May 24, 2003

I have recently come to

I have recently come to the shocking realisation that I have not read the whole Bible. I suppose Iíve known this in theory, but it only just hit me.

Before I became Orthodox (or was convinced of Orthodoxy), I thought that I had. I had read the whole thing cover to cover when I was twelve years old. Okay, it was the Living Bible, but still no small feat for a twelve-year-old to accomplish in eight months and nine days. (I started on March 20 and finished on November 29.) And Iíve read lots of it since.

But what I read has only been considered the whole Bible for less than 500 years, and then by only a fraction of Christians. Why the Protestant Reformers decided to use just the Hebrew Old Testament is unclear. It may have been that there was stuff in the other bits they didnít like. But whatever the reason, all Protestant Bibles have left out twelve books and bits of others that the Eastern Church has been using all along. The Orthodox canon is based upon the Septuagint, the Old Testament used by the early Church.

However, to accept only the Hebrew canon (which wasnít established as the Jewish canon until well after the time of Christ) is to say that God didnít provided His Word to His Church for the 1500 years before the Protestant Reformation. So Jesus must have been lying when He said that Holy Spirit would guide the Church in all truth. What He must have meant was that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church in some truth for the first millennium and a half.

For three-fourths of the Churchís existence, it read all of the books of the Old Testament as Holy Scripture. Most of the Church still does.

Now I have to rework the cadence of rattling off the books of the Bible in order Ė something that goes back to my childhood days in the Baptist Church. Iíll have to revisit the Sword Drills of Sunday night Training Union, this time flipping instantly to Tobit or II Maccabees.

Iíll be very glad when they finally get the full Orthodox Study Bible off the presses. Reliable sources tell me that Iíll have to wait until at least 2005.

It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.

Posted by david at May 24, 2003 10:38 PM