The Holy Scripture is a collection of books written over multiple centuries by those inspired by God to do so. It is the primary witness to the Orthodox Christian faith, within Holy Tradition and often described as its highest point. It was written by the prophets and apostles in human language, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and collected, edited, and canonized by the Church. Above all, the Bible is a faith document.

The Nature of Scripture

The Scriptures both are the word of God and are about the Word of God, Jesus Christ. They are God’s revelation of himself, the word of God in the words of men. The Bible is a witness to the revelation of God, and it is a part of the active and living Holy Tradition of the Church. Thus, if Tradition is the life of the Church, then the Scripture is the primary language of that life.

The Presupposition of Faith

The Bible presupposes the faith of the reader. It is a faith document—not science, philosophy, history, archaeology, literature, ideology, or biography. Because of its origins and usage in the community of faith, it does not attempt to establish its own authenticity or to prove its basic assumptions. It was not intended as a logical proof for the existence of God or for the reality of that to which it attests.

The Purpose of Scripture

Holy Scripture exists for the reason that the Apostle John gives in John 20:30-31:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV)

That is, the Bible is written so that we might believe and be saved.

The Canon of Scripture

The Old Testament canon of Scripture is that of the Septuagint, which was the Bible of the apostles. Other Christian communions through the years have deviated somewhat from this apostolic canon which the Orthodox Church still uses. The canon of the New Testament was developed over the early centuries of the Church. Its first known listing in its final form is the Paschal Letter of St. Athanasius of Alexandria in A.D. 367.

Full Article link:

Holy Scripture. (2011, September 11). OrthodoxWiki, . Retrieved 21:49, January 11, 2013 from http://orthodoxwiki.org/index.php?title=Holy_Scripture&oldid=103630

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The Old Testament (Septuagint)

The Septuagint (a name derived from the Latin word for “seventy”, also referred to as the LXX) is a 3rd century B.C. translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Koine Greek. It is the canonical Old Testament of the Orthodox Church.

History

The earliest extant version of the Old Testament is the translation executed in Alexandria in the third century before the Christian era; this version became known as the Septuagint and more recently, the Alexandrian version.

It was commissioned at the behest of the Egyptian King, Ptolemy, who wished to expand the celebrated library of Alexandria to include the wisdom of all the ancient religions of the world. Because Greek was the language of Alexandria, the Scriptures therefore had to be translated into that language.

The earliest writer who gives an account of the Septuagint version is Aristobulus, a Jewish author who lived at the commencement of the second century B.C. In his Letter of Aristeas, he explains that the version of “the Law into Greek” was completed under the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and that Demetrius Phalerus had been employed about it. Since it is documented that Demetrius Phalerus died at the beginning of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, it has been reasonably inferred that Aristobulus was a witness that the work of translation had been commenced under Ptolemy Soter.

Ptolemy contacted the chief priest, Eleazar, in Jerusalem and asked him to send translators. Six were chosen from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, giving us the commonly accepted number of seventy-two. (Other accounts have the number at seventy or seventy-five.) Only the Torah (the first five books) was translated initially, but eventually other translations (and even compositions) were added to the collection. By the time of our Lord, the Septuagint was the Bible in use by most Hellenistic Jews.

Thus, when the Apostles quote the Jewish Scripture in their own writings, the overwhelmingly dominant source for their wording comes directly from the Septuagint (LXX). Given that the spread of the Gospel was most successful among the Gentiles and Hellenistic Jews, it made sense that the LXX would be the Bible for the early Church. Following in the footsteps of those first generations of Christians, the Orthodox Church continues to regard the LXX as its only canonical text of the Old Testament. There are a number of differences between the canon of the LXX and that of Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Christians, based on differences in translation tradition or doctrine.

Full Article link:

Septuagint. (2012, June 24). OrthodoxWiki, . Retrieved 22:11, January 11, 2013 from http://orthodoxwiki.org/index.php?title=Septuagint&oldid=109684