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The Spiritual Means, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

5- The Importance of the Holy Bible in the Church

  

The holy Church gives great attention to the Holy Bible. In each Mass, we read a chapter from the Holy Bible during the raising of incense at Vespers, another chapter during Matins and a third chapter, which is the Gospel of the Mass.

Apart from the gospels, readings are also read from the Pauline Epistle, the Catholic Epistle and the Acts of the Apostles, with extracts from the Psalms before the Gospel reading.

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When the Gospel is being read at church during the Divine Liturgy, two deacons stand holding candles, as a symbol that the Gospel is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path and that the word of God shines, giving light to the eyes.

Before reading the Gospel, the Church prays the Litany of the Gospel where the priest says to the Lord: Grant that we become worthy to hear and perform according to Your Holy Gospels, through the petitions of Your saints. It means that for just hearing the Gospel we need to be worthy and we need the petitions of the saints. The whole congregation stands up while the deacon calls out: Stand up in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel...

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All the congregation stands up in reverence and if a Bishop or the Patriarch is present, he takes off his crown as a sign of respect for the word of God.

The priest holds the Bible to his head as he proceeds around the Altar; this act symbolizes the spreading of the Good News around the world...

The Church sermons are all based on verses from the Holy Bible and so are the programs of the spiritual teaching.

St-Takla.org Image: Arabic daily Bible readings manuscript صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: مخطوط عربي يصور القراءات اليومية من الكتاب المقدس

St-Takla.org Image: Arabic daily Bible readings manuscript.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: مخطوط عربي يصور القراءات اليومية من الكتاب المقدس.

With the Churchs concern about tradition, we find nothing that contradicts the Bible but everything is supported by verses from the Holy Bible. Even the mere belief in tradition and the Apostolic teachings is a matter also confirmed in the Bible.

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We see the Gospel constantly in our daily prayers.

The seven prayers of the Agpia, which the faithful pray everyday, are also prayed by the church during the Holy Mass and in meetings, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. These prayers include many Psalms together with a chapter from the Gospel in each hour, and in the Morning Prayer there is an introduction from the Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians. And so, whoever regularly prays from the Agpia, will definitely learn by heart several chapters from the Holy Gospel as well as many Psalms.

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There are also biblical readings when performing the rituals of each of the seven Sacraments of the Church.

For example, in the Unction of the Sick, seven chapters from the Bible are read during seven prayers. And in the Blessing of the Water for Baptism, many chapters of the Gospel are read. Even the prayers of the Holy Liturgy are all derived mostly from the Gospel of St John (20:22,23).

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The same applies to the ritual prayers.

Various chapters from both the New and the Old Testaments are read during the Laqqan (which is the ritual of the washing of feet performed on the eve of the Epiphany, on the day of Holy Thursday, and on the day of Pentecost). Readings are also said when consecrating churches, blessing new homes or in the consecration of monks and nuns.

During the vigil of the Saturday of Light, which is called Apocalapsis, the whole of the Book of Revelation is read, together with many hymns, especially from the Old Testament. During the Passion week, many chapters are read from both the Old and the New Testaments. Many chapters are also read from the Old Testament during the Holy Lent, Jonahs Fasting and the Pascha prayers. The Bible is also the basis for many parts of the Psalmody.

Could there be more care given to the Holy Bible than that?!

During the consecration of the Patriarch or Bishops, the Holy Bible is placed on their head, so that they may be bound to its teachings.

Next, I would like to talk to you about the benefits of reading the Holy Bible in your life, how to read it and your relationship with it.

I would also like to give you some exercises to make your relationship deeper with the Bible.


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