Endnotes

The Church Fathers: The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture

 


1 Not By Scripture Alone (NBSA), pp. 66–67, 83, 74. return to article

2 The holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding, keeps this constantly in view, namely, that the purity of the Gospel may be preserved in the Church after the errors have been removed. This [Gospel], of old promised through the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, promulgated first with His own mouth, and then commanded it to be preached by His Apostles to every creature as the source at once of all saving truth and rules of conduct. It also clearly perceives that these truths and rules are contained in the written books and unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand. Following, then, the examples of the orthodox Fathers, it receives and venerates with a feeling of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and New Testaments, since one God is the author of both; also the traditions, whether they relate to faith or morals, as having been dictated either orally by Christ or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church in unbroken succession…Furthermore, to check unbridled spirits, it decrees that no one relying on his own judgment shall, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, distorting the Holy Scriptures in accordance with his own conceptions, presume to interpret them contrary to that sense which holy mother Church, to whom it belongs to judge of their true sense and interpretation, has held and holds, or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers (The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (Rockford: Tan, 1978), pp. 17, 19). return to article

3 De Verb. Dei, lib. iv. c. 3, c. 12. Cited by William Goode, Vol. I, pp. 73, 77–78. return to article

4 Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), Vol. II, Means of Grace: Holy Catholic Church, Book IV, Chapter VIII.8–9, pp. 1155, 1157. return to article

5 Ibid., Vol. I, Prefatory Address to King Francis 4, p. 18. return to article

6 G.L. Prestige, Fathers and Heretics (London: SPCK, 19580, pp. 10–11. return to article

7 Ye understand, beloved, ye understand well the Sacred Scriptures, and ye have looked very earnestly into the oracles of God. (ANF, Vol. I, The Apostolic Fathers, The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 53).return to article

8 Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit saith, ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgment and righteousness’), being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake, teaching us meekness and long–suffering. For thus He spoke: ‘Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you.’ By this precept and by these rules let us stablish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word saith, ‘On whom shall I look, but on him that is meek and peaceable, and that trembleth at My words?’ (Ibid., The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 13). return to article

9 Ibid., The Apostolic Fathers, The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 36.
Clement states further: ‘Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit.’… Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these [admonitions]. For He Himself by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us: ‘Come, ye children, hearken unto Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Ibid, The Apostolic Fathers, The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 45, 22).return to article

10 For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted. It is declared then in these Scriptures, ‘Be ye angry, and sin not,’ and, ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath’ (Ibid., The Apostolic Fathers, The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 12). return to article

11 As the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of Isaiah, cries, speaking thus while he personates them: ‘Return from heaven, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and glory. Where is Thy zeal and strength?’ (Ibid., Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho  25).
+++There existed, long before this time, certain men more ancient than all those who are esteemed philosophers, both righteous and beloved by God, who spoke by the Divine Spirit, and foretold events which would take place, and which are now taking place. They are called prophets. These alone both saw and announced the truth to men, neither reverencing nor fearing any man, not influenced by a desire for glory, but speaking those things alone which they saw and which they heard, being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ibid., Vol. I, The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 7). return to article

12 Ibid., Vol. II, Writings of Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians 9. return to article

13 Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), pp. 68–69. return to article

14 The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit (ANF, Vol. I, Irenaeus, Against Heresies II.28.2). return to article

15 I shall plainly set forth from these divine Scriptures proofs to [satisfy] all the lovers of truth. (Ibid., Against Heresies II.35.4) return to article

16 But that I may not be thought to avoid that series of proofs which may be derived from the Scriptures of the Lord  (Ibid., Against Heresies II.35.4). return to article

17 These things are such as fall [plainly] under our observation, and are clearly and unambiguously in express terms set forth in the Sacred Scriptures  (Ibid., Against Heresies II.27.1) return to article

18 Then, in the first place, we prove from the authoritative Scriptures that all the things which have been mentioned, visible and invisible, have been made by one God. For these men are not more to be depended on than the Scriptures; nor ought we to give up the declarations of the Lord, Moses, and the rest of the prophets, who have proclaimed the truth, and give credit to them, who do indeed utter nothing of a sensible nature, but rave about untenable opinions. (Ibid., Against Heresies II.30.6). return to article

19 Ibid., Against Heresies s III.5.1.
Irenaeus states further: Our faith is steadfast, unfeigned, and the only true one, having clear proof from these Scriptures…(Ibid., Against Heresies III.21.3).

