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How To Understand The Holy Scripture

The Scriptures we are commanded to search. John 5:39. Isa 8:20. They are commended that searched and studied them. Acts 17:11 and 8:28,29. They are reproved that being unskillful in them or slow to believe them. Matt 22:29. Luke 24:25. They can make us wise unto salvation. 2 Tim 3:15. If we are ignorant, they will instruct us.

If out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures [S. August. confess. lib 8 caps 12], (for unto them "Whatsoever is in the Scriptures, believe me," saith the same S.

Augustine, "is high and divine; it is very true, and a doctrine most fit for the refreshing of men’s minds. and truly so tempered, that everyone may draw from thence that which is sufficient for him, if he comes to draw with a devout and pious mind, as true Religion requireth.

And S. Cyril against Julian; "Even boys that are bred up in the Scriptures, become most religious, etc. [S. Cyril. 7 contra Iulianum] But what mention we three or four uses of the Scripture, whereas whatsoever is to be believed or practiced, or hoped for, is contained in them? or three or four sentences of the Fathers, since whosoever is worthy the name of a Father.

From Christ’s time downward, hath likewise written not only of the riches but also of the perfection of the Scripture? "I heretic of the like stamp, he saith; "I do not admit that which thou bringest in (or concludes) of thine own (head or store, too) without Scripture." [Tertul. de Carne Christi.] So Saint Justin Martyr before him.

We must know by all means," saith he, "that it is not lawful (or possible) to learn (anything) of God or right piety, save only out of the Prophets, who teach us by divine inspiration." So Saint Basil after Tertullian, "It is a manifest falling way from the Faith, and a fault of presumption, either to reject any of those things that are written or to bring in (upon the head of them) any of those things that are not written.

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