The Saints in Holy Scripture


The Holy Scripture may be considered a history of Saints. Scripture is hagiography. Inasmuch as there is One Saint, Jesus Christ, all scripture is also the history or Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The Protestant reads the word “Saint” in Holy Scripture as having but one meaning – for him, it means simply “Christian”. For the Orthodox, the Saints are spoken of in multiple senses – sometimes as referring to the Martyrs, sometimes others who are Glorified, and sometimes in reference to the Orthodox in their vocation (‘calling’) to be Saints. For the Orthodox reader, there is no dichotomy – no opposition – between the notion of each individual Orthodox person being called a Saint, in hope and love and assertion of this vocation of glorification/theosis and in absence of presumption and the notion of the Saints as being those glorified by theosis. Since theosis is a process that is ongoing, we speak of all Orthodox as Saints, and we speak in a special way of those who have been glorified as Saints. Nor, for the Orthodox reader, is death a barrier between the Church on earth and the Church in Heaven, as there would be for the Roman Catholic who speaks of the ‘the church militant’ and ‘the church triumphant’. Rather, there is one Church in perfect union, and earthly things have their fulfillment in Heavenly things. Reading Holy Scripture in this way, in concert with it’s liturgical setting, with the Church that wrote it and sings it out of its own heart and life, and with the rest of Church tradition among which it sits as a jewel in a setting of gold, the meaning of “saint” in any one place is not either/or - either the one or the other, but both/and.


The Death of Saints

Psalm 116: [15] Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

The Repose of the Saints (whose bodies but sleep)

The Gospel According to Matthew (chapter 27): [52] And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

The Vocation of All to be Saints


Epistle to the Romans (chapter 1): [7] To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.


First Epistle to the Corinthians (chapter 1): [2] Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:


The Churches of the Saints (still dedicated to them in veneration)


First Epistle to the Corinthians (chapter 14): [33] For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.


The Saints as (and as having) an Inheritance

Daniel (chapter seven): [18] But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. [27] And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Epistle to the Ephesians (chapter one): [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,


Epistle to the Colossians (chapter one): [12] Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:


Fellowcitizens with the Saints


Epistle to the Ephesians (chapter two): [19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;


Faith and Love Toward the Saints


Philemon (chapter one): [5] Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;


The Prayers of Saints (which save us)


[8] And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Psalm 149: [5] Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.