Habemus Altare

… the Bible is not just a collection of historical documents, but it is the book of the Church, containing God’s word. And so we do not read the Bible as isolated individuals, or in terms of current theories about source, form or redaction criticism. We read it as members of the Church, in communion with all the other members throughout the ages. The final criterion for our interpretation of Scripture is the mind of the Church. And this means keeping constantly in view how the meaning of Scripture is explained and applied in Holy Tradition: that is to say, how the Bible is understood by the Fathers and the saints, and how it is used in liturgical worship.

As we read the Bible, we are all the time gathering information, wrestling with the sense of obscure sentences, comparing and analyzing. But this is secondary. The real purpose of Bible study is much more than this - to feed our love for Christ, to kindle our hearts into prayer, and to provide us with guidance in our personal life. The study of words should give place to an immediate dialogue with the living Word himself. “Whenever you read the Gospel,” says St Tikhon of Zadonsk, “Christ himself is speaking to you. And while you read, you are praying and talking with him.”

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