Genesis and Job in Orthodox Tradition: A Bible Study

Please join us for our community Bible Study in the 2022-2023 school year on “Genesis and Job in Orthodox Christian Church Tradition,” on 2:30 each Sunday at the Bucknell Barnes & Noble Cafe, 4th and Market Streets in downtown Lewisburg, PA. All are welcome! A video archive of summaries of our discussions follows below. Our motto is from St. John Chrysostom in the 4th century: “This is the cause of all evils: the ignorance of the Scriptures. We go into battle without arms, and how ought we to come off safe?” Our prayer is to live in our lives what we learn from Holy Scripture under the guidance of the Church Fathers. May the Lord give us unworthily good strength and wisdom in this effort! Glory to God!

The King James Version of the Bible (1611) is the classic English version but Orthodox Christians rely for their study primarily on the Apostolic version of the Old Textament, the Greek Septuagint.

Videos of the series below are posted in sequence, starting with an introduction to the study of Genesis in Orthodox tradition and chronography, and then our first conversation on Genesis 1 and beyond. Your video guide, drawing on conversations with the ensemble of our in-person Bible Study participants, Deacon Paul Siewers, Ph.D., unworthily strives to use for his own guide Orthodox Church Tradition including commentaries of the Fathers of the Church. He teaches the Bible as Literature course at Bucknell University, where he is on the Literary Studies faculty with a specialty in early literature and patristic connections. An ordained Deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, he holds a Diploma in Pastoral Theology from St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Pastoral School, as well as an M.A. in Early British Studies (history, language, and literature) from the University of Wales, a Ph.D. in medieval English literature from the University of Illinois, an MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, and a BA in History from Brown. But Church Tradition and biblical commentary by those holy people experienced in the noetic life of the Church, not educational certification, are the gold standard for Bible study, which should be approached with prayer and struggle to practice the unfolding of God-given truth there. Prayers for beginning the study of Scripture can be found here.

Bible Study Series Intro
Bible Study Genesis 1
Bible Study Genesis 2
Genesis 3-4
Genesis 5
Genesis 6-8
Genesis 9-11
Genesis 11-15
Genesis 16-18
Genesis 19-22

Genesis 23-26

A note on Translations: Genesis 26:32 in the Septuagint Greek text of the Orthodox Church notes that Isaac’s servants did “not” find water in digging the Well of the Oath (Beersheba). The Hebrew Masoretic text states that they “did” find water. However, the Orthodox Study Bible follows the Hebrew without noting the difference. St. Ambrose of Milan, an early Church writer, cited the Septuagint version in commentary indicating the spiritual meaning of the account of the wells in Genesis 26, referencing their names of Injustice, Enmity, Room Enough, and Oath. It perhaps could be taken as prophetic that the well marking the reconciliation of Abimelech of the Phllistines with Isaac would be dry, in light of future relations in the Old Testament between Isaac’s descendants and the Phillistines. The reference to oath for a dry well also could symbolize the ultimate inadequacy of human oaths and alliances, and the need for faith in God. The Fathers indicated also the relation of the role of wells in this section of Genesis symbolically to baptism, including the well at which God arranged the meeting between Abraham’s eldest servant with Rebekah to arrange the marriage of her with Isaac with her consent. The wells helped mark historically and symbolically the pilgrimage and sojourning of Abraham’s family and of his seed as leading to the establishment of the land in which our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ would be born, in the Incarnation of God as man.

Genesis 27-30

Genesis 31-34.

Translation note: In the Septuagint Greek Old Testament used by the Orthodox Church, God tells Laban in a dream vision not to speak evil to the Righteous Patriarch Jacob, whereas in the Masoretic Hebrew text used by most English translations the message is not to speak good or evil. The Septuagint text provides clarity for the account.
Genesis 35-39
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