.

Problem is, fundies tend to get bored and bogged down in Leviticus, and then they pretend like they've read the whole thing.
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Postby Ganos Lao » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:12 pm

Just another Georgizm wrote:
Meryuma wrote:Why don't you consider Lutherans heretics? They invented Protestantism and sola scriptura.

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He was talking about the guys named after this guy.
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Postby Seperates » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:13 pm

New Vaticana wrote:Hi Distruzio. I'm Catholic and study theology on the side. You seem to have attracted a few dissidents already, and I was hoping I could help you clear up some concerns (assuming you're okay with that).

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:To say, though, that the interpretation of the Bible is based on doctrine and tradition, rather than doctrine and tradition based on the Bible, seems foolish to me.


The early Church was in existence well before the Bible was compiled and its contents codified. I mean, just look at the Church in Acts of the Apostles -- were they basing their actions on the not-yet-existent Bible? Now there's a miracle if I ever saw one.

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.


Church doctrine is not "directed by a man that is fallible." Of course the Pope, the Patriarch of Istanbul, and indeed all bishops are fallible (though that's not to say they cannot make infallible declarations on the faith--not that those happen weekly or something), but no single man decides all matters of doctrine or something. It's mostly handled by the Magisterium for the Catholic Church. Not sure about Orthodoxy. Of course it's a bit silly to say that we men are leading the Church at all; it's guided by the holy spirit, and bishops are mere Vicars of Christ, not absolute monarchs of the people or something.

Now with that said I really don't want to get into an argument about this stuff and derail Distruzio's thread, since I'm interested to hear more about how the Orthodox interpret the Bible, so I'm going to stop.

Ah, yes... the invisible hand of the mark- *cough* I mean, the Holy Spirit.
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Postby New Vaticana » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:16 pm

Seperates wrote:
New Vaticana wrote:Now with that said I really don't want to get into an argument about this stuff and derail Distruzio's thread, since I'm interested to hear more about how the Orthodox interpret the Bible, so I'm going to stop.

Ah, yes... the invisible hand of the mark- *cough* I mean, the Holy Spirit.

New Vaticana wrote:Now with that said I really don't want to get into an argument about this stuff and derail Distruzio's thread, since I'm interested to hear more about how the Orthodox interpret the Bible, so I'm going to stop.

This doubly so when it comes to snarky replies.
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Postby Not a pipe » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:18 pm

Swith Witherward wrote:My opinion on it...

People tend to translate things by perspective. I've seen too many well-meaning Christians corrupt a biblical passage (or a single verse) to support their own belief.

On the other hand, you have the Church interpreting. Granted, these men have far more insight than the armchair bible scholar but that does not necessarily make them correct. They do, at least, impart the totality of the work. Ancient writing (no matter the source) can be difficult to fully comprehend if nothing is known of the time in which it was written. The Church can more accurately guide than Betty Jo the Housewife who "got it into her head" that she knows ancient history because she's read all the OT "bible stories".
I do agree, though. You should study it with perspective of the history that it was written. Yes the Church can do it more accurately than average people simply because average people don't know much about it. It is good to listen to Church and other (even opposite) perspective but nevertheless you should think for yourself too.

The Church did compile the Bible; they did not write it. It is kept the way it is by tradition. They don't know everything about it either. People may study history today and figure out some things, and some may be mythology, some may be others, the books of the Bible have different sources (even Genesis has multiple sources).
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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:18 pm

New Vaticana wrote:Hi Distruzio. I'm Catholic and study theology on the side. You seem to have attracted a few dissidents already, and I was hoping I could help you clear up some concerns (assuming you're okay with that).

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:To say, though, that the interpretation of the Bible is based on doctrine and tradition, rather than doctrine and tradition based on the Bible, seems foolish to me.


The early Church was in existence well before the Bible was compiled and its contents codified. I mean, just look at the Church in Acts of the Apostles -- were they basing their actions on the not-yet-existent Bible? Now there's a miracle if I ever saw one.


The Christian church today should be based on the same principles of the churches of Acts and following scripture that make up the NT of the Bible. Those that ran the early church just had a better, living example of the principle. :P

New Vaticana wrote:
Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:Furthermore, to suggest that church doctrine is infallible, yet directed by a man that is fallible, is silly.


Church doctrine is not "directed by a man that is fallible." Of course the Pope, the Patriarch of Istanbul, and indeed all bishops are fallible (though that's not to say they cannot make infallible declarations on the faith--not that those happen weekly or something), but no single man decides all matters of doctrine or something. It's mostly handled by the Magisterium for the Catholic Church. Not sure about Orthodoxy. Of course it's a bit silly to say that we men are leading the Church at all; it's guided by the holy spirit, and bishops are mere Vicars of Christ, not absolute monarchs of the people or something.

