Skip to comments.Jousting with HuffPost's 'Bible scholar'
Posted on 07/20/2011 8:06:22 AM PDT by Bed_Zeppelin
Since I have studied, lectured on and written material on the "canonicity of Scripture" for 40 years, I read with interest the article by Dr. David J. Lose addressing the origins of the Bible ("Where did the Bible come from?" Huffington Post). I was greatly disappointed.
First, the "Bible" is not one book but a collection of 66 ancient Jewish scrolls from the book of Genesis to the book of the Apocalypse. These ancient scrolls were produced in different times, cultures, languages, political, economic and social orders over a period of almost 2,000 years by 40 different authors. They are grouped in Old Covenant documents (OT) and New Covenant documents (NT).
Second, a single source theory for all 66 books is not possible. Making the basic error of thinking of the Bible as one book, some people like Dan Brown have asserted that the Roman Catholic Church created the Bible. The fact that the both the Old and New Testaments were in existence and received as inspired before Roman Catholicism developed show the silliness of that assertion.
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
Some expert! There are 73 books and not all are "ancient Jewish Scrolls".
I'm not sure the Huffington Post article said differently.
Maybe I wasn't reading the correct Huff Post article. Unless, I saw something different, the one I read (which was linked) actually seemed fairly right on about the Bible.
The Protestant Bible contains 66 books only, no more no less!
Bob Morey writes from that perspective.
I sense a Catholic/Protestant canonicity thread coming on...
Doesn't make him any less wrong!
in what year did the first 66 book Bible appear on earth? possibly the 16th century???
Actually, the Jews were using the 22 book canon (our 39 OT books) in the intertestamental period, and the NT canon was established in common use by around 200 AD, so universal use of the 66-book Bible dates to around the turn of the 3rd century AD.
Catholic + Orthodox + “Oriental” Orthodox all have 72, or sometimes more depending on how some of them are counted. I think the Ethiopian Churches have more than 72?
wrong, wrong, wrong. the Septuigant was the OT of the early Church and it contained more than your 39 books. there was no “common use” of the NT, many books claimed to be Scripture and certain books like Revelation were not accepted by everyone. The Church settled the question in the 4th century, and did not come up with 66 books.
please provide me the name of any group before the 16th century that used a 66 book Bible, i have never heard of any. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has never used a 66 book Bible. 1,500 years is a long time to have the wrong Scriptures, don’t you agree?
would the Holy Spirit use the Church to set the NT canon, but allow it to get the OT canon in error??
i think not.
btw - When the Church set the canon in the 4th century, it was not in reaction to any “Protestants”. it would be another 12 centuries before they came on the scene.
You obviously didn’t read the article at the link.
Cyril of Jerusalem on the Canon - From his Catechetical Lectures, iv. 33-37, about A.D. 350.
33. Now these the divinely-inspired Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament teach us. For the God of the two Testaments is One, Who in the Old Testament foretold the Christ Who appeared in the New; Who by the Law and the Prophets led us to Christ's school. For before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, and, the law hath been our tutor to bring us unto Christ. 1 And if ever thou hear any of the heretics speaking evil of the Law or the Prophets, answer in the sound of the Saviour's voice, saying, Jesus came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it. 2 Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings: 3 for why dost thou, who knowest not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble thyself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters. 4
Council of Laodicea (about A.D. 363).
It is proper to recognize as many books as these: of the Old Testament, 1. the Genesis of the world; 2. the Exodus from Egypt; 3. Leviticus; 4. Numbers; 5. Deuteronomy; 6. Joshua the son of Nun; 7. Judges and Ruth; 8. Esther; 9. First and Second Kings [i.e. First and Second Samuel]; 10. Third and Fourth Kings [i.e. First and Second Kings]; 11. First and Second Chronicles; 12. First and Second Ezra [i.e. Ezra and Nehemiah]; 13. the book of one hundred and fifty Psalms; 14. the Proverbs of Solomon; 15. Ecclesiastes; 16. Song of Songs; 17. Job; 18. the Twelve [minor] Prophets; 19. Isaiah; 20. Jeremiah and Baruch, Lamentations and the Epistle [of Jeremiah]; 21. Ezekiel; 22. Daniel.