In the first place, we prove from the authoritative Scriptures that all the things which have been mentioned, visible and invisible, have been made by one God. For these men are not more to be depended on than the Scriptures…(Ibid., Against Heresies II.30.6). return to article

20 Ibid., Against Heresies II.28.8; I.8.1 return to article

21 If, therefore, even with respect to creation, there are some things [the knowledge of] which belongs only to God, and others which come within the range of our own knowledge, what ground is there for complaint, if, in regard to those things which we investigate in the Scriptures (which are throughout spiritual), we are able by the grace of God to explain some of them, while we must leave others in the hands of God, and that not only in the present world, but also in that which is to come, so that God should for ever teach, and man should for ever learn the things taught him by God?…If, for instance, any one asks, ‘What was God doing before He made the world?’ we reply that the answer to such a question lies with God Himself. For that this world was formed perfect by God, receiving a beginning in time, the Scriptures teach us; but no Scripture reveals to us what God was employed about before this event. The answer therefore to that question remains with God, and it is not proper for us to aim at bringing forward foolish, rash, and blasphemous suppositions [in reply to it]; so, as by one’s imagining that he has discovered the origin of matter, he should in reality set aside God Himself who made all things. But we shall not be wrong if we affirm the same thing also concerning the substance of matter, that God produced it. For we have learned from the Scriptures that God holds the supremacy over all things. But whence or in what way He produced it, neither has Scripture anywhere declared; nor does it become us to conjecture, so as, in accordance with our own opinions, to form endless conjectures concerning God, but we should leave such knowledge in the hands of God Himself (Ibid., Against Heresies II.28.3; II.28.7). return to article

22 Ibid., Against Heresies III.1.1. return to article

23 Ibid., Against Heresies III.4.1. return to article

24 Ibid., Against Heresies III.4.1. return to article

25 Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen:Van Gorcum, 1953), p. 130, 144. return to article

26 J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (San Francisco: Harper, 1960), pp. 38–39. return to article

27 R.P.C. Hanson, Tradition in the Early Church (Westminster: Philadelphia, 1962), pp. 109, 119. return to article

28 ANF, Vol. I, Irenaeus, Against Heresies II.27.2. return to article

29 Ibid., Against Heresies  I.10.2. return to article

30 NBSA, pp. 296–297. return to article

31 ANF, Vol. I, Irenaeus, Against Heresies I.10.1. return to article

32 Ibid., Against Heresies I.10.1; I.10.2; I.10.1. return to article

33 Irenaeus gives two other summaries of the faith: To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendor, shall come in glory, the Savior of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed (Ibid., Against Heresies III.4.2).
+++For to him all things are consistent: he has a full faith in one God Almighty, of whom are all things; and in the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom are all things, and in the dispensations connected with Him, by means of which the Son of God became man; and a firm belief in the Spirit of God, who furnishes us with a knowledge of the truth, and has set forth the dispensations of the Father and the Son, in virtue of which He dwells with every generation of men, according to the will of the Father (Ibid., Against Heresies 4.33.7). return to article

34 Vox Evangelica IX, Donald Guthrie, Ed. (London: London Bible College, 1975), A.N.S. Lane, Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey, p. 39. return to article

35 Against Heresies IV.33.8. R.P.C. Hanson, Tradition in the Early Church (Westminster: Philadelphia, 1962), pp. 100, 110, 112. return to article

36 F.F. Bruce, Tradition Old and New (Paternoster: Devon, 1970), pp. 117–118. return to article

37 To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendor, shall come in glory, the Savior of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established (ANF, Vol. I, Irenaeus, Against Heresies III.4.2). return to article

38 J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (Harper: San Francisco, 1960), p. 39. return to article

39 ANF, Vol. I, Irenaeus, Against Heresies III.2.1, III.3.1. return to article

40 Scripture and Tradition (Lutterworth: London, 1955), ‘The Early Church,’an essay by G.W.H. Lampe, pp. 40–41. return to article

41 Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), pp. 101-102. return to article

42 The Church’s Use of the Bible, D.E. Nineham, Ed. (London: SPCK, 1963), Henry Chadwick, The Bible and the Greek Fathers, p. 32. return to article

43 Heiko Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), p. 367. return to article

44 Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), p. 133. return to article

45 G.L. Prestige, Fathers and Heretics (SPCK: London, 1958), p. 16. return to article

46 F.F. Bruce, Tradition Old and New (Paternoster: Devon, 1970), p. 116. return to article

47Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, (Chicago:University of Chicago, 1974), Vol. I, pp. 114, 120. return to article

48 Christ Jesus our Lord (may He bear with me a moment in thus expressing myself!), whosoever He is, of what God soever He is the Son, of what substance soever He is man and God, of what faith soever He is the teacher, of what reward soever He is the Promiser, did, whilst He lived on earth, Himself declare what He was, what He had been, what the Father’s will was which He was administering, what the duty of man was which He was prescribing; (and this declaration He made,) either openly to the people, or privately to His disciples, of whom He had chosen the twelve chief ones to be at His side, and whom He destined to be the teachers of the nations. Accordingly, after one of these had been struck off, He commanded the eleven others, on His departure to the Father, to ‘go and teach all nations, who were to be baptized into the Father, and into the Son, and into the Holy Ghost.’ Immediately, therefore, so did the apostles, whom this designation indicates as ‘the sent.’ Having, on the authority of a prophecy, which occurs in a psalm of David, chosen Matthias by lot as the twelfth, into the place of Judas, they obtained the promised power of the Holy Ghost for the gift of miracles and of utterance; and after first bearing witness to the faith in Jesus Christ throughout Judaea, and founding churches (there), they next went forth into the world and preached the same doctrine of the same faith to the nations. They then in like manner founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, (founded) by the apostles, from which they all (spring). In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, whilst they are all proved to be one, in (unbroken) unity, by their peaceful communion, and title of brotherhood, and bond of hospitality,—privileges which no other rule directs than the one tradition of the selfsame mystery (ANF, Vol. III, Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics 20). return to article

