Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian – Dr Jeannie Constantinou

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This lecture is called: Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian. In it Dr Jeannie Constantinou reviews how Orthodox interpret the scriptures (hermeneutics); whether we interpret literally; how we are to understand the voice and perspective of the Psalms; and how we approach the bible as Orthodox rather than evangelicals!

Dr and Presbytera Jeannie Constantinou is a biblical scholar and professor at the University of San Diego and hosts a program on Ancient Faith Radio, “Search the Scriptures”

45 thoughts on “Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian – Dr Jeannie Constantinou

    In the debate between free speech supporters and advocates of hate speech law, free speech supporters argue that, yes unfortunately in society there is a terrible disease called hate speech. However, despite this, the ONLY speech that should be penalised legally is threatening speech and speech that incites violence. We do have to think about things that can be done to lessen hate speech in society, see later, but making hate speech laws is not the answer. Why? – because the proposed cure for hate speech, hate speech law, IS FAR WORSE THAN THE DISEASE of hate speech. That old saying “the cure is worse than the disease” is so true in this debate. Of course there is a price that we have to pay for this allowance of freedom of speech, and that price is the possibility of being badly offended or upset by what others say, but this is a far lesser evil and price to pay than the negative outcomes that hate speech laws produce in a society or have on an individual.

    What are the negative outcomes of hate speech laws for a society or for an individual?

    • Hate speech laws stop people from saying what they really think, because everyone starts worrying that what they say will get them into serious legal trouble or make them lose their job. This means that totally free debate and the free flow of ideas are stopped. The positive outcomes that could have arisen from this free flowing debate and totally honest dialogue are all lost to society. Totalitarian states are always less creative and productive than free states.
    • The fully free market place of ideas can flush out bad ideas. By exposing bad ideas to the disinfecting light of free speech we can improve society.
    • With hate speech laws society becomes an Orwellian nightmare where everyone is afraid that other people will report on them. In addition some people will make false hate speech claims for revenge or other purposes. This would be a terrible society to live in.
    • Hate speech laws can be used in a political way to further a political agenda by preventing political opponents from putting their case forward – a terrible outcome for society.
    • In denying someone else’s speech you are denying yourself (and society) the right to learn something that might change your life (or society) for the better.
    • The person who says something outrageous, in your eyes, may have put a lot of thought into what they have said and, even if outrageous to you, there may be a grain of truth in what they have to say that both you and the rest of society may learn a lot from.
    • Other people’s outrageous views, in your eyes, may force you to look again at what you believe and why you believe it, making you go back to first principles and improving your understanding of why you believe what you believe and your understanding of the issues involved. A very valuable outcome.
    • If you and society in general are shielded from different ideas and perspectives you (and society) will not reach your maximum potential.
    • If people can’t say what they truly feel, they may become frustrated and take more aggressive or violent routes to vent the issues that they feel strongly about.
    • It is particularly important to defend the speech of the person who thinks differently. That person may be you one day.
    • The FIrst Amendment of the USA was particularly passed in order to allow a minority to say what the majority may find offensive. You may find yourself in that minority one day.
    • By curtailing the free speech of others, you may in future find that you yourself are prevented from speaking, that is, you are in potentia creating a rod for your own back.
    • In the USA you have no right to be free from being offended. If you don’t like what you hear it is up to you to debate and counter what you disagree with.

    In addition we have to ask these questions

    • Who would you want to entrust to decide, for you, what hate speech is?
    • What individual on earth is uniquely qualified to make this critical decision for you?
    • Who is to decide, for you, where the line is to be drawn between speech and hate speech?
    • Do you want to be ruled by what is in effect a “Thought Police”?
    • Once we as a society lose critical thought and freedom of speech what is left between us and totalitarianism?

    In Conclusion

    • Nobody should be in fear for their liberty for speech, unless it is threatening speech or speech inciting violence. Apart from these two exceptions it should never be “you can have free speech, BUT”. There should be NO BUTS.
    • Hate speech laws produce far more pernicious results for societies and for individuals than beneficial results. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    What CAN be done to reduce hate speech in society?

    Of course some groups are more vulnerable to hate speech than others, so what CAN be done to protect these groups and reduce hate speech in a society?

    Civility and respect codes can be used in institutions such as universities, instead of implementing hate speech laws. Within an institution such as a university a very high burden of proof would be required for people making hate speech complaints. If the proof was deemed good enough, the person deemed as making hateful comments could be given a lot of warnings before they are temporarily suspended. There would never be any legal prosecution for hate speech. They would be allowed to return to their job after a reasonable period of time and given more chances to resolve the situation. A faculty member would only lose their a job for example or a student would only be expelled from a university after a lot of repeated transgressions of this code. That is, the people in institutions would be secure in knowing that they could speak freely. They would know that if anything they said was deemed as offensive by someone, the person complaining would have to have a very well proven complaint. They would also know that they would not be in fear for their job except under extreme circumstances and would never face legal action. They would have plenty of time and chances to turn the situation around.