AD 400 - Jerome translates the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin (called the "Vulgate"). He knows that the Jews have only 39 books, and he wants to limit the OT to these; the 7 he would leave out (Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach [or "Ecclesiasticus"], and Baruch--he calls "apocrypha," that is, "hidden books." But Pope Damasus wants all 46 traditionally-used books included in the OT, so the Vulgate has 46.
So your hard facts fall short, here is evidence in two places of the use of a smaller bible - based upon the Jewish canon from Jamiah in the 1st/early 2d century.
Cyril was a Catholic Bishop, who by himself, had no authority to set the canon.
The Council of Laodicea did not include Revelation in the NT canon and included the Book of Baruch in the OT canon. No 66 book Bible here, but i do give you credit for giving authority to a Council of Catholic Bishops!
Jerome’s Vulgate was not a 66 book Bible, but again i give you credit for trying to cite a Catholic as authoritative.
again, my facts stand unrefuted, there was not a 66 book Bible before the 16th century.
oh, but i did!
if it contains evidence of a pre-16th century 66 book Bible, please point it out to me.
i do have another question, what human being or institution has the authority to declare infallibly this is the correct canon of Scripture? anyone, or are we left to guess?
just read Cyril in total and he also did not include Revelation in the NT list of books.
again, no 66 books.
35. Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, Lecture 4:35, p. 25.
uh oh, Cyril included Baruch in the canon, the same as the Council of Laodicea.
Speaking of silly assertions, here's one.
"Received as inspired"? By whom? Who has the authority to "receive" something as "inspired"? The Church, of course. But which church? Where? How?
"Before Roman Catholicism developed"? When did that happen, exactly, and more importantly, where's the proof? Not just handwaving ahistorical inventions like "Constantine did it" or "Leo did it," where's the proof that the faith of the Roman Christians was organically changed between AD 200 and AD 450? There isn't any.
And there was plenty of dissension over the content of the NT throughout the first four centuries, which is why two Catholic councils and a Papal decree between AD 380 and AD 410 were required to settle the matter. That's why the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistles of Clement aren't in your 66 book Bible.
You challenged to produce a “church” that used something other than the current Catholic canon. Both instances I cited showed such. Your dismissal of those facts doesn’t make your ‘facts’ true - but shows them to be incorrect.
BTW, Jerome wanted the vulgate to be 66 books - had you bothered to read - but was over ridden.
And he excluded the apocrypha.
But Cyril had no authority you said, and the canon recognized was not the current Catholic canon.
I can think of only one book that was “received as inspired” and uses that claim as its sole basis of authority.
the challenge was to produce a 66 book Bible before the 16th century. why can’t you just admit no one used a 66 book Bible before the 16th century? it’s OK, the truth will set you free!
There were various canons used in various areas of the Catholic Church until the late 4th century when the Church finally settled the matter in Council, approved by the Pope. no one when out and started their own church over the canon and no one used a 66 book Bible until the 16th century. that’s a long time to be in error.
do you want to answer my question - who on earth can infallibly say what books are canonical and which are not? anybody? can you?
Its ok to continue to believe your myth. The eastern church in the first several centuries consistently rejected the apocrypha - bringing it closer to the 66 book version than your vaunted memory. But then why let truth get in the way of your wishful thinking.
So your church was not so infallible, was it at that time.
do you want to answer my question - who on earth can infallibly say what books are canonical and which are not? anybody? can you?
You've never asked me the question to begin with. Certainly not you olof anyway. Dare say that no man, other than Christ, is infallible. It was only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to the many who were involved in evaluating which writings were canon, and which were ecclesiastical.
Gentlemen; you both have some of the truth, but not all.
The East does not regard the Apocalypse of John very well, but they preferred books like Hermas. http://www.serfes.org/orthodox/scripturesinthechurch.htm says that: In addition, the authorized Hebrew "translation" was at variance with the accepted Septuagint Greek versions, which had been prepared by 72 translators accepted Septuagint Greek version, which had been prepared by 72 translators working in Alexandria Egypt. This is significant, because the Apostles, who were the authors of the New Testament, as well as the early Church Fathers, frequently cite passages only found in the Septuagint (Greek) Old Testament that have significant differences in meaning from the Hebrew. Moreover, they frequently cite passages from the "Apocryphal" books of the Old Testament.