49 Ibid., The Prescription Against Heretics 21. return to article

50 Ibid., The Prescription Against Heretics 19. return to article

51 See we, then, whether that which has another action be not another sword, — that is, the Divine word of God, doubly sharpened with the two Testaments of the ancient law and the new law; sharpened by the equity of its own wisdom; rendering to each one according to his own action. Lawful, then, it was for the Christ of God to be precinct, in the Psalms, without warlike achievements, with the figurative sword of the word of God; to which sword is congruous the predicated ‘bloom,’ together with the ‘grace of the lips;’ with which sword He was then ‘girt upon the thigh,’ in the eye of David, when He was announced as about to come to earth in obedience to God the Father’s decree (Ibid., An Answer to the Jews 9).

But yet Almighty God, in His most gracious providence, by ‘pouring out of His Spirit in these last days, upon all flesh, upon His servants and on His handmaidens,’ has checked these impostures of unbelief and perverseness, reanimated men’s faltering faith in the resurrection of the flesh, and cleared from all obscurity and equivocation the ancient Scriptures (of both God’s Testaments) by the clear light of their (sacred) words and meanings (Ibid., On the Resurrection of the Flesh 63). return to article

52 Holy: The statements, however, of holy Scripture will never be discordant with truth (Ibid., On the Treatise of the Soul 21).
+++God’s, the Creator’s, Scriptures: We have adduced these few quotations from a mass of the Creator’s Scriptures… But inasmuch as I shall now from this point have to grapple with my opponent on a distinct issue and in close combat, I perceive that I must advance even here some lines, at which the battle will have to be delivered; they are the Scriptures of the Creator (Ibid., Against Marcion II.19, III.5),
+++Sacred: I mean by the Thebans, by the Spartans also, and the Argives—its disciples sought to imitate our doctrines; and ambitious, as I have said, of glory and eloquence alone, if they fell upon anything in the collection of sacred Scriptures which displeased them, in their own peculiar style of research, they perverted it to serve their purpose (Ibid., Apology 47).
+++Divine: For, withal, according to the memorial records of the divine Scriptures, the people of the Jews—that is, the more ancient—quite forsook God, and did degrading service to idols, and, abandoning the Divinity, was surrendered to images;…Whence is proved that they have ever been depicted, out of the volume of the divine Scriptures (Ibid., Answer to the Jews 1).
+++The Word of God: Accordingly you read the word of God which was spoken to Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee’ (Ibid., Treatise on the Soul 26).
+++Inspired:  Since, however, (the great fact) is proclaimed in so many inspired passages, that is so far a dissuasive against understanding it in a sense different from that which is attested by such arguments as persuade us to its reception, even irrespective of the testimonies of revelation (Ibid., On the Resurrection of the Flesh 18).
+++Authoritative: This authority of Scripture I claim for myself even from this circumstance, that whilst it shows me the God who created, and the works He created, it does not in like manner reveal to me the source from which He created (Ibid., Against Hermogenes 20). return to article

53 Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), p. 172. return to article

54 Well, but they actually treat of the Scriptures and recommend (their opinions) out of the Scriptures! To be sure they do. From what other source could they derive arguments concerning the things of the faith, except from the records of the faith? (ANF, Vol. III, Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 14). return to article

55 Ibid., Against Praexes 10, 11. return to article

56 Ibid., Against Hermogenes 22. return to article

57 It will be your duty, however, to adduce your proofs out of the Scriptures as plainly as we do, when we prove that He made His Word a Son to Himself…Now, you who say that the Father is the same as the Son, do really make the same Person both to have sent forth from Himself (and at the same time to have gone out from Himself as) that Being which is God. If it was possible for Him to have done this, He at all events did not do it. You must bring forth the proof which I require of you—one like my own; that is, (you must prove to me) that the Scriptures show the Son and the Father to be the same, just as on our side the Father and the Son are demonstrated to be distinct; I say distinct, but not separate: for as on my part I produce the words of God Himself, ‘My heart hath emitted my most excellent Word,’ so you in like manner ought to adduce in opposition to me some text where God has said, ‘My heart hath emitted Myself as my own most excellent Word,’ in such a sense that He is Himself both the Emitter and the Emitted, both He who sent forth and He who was sent forth, since He is both the Word and God (Ibid., Against Praexes 11).

Silence! Silence on such blasphemy. Let us be content with saying that Christ died, the Son of the Father; and let this suffice, because the Scriptures have told us so much. For even the apostle, to his declaration—which he makes not without feeling the weight of it—that ‘Christ died,’ immediately adds, ‘according to the Scriptures,’ in order that he may alleviate the harshness of the statement by the authority of the Scriptures, and so remove offense from the reader (Ibid., Against Praexes 29).

