Interpreting Scripture with Humility

One elder passed seventy weeks in fasting, eating food only twice a week, as he begged the Lord to reveal to him the meaning of a passage in Holy Scripture. But God would not reveal it to him. Seeing this, the elder said to himself, “I have labored long and hard, and I have accomplished nothing. I will go to my brother and ask him.”

When he had left his cell and locked the door behind him, an angel from the Lord appeared and said to him: “Seventy weeks of fasting did not bring you nearer to God. Now, however, when you have humbled yourself and resolved to go to your brother with your question, I have been sent to you to explain the meaning of this passage.” And fulfilling this, the angel departed.

~ Paterikon of Bishop Ignatius, found in Spiritual Sowings. Translated by Elizaveta Baranova

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
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One Response to Interpreting Scripture with Humility

  1. It makes me think of two things:

    (A) 2 Peter 1:20 – Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

    (B) The Protestant idea (often infiltrating Orthodoxy) that we derive the “TRUE” meaning of Scripture on our own with the assistance of the Holy Spirit is dangerous. That’s exactly HOW you get so many denominations (schism, disunity and heresy) and exactly the way NOT to understand Holy Scrupture. The method defeats the purpose. Only through the Orthodox Church can anyone receive a true understanding of Holy Scripture (or of anything in life, for that matter).

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