The Septuagint has the Deuterocanonicals.
thanks Mark, I’m familiar with that as well. My main point is that while they (the eastern church) may have cited these other writings, predominantly they considered the OT to be minus the apocrypha as part of the CANON - source of doctrine, while these others were ecclesiastical - edifying, but not for doctrine.
“myths” are usually dispelled with facts, and so far, none have been forthcoming. “closer to the 66 book version” is not 66 books, this isn’t horeshoes or hand grenades! i invite you to examine the Bible used by the Orthodox and again you will not find 66 books in it.
i really wish you would answer my question or somebody else take a crack at it - does any authority exist today or ever existed that can infallibly state which books are canonical and which are not? simple question really. if yes, who is that authority and where did thweir authority come from?
Do you have any sources of this? I just spent a few minutes with Google and came up empty.
I will try to get into contact with Kolo and Kosta to ask them; I do not recall anything of the sort. The only reservations that I remember that the East had was the Apocalypse of John.
again, a lot of assertions, but no facts to back them up.
there must have been a great hue and cry when the “apocrypha” was added to the canon and i am sure the “true” Christians would have rejected such a move. please provide evidence of when the “apocrypha” was added to the canon by the eastern church and what controversy ensued when this happened.
why is it so hard to admit the obvious, the first 66 book Bible appeared on the world scene in the 16th century. even the original King James Bible did not have 66 books!
i do find it interesting that some are trying look to the “eastern church” for a 66 book Bible and would disagree with this “eastern church” on baptism, the Eucharist, apostolic succession, once saved, always saved, etc. etc.
The earliest Councils that declared Canon were before 400 and included the Deuterocanonicals. The East was well represented and constituted the majority of bishops, actually. There did not seem to be reluctance to accept them. The site I referenced was quite explicit regarding the Eastern Fathers’ use of them.
i just saw this post.
so, you do admit the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth, good we have common ground since this is Catholic Doctrine.
now, since we agree on the role of the Holy Spirit, please explain how the Holy Spirit allowed the Church to not understand any of the following for 16 centuries: the canon of Scripture, baptism, the Eucharist, apostolic succession, salvation by faith alone and the Mass.
It was in an article about Jerome and his writings regarding canon vs ecclesiastical books. Athanasius for one opposed the inclusion of the apocrypha into the formal canon.
From my studies, it appears that the apocrypha were included with the OT writings, but not as canon but as ecclesiastical works and that it wasn't until Trent that the Catholic Church actually declared them to be part of the formal canon of scripture.
Quick google trying to retrace some of my reading encountered these items
Regarding the difference between canon and ecclesiastical works -
St. Jerome distinguished between canonical books and ecclesiastical books. The latter he judged were circulated by the Church as good spiritual reading but were not recognized as authoritative Scripture. The situation remained unclear in the ensuing centuries...For example, John of Damascus, Gregory the Great, Walafrid, Nicolas of Lyra and Tostado continued to doubt the canonicity of the deuterocanonical books. According to Catholic doctrine, the proximate criterion of the biblical canon is the infallible decision of the Church. This decision was not given until rather late in the history of the Church at the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent definitively settled the matter of the Old Testament Canon. That this had not been done previously is apparent from the uncertainty that persisted up to the time of Trent (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, The Canon). (also at http://www.justforcatholics.org/a108.htm)
The other -
The view which now commanded itself fairly generally in the Eastern church, as represented by Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus and Epiphanius was that the deutero-canonical books should be relegated to a subordinate position outside of the canon proper. J.N.D. Kelly Early Christian Doctrine(cited here: http://www.jiminger.com/apocrypha/index.html)
Revelation (Apocalypse) of John was one of the last books recognized by the whole church.
olofob - the Catholic church did not call the apocrypha part of the canon until Trent. Until that time they were considered were permitted to be read in the churches for the purposes of edification but were never considered authoritative for establishing doctrine.
thus it was a 66 book canon even before trent - the apocrypha was just recommended reading.
there was a distinction made between canon and ecclesiastical writings Mark (New Catholic Encyl) where canon could speak to doctrine, while ecclesiastical was recognized as good spiritual reading but were not recognized as authoritative Scripture.
So the key is definitions. Since it is apparent that the apocrypha writings were circulated, they were relegated to this lower level of authority as not authorative scripture.
Sorry, the canon was established early on. Only after trent were the ecclesiastical /apocryphal writings 'canonized'.
baptism, the Eucharist, apostolic succession, salvation by faith alone and the Mass.
these things were understood - man has a way of mixing things up too, many of the items you noted are based on man - not bible.
I hope you can clarify and I’m interested in what you do (with links of course lol)
However, I’m pretty much checking off the net for the next several days, so I won’t be able to contribute much more. Have a good weekend.
stop embarrassing yourself with such statements. The canon was set in the late 4th century and all the books approved were considered authoritative for doctrine. where do you get these wild ideas of yours??? saying Trent established the canon is like saying Nicea established the divinity of Jesus. Church Councils define doctrine when opposition to the doctrine arises. since no one disputed the 73 book canon until the 16th century.
again, i ask you, who ( if anyone ) has the authority on earth to proclaim infallibly the number of books in the canon? anyone? or are we left to guess? did the Holy Spirit wait until the 16th century to lead men to the proper canon?
why can’t you answer this all important question?
“the canon was established early on”
what canon, where, when, by whom???
“these things were understood”
yes, they were understood quite clearly from the Apostles up until the 16th century when false teachers arose.
“based on man- not bible”
care to name what you are talking about?
another thought for you, i hope you know the Eastern Orthodox do not accept Trent as binding. if you are correct, that what you call the “apocrypha” did not become canonical until Trent, how did the “apocrypha” get into the canon of the Orthodox? the Great Schism of the Catholic Church occurred in 1054.
if the 73 were accepted by all christians as inspired,
for 1500 years,
and one of the verses condemns adding OR REMOVING anything,
they why would anyone tolerate Luther removing huge sections of ancient scripture he disagreed with?
Jesus promised to continue to guide his Church from Heaven.
if Jesus wanted them removed, why did he allow his church to be mislead for 1500 years, until Luther came to fix it?
and frankly, how can any Christian accept guidance or teaching from a man who’s OWN words by his OWN hand show such vicious hated of Jews???
DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON:
The New Testament books are written, but during this same period other early Christian writings are produced—for example, the Didache (c. AD 70), 1 Clement (c. 96), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 100), and the 7 letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 107).
Marcion, a businessman in Rome, taught that there were two Gods:
Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament, and Abba, the kind father of the New Testament. Marcion eliminated the Old Testament as scriptures and, since he was anti-Semitic, kept from the New Testament only 10 letters of Paul and 2/3 of Luke’s gospel (he deleted references to Jesus’s Jewishness). Marcion’s “New Testament”, the first to be compiled, forced the mainstream Church to decide on a core canon: the four Gospels and Letters of Paul.
The periphery of the canon is not yet determined. According to one list, compiled at Rome c. AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the NT consists of the 4 gospels; Acts; 13 letters of Paul (Hebrews is not included); 3 of the 7 General Epistles (1-2 John and Jude); and also the Apocalypse of Peter.
The earliest extant list of the books of the NT, in exactly the number and order in which we presently have them, is written by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in his Festal letter # 39 of 367 A.D..
Pope Damasus I, in a letter, listed the New Testament books in their present number and order.
The Council of Hippo affirmed the Canon written by Bishop Athanasius.
The Council of Carthage reaffirmed the Canons of the Old and New Testaments.
At the Council of Florence, the entire Church recognized the 27 books, though does not declare them unalterable. This council confirmed the Roman Catholic Canon of the Bible which Pope Damasus I had published a thousand years earlier.
In his translation of the Bible from Greek into German, Luther removed 4 N.T. books (Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation) and placed them in an appendix saying they were less than canonical.
At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church reaffirmed once and for all the full list of 27 books as traditionally accepted.
*note* Jerome as well as several others such as Augustine also weighed in on their preferences for the Canon of Scripture. The Magisterium is not made up of a single individual and Jerome was not in a position of leading authority within the Church - he was ordained a priest but never advanced further.
Marcion of Sinope was the first Christian leader in recorded history (though later considered heretical), to propose and delineate a uniquely Christian canon (about 140 AD) which included 10 epistles from St. Paul as well as a version of the Gospel of Luke which today is known as the Gospel of Marcion. In so doing, he established a particular way of looking at religious texts that persists in Christian thought today. After Marcion, Christians began to divide texts into those that aligned well with the “measuring stick” (”canon” is the Greek translation of this phrase) of accepted theological thought and those that promoted heresy. This played a major role in finalizing the structure of the collection of works called the Bible. It has been proposed that the initial impetus for the proto-orthodox Christian project of canonization flowed from opposition to the canonization of Marcion.
