Tag Archives: Holy Scriptures

St. Seraphim of Sarov: One should nourish the soul with the word of God . . .

Icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov“One should nourish the soul with the word of God: for the word of God, as St. Gregory the Theologian says, is angelic bread, by which are nourished souls who hunger for God. Most of all, one should occupy oneself with reading the New Testament and the Psalter, which one should do standing up. From this there occurs an enlightenment in the mind, which is in the mind, which is changed by a Divine change.”

— St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions

St. Thalassios the Libyan: Search the Scriptures . . .

Gospel“Search the Scriptures and you will find the commandments; do what they say and you will be freed from your passions.”

+ St. Thalassios the Libyan, “On Love, Self-Control and Life in Accordance with the Intellect,” 4.54, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Augustine: If you believe what you like in the gospels . . .

Icon of St. 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.”

— St. Augustine

St. John Chrysostom: . . . as many of us as neglect the reading of the Scriptures . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“Let them hear, as many of us as neglect the reading of the Scriptures, to what harm we are subjecting ourselves, to what poverty.”

— St. John Chrysostom, Homily XLVII On Matthew

St. Mark the Ascetic: Understand the words of Holy Scripture . . .

“Understand the words of Holy Scripture by putting them into practice, and do not fill yourself with conceit by elaborating on theoretical ideas.”

+ St. Mark the Ascetic, On the Spiritual Law Two Hundred Texts, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1)

St. Gregory of Nyssa: . . . so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scripture . . .

Icon of St. Gregory of Nyssa” …and that we might receive the teaching concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, ‘through a glass darkly’ from the older Scriptures,—from the Law, and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of the truth fully revealed to us, reverently accepting the meaning of the things which have been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scripture, which faith we guard as we received it, word for word, in purity, without falsification, judging even a slight divergence from the words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy and impiety.”

— St. Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius

St. Irenaus: We have learned the plan of our salvation . . .

Icon of St. Irenaeus of Lyon“We have learned the plan of our salvation from no one else other than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us. For they did at one time proclaim the gospel in public. And, at a later period, by the will of God, they handed the gospel down to us in the Scriptures-to be the ‘ground and pillar of our faith.'”

— St. Irenaus, Against Heresies

St. Maximos the Confessor: The sacred Scripture, taken as a whole, is like a human being . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorThe sacred Scripture, taken as a whole, is like a human being.  The Old Testament is the body and the New is the soul, the meaning it contains, the spirit. From another viewpoint we can say that the entire sacred Scripture, Old and New Testament, has two aspects: the historical content which corresponds to the body, and the deep meaning, the goal at which the mind should aim, which corresponds to the soul. If we think of human beings, we see they are mortal in their visible properties but immortal in their invisible qualities.

So with Scripture. It contains the letter, the visible text, which is transitory. But it also contains the spirit hidden beneath the letter, and this is never extinguished and this ought to be the object of our contemplation. Think of human  beings again. If they want to be perfect, they master their passions and mortify the flesh. So with Scripture. If it is heard in a spiritual way, it trims the text, like circumcision.

Paul says: `Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day.’ [2 Cor. 4:16] We can say that also of Scripture. The further the letter is divorced from it, the more relevance the spirit acquires. The more the shadows of the literal sense retreat, the more the shining truth of the faith advances. And this is exactly why Scripture was composed.

— St. Maximos the Confessor

St. Mark of Ephesus: . . . flee those who uphold other doctrines . .

Icon of St. Mark of Ephesus“All the teachers of the Church, all the Councils, and all the Divine Scriptures, exhort us to flee those who uphold other doctrines and to separate from communion with them.”

— St. Mark of Ephesus, Confession of Faith, XII, 304

St. Gregory the Theologian: We however, who extend the accuracy of the Spirit to the merest stroke and tittle . . .

Icon of St. Gregory the Theologian“We however, who extend the accuracy of the Spirit to the merest stroke and tittle, will never admit the impious assertion that even the smallest matters were dealt with haphazard by those who have recorded them, and have thus been borne in mind down to the present day: on the contrary, their purpose has been to supply memorials and instructions for our consideration under similar circumstances, should such befall us, and that the examples of the past might serve as rules and models, for our warning and imitation.”

— St. Gregory the Theologian