I am looking for information on the Orthodox’s beliefs on Bible reading. Do you have a certain reader who reads you Scripture or are you allowed to read on your own time also?
Do you have Bibles in your homes?
Orthodox Christians place heavy emphasis on the use of scripture, both in liturgical worship as well as private devotion. The calendar used by the Orthodox Church includes a variety of scripture readings for every day of the year, which are used in the liturgical services of the Church and, in many cases, read privately by individual Orthodox Christians in their group or individual study of scripture. Orthodox Christians make great use of the book of Psalms in worship, sometimes sung in their entirety, at other times sung as responsorials between the congregation and a chanter. At every Eucharistic Liturgy there is at least one reading from the Epistles and at least one reading from the Gospels.
Most Orthodox parishes have Bible study groups, and those who cannot attend such groups are strongly encouraged to study scripture individually, often with the assistance of guided resource materials.
Also, Orthodox Christians are encouraged to read and study the commentaries on Scripture produced by the early Fathers of the Church, such as Saint John Chrysostom and others. There are also numerous contemporary commentaries and other aids available for group or individual study. Several years ago a voluminous edition of the New Testament and Psalms, titled “The Orthodox Study Bible,” was published, offering a wealth of footnotes, cross references, etc. offering uniquely Orthodox Christian perspectives on the scriptures; a similar edition of the Old Testament is currently being prepared and is slated for publication in 2002 or 2003.
As far as the faithful possessing Bibles in their homes, I have never been in an Orthodox home in which I have not seen at least one copy of the Bible.
For contemporary Orthodox Biblical study and commentary you may wish to read the following books published by SVS Press and available from SVS Bookstore:
Paul Nadim Tarazi, Old Testament: Introduction, in three volumes (each about $12.00):
Volume 1: Historical Traditions (1991, ISBN 0-88141-105-1)
Volume 2: Prophetic Traditions (1994, 0-88141-107-8)
Volume 3: Psalms and Wisdom (0-88141-106-X)
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament: Introduction, in four volumes:
Volume 1: Paul and Mark (1999)
Volume 2: Luke and Acts (still to be published)
Volume 3: John and Revelation (still to be published)
Volume 4: Matthew and the Canon (still to be published)
The same author—Fr Paul Nadim Tarazi, Professor of Biblical Studies at St Vladimir’s Seminary—has detailed commentaries on several books of the New Testament with line-by-line exegesis of the text (including the Greek text original). These commentaries are intended for the scholar, the student of theology, and for the well-read layman:
Paul Nadim Tarazi, Galatians: A Commentary (0-88141-083-7), 368 pp.
Paul Nadim Tarazi, I Thessalonians: A Commentary (0-913836-97-4)