On Fundamental Orthodox Exegesis

St. Justin Popovich 1894-1979

The Holy Fathers recommend serious preparation before reading and studying the Bible; but of what does this preparation consist?

First of all in prayer. Pray to the Lord to illuminate your mind–so that you may understand the words of the Bible–and to fill your heart with His grace–so that you may feel the truth and life of those words.

Be aware that these are God’s words, which He is speaking and saying to you personally. Prayer, together with the other virtues found in the Gospel, is the best preparation a person can have for understanding the Bible.

How should we read the Bible? Prayerfully and reverently, for in each word there is another drop of eternal truth, and all the words together make up the boundless ocean of the Eternal Truth.

The Bible is not a book but life; because its words are “spirit and life” (John 6:63). Therefore its words can be comprehended if we study them with the spirit of its spirit, and with the life of its life.

It is a book that must be read with life–by putting it into practice. One should first live it, and then understand it.

Here the words of the Saviour apply: “Whoever is willing to do it–will understand that this teaching is from God” (John 7:17). Do it, so that you may understand it. This is the fun­damental rule of Orthodox exegesis. (How to Read the Bible and Why)

Source: http://www.sv-luka.org/library/howtoread_jp.htm


  1. John P. Nasou, M.D says:

    I have made much of my 87 yr. lifetime to understanding my Orthodoxy and the exegesis of its scriptures. This essential for the Orthodox Christian, yet so few are regular readers of the Bible and of the writings of the Church Fathers. I am in the process of publication of my book entitled “Meditations on the Holy Scriptures for Orthodox Christians. It is just coming off of the printing presses this week and will be available shortly from the Trafford Publications. It describes my exploration of the Scriptures and is a good guide for Bible Study Classes and for individual Bible study.

  2. Dr. Nasou,

    Thanks for commenting!! As an Orthodox committed to Scripture and the Holy Fathers, I look forward to your book.



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