“Orthodox” Christians must have a VERY high view of Scripture. In Tradition, the scriptures are first and foremost.
“We reject not all Traditions, but such as are … not consonant to the prime rule of faith, to wit, the Holy Scripture.” Francis White
There was no “canon of scripture” in the early Church; there was no “Bible” as we know it today. The Scriptures are the books of the Church; she is not the Church of the Scriptures. It was the Church–her leadership, faithful people–guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing. The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon. A Fixed canon of the Old and New Testaments, hence the “Bible,” as we have it today was not finalized before the end of the 2nd and early 3rd century.
However, the scriptures by themselves can be misquoted, distorted, twisted, misused, and misunderstood in so many forms as to support more interpretations than there are pages in the scriptures themselves !!! Heretics in the early ages of Christianity loved quoting the scriptures alone to defend their positions. Also, Christians today who claim ‘sola scriptura’ (bible only) have more interpretations of the scripture than there are scriptures !! The major cults also use ‘the bible’ in their presentations.
Christians should believe in “Prima Scriptura” which acknowledges that, besides canonical scripture, there are other guides for helping us to properly interpret the scriptures so a believer can know what he should believe, and how he should live. (the plethora of scripture commentaries actually shows this is practice of most Christians)
Prima scriptura suggests that ways of knowing or understanding God and his will, that do not originate from canonized scripture, are in a second place, perhaps helpful in interpreting that scripture, but testable by the canon and correctable by it, if they seem to contradict the scriptures. In other words, Prima Scriptura is still to be our source of all Dogma, as Cyril of Jerusalem taught us.
“No doctrine concerning the divine and saving mysteries of the faith, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the holy Scriptures. We must not let ourselves be drawn aside by mere persuasion and cleverness of speech. Do not even give absolute belief to me, the one who tells you these things, unless you receive proof from the divine Scriptures of what I teach. For the faith that brings us salvation acquires its force, not from fallible reasonings,but from what can be proved out of the holy Scriptures.” Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 313 – 386), Catechetical Lectures 4:17
In conclusion, I leave with this great quote by EO Fr John Whiteford
“ The Holy Scriptures are perhaps the summit of the Holy Tradition of the Church, but the greatness of the heights to which the Scriptures ascend is due to the great mountain upon which it rests. Taken from its context, within the Holy Tradition, the solid rock of Scripture becomes a mere ball of clay, to be molded into whatever shape its handlers wish to mold it. It is no honor to the Scriptures to misuse and twist them, even if this is done in the name of exalting their authority. We must read the Bible; it is God’s Holy Word. But to understand its message let us humbly sit at the feet of the saints who have shown themselves “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22), and have been proven by their lives worthy interpreters of the Scriptures. Let us go to those who knew the Apostles, such as Saints Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp, if we have a question about the writings of the Apostles. Let us inquire of the Church, and not fall into self-deluded arrogance.”
for further understanding :
“Orthodox are always talking about Tradition. What do they mean by the word? A tradition is commonly understood to signify an opinion, belief or custom handed down from ancestors to posterity. Christian tradition in that case, is the faith and practice which Jesus Christ imparted to the Apostles, and which since the Apostles’ time has been handed down from generation in the Church. But to an Orthodox Christian, Tradition means something more concrete and specific than this. It means the books of the Bible; it means the Creed; it means the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils and the writings of the Fathers; it means the Canons, the Service Books, the Holy Icons — in fact, the whole system of doctrine, Church government, worship, spirituality and art which Orthodoxy has articulated over the ages. Orthodox Christian of today see themselves as heirs and guardians to a rich inheritance received from the past, and they believe that it is their duty to transmit this inheritance unimpaired to the future.
Note that the Bible forms a part of Tradition. Sometimes Tradition is defined as the oral teaching of Christ, not recorded in writing by His immediate disciples. Not only non-Orthodox but many Orthodox writers have adopted this way of speaking, treating Scripture and tradition as two different things, two distinct sources of the Christian faith. But in reality there is only one source, since Scripture exists within Tradition. to separate and contrast the two is to impoverish the idea of both alike.
Orthodox, while reverencing this inheritance from the past, are also well aware that not everything received from the past is of equal value. Among the various elements of Tradition, a unique pre-eminence belongs to the Bible, to the Creed, to the doctrinal definitions of the Ecumenical Councils: these things the Orthodox accept as something absolute and unchanging, something which cannot be cancelled or revised [NOTE : I disagree with that last statement in regard to councils. They are NOT infallible or of a higher authority than Scripture - RAS]. The other parts of Tradition do not have quite the same authority. The decrees of Jassy or Jerusalem do not stand on the same level as the Nicene Creed, nor do the writings of an Athanasius, or a Symeon the New Theologian, occupy the same position as the Gospel of St. John. Not everything received from the past is of equal value, nor is everything received from the past necessarily true. As one of the bishops remarked at the Council of Carthage in 257: ‘The Lord said, I am truth. He did not say, I am custom.’ There is a difference between ‘Tradition’ and traditions’: many traditions which the past has handed down are human and accidental- pious opinions (or worse), but not a true part of the one Tradition, the fundamental Christian message.
[from the book "The Orthodox Church: New Edition" by the Bishop Kallistos Ware]
Evangelical scholar Daniel B. Clendenin:
“In general we can say that for Orthodoxy the Spirit speaks to the church through the gospel tradition (paradosis), this tradition being defined as a living and authentic continuity with the apostolic past. “The Apostolic Tradition is the gospel, the word and event of salvation, entrusted by Jesus to His disciples who received the authority to proclaim it to the world.” Paul transmitted this paradosis to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11:2, 23; 15:3), and referred to it on three occasions as an entrusted deposit which the church must guard (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:12-14). Whatever authority or criteria of truth the church possesses resides in its fidelity to this original apostolic paradosis. In a comprehensive sense the apostolic tradition finds expression in any number of external forms, all of which are means used by the indwelling Spirit. Timothy Ware, for example, lists seven: Scripture, the seven ecumenical councils, later councils and their dogmatic statements (Orthodoxy’s so-called symbolic books), the Fathers, liturgy, canon law, and icons.
These external forms constitute an organic whole, and it is only for discussion’s sake that we treat them separately. For convenience we can think of them as tradition that is both written (Scripture) and unwritten (extracanonical sources) or, to use a common distinction, written Scripture and oral tradition.
Not all the external forms of the Spirit’s witness are of the same nature or value. Tradition is uniquely expressed in our present canon of written Scripture. Although Orthodoxy refuses to consider Scripture apart from the broader context of other forms of tradition, and does not limit authoritative tradition to the biblical canon, it nevertheless accords a unique status to the Bible. Liturgically, this can be seen not merely in Orthodoxy’s intense veneration of holy Scripture (the elevating, incensing, and kissing of the Bible, and its being given the primary place of honar in various processions), but especially in the rich biblical content of the liturgy itself.
Doctrinally, and contrary to a common Protestant misunderstanding, Orthodoxy does not endorse a “doctrine of homogenized and unstratified authority,” but instead “affirms unequivocally the primary position of Scripture.”
“Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective” by Daniel B. Clendenin, pages 108-109