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July 4, 2012 + How to Read the Bible (Part 2)

from Orthodox America, Issue 4, Vol. 1, No. 4, October, 1980
by St. Justin Popovich

Prayerful Preparation

Just as important as knowing why we should read the Bible is knowing how we should read the Bible.

The best guides for this are the holy Fathers, headed by St. John Chrysostom who, in a manner of speaking, has written a fifth Gospel.

The holy Fathers recommend serious preparation before reading and studying the Bible; but of what does this preparation consist?

First of all in prayer. Pray to the Lord to illumine your mind--so that you may understand the words of the Bible--and to fill your heart with His grace--so that you may feel the truth and life of those words.

Be aware that these are God's words, which He is speaking and saying to you personally. Prayer, together with the other virtues found in the Gospel, is the best preparation a person can have for understanding the Bible.

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 it 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.

June 27, 2012 + How to Read the Bible (Part 1)

from Orthodox America, Issue 4, Vol. 1, No. 4, October, 1980
by St. Justin Popovich

The Bible is in a sense a biography of God in this world. In it the Indescribable One has in a sense described Himself. 

The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament are a biography of the incarnate God in this world. In them it is related how God, in order to reveal Himself to men, sent God the Logos, Who took on flesh and became man-and as man told men everything that God is, everything that God wants from this world and the people in it.

God the Logos revealed God's plan for the world and God's love for the world. God the Word spoke to men about God with the help of words insofar as human words can contain the uncontainable God.

All that is necessary for this world and the people in it--the Lord has stated in the Bible. In it He has given the answers to all questions. There is no question which can torment the human soul, and not find its answer, either directly or indirectly in the Bible.

Men cannot devise more questions than there are answers in the Bible. If you fail to find the answer to any of your questions in the Bible, it means that you have either posed a senseless question or did not know how to read the Bible and did not finish reading the answer in it.

What the Bible Contains

In the Bible God has made known:

1) what the world is; where it came from; why it exists; what it is heading for; how it will end;

2) what man is; where he comes from; where he is going; what he is made of; what his purpose is

how he will end;

Lessons from a Bible Puppet Theater

I stood alone in front of the audience while they stared at me in silence. Memories of playing the lead in my second-grade Christmas play rushed back, with all the dread of performing before an audience for the first time.

What was I doing here, a middle-aged man, dressed as a Babylonian king? How did I get here and how did this happen so quickly? The memories and questions flashed by, but then I heard my own voice bellow out to the audience, “I am King Nebuchadnezzar, Ruler of all Babylon. I am here to tell you the most amazing story about three young men and how the True God who rules over all saved them from a fiery death!” With those opening lines Saint George Cathedral Church School in Pittsburgh started a new, educational adventure.

Almost every teacher regularly confronts the challenge to engage his or her students in learning. At times that challenge seems to be overwhelming. However, supportive teamwork, some creativity, and openness to new approaches make it easier to develop eager students who look forward to Church School on Sunday morning.

It was a warm Sunday evening in early September 2006 when the Church School staff met at the Cloherty’s home for the first meeting of the new school year. Our host and Church School Director, Joanne Cloherty, and Father John Abdalah suggested as one of the topics for discussion that we try dramatics to supplement the students’ knowledge of the Bible and of the Saints, Patriarchs, Prophets and others found within it. We decided that I would write and perform one-man plays as a way of making these holy people from the Bible come alive for the children.

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