    Outside of institutions eg in public spaces, civility and respect rules could also be in place, again with high levels of evidence required for reporting to police. The police could be required to give for example four or more warnings to someone and only after this could they ban that person from a public space. This would be temporary, for a specified period of time, but no legal action would be taken.

    This much more lenient civility code system would mean that the vital free flow of ideas in institutions, and in society generally, would not be restricted by fear.

  2. 1'17'20 the hole meaning of orthodoxy is there!! Keeping the moment of pentecost!!! Not changing anything!! Wow!! Thank you presvytera!! Simple explanation yet full of knowledge!!

  3. This is a very revealing talk. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I became Orthodox 2 years ago on 15 Apr 2017. I have learned a great deal today by watching this video. Thank you Dr Jeannie Constantinou for your devotion to our Heavenly Father.

  4. One reoccurring theme I hear. Every Orthodox video I check out. Y'all seem to not like individualism. So you don't like the idea of questioning Authority? We should remain in groupthink? Is almost ironic considering the cultural contrasted both East and Western Europe and Asia. The East gravitated towards socialism and communism. Whereas the west through the Reformation the enlightenment individualism the individual rights of man gravitated towards Liberty. Is simply a person with historical interest. It's fascinating that the one reoccurring theme i here even in American Orthodoxy YouTube videos, is it appears to be the dislike of individualism. Make sense make sense. Just for the record I'm not criticizing your religion. I recently read a very good book on the Byzantine Empire. And I thought, all I've ever read about the eastern Roman Empire and I've never really looked into Orthodoxy. So I've just been exploring for my own curiosity no spiritual looking. As I could never conform to organized religion. I'm far too much of a rebel for that lol I just noticed especially at church that doesn't seem to like individualism or people who question Authority. Not only question authority but tell Authority it's wrong when it's wrong. Fascinating

  5. There is no record of Jesus attending school or seminary, etc., so perhaps we stop listening to so called academics & start listening to the teachings of Jesus in order to have eternal life…

  6. The early Christians had no need of a church building as they would typically meet in various homes to discuss orally their beliefs. Meeting on Sundays is just one of many man made traditions that religion has adopted & has nothing to do with living the faith…

  7. The first Christians did not write the Bible. The Torah was around long before Christianity came along & many of the books of the New Testament were written before the term Christian came about. I would think your religious studies courses would have taught you these aspects…

  8. Misinformation. Protestants know from reading the New Testament that Jesus was in the desert with the Hebrews. She is mischaracterizing other denominations, and discouraging critical thought.

  9. Yes, there is some kind of individualism in protestantism, the reading, interpretation and meditation part but we need to be in concordance with history and theologians that were before us too.

  10. Overall good presentation, but suggesting that "sin and salvation aren't really found in the Bible" is absolutely false. It's the over-arching and most prominent theme of the Bible, permeating both the Old and New Testaments, and was a major focus of the Apostolic teachings.

  11. SO learned. SO refreshing to hear that it is ok to use a translation that we can understand. Granted, it is wonderful to go back to the Greek, but for us converts who are working on this it is so comforting to hear from such an educated Bible scholar (yes, I read her educational background — it just goes on and on). Dr. Constantinou has a JD and went on to study theology. How inspiring to see someone go on from another profession to be a theologian. What a blessing to listen to this…

  12. God is gay! He only talks to men and he hates wemon! He has no wife! Another lier for cash ( i mean god the Gross Obvious Deception)! Your bible god would crucify her for speaking in church! Wtf! Liers for money$ you follow liers and they steal your money! Why does your god allow a woman to speak in church?

  13. My existential problem , when someone keep saying its hard to explain , and I am not feeling it either , this abstract thinking makes me more abstract. The orthodox mentality of following the old Christian , even the bible ask as to renew our mind and be transformed .

