Bible Study - Introduction to the Christian Old Testament
Release Date: 09/07/2023
Fr. Gregory Jensen, Ph.D., and Fr. Anthony talk about how important it is for priests to have balanced lives. This means more than scheduling "self-care;" it means adjusting our activities and approaches so that a graceful harmony is maintained between our capabilities and resources and the needs of those whom we serve. We should be at our best when we lead worship, preach, teach, and work with others. This requires that we build adequate time in our schedules for surges (Fr. Gregory suggests 15 hours of unscheduled time for a 40-hour work week), recovery and...info_outline Homily - Walk Worthy of the Calling
[We're still having audio issues - the mic cut off half-way through. I re-read the second half but you'll notice the change. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work on this.] I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and...info_outline Confession and the Holistic Art of Healing
In today's conversation on the priesthood, Fr. Gregory Jensen, Ph.D. talks with Fr. Anthony about why we can't get to holiness by maximizing our resistance to certain sins and why an approach based on virtue is bound to be more effective. He also reminds us that it is best to think of confession as a process, with the confessor meeting the penitent where he/she is and helping (en-couraging!) them to grow from there. Enjoy the show!info_outline Bible Study - Genesis 13 & 14 - The War of the Nine Kings
Today's Bible Study on Genesis 13 and 14 covers Abram and Lot moving apart, the War of the Nine Kings, and the mysterious encounter with Melchizedek. While Fr. Anthony relies primarily on St. John Chrysostom, he also draws from Fr. Patrick Reardon, St. Ambrose (numerology!), and academic research (via the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Old Testemant). Enjoy the show! +++ Abraham IIFr. Anthony Perkins Chapter 13. Abram solves a problem and keeps everyone safe; the Lord makes a promise. From Fr. Patrick Reardon When Abram left Egypt, he and his family were very...info_outline Homily - Unity and the Wall of Division
Ephesians 2:14-22. Fr. Anthony gives his brain a much needed break by reading the homily. It's on his favorite theme - harmonious and joyful unity in Christ. Enjoy the show! Homily – On Unity (Ephesians 2: 14-22) The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians. [2:14-22]: Christ is our peace, Who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, * by abolishing in His Flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, * and might...info_outline Preaching as a Job Interview for Confession
St. John of the Ladder writes "we ought first to question and examine, and even, so to speak, test our helmsman, so as not to mistake the sailor for the pilot, a sick man for a doctor, a passionate for a dispassionate man, the sea for a harbor, and so bring about the speedy shipwreck of our soul." While he was writing for monastics, it is also important that non-monastic believers use discernment when selecting a spiritual father. In this episode, Fr. Anthony talks with Fr. Gregory about this, starting with the idea that the way the priest preaches and interacts with people during...info_outline Bible Study - Genesis 11 & 12 - Abraham in Haran, Canaan, and Egypt
Genesis 11:22-12:20. We start with a review of the latter part of Shem's genealogy, go through Abram's movement to Haran, his father's death, his movement to Canaan, and his time in Egypt (!). The latter included a discussion of Abram and Sarai's deception (half-truth). We rely primarily on St. John Chrysostom for our understanding. Enjoy the show!info_outline Class - Confession II (Practical)
In today's Introduction to Orthodoxy class, Fr. Anthony follows up on Sdn. Scott's excellent class last week (alas, unrecorded!). Whereas Sdn. Scott covered the theology and history of confession, Fr. Anthony gave practical advice on how to prepare and how confession is done at Christ the Savior in Anderson SC. Enjoy the show!info_outline Homily - Good Samaritan. and Loving Enemies
Luke 10:25-37; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. "Some days it starts out chicken and ends up duck". That was definitely the case today. Fr. Anthony is planning on reading his homilies for a while to give his brain a much-needed break. Enjoy the show!info_outline Bible Study(ish) - Paranormal Episode
What happens when Fr. Anthony talks about his favorite subjects (the supernatural, the paranormal, the Scriptures, and Theology) without notes? Well, it's a bit of a meandering mess of well-intentioned talk. Enjoy the show!info_outline
Opening prayer (from the Prayer before the Gospel during the Diving Liturgy)
Make the pure light of Thy divine knowledge shine in our hearts, Loving Master, and open the eyes of our minds that we may understand the message of Thy Gospel. Instill also in us reverence for Thy blessed commandments, so that overcoming all worldly desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, both thinking and doing all things pleasing to Thee. For Thee, Christ our God, are the Light of our souls and bodies, and to Thee we give the glory, together with Thy Father, without beginning, and Thine All Holy, Good, and Life- Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. (2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 1:18; 2 Peter 2:11)
An Important Prologue (from Fr. Stephen’s The Whole Counsel)
· Inspiration. 2 Peter 1:19-21. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, than no prophecy of Scripture is of any private origin, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men, being carried by the Holy Spirit, spoke from God (OSB & FSDY). Note that these “men” did this at different times, using different styles, and the writing was not done all at once. For example, the Torah is of Mosaic origin, but its language and style are from later times (and I don’t have in mind E, Y, D, P). Inspiration includes speaking, writing, editing, copying, translating, and compiling scripture.
