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Core Value V: Living by the Authority of the Scriptures
By Pearl Homiak

"We live in days of uncertainty, but our lives can be based on the certainties of the Bible-the Word-where God reveals Himself to us."
--Ken Stevens (St. Luke parishioner), The Evangelist, Summer 2002

The Bible genuinely expresses God's truth and His Will for all mankind (T. Hopko, The Bible and Church History, 1973). This Scriptural Authority is delivered to Orthodox Christians in various ways, all of which guide us to internalize God's will for our lives.

The Orthodox Church's yearly liturgical cycle is actually a Bible-related journey based on events in the lives of Jesus Christ and His mother, the Virgin Mary. In fact, the most significant experience in the life of Christ-His Resurrection and events leading to and from it-is described in detail in all four of the Holy Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). This is ingrained in our various liturgical services, which contain numerous passages from the Bible and reflect the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

To help us maintain the continuity of Scriptural Authority, our Church calendar lists daily readings from the Scriptures and the names of holy men and women (i.e., saints) to remind us that living a Bible-based life is quite possible and absolutely imperative.

Our prayers, beginning with "Our Father...," originate with or expound on Christ's Biblical teachings. Further, our icons depict persons and events that the Bible describes. Even the spiritual direction given by the Early Church Fathers and other Orthodox writers is based on the Authority of the Scriptures.

As we live by the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, St. Luke parishioners know what to do. First, we must regularly and willingly sacrifice the time it takes to learn about and draw Jesus Christ into our lives. He is our daily Role Model in every sense Who loves us unconditionally and wants us to be with Him forever. By reading about and contemplating His activities, motivations, strength, courage, and even suffering, St. Luke parishioners truly enhance their lives.

Second, St. Luke parishioners know they must let go of the individual willfulness that we all have and surrender their lives completely to God. "Follow me," Christ beckons (Matthew 16:24). This seems risky because we can't always be sure where Christ is leading us. However, The Holy Scriptures provide not only the road map for this ever-deepening spiritual journey but also the strength and encouragement we need to successfully complete it.

Third, St. Luke parishioners must strive to see Jesus Christ in every other human being since we are all made in the image of God. Christ says, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 19:19). He also tells us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit people who are sick and in prison (Matthew 25:35-36). As we know, this Scriptural directive refers to all mankind, not just to other Orthodox Christians.

When St. Luke parishioners live by the Authority of the Scriptures, we also fulfill all of our other core values:

  • We put God first in all we do (Core Value #1).
  • We love and encourage one another (Core Value #2).
  • We express genuine heartfelt worship to God (Core Value #3)
  • We gain direction and power through the Holy Spirit (Core Value #4)

    In these ways, the lives of St. Luke parishioners are transformed and enriched so they can truly and continually experience God's unlimited love and joy.