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The Characteristics of Orthodox Teaching. By H.G. Bishop Moussa Book Review Servant’s Meeting 2008. The Characteristics of Orthodox Teaching. Consists of 7 types of teaching: 1.Scriptural Teaching 2.Theological Teaching 3.Liturgical Teaching 4.Group Teaching

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The Characteristics of Orthodox Teaching

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The Characteristics of Orthodox Teaching

By H.G. Bishop Moussa

Book Review

Servant’s Meeting 2008

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The Characteristics of Orthodox Teaching

Consists of 7 types of teaching:

1.Scriptural Teaching

2.Theological Teaching

3.Liturgical Teaching

4.Group Teaching

5.Spiritual Teaching

6.Patristic Teaching

7.Integrated Teaching

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Scriptural Teaching

  • Orthodox teaching is based on a true understanding of both the Old and the New Testament of the Holy Bible.

  • All the doctrines, Church rites, and Church prayers of the Church are taken from the Holy Bible. Thus, it is important that the study of the scriptures be accurate.

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Scriptural Teaching

  • The Old and the New Testaments are studied as one unit.

    • Why?

      • To grasp the full content of the Spirit of the Bible as a whole and to arrive at a sound understanding of it.

      • To avoid taking text out of context, which can prove to be very dangerous.

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Scriptural Teaching

  • Our Interpretation of the Bible comes from:

    • Our Lord, Christ Himself:

      • “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27)

      • In order to understand the word of God well, we have to resort to its Author and Inspirer, the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.

      • The closer we get to knowing God, and deepening our fellowship with Him, the more we are enlightened by His Spirit and able to interpret the Scriptures.

    • The Church:

      • Through the teachings of the early fathers and the preservation of the Holy Scriptures from generation to generation.

    • The Apostle’s Awareness of the Correct Interpretation:

      • Because the apostles were aware of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, they were able to preserve the teachings in a time of paganism, Agnosticism, and Judiaism-thus passing it down

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Scriptural Teaching

4.The awareness of the Fathers of the Church and Sound Interpretation:

  • The great fathers of the Church drew inspirations from the Bible in all their works, their asceticism, and the way they lived.

  • Their interpretation of the Bible was not scientific or intellectual, but practical aiming at their salvation and the growth and guidance of their spirits.

  • The great fathers did not limit themselves to the interpretations of the Bible from a spiritual and life angle only, but some of them specialized in the interpretation of the holy books in a scientific and intellectual way also; which helps us understand scriptural teaching.

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Theological Teaching

  • The word “orthodoxy” is made of two parts:

    • “ortho”= integrity, soundness

    • “doxy”= glory

  • Thus, orthodoxy is the sound way that glorifies God, through the soundness of its teaching, and through integrity of life and behavior.

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    Theological Teaching

    • Theological Teaching occurs when the speaker combines doctrine with daily behavior.

    • The Orthodox Church believes that “There is no life without theology and no theology without life”- refusing to make theology consist purely of concepts and valid theories that are divorced from life and behavior.

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    Theological Teaching

    • Some examples of Theological Concepts:

      • The Trinity- (i.e. the Golden Triangle)

      • The Incarnation

      • The Redemption

        • When the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, He was able to redeem man, because in His humanity, He is man, and dies, and in His divinity He is infinite, without sin and a Creator, thus resolving the problem of corruptibility by taking what was ours and giving us what was His.

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    Liturgical Teaching

    • Many of our Orthodox Characteristics of Teaching comes from Liturgical Teaching (i.e. the Liturgy).

    • In Liturgical Teaching, we are taught:

      • How to be partakers in Christ

      • How to pray with Thanksgiving

      • How to give praise

      • How to make Requests

      • How to entreat forgiveness and mercy

      • How to learn about the lives of saints through the daily readings, and the Synaxarium

      • How to understand the teachings of our Lord through the reading of the Holy Bible.

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    Liturgical Teaching

    • The effects of the Liturgy:

      • Union with the Lord Jesus Christ:

        • “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56)

        • Through communion, we unite with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and thus are better able to feel His presence daily and live His words.

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    Liturgical Teaching

    • Union with our brothers in the flesh:

      • “For we, being many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:17)

      • During the Liturgy, we all partake of the body and blood of Christ, and become united as brothers and sisters. This is why we only pray over one offering which we all share as one Body.

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    Liturgical Teaching

    • Union with those in heaven:

      • During the Liturgy we are always asked to focus our attention towards the East, where the altar carrying the body of Christ is, and the iconastasis, where all the consecrated icons and saints are located.

      • In this manner we are focusing our attention to those in Heaven, and commemorating them, hoping to be like them, who are in the victorious church.

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    Liturgical Teaching

    • Responsibility towards the world:

      • During the Liturgy, we cry out saying, “Amen, Amen, Amen, Your death O Lord we proclaim..”

        • In this congregational response, we are proclaiming our responsibility towards those who do not know the glory and love of Christ and how we must spread the good news.

  • Forgiveness and Salvation:

    • The Liturgy is the means of forgiveness and salvation through Communion.

  • Achieving Immortality:

    • When we partake of the Eucharist, we abide in Christ and have everlasting life through Him.

      • “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54)

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    Group Teaching

    • No one should imagine that he/she constitutes the Church. A person is merely a member of the body, and if he/she is separated from the body he/she loses everything.

    • The difference between an individual and a member is that the individual is separate with his own identity whereas the member is not; he has no identity except through fellowship in the group.

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    Group Teaching

    • A dangerous thing for a servant is to lose the sense of discipleship and the feeling that he/she needs to learn and that he/she needs to correct his/herself from time to time.

    • Importance of Group Teaching:

      • Individuality is an Annulment of the Body

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    Group Teaching

    • Diversity does not Cancel Unity

    • Individualism Cancels Authority

    • Diversification of Gifts

    • Authenticity of the Apostleship

    • Council Resolutions

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    Spiritual Teaching

    • Orthodox prayer is the prayer of the spirit, the mind, the emotions, and the body together.

      • The spirit: contemplates God

      • The mind: talks calmly and reasonably with God

      • The emotions: experience the enlightening light

      • The body: kneels lifts its hand and beats its breast in reverence.

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    Patristic Teaching

    • An Orthodox Teacher:

      • Studies the lives of the Fathers

        • Helps us to associate with other struggling saints and people, and to gain strength through them

      • Studies the sayings of the Fathers

        • Christianity did not begin with us, and so by studying the sayings of the Fathers, we learn about the roots of Christianity.

      • Agrees with the teachings of the Fathers

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    Integrated Teaching

    • The objective of Orthodox teaching is to make the orthodox individual a whole personality through whom God is glorified whether he is active or at rest, and in all the areas of his life, the private, the familial, church and societal.

    • The Church endeavors to make her children whole and perfect in:

      • Knowledge

      • Personality

      • Relationships

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    Integrated Teaching

    • Knowledge:

      • A growth in grace which is spiritual and experiential growth that takes place in the heart

      • A growth in knowledge which is the cultural and intellectual growth of the mind

  • Personality:

    • Having a full spirit: a spirit which is in touch with God and reads the Bible and lives it in daily conduct

    • A sublime Spirit: controls instincts by striving through grace.

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    Integrated Teaching

    • An enlightened mind: mentally active in spiritual readings, in various fields of knowledge, and in general culture.

    • A healthy body


    • A Christian individual must have good relationships with family, friends, and most importantly fellowship with God.

    • Through this divine gift and through heavelny aspirations he/she is able to build successful relationships in the family, church and society.

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