While many Christians love to defend the literal reading of Scripture, in Orthodox hymns we are more likely to find the richness of Scriptures. The literal reading of a text is often not seen as the true significance of the text. For one thing Orthodoxy follows the teaching of Christ that the Old Testament is really about Christ. “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. . . . If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me.” (John 5:39-46) For example, a hymn for Wednesday Matins of the 2nd Week of the Pentecostarion offers our interpretation of Genesis 22 (Abraham’s offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice) and from Jonah 1-2:
ISAAC WAS LED UP THE MOUNTAIN AS A SACRIFICE;
JONAH DESCENDED INTO THE DEEP.
BOTH WERE IMAGES OF YOUR PASSION, O SAVIOR:
THE FIRST WAS BOUND FOR THE SLAUGHTER;
THE OTHER PREFIGURED YOUR DEATH
AND YOUR WONDROUS RISING TO LIFE! LORD, GLORY TO YOU!