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Divyabodhanam

The Thiruvachana Bhashyam, Divyabodhanam Certificate and diploma courses are being regularly conducted.There are at least five reasons why Orthodox Christians should read and study the Holy Bible.

First, according to Christian tradition, the Bible is the divinely inspired and thus authentic record of God's revelation of himself and of his will to mankind. Correctly understood, it is a primary source of truth concerning the nature of God, the condition of man and the overall purpose of the universe. Those who seek such truth must therefore have recourse to the witness of Holy Scripture.

Second, as an inspired record of divine revelation, the Bible is God's Word to mankind concerning himself and his kingdom. And that Word is addressed especially to those who are members of the Church, who are called to listen to it, heed it, take it to heart and respond to it in faith and obedience.

Third, the Orthodox Church teaches that the Bible is a verbal icon of God himself. Just as the persons and events depicted in painted icons are "really present" in and through their physical representations, so God is "really present" in and through the physical representation of his written Word. Through reading and studying Holy Scripture, through praying over it and meditating upon it, it is possible to make contact with, and commune with, God himself. Through the diligent and prayerful study of and meditation upon the Bible one can both "touch" and "be touched by" the eternal, undivided and life-creating Trinity.

Fourth, the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church is grounded in and expressive of Holy Scripture. It has been estimated that in the Divine Liturgy alone, and without counting readings from the epistles and gospels or the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, there are 98 quotations from the Old Testament and 114 from the New Testament."1 And in all Orthodox services throughout the year, the Bible is read almost constantly. It follows that one's understanding of and participation in the liturgies and services of the Church will be both deepened and intensified to the extent that one makes himself familiar with the contents of God's written Word.

Fifth, and finally, the Bible is a major expression of the holy tradition of the Orthodox Church. According to Father Kallistos Ware, "the Orthodox Christian of today sees himself as heir and guardian to a great inheritance received from the past, and he believes that it is his duty to transmit that inheritance unimpaired to the future."2 But in order to perform this duty, Orthodox Christians will have to overcome a number of rather formidable obstacles. Faced with the secularized culture of the contemporary world, Orthodox Christianity must learn to dwell in the presence of, and frequently in competition with, a multitude of non-Orthodox philosophical and religious movements and organizations. Many Orthodox Christians are, in fact, tempted to depart from the Orthodox Church in response to the often quite attractive and effective enticements of these philosophies and religions. For far too many of today's Orthodox Christians, holy tradition has ceased to be a living and life-sustaining tradition.