But I don't have to be part of the Orthodox church to know the truth revealed to us by the apostles. I can read that in scripture.
Heretics read and interpret the scriptures; reading and interpreting the scriptures of itself is therefore indisputably not enough in and of itself to guarantee one's orthodoxy. Many of your interpretations of scripture are in comparison with paleo-orthodoxy as expressed by the first millennium fathers heterodox.
Here are a few points which might help to clarify our perspective on doctrinal truth and scripture, condensed from chapter 1 "The Authority of the Fathers" in Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom
(University of Chicago Press), pp. 8-36. I have verified that all of these pages are viewable through Google Books here
should you desire further detail on particular points.
1. In any theological argument about the nature of our faith it was necessary to produce the voices of the fathers in evidence (St. Maximos) (p. 8). Why this is so will become clearer below.
2. Going beyond the fathers was to be avoided (p. 9).
3. The theologian does not present his own ideas, but what God has revealed (p. 9).
4. Faith in action which unifies us to God is "the faith of the church"; saving truth, deriving from God, is understood as changeless truth, "uniform and unshakable by its very nature... [it ]cannot be subjected to differences of viewpoint or to temporal changes... always the same teaching advocating the same thing" as opposed to falsehood which by characteristic was "splintered into many parts and many theories, changing suddenly from one thing into another"
(p. 13-14; St. Maximos as quoted by Theodore of Studio).
5. Characteristic marks of heretics and heresy: innovation; new prophecy; new theories; intimate knowledge of God vs. modest claims about God
6. Dogmas of the evangelists and apostles and prophecy / source and norm of traditional doctrine; words of heaven require continuous meditation as a path to spiritual health
7. Heretics always manage to deceive themselves despite scripture
; cruciality of scripture: words of scripture reach us in a bodily manner lest the mind and word of God remain unknown, unspoken, and his life incomprehensible. Proper interpretation of scripture as symbolic and sacramental because of the ineffable nature of the truth communicated by it (p. 17)
8. Supernatural vs. natural meaning and fullness of meaning is impossible without the Spirit. Purpose of scripture: not simply natural information, but to confer the gift of deification. Only those who are truly worthy are true authorities for the spiritual sense because they deal with the words of God mystically. "Christ instituted not only apostles and prophets but also teachers in the church...
[this] meant that we are taught by all of the Holy Scripture by the Old and the New Testament, and by the holy teachers and councils." What the fathers taught did not derive from their own resources
9. The authority of scripture according to the spiritual sense is always in harmony with spiritual exegesis; though exegesis could diverge in small detail, but without altering our unity and dependance with the spiritual fruit of the God-bearing fathers preceding us (cf. unity of the Church in the Spirit across time). Impossibility of expounding the fullness of doctrine from the Scripture "without the guidance of those who had developed the exact understanding of the mysteries of the scripture" before oneself, viz. from "the mystae and mystagogues" who lived it worthily. Heresies lack the authority of the Bible or the fathers.
Reflection in attributes and epithets (Athanasius the "God-bearing teacher"; "inerrant winner of contests"; Basil "the great eye of the Church"; Gregory of Nazianzus "God-bearing teacher" whose produced saying "most divine" etc.). St. Maximos: "we do not invent new formulas as our opponents charge, but we confess the statements of the fathers. Nor do we make up terms according to our own ideas, for this is a presumptuous thing to do, the work and invention of a heretical and deranged mind. But what has been understood and stated by the saints, that we reverently adduce as our authority"
10. Consensus patrum -not individual private opinions or views of the fathers. Phronema (mind of the Church) is the true and authentic consensus. (p. 21). Sometimes ancient meant foolish, however all orthodox truth was ancient.
11. Book of Acts/ when conflicting opinion among apostles appeared, the sides did not appeal to Paul or even James, but to a council. One changeless orthodox truth: doctors, scriptures, councils. (23-29; discussion of the Seven Ecumenical Councils).
12. Scripture is authoritative, but also "is a forerunner of the more perfect word to be revealed by him [God] in an unwritten way in the spirit" (St. Maximos). Dogma is not exhausted by councils; St. Maximos e.g. divinization. Authority in doctrine as authority "of a council or of a father or of scripture"; these, however, point beyond themselves to something which in turn qualifies them. Theological mystagogy transcended the councils
; negative statements about divine matters are the true ones ("a unique species of knowledge that affirmed the unknowaility of what it knew" (Pelikan). (pp. 30-31)
13. Subjective knowledge of Christian experience in monasticism/patristic psychology. "The truth was changeless and static, but the experience of it was dynamic and variable. There had long been a distinction between 'theology' and 'economy' "...Also important was the distinction between a theology that dealt with the symbols of revelation and a theology that proceeded demonstratively. But this implied that theology was obliged to recognize at one and the same time its validity and its limitations, shunning speculation as well as doctrinal indifference, and concentrating on the task of communication 'neither to concern ourselves with those things that are above us, nor to neglect the knowledge of God, but to give to others of the things that have been granted to us... Seek not what is too difficult for you, nor investigate what is beyond your power. Reflect upon what has been assigned to you, for you do not need what is hidden' (St. Maximos)"
14. Apophaticism "not in the sense that the name 'God' had no meaning, but in the sense that it transcended all meaning and all understanding..." Known and unknown: "if God who was literally... beyond measure, were to reveal himself in his true being, the trauma in the human mind would be the same as that inflicted by the unveiled sun on the naked eye." God known through a knowing ignorance; knowledge through contraries: God transcends both affirmations and negations. He participates in the reality of creation, but "in a non-participatory way." Not just language about God, but about divine things, e.g. life and light. "...the very fact of knowing nothing is knowledge surpassing the mind (St. Maximos, citing St. Gregory of Nazianzus and pseudo Dionysius) (p. 32).