Where did the Bible come from?

Most Christians take the Bible as a given. But where did the Bible come from? Answering this question is more difficult than you may think. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick explains. 

Where did the Bible come from?

Most Christians take the Bible as a given — it’s a big book filled with important history and theology that is critical to Christianity. And all Christians regard it as a source for doctrine and Christian identity.

But where did the Bible come from? Did it just get written down by the Prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New Testament, compiled into a single manuscript and then get sent to the printers so that everyone could have his own Bible?

No, that isn’t what happened.

Who is really brave...

On beholding the honorable contest waged by the Martyrs’ choir and the noble wrestlings they bravely undertook, thou wentest forth of thyself to the arena with manly mind, sparing not thy very flesh for the sake of thy love for God. Hence, O glorious and invincible Adrian, thou foughtest to the end thy noble struggle, and thou didst humble the foe's conceit.


Saints Adrian and his wife Natalia hailed from Nicomedia. During the second reign of Maximian (306-308), there were twenty-three Christians that he found in a cave and inflicted upon them diverse tortures. Adrian, who was twenty-eight years old and head of the praetorium, learned of

The Ten Commandments


1
I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before me.

2
You shall not make for yourself a carved object or likeness of anything whatever is in the sky above and whatever is in the earth beneath and whatever is in the waters under the earth.

You shall not do obeisance to them, nor are you to serve them, because I am the Lord your God, a jealous god, repaying the sins of fathers upon children to the third and fourth generation to those who hate me, and doing mercy unto thousands, for those who love me and keep my ordinances.

3
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will never acquit the one who takes his name in vain.

4
Keep the day of the sabbaths to consecrate it, as the Lord your God commanded you.

Six days you shall labor and do all your labor, but on the seventh day there is Sabbata to the Lord your God; you shall not do in it any labor — you  and your son and your daughter, your male slave and your female slave, your ox and your draft animal and any animal of yours and the guest within your gates so that your male slave and your female slave may rest as well as you.

And you shall remember that you were a domestic in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and with a high arm; therefore, the Lord your God instructed you to keep the day of the sabbaths and to consecrate it.

5
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that it may be well with you and that you may be long-lived in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

6
You shall not commit adultery.

7
You shall not murder.

8
You shall not steal.

9
You shall not testify falsely against your neighbor with a false testimony.

10
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; you shall not covet your neighbor’s house  or his field or his male slave or his female slave or his ox or his draft animal, or any animal of his or what-ever belongs to your neighbor.

From The Septuagint

Gossip Separates

+ Leviticus 19:16 - Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people

+ Proverbs 10:18 - ...he that utters a slander, is a fool

+ Proverbs 16:28 - gossip separates the best of friends

+ Proverbs 18:8 - Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one's heart

+ Proverbs 26:20 - ...where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

+ Psalm 101:5 - Whoever slanders a neighbor in secret I will reduce to silence.

+ Proverbs 11:13 - A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence

Gossip is spiritual murder

Gossip is called spiritual murder. What can we do to fight this terrible venom?

Archimandrite Sebastian at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery had the best shield against gossip: if you came to him with gossip and said, “Guess what I heard!”, before you had a chance to say any more, he would ask, “Did you hear it yourself? Were you there?” And if you said no, he would say “Then it’s gossip, and I don’t want to hear it.” And if you started to tell him anyway -- he would turn his back and walk away. Or, if you said you were there, and you heard it with your own ears, he would say he didn’t want to hear it anyhow.

Pambo the Blessed


The monks asked Pambo the Blessed:
"Is it good to praise your neighbor?"
Then Pambo was silent and to the brethren replied:
"It is good to praise but it is better to remain silent."

And still, they asked Pambo: "And who is perfect?"
"For the sake of the will of God, one who denies his own."

The monks remained silent while one said:
"Yet one more reply, do not deny us:
And what kind of garment should a monk have?"
"The kind you throw away and no one takes."

Thus the saint spoke and closed his mouth,
For he protected his tongue in order not to speak unnecessarily.

Pambo, all radiant at the hour of his death
Questioned about his life, he uttered:
"Undeserving bread, I never did taste, Neither for a word, my soul repented."

