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Author Topic: Does the Bible apply to all areas of life?  (Read 1028 times) Average Rating: 0
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lizzyd
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« on: March 22, 2010, 10:41:35 AM »

My husband comes from a Protestant tradition where the Bible is viewed basically as a guidebook for life. For instance, in this tradition parents should only homeschool their children because of the Bible verse instructing parents to train their children. In an even more extreme example, all OT moral and civil law should still apply today. Basically the Bible has all the answers. My husband himself doesn't hold as strongly to this view - he thinks that the Bible does apply to all of life, but that there are lots of gray areas where there is no clear-cut answer. I think that the Bible certainly applies to one's spiritual life, and that in turn has an effect on other areas of a person's life, but otherwise I am not sure that we can make a blanket statement such as this.

What do you think? What does the Church teach?
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 11:19:57 AM »

From my jurisdiction (GOA) Web site:

"The Holy Scriptures are highly regarded by the Orthodox Church. Their importance is expressed in the fact that a portion of the Bible is read at every service of Worship. The Orthodox Church, which sees itself as the guardian and interpreter of the Scriptures, believes that the books of the Bible are a valuable witness to God's revelation. The Old Testament is a collection of forty-nine books of various literary styles which expresses God's revelation to the ancient Israelites. The Orthodox Church regards the Old Testament as a preparation for the coming of Christ and believes that it should be read in light of His revelation.

The New Testament is centered upon the person and work of Jesus Christ and the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit in the early Church. The four Gospels are an account of Christ's life and teaching, centering upon His Death and Resurrection. The twenty-one epistles and the Acts of the Apostles are devoted to the Christian life and the development of the early Church. The Book of Revelation is a very symbolic text which looks to the return of Christ. The New Testament, especially the Gospels, is very important to Orthodoxy because here is found a written witness to the perfect revelation of God in the Incarnation of the Son of God, in the person of Jesus Christ.

While the Bible is treasured as a valuable written record of God's revelation, it does not contain wholly that revelation. The Bible is viewed as only one expression of God's revelation in the on-going life of His people. Scripture is part of the treasure of Faith which is known as Tradition. Tradition means that which is "handed on" from one generation to another. In addition to the witness of Faith in the Scripture, the Orthodox Christian Faith is celebrated in the Eucharist; taught by the Fathers; glorified by the Saints; expressed in prayers, hymns, and icons; defended by the seven Ecumenical Councils; embodied in the Nicene Creed; manifested in social concern; and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it is lived in every local Orthodox parish. The life of the Holy Trinity is manifested in every aspect of the Church's life. Finally, the Church, as a whole, is the guardian of the authentic Christian Faith which bears witness to that Revelation."

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7062
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 11:39:24 AM »

I'd say yes the Bible does apply to all aspects of our life, BUT, the way a Protestant understands the Bible is so fundamentally flawed that it's almost safer to express it the way lizzyd did: "I think that the Bible certainly applies to one's spiritual life, and that in turn has an effect on other areas of a person's life."

I don't think that that is totally accurate either, but when people use the Bible as an excuse to condone slavery, beating women, discriminating against people that don't look or act the way we do, etc., there is a problem, and it's better to avoid "blanket statements." Our faith is not easy, simple, or to-the-point. There is no place for catch-phrases or anything quick & easy in our faith.  Jingles are usually the sign of a heresy (in Arius's day they used to chant a chant that went like, 'there was a time when He [the Son] was not') to get the simple people confused.

So I'd avoid both extremes, but think lizzyd's oversimplification is more accurate than her husband's ultimately. Lizzyd, I would encourage you to keep studying the Orthodox view on the Scriptures though, as despite the Protestant corruption of the Bible, it still is a book that God gave us, and we owe it to Him to understand it the way He intended it to be understood (which you will as you participate in the liturgies & feast days of the Church).
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2010, 11:44:39 AM »

There is also the issue of how the scriptures are interpreted.

I had a physician who was a very nice lady who was also a member of a "Bible Church". She gave me a book written by some fellow she thought highly of that "explained the Bible" chapter and verse. I of course accepted the gift, but I was silently thinking " I know who Paul is, but who the heck is this guy".

The Orthodox Church does not leave our understanding of Scripture up to the lastest whims. We are able to ask the question:

 "How has this passage always been understood ?"

We can simply look to see how this or that biblical teaching has been held year after year, decade after decade, century after century by all the Church everywhere it has existed. We can then have a totally reliable interpretation not subject to the latest fad or viewpoint or spin.  
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 12:11:19 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 12:56:59 PM »

It was St. Paul who said "Owe no man anything but to love him, for this is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets"...

