Necessary Discipline for Orthodox Christians
written in the Scriptures was written to teach us in order that we might
have hope through the patience and encouragement that the Scriptures give
- Romans 15:4
Holy Scriptures are able to give you the wisdom that leads to
salvation. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for
teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and giving
instruction for living rightly.
- 2 Timothy 3:15-16
best way to find what is fitting for one’s life is to meditate upon the
divinely inspired Scriptures.
- St. Basil the Great (329-379AD)
of the Scriptures is a great cliff and a deep abyss. Not knowing the
Scriptures is the cause of all evils. Reading the Scriptures is like
possessing a great treasure. A Christian cannot help but read the
Scriptures. To be a Christian is to rejoice in the power of the Holy
Spirit and the Spirit speaks to us through the Scriptures.
- St. John Chrysostom (354-407AD)
of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
- St. Jerome (347-420AD)
holy occupation of the reading of the Scriptures is a light to the mind, a
guide on the path and an inspiration during prayer.
- St. Issac the Syrian (7th century AD)
words of the Scriptures are written for us not simply to understand
them but also to do them.
- St. Hesychios of Jerusalem (4th century AD)
Tips for Reading the Bible
Always pray before you read the Bible that God will help you understand
what you are reading in order to put His Word into practice in your daily
possible prayer to use is from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:
Prayer before the Reading
of the Gospel
Master, shine the pure light of Your divine knowledge in our hearts.
Open the eyes of our minds that we may understand the message of Your
Gospel. Instill in us reverence for Your blessed commandments, that having
conquered our sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life,
thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to You. For You, O
Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies and to You do we
offer glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your
all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit now and forever and to the ages of
Set aside a few minutes every day just for Bible reading – in the
before you go to bed—whenever is best for you. Don't say you don't have
can make the time. Everybody, no matter how busy, can set aside 5 or 10
day in order to read the Scriptures.
Begin reading the Bible by reading those books that are easiest to
understand. This means: in the New Testament, begin with the Gospel of
Matthew and Luke, focusing on Christ, and then perhaps the First Letter of
John. In the Old Testament, begin with the Book of Proverbs and then the
Psalms. For first time readers it is generally not advisable to attempt to
read the Bible straight through, starting at Genesis and ending with
Revelation. Very few people who begin this way get much past the first
half of Genesis.
Don’t read too much at one time. Concentrating on a few verses and what
they mean is far better than skimming through a whole chapter
superficially. But if the Bible is totally new to you, you might want to
read through a whole book quickly just to get a sense of the whole and
then go back and focus on smaller passages.
As you read the Bible, try to focus on what this passage means for us
today and how
can actively apply the Bible’s teachings to our lives today. The Bible
is not just
history book – it is the record of God’s Word addressed to each of us
and our guide for
Don’t worry about passages that seem strange to you or that you don’t
God to help you to understand them in time. Every Scripture verse has to
be understood in terms of its immediate context and in context of the
entire Bible and the life of the Church as a whole. Always beware of
people who quote a Bible verse in isolation and draw strange conclusions
The Bible is the Book of the Church. It is the Church, guided by the Holy
the proper context for interpreting the Scriptures, not any one individual
(including ourselves). Therefore, in any question of Biblical
interpretation, we must seek to learn what the Church teaches about it by
consulting the lives and writings of the saints, the texts of our
liturgical services, the icons, etc. “First of all, you must understand
this: no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own
interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20)