Lazarus Saturday

e

Saturday. [Heb. 12:28–13:8; John 11:1–45]

"To whomever has work-loving Martha, who symbolizes comprehensive good works, and who has Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet, symbolizing an attentive and warm appeal to the Lord with all the heart, the Lord Himself will come and will resurrect Lazarus, who symbolizes his spirit, and will release him from all his emotional and fleshly bonds.

Then a truly new life will begin in him, body-less in the body and unearthly on the earth.

It will be a true resurrection in the spirit before the future resurrection, which will be together with the body!"
+By St. Theophan the Recluse

“Reveal which He crowned and which He saved; for we know that Lazarus from the hand of Hades Christ snatched away.”
+St. Romanos the Melodist



Troparion, Tone 1

Giving us before Thy Passion an assurance of the general resurrection, Thou hast raised Lazarus from the dead, O Christ our God. Therefore, like the children, we also carry tokens of victory, and cry to Thee, the Conqueror of Death: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord.

Kontakion, Tone 6

Christ, the Joy of all, the Truth, the Light, the Life, the Resurrection of the world, in His love appeared to those on earth; and He became Himself the pattern of our resurrection, granting divine forgiveness unto all.


Fr. John Whiteford of St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Spring, TX shares about the raising of Lazarus, from the Gospel of St. John, chapter 11.

On God-Created Inequality


A homily on the Gospel on the Talents by St. Nikolai Velimirovic, bishop of Ochrid, from “Homilies, vol. Two: Sundays after Pentecost” Lazarica Press, Birmingham (1998).

God creates inequality; men grumble at it. Are men wiser than God? When God creates inequality, it means that inequality is wiser and better than equality. God creates inequality for man’s good, but men cannot see the good in their inequality. God creates inequality because of the beauty of inequality, but men can see no beauty in it. God creates inequality out of love, that is aroused and sustained by inequality, but man can see no love in it.

This is a primitive human

There is nothing better than peace in Christ


There is nothing better than peace in Christ, for it brings victory over all the evil spirits on earth and in the air. When peace dwells in a man’s heart it enables him to contemplate the grace of the Holy Spirit from within. He who dwells in peace collects spiritual gifts as it were with a scoop, and he sheds the light of knowledge on others. All our thoughts, all our desires, all our efforts, and all our actions should make us say constantly with the Church: “O Lord, give us peace!” When a man lives in peace, God reveals mysteries to him...

+ St. Seraphim of Sarov [book] 

Renounce old nature

 

Those who desire to renounce their old nature must not sometimes pray and sometimes not, but must unceasingly devote themselves to prayer and watchfulness of mind, even when they are outside temples of prayer. Those who intend to purify gold, if even for a short time they allow the fire to go out in the furnace, they produce hardening again in the material that is being purified.

+ Ignatius Brianchaninov

Prophesy of Abba Pambo regarding the state of the world in the end times


Prophesy of Abba Pambo regarding the state of the world in the end times

…And I’ll tell you this, my child, that the days will come when the Christians will add to and will take away from, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers. They’ll tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically. Their nous will be spilled out among them, and will become alienated from it’s Heavenly Prototype. For this reason the Holy Fathers had previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see, the evil that comes will be horrible.

Then the disciple asked: “What sayest thou, o Abba, that the traditions and practices among the Christians will be altered? Perhaps there will be a dearth of priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?”

Pambo continued: “In those times, the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall upon the world. One nation shall face off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. Church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with the salvation of souls, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks: indeed, they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They will be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they will not have any interest to hear them, much less to emulate them, but rather they will complain and say that ‘if we had lived in those times, then we would have conducted ourselves similarly.’ And the Bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended. They will afflict widows. They will harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most will not believe in God. They will hate each other, and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other. They will be drunk and will walk about as ones blind.”

The disciple again asked: “What shall we do in such a state?”

Elder Pambo answered, “My child, in these times, whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of the Heavens.”

Abba Pambo reposed in the Lord in 393.

From the Prophesies by Abba Pambo, Orthodox Christian Witness, Vol. XL, no. 7 (562)(July 2006): 16-18.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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