Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
The supernatural divine revelation is found in the Holy Scripture and in the Holy Tradition.
The Holy Scripture or the Bible is the collection of books of the Old and New Testament, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in an interval of time of about 1500 years meaning from Moses (about 1400 b.c) till the author of the Apocalypse (around 100 ). These books are the most precious treasure of light and salvation given by God to men. The Church preserves them as a precious treasure and uses them as a source of living water from where is taken the divine teaching.
The word `bible` comes from Greek and means `books or book`. The `books` or `book` of the Holy Scripture kept their Greek name of Bible during centuries, because the Holy Scripture was written mainly in Greek and also because at the beginning in the first centuries of Christianity the teaching it contains was preached especially in Greek, as it is found in the records of that time, especially in the Holy Tradition. This word, Bible, that is the most used by Christians and non Christians presents the Holy Scripture as a book in itself, the only one that during history preserved this name without any addition and we, the believers, consider it the book of the books, above all the others, and if we can’t call it the biggest one in size we can call it the most precious for its content and for its fruit in our soul.
1) The Holy Scripture can be read with the greatest benefit by anyone: learned or unlearned, from any corner of the world. It contains saving, useful teachings.
It teaches us how to live righteously, in the deepest meaning of this word.
The Holy Scripture doesn’t lie and the Holy Spirit did not delude his servants, the prophets. The men were not able to know by their own nature and mind such great divine things, only by grace coming from above upon the saints.
2) The Holy Scripture has a perfect unity. The same divine soul is felt when reading any of its books, although they are so different one from the other in what regards the matters they treat. Being given by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Scripture contains the truth. There is nothing unjust or false in it. The Holy Scripture doesn’t contradict itself, as the pagan scholars and writings. If the writings of the Prophets are in full agreement with the Gospels it is because they all spoke inspired by a single divine Spirit
3) The Holy Scripture has an overwhelming power by which it transformed and it transforms many sinful souls in saints. Saint apostle Paul says about the special power of the Scripture: See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. (Jews IV, 12).
Blessed Hyeronimus, a great translator and interpreter of the Holy Scripture says:`Please tell me what is holier than this word (of God)? What is more pleasant than this pleasure? What kind of food, what kind of honey are sweeter than the knowledge of God’s wisdom, than the entry into His hidden places, than the contemplation of the Creator’s idea and of your Lord’s words, than that these words of the Lord, so full of spiritual wisdom teach the people! The others may have their fortunes, may drink from their goblets adorned with jewels, they may shine in their silk clothes and be helpless in wasting their riches on various pleasures! Our delight is in meditating at the Law of the Lord day and night, in knocking at the door that is open for us, in receiving the loaves of bread of the Holy Trinity and in walking on the waves of life having God as a guide.
The Holy Scripture cannot guide us alone on the path to salvation because it was not given to men from the very beginning and also because when it was given, it did not represent the only authority in this respect but had before itself and near itself the Holy Tradition, in the always warm hearth of the religious community or of the Church. Long before Moses began to write the first books of the Old Testament there existed a piety of the religious community even older than that of the Patriarchs.
The Books of the New Testament begin to appear after more than ten years from the founding of the Church. They appear within it. And the Church choses the books inspired from the Ist century of our era. The Church is the decisive authority in this case and also in interpreting the Biblical text. The Church is the pillar and the foundation of truth. (I Tim. III, 15). It preserves the unwavering canon of truth. Within it is where The Holy Spirit is manifested for preserving unaltered the saving truth. `Where is the Church – says saint Irenaeus – there is the Spirit of God and where is the Spirit of God there is the Church and all grace and the Spirit is the truth. That is why the Holy Scripture cannot guide us alone on the path to salvation, only the Church does it.