· Inerrancy. A bit on the term. 18th century gave rise to a “scientific” way of looking at scripture. This doesn’t just mean taking out the supernatural elements, but breaking texts apart and said to be of different and conflicting sources. Conservative American Protestants reacted by publishing “The Fundamentals.” They argued that the Scriptures were inerrant (without error). The Liberal Protestants were opposed to this view, saying that they were affected by the limitations of the people and cultures of the times in which they were written. This difference about inerrancy could have been bridged through nuance, but then they moved further apart, with the “fundamentalists” equating literal/materialist with inerrant and the liberal side becoming more interested in a reconstructed social gospel. Orthodoxy teaches that the Scriptures do not contain errors, but it has a strong tolerance for ambiguities. “In large part, this is because the Church has never approached the world on the basis of the Scriptures; rather the Scriptures function internally, with the Church and her worship.” Orthodoxy is not concerned with identifying and reconciling “errors” in scripture, but in what it (with all its richness) calls us to be.
· Sola Scriptura. The Reformation put Scripture as the key to evaluating tradition and the teaching authority of the Church; the Roman Catholics make the teaching authority of the Church key (magisterium). Orthodoxy sidesteps this approach because it recognizes that Christ Himself is the Truth. We are not turning to scripture, tradition, and the Church to learn about Christ; we are coming to know God experientially, being united with and in Christ Himself. John 15:26-27 (following the logic of 2 Peter above), has the Holy Spirit (continuously revealing “Tradition”) and the witness of those who saw/knew God (ie Scriptures); “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” We do not recognize competing sources of authority (Church, Tradition, Scripture), but see it all as the way we come to know Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit
The Source(s) of the Bible
Following Christ, the Apostles, and the Early Church, the Orthodox Church primarily uses the Septuagint. The Torah section was an official translation completed well before the Incarnation of Christ.
- This makes it more “objective” than the post-Incarnational Jewish Masoretic Text and Canon (most Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles rely primarily on the Masoretic text). The Masoretic text was prepared after the loss of the Temple and the rise of Christianity (with the addition of vowels etc.).
- The Septuagint differs little from the Masoretic Text; both are supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls help demonstrate that there was textual diversity before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
- There is NO SINGLE CANON OF ORTHODOX SCRIPTURE. We have the books we use liturgically and the books we read. All of them are useful.
How the Bible is Organized
New Testament (we’ll cover it later) and Old Testament.
Old Testament Organization (Septuagint organization)
- The Torah. According to tradition, it was revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai (most connect it with Moses (e.g. Exodus 33:11 & Galatians 3:19), but admit to it being touched by many hands). The five books of the Torah are also called the Five Books of the Law, the Pentateuch and the Books of Moses.
- Genesis (beginning). God’s creation of the world, the fall of mankind, and the three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)
- Exodus (departure). The early life of Moses, the Israelite escape from Egypt, and revelations at Mount Sinai.
- Leviticus (of the Levites). Historically, takes place at the foot of Sinai and continues to describe how God is to be honored and how Israelites are to live.
- Numbers (you’ll see!). Describes the Israelites’ time in the desert up to their arrival at the banks of the Jordan.
- Deuteronomy (second law). Moses’ last words to the Israelites. His death.
- The Books of History. The history of Israel from their arrival at the promised land to just before the Incarnation. They are thought to have been written well after the events they describe. The Books of History are Joshua (the conquering of the promised land), Judges (The Israelites struggle with righteousness and idolatry), Ruth, I Kingdoms (aka I Samuel), II Kingdoms (II Samuel), III Kingdoms (I Kings), IV Kingdoms (II Kings), I Paraleipomenon (I Chronicles), II Paraleipomenon (II Chronicles), Nehemiah, I Esdras, II Esdras (Ezra), Tobit, Judith, Esther, I Maccabees, II Maccabees, III Maccabees.
- Books of Wisdom. Psalms, Prayer of Manasseh, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs or Canticle of Canticles), Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach (aka Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach; aka Ecclesiasticus)
- The Prophets.
- Minor prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zecharia, Malachi
- Major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah (includes Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah), Ezekiel, Daniel (includes the Song of the Three Children).
Why did some early Christians want to ban the Old Testament from the Biblical Canon? Why do we care about the Old Testament? It is “The Scriptures” referred to in the New Testament. It is about God, Christ, and God’s plan for the world.