Access to the Bible

by Andrea Elizabeth

The sample outline in my daughter’s English book traces the history of England starting with I. Early Days: Roman times, through the Vikings and French, etc. then II. Modern times: Magna Carta, Henry VIII, the publishing the Bible, and lastly colonizing America. Obviously the evolutionary progression is from individual, tyrannical rule, to being ruled by principles and then the Bible. I used to believe that too. Since becoming Orthodox, I’ve heard a lot more criticism of American exceptionalism and the idea that we are a light on a hill.

While I now feel that the dissing of the early Church and her fathers is very wrong, the prioritization of the Bible and it’s role in American values shouldn’t be summarily dismissed either. Some may say that individual Bible reading is secondary to a life in the Church and her prayers, but now that almost everyone has access to the Bible in their own language, that blessing should not be minimized. I can’t judge if people may have lacked by living a life devoted to prayers, which are largely based on the Psalms, and not educated so much in the rest of the Bible, but since we have it, we should be thankful and read it (with what one is told about the Church and her historic interpretations also brought to bear).