  14. american ortodox looks like romanian combined with greeks, im scared about americans becomeing orthodox, but i dont think it will ever happen,i wonder what influence orthodoxy make in american culture, we will not be the true ones in faith any longer ahahaha :))), you can also call the orthodox church the church of Christ also, those are some hard truths even if you like it or not, the orthodox church is the only true church. Una Sfântă Sobornicească si Apostolească bisericâ. Greetings and prayiers to this woman, she have a very good judgment, i love her. Now you people start to realise what orthodoxy means what romanians greeks serbs, ukrainineas, bulgarians churches have for hundres of years. But the only truth faith people who lived with orthodoxy as theyr religion are the greeks they werent brainwashed by communism 40 years in row, so if you want to take some orthodox people as model i can take the greeks, romanians and others start to pick up the new generations going back to the roots. before 1946. Greets from romania PS: altough what she said till 1:15, womans arent allowed to debate orthodoxy, no matter how much knowladge she have, orthodoxy isnt debatable, theres no point asking question to that woman after she said her speech. This is reserved to theologians, priests, bishops. im not an expert tho, i dont know for sure how truthful my statement is. As for a fine feel, this is also a state of sin, asking a woman to debate theological facts, knowing you will not get a satisfied answer.

  15. Read and write the holy books in your heart, open your ears so Faith may enter; live the Hope every day and let Love be your true way to God trough Jesus Crist and the Holy Spirt. A let Our Holy Mother console you in the hour of our darkness. Above all breathe the name of Jesus.

  16. I am a Greek Catholic…I was enjoying this until….she said that Catholics teach that because Christ was Baptized…we believe Jesus had sin before that….uhm….no….actually…no….thats B.S. As soon as I start appreciating Orthodox teaching….I get the anti B.S….and the spiritual arrogance that has at its root insecurity. As a Catholic…believe me…I know we have it too….but its just a shame…and it ruins everything if you let it! Just my opinion. It used to be one church….its not my battle…I didnt split know darn well Christ prayed for us to be one. Not this anti crap.

  17. My family left Orthodoxy before I was born. I was thinking of coming back to the fold so I was glad to find this and a few other videos with good explanations. This really helped me make my decision to pursue my evangelistic path. I appreciate your input.

  18. As an ERITREAN ORIENTAL ORTHODOX Church follower, we are blessed to still be able to memorize the entire bible and we have a lot of bible interpretation handed down to us. There are ways to read the bible and study it in the right way.

  19. I love and support the Eastern Orthodoxy, but as a former Protestant, the Coptic Orthodox Church is closer to Protestant traditions and Biblical emphasis. I enjoy HH Patriarch Kirill very much, but HH Pope Shenouda III was easier to understand because he quoted so much Scripture to justify his teaching. That's just my experience.

  20. What?! Sin and salvation ARE in the Bible? I don't know what Bible you are reading but my Bible (King James Bible) talks clearly, CLEARLY about sin and salvation. Read Romans (Paul wrote it) for starters. The message of sin and salvation begins in Genesis and runs through Revelation. O my. People, pick up the Bible and READ it for yourselves. Cover to cover.

  21. The preincarnate Christ is seen throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). This has always been taught in the Christian Churches I have been part of. This understanding is not something that is understood by Eastern Orthodox only. 'Phronema" is not only what we think, but how we think! The Bible is written from a Hebrew perspective–anyone who has studied Scripture would know this. Too many blanket statements about 'evangelical Christians.' She does not know us all, nor know what we believe. She might just be preciously surprised.

  22. Dr. Jeannie is my hero. I've learned so, so much from her in her Search the Scriptures podcasts. My Chrismation was last Sept. and I just love listening and learning from her. She is truly a blessing and The Lord is using her in so many ways. Wish there were more of her talks on you tube.

  23. I offer up my day for her to God , ugliness about Roman Catholics is extremely unChristian ! Has she reached Theoria / Infused Contemplation? Transforming Union ? Obliviously not. I love all , even those not Christian. I don't debate , so replies to me are blocked cause I would get alot of hate from my comment. This woman is not nice at all , shame on her . Lots of love & prayers for her 😇🙏👼

  24. Logos in the OT is a Christian way of reading the OT. Jews will not agree with this reading. You make it sound like you need to be Greek to understand the Bible better. This is what practicing Muslims say about Quran that you need to know Arabic to understand it better! Is this not a form of idolatry?

  25. I am a Westerner through and through, and I confess, apparently in typical Western fashion, that I do not see how having the 'mind of the Church' can relieve us of our characteristically human philosophical nature. The point of asking difficult probing questions about free will and so on, is that it expresses our human nature. We are born with very little practical knowledge or understanding of Nature, which allows us to learn about it as we encounter it in our growth and development. We can only understand Nature by interrogating it in the light of experience. Religious beliefs are formulated during the course of human development and necessarily reflect provisional understandings of Nature at particular historical moments. When those particular understandings deepen or are superseded, traditional religious beliefs must often be uncoupled from their original historical formulations in order to conform to new, more accurate understandings of Nature. In this way we may learn more about divine creativity, and, therefore, about God. To deny this, is to deny both human nature and the divine creativity which created it.

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