Now with that said I really don't want to get into an argument about this stuff and derail Distruzio's thread, since I'm interested to hear more about how the Orthodox interpret the Bible, so I'm going to stop.


Heh, having not been raised Catholic, I'm not an authority on Church authority and doctrine. I've learned something today.

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Postby Seperates » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:26 pm

New Vaticana wrote:
Seperates wrote:Ah, yes... the invisible hand of the mark- *cough* I mean, the Holy Spirit.

New Vaticana wrote:Now with that said I really don't want to get into an argument about this stuff and derail Distruzio's thread, since I'm interested to hear more about how the Orthodox interpret the Bible, so I'm going to stop.

This doubly so when it comes to snarky replies.

So stop and ignore my post then. :eyebrow:

I was merely commenting on the... well, oddity, of saying that the Church is "lead by the holy spirit". If this truely is the case, then the Holy Spirit appears to be as fallible as any human being. Which, of course, leads to the question, "Why do we believe that the Chruch is lead by something that is supossed to be infallible... but we can't evidentially verify it because it appears that fallible humans are actually in charge of it?"

For what reason is there to do this?
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Postby Tmutarakhan » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:27 pm

Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:I mean, honestly, the church plays an integral role in the growth and resolution of one's faith - that's why Paul wrote Titus and 1Timothy

If Paul had anything to do with those texts, which is seriously doubtful. The church has had a habit of tinkering with the books, their translations, and their standard interpretations, often for purposes of aggrandizing their own power.
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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:37 pm

Tmutarakhan wrote:
Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:I mean, honestly, the church plays an integral role in the growth and resolution of one's faith - that's why Paul wrote Titus and 1Timothy

If Paul had anything to do with those texts, which is seriously doubtful. The church has had a habit of tinkering with the books, their translations, and their standard interpretations, often for purposes of aggrandizing their own power.


Lawl, as if Paul's authorship means anything either way here. I mean, ignoring the other obvious problems with that statement.

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Postby New Vaticana » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:58 pm

Tmutarakhan wrote:If Paul had anything to do with those texts, which is seriously doubtful.


My NAB has a nice introduction to 1 Timothy that addresses Pauline authorship:

The Bible wrote:From the late second century to the nineteenth, Pauline authorship of the three Pastoral Epistles went unchallenged. Since then, the attribution of these letters to Paul has been questioned. Most scholars are convinced that Paul could not have been responsible for the vocabulary and style, the concept of church organization, or the theological expressions found in these letters. A second group believes, on the basis of statistical evidence, that the vocabulary and style are Pauline, even if at first sight the contrary seems to be the case. They state that the concept of church organization, in the letters is not as advanced as the questioners of Pauline existed in Israel before the time of Christ, as evidenced in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, this group sees affinities between the theological thought of the Pastorals and that of the unquestionably genuine letters of Paul. Other scholars, while conceding a degree of validity to the positions mentioned above, suggest that the apostle made use of a secretary who was responsible for the composition of the letters. A fourth group of scholars believes that thee letters are the work of a compilers that they are based on the traditions about Paul in this later years, and that they include, in varying amounts, actual fragments of genuine Pauline correspondence.
If Paul is considered the more immediately author, the Pastorals are to be dated between the end of his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:16) and his execution under Nero (A.D. 63-67); if they are regarded as only more remotely Pauline, their date may be as late as the early second century. In spite of these problems of authorship and dating, the Pastorals are illustrative of early Christian life and remain an important element of canonical scripture.
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Postby Menassa » Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:52 am

Why ask a christian how to read the bible

When you have a Jew who can read in the original text?

Sept the NT..... I'm not getting involved in that.
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Postby Distruzio » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:05 am

Dyakovo wrote:
Christmahanikwanzikah wrote:
How To Read the Bible: An Orthodox Perspective

Step 1: Read currently-accepted Church doctrine
Step 2:

Apparently the Orthodox perspective (at least according to Dis) is that lay people aren't smart enough to read the bible themselves...



I don't have much time to respond today. I have meetings scheduled in a few hours I have to prepare for and hopefully catch a few winks of rest. I'll catch up on everyone's concerns as soon as I get a few hours to myself. I did, however want to address this little quip by Dyakovo...

It isn't that the layman is too stupid to read the Bible for himself. Its that the layman is too uneducated to discern the Bible appropriately without proper guidance. You've seen my approach to typically divisive issues that seem to stand in the face of traditionally espoused Protestant doctrine b/c of my faith in accordance with historical Christianity. How, then, can this point I make be confusing to you? Laymen can and often preach hatred when misreading Scripture and yet claim to be Christians. How could Christs message of love and humility be confused so? By disregarding proper guidance.

There is no shame in admitting that the institution that delivered the Bible and the faith centuries ago know both the Bible and the faith better than you.
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