Church Fathers on the Sacred Scriptures

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV)

Collected from here:

ANASTASIUS OF ANTIOCH

“It is manifest that those things are not to be inquired into, which Scripture has passed over into silence. For the Holy Spirit has dispensed and administered to us all things which conduce to our profit” Anagog Contemp in Hexem lib 8 init

ATHANASIUS

“…for the tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture, than from other sources…” De Decretis 31

“The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the Truth” Contra Gentiles 1,1

“These [canonical] books are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them: in these alone the school of piety preaches the Gospel; let no man add to or take away from them.” Festal Letters 39

“For they were spoken and written by God” De Incarnatione 56

“…the Scriptures…will learn from them more completely and clearly the exact detail of what we said” ibid 56

“Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us” Ad Epis Aeg 4

“Divine Scripture is sufficient above all things” De Synodis 6

ANTONY OF EGYPT

“The Scriptures are enough for instruction” Vita S. Antoni 16

AUGUSTINE

“What more shall I teach you than what we read in the Apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare to be wiser than we ought” De Bono Viduitatis 2

“Let us therefore give in…to the authority of the Holy Scriptures” De Peccatorum 33

“Let us search for the Church in the Sacred Scriptures” Epis 105

“[H]e will find there in much greater abundance things that are to be found nowhere else, but can be learnt only in the wonderful sublimity and wonderful simplicity of the Scriptures” De Doctr Christ 2,42,63

“It believes also the Holy Scriptures, old and new, which we call canonical, and which are the source of the faith by which the just lives…” De Civ Dei 19,18

BASIL THE GREAT

“The hearers taught in the Scriptures ought to test what is said by teachers and accept that which agrees with the Scriptures but reject what is foreign” Moralia 72,1

“Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth” Epis Ad Eustathius

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA

“How can we prove and certify as true something which Sacred Scripture does not attest?” Glaphyra on Genesis PG 69,53c

CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

“In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.” Catechetical Lectures 4,17

“…that you also, by ranging over the Sacred Scriptures, may lay hold of salvation for yourself, and, sated with the Scriptures, you may say: ‘How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ [citing Psalm 118(119):103]” ibid 9,13

“Now do not fix your attention on any skill of language on my part, for perhaps you may be deceived; unless you get the testimony of the prophets on each point, do not believe what is said. Unless you learn from the Holy Scriptures regarding the Virgin, the place, the time, the manner [concerning the Incarnation], ‘do not receive the witness of man’ [citing John 5:34].” ibid 12,5

“‘He was buried, and He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures’ [1 Cor 15:4]. An Apostle has sent us back to the testimony of the Scriptures; from the same source we will do well to discover the hope of our salvation.” ibid 14,2

“Let us assert of the Holy Spirit, therefore, only what is written; let us not busy ourselves about what is not written. The Holy Spirit has authored the Scriptures; He has spoken of Himself all that He wished, or all that we could grasp; let us confine ourselves to what He has said, for it is reckless to do otherwise.” ibid 16,2

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

“Therefore I beg you all that you give up what appeals to this one or that one and that you address all these questions concerning these things to the Scriptures.” Homily 13 on 2 Corinthians

“If anything is said without Scripture, the thinking of the hearers limps. But where the testimony proceeds from the divinely given Scripture, it confirms both the speech of the preacher and the soul of the hearer.” Commenting on Psalm 95

“But when Scripture wants to teach us something like that, it interprets itself and does not permit the hearer to err. I therefore beg and entreat that we close our ears to all these things and follow the canon of the Holy Scripture exactly.” Homily 13 on Genesis

“As a trusty door, Scripture shuts out heretics, securing us from error…” Joann 58

“Everything in the divine Scriptures is clear and straightforward; they inform us about all that is necessary” Epis 2 ad Thess 3,4

IRENAEUS

“[B]eing most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and by His Spirit” Against Heresies 2,28,2

“The Apostles at that time first preached the Gospel but later by the will of God, they delivered it to us in the Scriptures, that it might be the foundation and pillar of our faith” ibid 3,1,1

“Since, therefore, the tradition from the Apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those Apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, and that no lie is in Him” ibid 3,5,1

JEROME

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” In Isaiah Prologue

TERTULLIAN

“If it is nowhere written, then let it fear the woe which impends on all who add to or take away from the written word” Ad Hermogenes 22

“It is right that His conduct be investigated according to the rule of Scripture” Ad Marcion 3,17

THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH

“It would be acting according to demonic inspiration to follow the thinking of the human mind and to think there could be anything divine apart from the authority of the Scriptures” Pascal Letter of 401

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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