Roots of Armodoxy: Editor
Jesus’ words are very harsh and frankly, very scary, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:6)
The Church has assigned this reading to the feast of the Holy Translators, among which are also the translators of the Holy Scriptures. The passage is strategically placed on the church calendar on this day to remind us of sanctity of Scripture and as a caution against those who might take the Scriptures and render a translation or explanation of these holy words.
It has always amazed me how people would never, in a million years, consider having their car brakes repaired by someone who read a book about brakes. Or watched a video explaining brake repair. You’d be a fool to trust your car’s braking system and your safety to someone with minimum to no knowledge of car repair. Or even worse, you can’t imagine someone suffering from heart disease or cancer, trusting their medical care to someone who read an article about staying healthy in AARP magazine. Yet, when it comes to spiritual care, the wellness of your immortal soul… many people are not only fine but will argue for the thoughts of someone who’s knowledge comes from a casual read of the book, even if that book may be the Bible.
The Bible is the product of the Church. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, it was the one, universal, apostolic and holy Church that put together the different books that constitute the Bible. Think of the Church as the editor – the one who goes through the material and decides what stays in and what is left out. Each of the Evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were the original editors of the life of Christ. In fact, St. John final words to his gospel are, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (21:25)
The books of the Bible were written in ancient Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew. So everyone who encounters the Scriptures is forced to read a translated, i.e., an edited version. Furthermore, among the Protestant branch of Christianity, Scripture is the only authority, yet everyone is free to interpret as they wish. This is why there are hundreds of Protestant denominations. (For clarity we should mention that most of those denomination can be categorized under a few headings, such as Adventists, Anabaptists, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Baptists, Calvinist/Reformed, Lutherans, Methodists, Moravians, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, and Quakers.)
To get to the original intent of Scriptures you have to appeal to the oldest of all traditions, namely the one, universal, apostolic Church. Herein lies the strength of the message of Armodoxy, it comes from the most ancient of all Christian traditions, namely the Armenian Apostolic Church, a body that was there at the Time of Christ, in the person of the Apostles. The Apostles and the generations that came after them made up the Church. The Church was there at the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, at the Ascension and received the tools to evangelize at the Pentecost. The Church speaks from Holy Tradition, which includes the Scriptures, but is so much more.
This is why St. John Chrysostom says that children “Should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures.” The Word of God is not the black text on a white page, but it is the expression that comes from Christ’s Sacred Body, the Church. Remember, God gave us something much more sacred and precious than the Bible. He gave us His Only Begotten, and in turn Jesus gave us His Holy Body, the Church, which, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave us the Bible. So when the Church speaks of and from Holy Scripture, it is talking from a Tradition that includes the Bible, but is not comprised only of it. The Church gives equal access to the Divine realm and doesn’t limit it only the literate.
Today’s prayer is prayed by Jesus himself, to His Father (John 17:20-26)
“I pray for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”