How much more, you say, is it (within their competence to take a body) out of some material substance? That is true enough. But there is no evidence of this, because Scripture says nothing (Ibid., On the Flesh of Christ 6).

The Scripture says nothing of this, although it is not in other instances silent when anything was done against Him by way of temptation. ‘Behold,’ it says, ‘a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him.’ And in another passage: ‘The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him.’ Who was to prevent its being in this place also indicated that this was done with the view of tempting Him? I do not admit what you advance of your own apart from Scripture (Ibid., On the Flesh of Christ 7). return to article

58 Ibid., On the Resurrection of the Flesh 3. return to article

59 Where diversity of doctrine is found, there, then, must the corruption both of the Scriptures and the expositions thereof be regarded as existing. On those whose purpose it was to teach differently, lay the necessity of differently arranging the instruments of doctrine. They could not possibly have effected their diversity of teaching in any other way than by having a difference in the means whereby they taught. As in their case, corruption in doctrine could not possibly have succeeded without a corruption also of its instruments, so to ourselves also integrity of doctrine could not have accrued, without integrity in those means by which doctrine is managed. Now, what is there in our Scriptures which is contrary to us? What of our own have we introduced, that we should have to take it away again, or else add to it, or alter it, in order to restore to its natural soundness anything which is contrary to it, and contained in the Scriptures? What we are ourselves, that also the Scriptures are (and have been) from the beginning. Of them we have our being, before there was any other way, before they were interpolated by you (Ibid., Prescription Against the Heretics 38). return to article

60 For we, who by the grace of God possess an insight into both the times and the occasions of the Sacred Writings, especially we who are followers of the Paraclete, not of human teachers, do indeed definitively declare that Two Beings are God, the Father and the Son, and, with the addition of the Holy Spirit, even Three, according to the principle of the divine economy, which introduces number, in order that the Father may not, as you perversely infer, be Himself believed to have been born and to have suffered, which it is not lawful to believe, forasmuch as it has not been so handed down (Ibid., Against Praxeas 13)… Nos enim qui et tempora et caussas Scripturarum per Dei gratiam inspicimus, maxime Paracleti, non hominum discipuli, duos quidem definimus, Patrem et Filium, et jam tres cum Spiritu sancto, secundum rationem oeconomiae, quae facit numerum: ne, ut vestra perversitas infert, Pater ipse credatur natus et passus; quod non licet credi, quoniam non ita traditum est (Adversus Praxeam, Caput XIII. P.L. 2:169). return to article

61 J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (Harper: San Francisco, 1960), p. 39. return to article

62 From this, therefore, do we draw up our rule. Since the Lord Jesus Christ sent the apostles to preach, (our rule is) that no others ought to be received as preachers than those whom Christ appointed; for ‘no man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.’ Nor does the Son seem to have revealed Him to any other than the apostles, whom He sent forth to preach — that, of course, which He revealed to them. Now, what that was which they preached — in other words, what it was which Christ revealed to them — can, as I must here likewise prescribe, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the apostles founded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves, both vivâ voce, as the phrase is, and subsequently by their epistles. If, then, these things are so, it is in the same degree manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches — those molds and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the (said) churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, Christ from God. Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savors of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the tradition of the apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood. We hold communion with the apostolic churches because our doctrine is in no respect different from theirs. This is our witness of truth.
+++But inasmuch as the proof is so near at hand, that if it were at once produced there would be nothing left to be dealt with, let us give way for a while to the opposite side, if they think that they can find some means of invalidating this rule, just as if no proof were forthcoming from us. They usually tell us that the apostles did not know all things: (but herein) they are impelled by the same madness, whereby they turn round to the very opposite point, and declare that the apostles certainly knew all things, but did not deliver all things to all persons, — in either case exposing Christ to blame for having sent forth apostles who had either too much ignorance, or too little simplicity. What man, then, of sound mind can possibly suppose that they were ignorant of anything, whom the Lord ordained to be masters (or teachers), keeping them, as He did, inseparable (from Himself) in their attendance, in their discipleship, in their society, to whom, ‘when they were alone, He used to expound’ all things which were obscure, telling them that ‘to them it was given to know those mysteries,’ which it was not permitted the people to understand?
+++Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the church should be built,’ who also obtained ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth?’ Was anything, again, concealed from John, the Lord’s most beloved disciple, who used to lean on His breast to whom alone the Lord pointed Judas out as the traitor, whom He commended to Mary as a son in His own stead? Of what could He have meant those to be ignorant, to whom He even exhibited His own glory with Moses and Elias, and the Father’s voice moreover, from heaven? Not as if He thus disapproved of all the rest, but because ‘by three witnesses must every word be established.’ After the same fashion, too, (I suppose,) were they ignorant to whom, after His resurrection also, He vouchsafed, as they were journeying together, ‘to expound all the Scriptures.’ No doubt He had once said, ‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot hear them now;’ but even then He added, ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, shall come, He will lead you into all truth.’ He (thus) shows that there was nothing of which they were ignorant, to whom He had promised the future attainment of all truth by help of the Spirit of truth. And assuredly He fulfilled His promise, since it is proved in the Acts of the Apostles that the Holy Ghost did come down. Now they who reject that Scripture can neither belong to the Holy Spirit, seeing that they cannot acknowledge that the Holy Ghost has been sent as yet to the disciples, nor can they presume to claim to be a church themselves who positively have no means of proving when, and with what swaddling–clothes this body was established. Of so much importance is it to them not to have any proofs for the things which they maintain, lest along with them there be introduced damaging exposures of those things which they mendaciously devise (Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 21, 22). return to article

