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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 9

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 9.—How We Should Proceed in Studying Scripture.

14.  In all these books those who fear God and are of a meek and pious disposition seek the will of God.  And in pursuing this search the first rule to be observed is, as I said, to know these books, if not yet with the understanding, still to read them so as to commit them to memory, or at least so as not to remain wholly ignorant of them.  Next, those matters that are plainly laid down in them, whether rules of life or rules of faith, are to be searched into more carefully and more diligently; and the more of these a man discovers, the more capacious does his understanding become.  For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life,—to wit, hope and love, of which I have spoken in the previous book.  After this, when we have made ourselves to a certain extent familiar with the language of Scripture, we may proceed to open up and investigate the obscure passages, and in doing so draw examples from the plainer expressions to throw light upon the more obscure, and use the evidence of passages about which there is no doubt to remove all hesitation in regard to the doubtful passages.  And in this matter memory counts for a great deal; but if the memory be defective, no rules can supply the want.

Next: Chapter 10

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