Return to
Home Page

Return to
Home Page

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Grand Junction, Colorado

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (AD 73)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (AD 1922)
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver (AD 1979)

METROPOLIS OF DENVER

What “Bible” do we use?
We use use the “same Bible” as other Christians. Specifically:

We use the Septuagint canon and text of the Old Testament, because these are the “Hebrew Scriptures” read by Christ in the synagogues and used by the Apostles wherever they preached.

We use the New Testament canon and text developed over the first several centuries by the Orthodox Church.

The Septuagint, abbreviated “LXX,” is a Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures done by seventy (or seventy-two) elders about two centuries before Christ in Alexandria, Egypt. The Septuagint was the “Bible” in first-century Palestine and the Jewish diaspora throughout the Mediterranean region.

At the time of Christ, Hebrew was only used and understood at the Temple in Jerusalem. Aramaic was the spoken language of Jews in Palestine, and Koine Greek was the lingua franca, the commonly-spoken language, of Mediterranean lands in the Roman Empire. When Jesus read in the synagogue (e.g., Luke 4:16) He did so from the Septuagint. The Apostles preached in Koine Greek, and used the Septuagint texts wherever they quoted the Old Testament in their Gospels and Epistles.

Contemporary scientific research absolutely supports both the canon (list of books) as well as the text of the Septuagint Scriptures as the original and authentic “Hebrew Scriptures.” The Hebrew-language Dead Sea Scrolls attest to the accuracy of the Septuagint translation as well as to its canon. The Hebrew and Koine Greek texts are identical, providing us with the only accurate versions of the Old Testanment.

On the other hand, neither the canon nor the text of “Hebrew Scriptures” from the Masoretic text – which today are read and studied by Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant faithful, as well as by academic scholars – are accurate. The canon was defined in the second century after Christ, containing fewer Books than the Septuagint, and is thus incomplete. The text is a Medieval-era translation from the Septuagint Greek version by a group of Jews, known as the Masoretes, completed between the seventh and tenth centuries after Christ and differs significantly from both the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scroll texts.

The Orthodox Church has consistently used the Septuagint Old Testament, which was the Bible of the Apostles, from the very first years of Christianity – indeed from the time of Jesus Christ.

The accepted canon of the New Testament developed gradually during the first several centuries of the Church. The first known listing (canon) of the New Testament in its final form as we know it today is found in the Paschal Letter of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria in AD 367. The Council of Carthage in AD 397 was the first to synodically codify this same canon.

The Orthodox canon and text of the “Bible” is the Textus Receptus, on which all subsequent canons and translations are based. Orthodox Christianity is the Church of the Bible, it gave the Bible to the world, and it continues to proclaim the Scriptures according to their ancient, original, Apostolic, understanding.

Translations inevitably fall short of the original, and all English translations of the Bible have deficiencies when compared to the original Scriptural texts. The King James Version (KJV) is, arguably, the most-accurate English translation available but for practical reasons in English-speaking lands the Orthodox Church uses the modified New King James Version (NKJV) for the instruction and spiritual edification of the faithful. The Orthodox Study Bible is therefore our standard “Pew Bible” and home study Bible.

Email: fr.luke@denver.goarch.org
© 2003-2017, Sant Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Contact Information