63 Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 20, 19. return to article

64 Ibid., Veiling of Virgins 1. return to article

65 Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), pp. 165–166. return to article

66 Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen ‘in diverse manners’ by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics (ANF, Vol. III, Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 13).

Tertullian gives two other summaries of the rule of faith:
In the course of time, then, the Father forsooth was born, and the Father suffered, God Himself, the Lord Almighty, whom in their preaching they declare to be Jesus Christ. We, however, as we indeed always have done and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth), believe that there is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or oijkonomiva, as it is called, that this one only God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the Virgin, and to have been born of her — being both Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been called by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics, much more before Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday, will be apparent both from the lateness of date which marks all heresies, and also from the absolutely novel character of our new–fangled Praxeas. (Ibid., Against Praxeas 2).

The rule of faith, indeed, is altogether one, alone immovable and irreformable; the rule, to wit, of believing in one only God omnipotent, the Creator of the universe, and His Son Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, raised again the third day from the dead, received in the heavens, sitting now at the right (hand) of the Father, destined to come to judge quick and dead through the resurrection of the flesh as well (as of the spirit) (Ibid.,Veiling of Virgins 1). return to article

67 They usually tell us that the apostles did not know all things: (but herein) they are impelled by the same madness, whereby they turn round to the very opposite point, and declare that the apostles certainly knew all things, but did not deliver all things to all persons, — in either case exposing Christ to blame for having sent forth apostles who had either too much ignorance, or too little simplicity. What man, then, of sound mind can possibly suppose that they were ignorant of anything, whom the Lord ordained to be masters (or teachers), keeping them, as He did, inseparable (from Himself) in their attendance, in their discipleship, in their society, to whom, ‘when they were alone, He used to expound’ all things which were obscure, telling them that ‘to them it was given to know those mysteries,’ which it was not permitted the people to understand? Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the church should be built,’ who also obtained ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth?’ Was anything, again, concealed from John, the Lord’s most beloved disciple, who used to lean on His breast to whom alone the Lord pointed Judas out as the traitor, whom He commended to Mary as a son in His own stead? Of what could He have meant those to be ignorant, to whom He even exhibited His own glory with Moses and Elias, and the Father’s voice moreover, from heaven? Not as if He thus disapproved of all the rest, but because ‘by three witnesses must every word be established.’ After the same fashion, too, (I suppose,) were they ignorant to whom, after His resurrection also, He vouchsafed, as they were journeying together, ‘to expound all the Scriptures.’ No doubt He had once said, ‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot hear them now;’ but even then He added, ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, shall come, He will lead you into all truth.’ He (thus) shows that there was nothing of which they were ignorant, to whom He had promised the future attainment of all truth by help of the Spirit of truth (Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 22). return to article

68 Thus, not being Christians, they have acquired no right to the Christian Scriptures; and it may be very fairly said to them, ‘Who are you? When and whence did you come? As you are none of mine, what have you to do with that which is mine? Indeed, Marcion, by what right do you hew my wood? By whose permission, Valentinus, are you diverting the streams of my fountain? By what power, Apelles, are you removing my landmarks? This is my property. Why are you, the rest, sowing and feeding here at your own pleasure? This (I say) is my property. I have long possessed it; I possessed it before you. I hold sure title–deeds from the original owners themselves, to whom the estate belonged. I am the heir of the apostles. Just as they carefully prepared their will and testament, and committed it to a trust, and adjured (the trustees to be faithful to their charge), even so do I hold it (Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 37).
+++This is further reiterated by Tertullian in his work Against Marcion where he uses the term tradition in its verb form in reference to Scripture to describe the handing down of the apostolic tradition: ‘On the whole, then, if that is evidently more true which is earlier, if that is earlier which is from the very beginning, if that is from the beginning which has the apostles for its authors, then it will certainly be quite as evident, that that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drank from Paul; to what rule of faith the Galatians were brought for correction; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians read by it; what utterance also the Romans give, so very near (to the apostles), to whom Peter and Paul conjointly bequeathed the gospel even sealed with their own blood. We have also St. John’s foster churches. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the orders of the bishops (thereof), when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author (Ibid., Against Marcion IV.5).
+++In summa, si constat id verius quod prius, id prius quod et ab initio, id ab initio, quod ab Apostolis; pariter utique constabit, id esse ab Apostolis traditum, quod apud ecclesias Apostolorum fuerit sacrosanctum. Videamus quod lac a Paulo Corinthii hauserint; ad quam regulam Galatae sint recorrecti; quid legant Philippenses, Thessalonicenses, Ephesii; quid etiam Romani de proximo sonent, quibus Evangelium et Petrus et Paulus sanguine quoque suo signatum reliquerunt. Habemus et Joannis alumnas ecclesias. Nam etsi Apocalypsim ejus Marcion respuit, ordo tamen episcoporum ad originem recensus, in Joannem stabit auctorem (Adversus Marcionem, Book IV.5, PL 2:366). return to article

