Biblical and Patristic Writings

It is through divine revelation that the Apostolic Faith is known to us

Scientists, following the traditions set by previous scientists, know the meaning of scientific language, and they know how to repeat the observations of those scientists that have gone on before them. It is the same for us as Orthodox Christians, for the observations concerning the Bible and the writings of the Fathers is the same experience and knowledge as the prophetic, apostolic, and patristic predecessors that have come before us.

We understand what the Biblical and Patristic writings are saying because we follow those who have reached glorification, and are guided by the Holy Tradition that has been transmitted to us by the holy fathers of the Ancient Church. Holy Tradition guarantees the transmission of the beliefs of the Early Church, so we are not left on our own to try to re-create biblical Christianity for this modern age.

It is through divine revelation to the prophets, apostles, and saints, that the meaning of the Bible and the writings of the Fathers are known to us, for they did not simply read of the divine knowledge, but rather experienced glorification. Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God, but rather the revelation  about the word of God. This is the Orthodox understanding of the Bible and the writings of the Fathers.

Books about science can never replace scientific observations, for the writings of these scientists are not the observations themselves, but about their observations. The Church Fathers did not understand theology as a theoretical or speculative science, but as a positive science in all respects. This is why the patristic understanding of Biblical inspiration is similar to the inspiration of writings in the field of the intuitive sciences.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Reader Edward Pierson made the sign, and Kaj Wyn Berry, a 91 year old island woman, did the calligraphy. We thank them both for their generosity and kindness.

Wednesday July 4, 2018 / June 21, 2018
6th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Martyr Julian of Tarsus in Cilicia (305).
New Hieromartyr John (1918).
Venerable George (Lavrov) the Confessor, archimandrite of Kaluga (1932)
New Hieromartyrs Alexis, Paul and Nicholas priests (1938).
New Hieromartyr Ionna (1938).
New Martyr Nicetas (1942).
Finding of the relics (1996) of Venerable Maximus the Greek (1556).
Hieromartyr Terence (Tertius), bishop of Iconium (1st c.).
Venerable Julius, presbyter of Novara, and his brother Venerable Julian the Deacon (5th c.).
Martyrs Archil II (744) and Luarsab II (1622), kings of Georgia (Georgia).
New Martyr Nicetas of Nisyros, near Rhodes (1732) (Greek).
Martyr Aphrodisius in Cilicia.
Martyr Julian of Libya (Greek).
Hieromartyr Anthony, Martyrs Anastasius, who was raised from the dead, Celsius and his mother Vasilissa, 20 prison guards and 7 brothers, martyred with St. Julian (Greek).
Venerable Anastasia (Anna) of Serbia, mother of St. Sava (1200) (Serbia).
Martyr Theodore, right-believing prince of Starodub (1330).
St. Cormac of the Sea (590) (Celtic & British).
St. Mewan, abbot of St. Meen.

The Scripture Readings

1 Corinthians 2:9-3:8

9 But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Sectarianism Is Carnal

3 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and [b]behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

Watering, Working, Warning

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

Matthew 13:31-36

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

The Parable of the Leaven

33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three [a]measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

Prophecy and the Parables

34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

The Parable of the Tares Explained

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.


  1. “Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God, but rather the revelation and about the word of God.” Is this correctly stated? Pardon this Protestant seeker of the Ancient Faith. So the Bible and writings are not revelation or they are THE revelation? Perhaps we just have an extra word here: “Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God, but rather the revelation about the word of God.” So then not revelation OF the Word of God or the Word of Gog itself but revelation ABOUT the Word of God. Did I get this right?

    1. The scriptures are not God’s word, but rather the written account of His peoples journey into His Kingdom. This is precisely why we do not view the Old Testament accounts of God as about God, but about the Israelites spiritual quest to discover God. In Christ we have the Father revealed for the first time, which is amply demonstrated by the fact that it was Christ Who taught us to address God as Father.

  2. Master, bless! You wrote, “Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God, but rather the revelation and about the word of God.” Can you clarify or correct? Thank you. By your prayers …

  3. “Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God, but rather the revelation and about the word of God.”

    This might need expansion. Do I understand it as the Scriptures are simply the words of God teaching us about and leading us to the Word (Logos) of God?

    1. Unlike Muslims and Evangelicals, we Orthodox do not see the Bible as having been dictated by God, but rather an account of His people’s ever deepening relationship with our God.

  4. Dear Father Tryphon,
    Thanks you’ve explained well one of the faults into which sincere Christians fall into.
    Many seek the Knowledge of Bible as an end instead of means. Knowledge by itself is futile, if it doesn’t lead to transformation. Many seek Bible to only get knowledge or to get points to argue with other Christians. We forget that Christ is a person, not a concept. Knowing about Christ can be helpful, but we need to move from knowing to being with Christ. Being with Christ is more through prayer and sacraments.
    Thank you father for clearing the concepts.

  5. When you think about it, it would be a strange position to take that a set of books written over a span of at least 1,000 years was dictated by God in the same way as the Quran or the Book of Mormon are alleged to have been dictated. Why not just give it to us in one shot instead of doling it out to humanity a bit at a time over many centuries, right? The Bible reads like a process of Tradition-building and of sometimes putting oral tradition into writing. That helps to explain why there is sometimes a frustrating lack of detail and sometimes little details that convince you that somebody is writing about a real event.

  6. Father,
    I heard this on the podcast and came to the blog to see if the text was any more clear. Two comments above seek clarification on the same sentence. Let me try this time.

    “Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God, but rather the revelation and about the word of God.”

    I’m not having trouble with the idea, but the sentence structure. Is “rather the revelation AND ABOUT the word of God” really what you meant to say? It seems like odd grammar so I’m guessing there’s a typo in there somewhere. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *