CH09 Early Biblical Understanding


Chapter 9 – Alexandria and Early Biblical Understanding

Reading and understanding the Bible was challenging in the early Church as it is still today. When passages do not seem to make sense it opens up to interpretation. Many early leaders struggled with this and their writings shed some insight into prevalent thought. Philo, of Alexandria tried to find consistency between the Old Testament and prevailing Greek philosophies. The ‘Epistle of Barnabas’ provides an allegorical approach that attempts to go beyond any apparent meaning. Clement of Alexandria (circa 200 A.D.) combined philosophy of the day to aid in interpretation. Origen taught that there were layers of interpretation for scripture. The Apostle Paul made clear to Timothy that he, and by inference we, should recognize that all Scripture is ‘breathed‘ by God and that we should ‘rightly handle’ Scripture, which is a challenge for us to earnestly study to become equipped to rightly handle the Word of God.

Key Words

Gnosticism, Marcion, Alexandria, Philo, Epistle of Barnabas, allegorical approach, interpretation, Clement of Alexandria, Platonism, philosophy’s dialectic, Origen, ‘full’ divinity of Jesus, Alexandrian Catechetical School


Speaker: W. Mark Lanier



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