69 Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 14. return to article

70 Ibid., De Corona 3–4. return to article

71 J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (Harper: San Francisco, 1960), p. 39. return to article

72 NBSA, p. 409.return to article

73 Ibid., p. 409.return to article

74 Now, what that was which they preached—in other words, what it was which Christ revealed to them—can, as I must here likewise prescribe, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the apostles founded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves, both vivâ voce, as the phrase is, and subsequently by their epistles. If, then, these things are so, it is in the same degree manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches—those molds and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the (said) churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, Christ from God. Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savors of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the tradition of the apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood. We hold communion with the apostolic churches because our doctrine is in no respect different from theirs. This is our witness of truth. (ANF, Vol. III, Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 21). return to article

75 Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 20. return to article

76 Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre–eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, (in which) you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; (and there too) you have the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s! where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island–exile! See what she has learned, what taught, what fellowship has had with even (our) churches in Africa! One Lord God does she acknowledge, the Creator of the universe, and Christ Jesus (born) of the Virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator; and the Resurrection of the flesh; the law and the prophets she unites in one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she drinks in her faith (Ibid., Prescription Against Heretics 36). return to article

77 ANF, Vol. II, Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata 1.2.
Accordingly, before the advent of the Lord, philosophy was necessary to the Greeks for righteousness. And now it becomes conducive to piety; being a kind of preparatory training to those who attain to faith through demonstration…Perchance, too, philosophy was given to the Greeks directly and primarily, till the Lord should call the Greeks. For this was a schoolmaster to bring ‘the Hellenic mind,’ as the law, the Hebrews, ‘to Christ.’ Philosophy, therefore, was a preparation, paving the way for him who is perfected in Christ…The Hellenic philosophy then, according to some, apprehended the truth accidentally, dimly, partially; as others will have it, was set a–going by the devil. Several suppose that certain powers, descending from heaven, inspired the whole of philosophy. But if the Hellenic philosophy comprehends not the whole extent of the truth, and besides is destitute of strength to perform the commandments of the Lord, yet it prepares the way for the truly royal teaching; training in some way or other, and molding the character, and fitting him who believes in Providence for the reception of the truth…There is then in philosophy, though stolen as the fire by Prometheus, a slender spark, capable of being fanned into flame, a trace of wisdom and an impulse from God. (Ibid., The Stromata 1.5, 17). return to article

78 William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers (Collegeville: Liturgical, 1970), Vol. 1, p. 176. return to article

79 Of these and the like, who devote their attention to empty words, the divine Scripture most excellently says, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ …He leads us in the inspired Scriptures…He who believeth then the divine Scriptures with sure judgment, receives in the voice of God, who bestowed the Scripture, a demonstration that cannot be impugned (ANF, Vol. II, Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata 1.3, 7.16, 2.2). return to article

80 For those are slothful who, having it in their power to provide themselves with proper proofs for the divine Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, select only what contributes to their own pleasures (Ibid., The Stromata 7.16, p. 553). return to article

81 If ye understand the Scriptures magnanimously (which means truly; for nothing is greater than truth) (Ibid., The Stromata 7.16). return to article

82 But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves…Now all men, having the same judgment, some, following the Word speaking, frame for themselves proofs; while others, giving themselves up to pleasures, wrest Scripture, in accordance with their lusts. And the lover of truth, as I think, needs force of soul. For those who make the greatest attempts must fail in things of the highest importance; unless, receiving from the truth itself the rule of the truth, they cleave to the truth. But such people, in consequence of falling away from the right path, err in most individual points; as you might expect from not having the faculty for judging of what is true and false, strictly trained to select what is essential. For if they had, they would have obeyed the Scriptures…For we have, as the source of teaching, the Lord, both by the prophets, the Gospel, and the blessed apostles, ‘in divers manners and at sundry times,’ leading from the beginning of knowledge to the end. But if one should suppose that another origin was required, then no longer truly could an origin be preserved. He, then, who of himself believes the Scripture and voice of the Lord, which by the Lord acts to the benefiting of men, is rightly [regarded] faithful.
+++Certainly we use it as a criterion in the discovery of things. What is subjected to criticism is not believed till it is so subjected; so that what needs criticism cannot be a first principle. Therefore, as is reasonable, grasping by faith the indemonstrable first principle, and receiving in abundance, from the first principle itself, demonstrations in reference to the first principle, we are by the voice of the Lord trained up to the knowledge of the truth. For we may not give our adhesion to men on a bare statement by them, who might equally state the opposite. But if it is not enough merely to state the opinion, but if what is stated must be confirmed, we do not wait for the testimony of men, but we establish the matter that is in question by the voice of the Lord, which is the surest of all demonstrations, or rather is the only demonstration; in which knowledge those who have merely tasted the Scriptures are believers; while those who, having advanced further, and become correct expounders of the truth, are Gnostics… so, consequently, we also, giving a complete exhibition of the Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, from faith persuade by demonstration. (Ibid., The Stromata 7.16). return to article

