Augustine of Hippo
The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.
Make careful choice of the books which you read:
let the holy Scriptures ever have the preeminence.
Because I am a Christian, therefore, every day in which I do not penetrate more deeply into the knowledge of God’s Word in Holy Scripture is a lost day for me. I can only move forward with certainty upon the firm ground of the Word of God. And, as a Christian, I learn to know the Holy Scriptures in no other way than by hearing the Word preached and by prayerful meditation.
God’s Word must be so strongly fixed in our minds that it becomes the dominant influence in our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions. One of the most effective ways of influencing our minds is through memorizing Scripture. David said, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psm. 119:11).
I believe that the Holy Spirit is indispensable for an interpreter’s reaching a correct interpretation of the text. The Spirit must work in the interpreter’s heart so that he or she welcomes the biblical message that one’s egotistic, sinful heart otherwise hates with a vengeance.
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.
From the beginning of my Reformation I have asked God to send me neither dreams, nor visions, nor angels, but to give me the right understanding of His Word, the Holy Scriptures; for as long as I have God’s Word, I know that I am walking in His way and that I shall not fall into any error or delusion.
G. Campbell Morgan
No one statement wrested from its context is a sufficient warrant for actions that plainly controvert other commands. How excellent a thing it would be if the whole Church of Christ had learned that no law of life may be based upon an isolated text. Every false teacher who has divided the Church, has had, “it is written” on which to hang his doctrine.
In the divine Scriptures, there are shallows and there are deeps; shallows where the lamb may wade, and deeps where the elephant may swim.
Unlike most readers in Antiquity who read their books aloud, we have developed the convention of reading silently. This lets us read more widely but often less well, especially when what we are reading-such as the plays of Shakespeare and Holy Scripture-is a body of oral material that has been, almost but not quite accidentally, captured in a book like a fly in amber.
No text can be understood out of its entire context. The most “entire” context is Jesus. Every biblical text must be read in the living presence of Jesus. Every word of the scriptural text is a window or door leading us out of the tarpaper shacks of self into this great outdoors of God’s revelation.
Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
The Merchant of Venice
The word of God can be in the mind without being in the heart, but it cannot be in the heart without first being in the mind.
Exegesis is loving God enough to stop and listen carefully to what he says.
As the people of God, we believe the Word of God can be trusted in every way to speak what is true, command what is right, and provide us with what is good.
Augustine of Hippo
Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbor, does not yet understand them as he ought.
On Christian Doctrine, Bk.1, chap. 40.
The Word of Scripture should never stop sounding in your ears and working in you all day long, just like the words of someone you love. And just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all. . . . Do not ask “How shall I pass this on?” but “What does it say to me?” Then ponder this word long in your heart until it has gone right into you and taken possession of you.
Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.
The highest proof of Scripture derives in general from the fact that God in person speaks in it.
Augustine of Hippo
If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
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Consider checking out our illustrations page on Scripture.