Earliest Christian communities
Though the Early Church used the Old Testament according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX), perhaps as found in the Bryennios List or Melito’s canon, the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time.
A folio from P46, an early 3rd century collection of Pauline epistles.
The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected forms by the end of the 1st century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early 2nd century, mentions the “memoirs of the apostles,” which Christians called “gospels” and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.
An early figure in the codification of the Biblical canon was Origen of Alexandria. He was a scholar well educated in the realm of both theology and pagan philosophy but was posthumously condemned at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. Origen decided to make his canon include all of the books in the current Catholic canon except for four books: James, 2nd Peter, and 2nd and 3rd epistles of John. He also included the Shepherd of Hermas which was later rejected. The religious scholar Bruce Metzger described Origen’s efforts, saying The process of canonization represented by Origen proceeded by way of selection, moving from many candidates for inclusion to fewer. This was one of the first major attempts at the compilation of certain books and letters as authoritative and inspired teaching for the Early Church at the time although it is unclear whether Origen intended for his list to be authoritative itself.
Needless to say there were various theologians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries that wrote a great deal of works and used the letters of the apostles as foundation and justification for their own personal beliefs. However, there was still the problem of the Roman Empire, and while the persecutions of the Roman Empire were many and extreme, the persecution still occurred and influenced the initial canonization of the New Testament. This period in church history writings is known as the “Edificatory Period” and was followed by the “Apologetic”, “Polemical” and “Scientific” Periods. Some of the Christian writers of this edificatory Period are: Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Polycarp, Tertullian, Cyprian, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria. This stagnation of official writings led to a sudden explosion of discussions after Constantine I legalized Christianity in the early 4th century, perhaps associated with the Fifty Bibles of Constantine.
A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus, “It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four quarters of the earth in which we live, and four universal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the ‘pillar and ground’ of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh .Therefore the gospels are in accord with these things For the living creatures are quadriform and the gospel is quadriform These things being so, all who destroy the form of the gospel are vain, unlearned, and also audacious; those (I mean) who represent the aspects of the gospel as being either more in number than as aforesaid, or, on the other hand, fewer’”  By the early 200s, Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books found in modern New Testament editions, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation (see also Antilegomena). Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them. Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the 3rd century.
In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books that would become the New Testament canon, and he used the phrase “being canonized” (kanonizomena) in regards to them. Athanasius also included the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah in his Bible. He also eliminated the book of Esther from his Bible.
The first council that accepted the present Catholic canon (the Canon of Trent) may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (AD 393); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed. Pope Damasus I’s Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above, or if not the list is at least a 6th century compilation. Likewise, Damasus’ commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead “were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church.” Thus, from the 4th century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today), and by the 5th century the East, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the New Testament canon.
from (I hate to admit it): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon
The Orthodox, who participated in the early Councils and accepted their Canons, did not see need to formally ratify anything again until the mid 1600s.
By the way, Kolo got back to me. It seems that they hold the Deuterocanonicals about on a par with the Apocalypse of John. Scripture, but not quite on the par with some other parts of the Bible.
Remember that we Catholics regard the Gospels as the pinnacle of God’s revelation to man. We see the NT through the prism of the Gospels and the Old Testament through the New. We would never put the words of the Chronicler on par with the words of Jesus, for instance.
thanks for the good information. I was always taught that all Scripture was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and therefore is equally valid and authoritative.
Think about this: how do we receive the OT and the Epistles / Apocalypse in the Mass? Sitting. Often from a lay lector. They are introduced as a reading from Xxxxx.
How do we receive the Gospels? If a deacon reads, he is blessed by the priest before reading. If a bishop is present and a priest reads, the priest is blessed by the bishop before reading.
All stand in reverence. Ordained lector: The Lord be with you. Congregation: And also with you. Ordained Lector: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Xxxxx. All present cross themselves on our forehead (I will always think of Christ), on our mouth (I will always speak of Christ), and on our heart (I will always have Christ in my heart and soul). The ordained lector reads the Gospel passages and we remain in reverent attention and he closes with: The word of the Lord. Congregation: Thanks be to God.
The Church does not consider the words of, say, Ezra to be as important as the words of Christ.