83 Now, since there are three states of the soul — ignorance, opinion, knowledge — those who are in ignorance are the Gentiles, those in knowledge, the true Church, and those in opinion, the Heretics. Nothing, then, can be more clearly seen than those, who know, making affirmations about what they know, and the others respecting what they hold on the strength of opinion, as far as respects affirmation without proof (Ibid., The Stromata 7.16). return to article

84 Ibid., The Stromata 7.18. return to article

85 G.L. Prestige, Fathers and Heretics (London: SPCK, 1958), p. 14. return to article

86 For we may not give our adhesion to men on a bare statement by them, who might equally state the opposite. But if it is not enough merely to state the opinion, but if what is stated must be confirmed, we do not wait for the testimony of men, but we establish the matter that is in question by the voice of the Lord, which is the surest of all demonstrations, or rather is the only demonstration; in which knowledge those who have merely tasted the Scriptures are believers; while those who, having advanced further, and become correct expounders of the truth, are Gnostics. Since also, in what pertains to life, craftsmen are superior to ordinary people, and model what is beyond common notions; so consequently, we also, giving a complete exhibition of the Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, from faith persuade by demonstration (ANF, Vol. II, Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata 7.16). return to article

87 Ibid., The Stromata 5.1, 6.18. return to article

88 Now this work of mine in writing is not artfully constructed for display; but my memoranda are stored up against old age, as a remedy against forgetfulness, truly an image and outline of those vigorous and animated discourses which I was privileged to hear, and of blessed and truly remarkable men.Of these the one, in Greece, an Ionic; the other in Magna Graecia: the first of these from Coele–Syria, the second from Egypt, and others in the East. The one was born in the land of Assyria, and the other a Hebrew in Palestine.
+++When I came upon the last (he was the first in power), having tracked him out concealed in Egypt, I found rest. He, the true, the Sicilian bee, gathering the spoil of the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the souls of his hearers a deathless element of knowledge.
+++Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from escape the blessed tradition (Ibid., The Stromata 1.1). return to article

89 The liars, then, in reality are not those who for the sake of the scheme of salvation conform, nor those who err in minute points, but those who are wrong in essentials, and reject the Lord and as far as in them lies deprive the Lord of the true teaching; who do not quote or deliver the Scriptures in a manner worthy of God and of the Lord; for the deposit rendered to God, according to the teaching of the Lord by His apostles, is the understanding and the practice of the godly tradition. ‘And what ye hear in the ear’—that is, in a hidden manner, and in a mystery (for such things are figuratively said to be spoken in the ear) — ‘proclaim,’ He says, ‘on the housetops,’ understanding them sublimely, and delivering them in a lofty strain, and according to the canon of the truth explaining the Scriptures; for neither prophecy nor the Savior Himself announced the divine mysteries simply so as to be easily apprehended by all and sundry, but express them in parables. The apostles accordingly say of the Lord, that ‘He spake all things in parables, and without a parable spake He nothing unto them;’ and if ‘all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made,’ consequently also prophecy and the law were by Him, and were spoken by Him in parables. ‘But all things are right,’ says the Scripture, ‘before those who understand,’ that is, those who receive and observe, according to the ecclesiastical rule, the exposition of the Scriptures explained by Him; and the ecclesiastical rule is the concord and harmony of the law and the prophets in the covenant delivered at the coming of the Lord (Ibid., The Stromata 6.15). return to article

90 But up to the present time we have been able to find no statement in holy Scripture in which the Holy Spirit could be said to be made or created (ANF, Vol. IV, Origen, De Principiis Book I.3). return to article

91 For these are points which have to be inquired into out of sacred Scripture according to the best of our ability, and which demand careful investigation. And that this Spirit inspired each one of the saints, whether prophets or apostles; and that there was not one Spirit in the men of the old dispensation, and another in those who were inspired at the advent of Christ, is most clearly taught throughout the Churches…The Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God…It seems necessary to show, in the first place, that the Scriptures themselves are divine, i.e., were inspired by the Spirit of God…And he who reads the words of the prophets with care and attention, feeling by the very perusal the traces of the divinity, that is in them, will be led by his own emotions to believe that those words which have been deemed to be the words of God are not the compositions of men (Ibid., De Principiis Preface 4; Preface 8; Book IV.1.1; Book IV.1.6–7).

