Originally Posted by jennica
Well, see that is cryptic. If God wanted everyone to know what religion was true, wouldn't he make that obvious in the bible? Why would tradition have anything at all to do with it? Why would church history have anything to do with it? It should be obvious from reading the bible which religion is true, if there is one religion that is true. Tradition and history are not proof of truth. Let me put it this way. If I knew nothing of any religions in the world, and you gave me a bible to read, would it then become obvious to me in which way I should worship? Would the way I worshiped then follow the path of any religion? This is what I mean by cryptic. It is only obvious to people who are already a member of that religion. Others looking in can't see that this one religion is "true" and all others are false, or not as true.
preface - all my comments pertain to New Testament text. The old testament was of course around and solid before Christ came. So when I talk about the church writing and canonizing scripture I am referring exclusively to the new testament.
I don't believe that God wrote the Bible. The Church did. God gave us the Bible only in that he gave us His church (the one started by the disciples that still exist today unbroken and I believe uncorrupted throughout time, because he promised the gates of hell would not prevail against it and while we have needed to refocus occasionally and weed out corrupt leadership, the church itself has never faltered) and the Church wrote and canonized a set of scriptures as part of her Tradition. The writing and choosing of the scriptures I believe was guided by the Holy Spirit but still through His gift of the One Holy and Apostolic Church (for the record i am speaking of the EO church). So all that to say God gave us the church and the church gave us the scripture through the hand of the Holy Spirit just like they have maintained ad given us all the holy Traditions that comprise the fullness of the faith.
I don't believe the scriptures were ever meant to be used the way they are. They were never meant to be separated from the Tradition in which they were written and canonized. In the beginning there was the one true Church and the heretics. I think most heretical groups had their own set of scripture. either simply rejecting some of the churches or writing their own. The scriptures we have today did not fall from the sky. The written in the context of the Orthodox church (which then included the Roman Catholic church as well). Certain things were understood (and still make more sense) in that context. Also the epistles were written to address specific problems with specific people. they were not written for unbelievers or even for the uninitiated. It was never meant to be a stand alone guide for everything you ought to know about faith in Christ. that is what the church was for. and it was written with the understanding that this was merely a part of everything you needed to know and the church would be the one doing the interpreting (and the church would be the one feeding and teaching you all of Holy Tradition including scripture) and when in doubt the church would be in agreement on any interpretations before speaking out of turn and thus eliminating a million different translations. Keep in mind it took over 400 years of church history before the Bible as we know it was written and a group of text was officially agreed upon. before that there was a just a bunch of good reading, a collection of accounts, a collection of letters and some misc. A lot of it was deemed heretical and the books and their followers were thrown out. It was decided for some that they were good reading but not necessarily canonical. and then there was a list and then the argued and then there was another list and people drew up their own list and distributed it and the church didn't object but they didn't seem entirely impressed and then they continued to argue until the bishops came to some sort of conclusion. and that list has lasted the test of time going unchanged until the reformation when the protestants threw out a few books (They were good enough for Jesus to quote from they are good enough for me)
we get it in our head that no one can be wrong about translating and twisting scripture to fit their needs. That it must have been the holy spirit. but if everyone is saying something different then everyone but one person must be wrong. I tend to go with the people and the context in which the original scriptures were written and lean on the tradition in which they are actually a part of. The writers were writing to specific situations, inside of a well laid out framework. Worship was a non issue. everyone knew how to worship God. but through out the years people have wanted to worship their own way and keep changing things to suit their tastes and comfort level (because heaven forbid we spend a couple hours each week doing something that benifits God but not us, is not entertaining or makes us a little uncomfortable - everyone knows God is all about what is relevant, comfortable, familiar, easy, beneficial, meaningful to us. worshiping God . . it is all about us ya know.
: - sorry . . .side rant)
anyway . . .of course the Bible doesn't speak much about the specifics of worship. the first 400 years of the church worshiping the same way pretty much should have sealed the deal. I don't think it would have ever occurred tot hem that 1000 years down the road people of another faith would be trying to squeeze every once of life from a book that was written specifically in and for the context of their faith, in and for the context of the tradition and priesthood. why would it have occurred to them that people would co-op part of their tradition with so little knowledge of its context? Looking back I can't believe I never questioned where the Bible came from. I was a Biblical Studies major in college for crying out loud. and we didn't even cover it there!!!
So if you are going to take the Bible out of the Church and use it alone at the very least, before you start translating and interpreting it please think on a few things.
1. individual sentences or fractions of sentences were never meant to stand a lone. If you can't use the entire passage to support your claim you can't use the three word in the middle of a sentence to support it. or even three sentences in the middle of a paragraph.
2. know church history. the early church history is out there and as plain as day. you don't have to guess at it from a couple of chapters in Acts. it is just as reliable as the Bible. it was written at the same time (or earlier and by the same people)
3. know the language and culture in which it was written. Familiarize yourself with Eastern theology because it is a whole different ball game from western theology (It threw me at first. its kinda like going into a slanty house. everything looks familiar even though you feel whoozy but at the same time everything has a slightly different tilt which changes some of it completely). knowing the original language isn't enough.