I think that applies to all areas.  Undecided
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2010, 11:04:22 PM »

Dear Lizzy:

I would say 'yes' with the clear understanding that Protestant and Orthodox interpretations of the Bible exist in separate worlds. The Protestants believe the Bible's meaning is open to interpretation--it can be interpreted separately from tradition (sola scriptura)--and the Orthodox believe its meaning was established and codified by learned men and saints over the course of the first 500 years of the Church. For example, text that a Protestant will misinterpret as being literal, an Orthodox will understand as metaphorical because it was hashed out over centuries by someone closer to Christ and wiser.

That's why thousands of Protestant sects exist, but there is only One Holy and Catholic Orthodox Church.
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lizzyd
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 09:10:33 AM »

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts! I guess one of the key points is that a Protestant view and an Orthodox view are very different much of the time. It is hard for us as former Protestants to not subconsciously compare the two. Our priest advised us once along the lines that it really takes about five years before one truly starts becoming Orthodox. At the time I thought that was crazy, but now I am beginning to understand.
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2010, 01:47:08 PM »

Dear Lizzy:

I would say 'yes' with the clear understanding that Protestant and Orthodox interpretations of the Bible exist in separate worlds. The Protestants believe the Bible's meaning is open to interpretation--it can be interpreted separately from tradition (sola scriptura)--and the Orthodox believe its meaning was established and codified by learned men and saints over the course of the first 500 years of the Church. For example, text that a Protestant will misinterpret as being literal, an Orthodox will understand as metaphorical because it was hashed out over centuries by someone closer to Christ and wiser.

That's why thousands of Protestant sects exist, but there is only One Holy and Catholic Orthodox Church.


Protestants generally do not believe the bible is open to anyones interpretation and Protestants do not generally  teach that the Scriptures can be interpreted separately from tradition.   


john



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lizzyd
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2010, 01:52:46 PM »

Protestants generally do not believe the bible is open to anyones interpretation and Protestants do not generally  teach that the Scriptures can be interpreted separately from tradition.   

I have to disagree... sola scriptura is a key point of Protestantism, and the logical conclusion is that anyone can interpret scripture for themselves. Of course in practice this leads to wildly different outcomes. Furthermore most Protestants don't recognize any "tradition" - they will never use that word except in a derogatory sense.
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2010, 03:42:42 PM »

May I recommend the following practical advice on how to read the Bible by the preeminent Orthodox scholar of today, Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). I will quote the first four paragraphs, please go to the Internet link to read the rest.

"How to Read the Bible
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

“If an earthly king, our emperor,” wrote Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-¬83), “wrote you a letter, would you not read it with joy? Certainly, with great rejoicing and careful attention.” But what, he asks, is our attitude toward the letter that has been addressed to us by no one less than God Himself? “You have been sent a letter, not by any earthly emperor, but by the King of Heaven. And yet you almost despise such a gift, so priceless a treasure.” To open and read this letter, Saint Tikhon adds, is to enter into a personal conversation face-to-face with the living God. “Whenever you read the Gospel, Christ Himself is speaking to you. And while you read; you are praying and talking to Him.”

Such exactly is our Orthodox attitude to the reading of Scripture. I am to see the Bible as God’s personal letter sent specifically to myself. The words are not intended merely for others, far away and long ago, but they are written particularly and directly to me, here and now. Whenever we open our Bible, we are engaging in a creative dialogue with the Savior. In listening, we also respond. “Speak, for Your servant hears,” we reply to God as we read (1 Sam. 3:10); “Here am I”--Is. 6:8.

Two centuries after Saint Tikhon, at the Moscow Conference held in 1976 between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, the true attitude toward Scripture was expressed in different but equally valid terms. This joint statement, signed by the delegates of both traditions, forms an excellent summary of the Orthodox view: “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 in the whole history of salvation, and as such 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.”

Combining Saint Tikhon’s words and the Moscow statement, the four key characteristics which mark the Orthodox “Scriptural mind” may be distinguished. First, our reading of Scripture is obedient. Second, it is ecclesial, in union with the Church. Third, it is Christ-centered. Fourth, it is personal.

http://www.oca.org/Docs.asp?ID=180&SID=2
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zoarthegleaner
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2010, 07:54:16 PM »

Protestants generally do not believe the bible is open to anyones interpretation and Protestants do not generally  teach that the Scriptures can be interpreted separately from tradition.   

I have to disagree... sola scriptura is a key point of Protestantism, and the logical conclusion is that anyone can interpret scripture for themselves. Of course in practice this leads to wildly different outcomes. Furthermore most Protestants don't recognize any "tradition" - they will never use that word except in a derogatory sense.

Sola Scriptura does not mean...as you suggest...anyone can interpret scripture for themselves.   Neither does Sola Scriptura give a license for any kind of a interpretation by anybody.  Sola Scriptura is the standard or rule by which the questions of Scriptural interpretation are measured. 




john

 
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2010, 07:58:08 PM »

Yes, the Bible is applicable to every area of life.   The question is how?   St. Paul examples this for us when he references the Law which forbids muzzling and Ox while it is threashing the floor.  He applies it specifically to a teacher, but its application extends itself to every area of life. 

john
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