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Do Orthodox/Catholic believe the scriptures are inexhaustible?

Irish45

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In another topic in the Catholic subsection of this forum, a question came up about the origins of cross referencing Mt 16:19 to Is 22:22.  It is clear that this is not a patristic cross reference.  This raises an interesting question that I hope both Catholics and Orthodox will chime in on.  Please do not answer this question in light of the above scriptures, its rather a more general question on how divine revelation through scripture is understood.

Are the scriptures inexhaustible?

Revelation has ceased but does that mean we know everything about what has been reveled? Is it like the the human genome?  What I mean is, for most of human history we had the entire DNA sequence of a human but we hadn't fully mapped it yet.  Have we fully mapped out scripture?  Is every word spoken for?  If something wasn't recorded in patristic tradition does that mean there is no possible way that the Church (Orthodox or Catholic) could see a scripture in a new light?  What is a particular scripture hasn't been commented on much, would the Church be free to understand it in a different light?

Please don't turn this into a Peter and the keys debate!!  I only used that scripture as an example because it seems Catholic tradition has begun to understand Is 22:22 in a new light over the past 150 years.  I've always understood the scriptures to be inexhaustible, but not in the sense that something can be reinterpreted.  It has made me question what it even means for the scripture to be inexhaustible.  What are your thoughts?
 

Porter ODoran

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Where are you getting this term? It could be helpful to know its historical and denominational context.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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I think the Fathers understood the Scriptures to be inexhaustible, that's what I gather from my studies. I think however, the hermeneutic that the Fathers used is what is key in understanding how they understood the Scriptures. That hermeneutic was/is Jesus Christ, every new interpretation they made was centered around understanding Christ's revelation.

Getting new understanding is encouraged, but an understanding that is centered upon something already revealed in the person and Advent of Christ.
 

Porter ODoran

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
I think the Fathers understood the Scriptures to be inexhaustible, that's what I gather from my studies. I think however, the hermeneutic that the Fathers used is what is key in understanding how they understood the Scriptures. That hermeneutic was/is Jesus Christ, every new interpretation they made was centered around understanding Christ's revelation.

Getting new understanding is encouraged, but an understanding that is centered upon something already revealed in the person and Advent of Christ.
And the Apostles, and the catholic Church throughout time.
 

Rhinosaur

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There may indeed be other texts lying about in the Holy Land as the Dead Sea Scrolls were.  That being said, the Faith once given to the Fathers is permanent and will never change.
 

orthonorm

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Irish45 said:
In another topic in the Catholic subsection of this forum, a question came up about the origins of cross referencing Mt 16:19 to Is 22:22.  It is clear that this is not a patristic cross reference.  This raises an interesting question that I hope both Catholics and Orthodox will chime in on.  Please do not answer this question in light of the above scriptures, its rather a more general question on how divine revelation through scripture is understood.

Are the scriptures inexhaustible?

Revelation has ceased but does that mean we know everything about what has been reveled? Is it like the the human genome?  What I mean is, for most of human history we had the entire DNA sequence of a human but we hadn't fully mapped it yet.  Have we fully mapped out scripture?  Is every word spoken for?  If something wasn't recorded in patristic tradition does that mean there is no possible way that the Church (Orthodox or Catholic) could see a scripture in a new light?  What is a particular scripture hasn't been commented on much, would the Church be free to understand it in a different light?

Please don't turn this into a Peter and the keys debate!!  I only used that scripture as an example because it seems Catholic tradition has begun to understand Is 22:22 in a new light over the past 150 years.  I've always understood the scriptures to be inexhaustible, but not in the sense that something can be reinterpreted.  It has made me question what it even means for the scripture to be inexhaustible.  What are your thoughts?
Any text that remains productive over the course of millennia would have to be. Whether that is a strength or weakness of the text is another matter.
 

mikeforjesus

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Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV)

A warning
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away  his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
 

Volnutt

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Subscribing.
 

Irish45

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I am sorry for the late reply, I have been extremely busy this week.  When I intiatlly posted this I thought it was from the Orthodox Study Bible.  I could not find this term in there, but I found a similar concept in the "How to read the Bible section".  I must of read the term somewhere else and remembered that part of the Orthodox Study Bible and mistakenly remembered it being attributed to the OSB.  I read it somewhere and I will find it.  It's more than likely from a Catholic Bible.

Porter ODoran said:
Where are you getting this term? It could be helpful to know its historical and denominational context.
 

Asteriktos

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I was reading back over the short article by St. Justin (d. 1979) on How to Read the Bible and Why, and it seems to me that his words would lead to the conclusion of an inexhaustible "fountain" (or whichever term). Or maybe that's me reading my own thoughts into him (though that's not so bad after all, since eisegesis, correctly done, is the meat and potatoes of Christian writing and preaching). In any event, I can't see each of us learning about sin, enjoying the "sweetness," having it be planted and yield fruit in us, etc., apart from everything else going on with us. Thus we would each learn and get things out of the text than had not been done before, exactly because we had not examined/thought/understood it before, and only we can understand it in this or that one, specific, unique way. Not that it's special for that reason--it's as mundane as a quirk like you or me liking pickles on our ice cream or something. It's not made profound just because it's unique, but rather, if at all, because of whatever interesting content resides in the thought/understanding.

Also, St. Justin, moreso in other places than here, talks a lot about infinity, eternity, and so on; that, in fact, is the point of the Church he says: "The mission of the Church is still to bring about in her members the conviction that the proper state of human personhood is composed of immortality and eternity and not of the realm of time and mortality" (Source). Well, if Christ is truth, and Christ and truth and God and such are eternal or infinite, at least in some sense (call it a mystery I suppose), and if God is truly 'apart' and beyond understanding, and it is a constant journey to be in communion with him and understand better, then wouldn't that mean continual rebirth and growth, not just in our souls, but in our understanding? Or perhaps not. I don't know how much of the above holds... (I can hear orthonorm typing a response right now about some of this paragraph, lol). But perhaps.
 
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