If, however, it be necessary to express ourselves with precision in our answer to Celsus, who thinks that we hold the same opinions on the matters in question as do the Jews, we would say that we both agree that the books (of Scripture) were written by the Spirit of God, but that we do not agree about the meaning of their contents (Ibid., Against Celsus Book V.61). return to article

92 Ibid., De Principiis Book I.2. return to article

93 Ibid., De Principiis Book I.5.4.
But as it is not sufficient, in the discussion of matters of such importance, to entrust the decision to the human senses and to the human understanding, and to pronounce on things invisible as if they were seen by us, we must, in order to establish the positions which we have laid down, adduce the testimony of Holy Scripture. And that this testimony may produce a sure and unhesitating belief, either with regard to what we have still to advance, or to what has been already stated, it seems necessary to show, in the first place, that the Scriptures themselves are divine, i.e., were inspired by the Spirit of God. We shall therefore with all possible brevity draw forth from the Holy Scriptures themselves, such evidence on this point as may produce upon us a suitable impression, (making our quotations) from Moses, the first legislator of the Hebrew nation, and from the words of Jesus Christ, the Author and Chief of the Christian religious system. (Ibid., De Principiis Book IV.1.1). return to article

94 Ibid., Against Celsus 2.13. return to article

95 R.P.C. Hanson, Origen’s Doctrine of Tradition (SPCK: London, 1954), p. 49. return to article

96 3. Now it ought to be known that the holy apostles, in preaching the faith of Christ, delivered themselves with the utmost clearness on certain points which they believed to be necessary to every one, even to those who seemed somewhat dull in the investigation of divine knowledge; leaving, however, the grounds of their statements to be examined into by those who should deserve the excellent gifts of the Spirit, and who, especially by means of the Holy Spirit Himself, should obtain the gift of language, of wisdom, and of knowledge: while on other subjects they merely stated the fact that things were so, keeping silence as to the manner or origin of their existence; clearly in order that the more zealous of their successors, who should be lovers of wisdom, might have a subject of exercise on which to display the fruit of their talents,—those persons, I mean, who should prepare themselves to be fit and worthy receivers of wisdom.
+++4. The particular points clearly delivered in the teaching of the apostles are as follows:

First, That there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being — God from the first creation and foundation of the world—the God of all just men, of Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Enoch, Noe, Sem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets; and that this God in the last days, as He had announced beforehand by His prophets, sent our Lord Jesus Christ to call in the first place Israel to Himself, and in the second place the Gentiles, after the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel. This just and good God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself gave the law and the prophets, and the Gospels, being also the God of the apostles and of the Old and New Testaments.

Secondly, That Jesus Christ Himself, who came (into the world), was born of the Father before all creatures; that, after He had been the servant of the Father in the creation of all things—‘For by Him were all things made’—He in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was; that He assumed a body like to our own, differing in this respect only, that it was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit: that this Jesus Christ was truly born, and did truly suffer, and did not endure this death common (to man) in appearance only, but did truly die; that He did truly rise from the dead; and that after His resurrection He conversed with His disciples, and was taken up (into heaven).

Then, thirdly, the apostles related that the Holy Spirit was associated in honor and dignity with the Father and the Son. But in His case it is not clearly distinguished whether He is to be regarded as born or innate, or also as a Son of God or not: for these are points which have to be inquired into out of sacred Scripture according to the best of our ability, and which demand careful investigation. And that this Spirit inspired each one of the saints, whether prophets or apostles; and that there was not one Spirit in the men of the old dispensation, and another in those who were inspired at the advent of Christ, is most clearly taught throughout the Churches.

+++5. After these points, also, the apostolic teaching is that the soul, having a substance and life of its own, shall, after its departure from the world, be rewarded according to its deserts, being destined to obtain either an inheritance of eternal life and blessedness, if its actions shall have procured this for it, or to be delivered up to eternal fire and punishments, if the guilt of its crimes shall have brought it down to this: and also, that there is to be a time of resurrection from the dead, when this body, which now ‘is sown in corruption, shall rise in incorruption,’ and that which ‘is sown in dishonor will rise in glory.’ This also is clearly defined in the teaching of the Church, that every rational soul is possessed of free–will and volition; that it has a struggle to maintain with the devil and his angels, and opposing influences, because they strive to burden it with sins; but if we live rightly and wisely, we should endeavor to shake ourselves free of a burden of that kind. From which it follows, also, that we understand ourselves not to be subject to necessity, so as to be compelled by all means, even against our will, to do either good or evil. For if we are our own masters, some influences perhaps may impel us to sin, and others help us to salvation; we are not forced, however, by any necessity either to act rightly or wrongly, which those persons think is the case who say that the courses and movements of the stars are the cause of human actions, not only of those which take place beyond the influence of the freedom of the will, but also of those which are placed within our own power. But with respect to the soul, whether it is derived from the seed by a process of traducianism, so that the reason or substance of it may be considered as placed in the seminal particles of the body themselves, or whether it has any other beginning; and this beginning, itself, whether it be by birth or not, or whether bestowed upon the body from without or no, is not distinguished with sufficient clearness in the teaching of the Church.
+++6. Regarding the devil and his angels, and the opposing influences, the teaching of the Church has laid down that these beings exist indeed; but what they are, or how they exist, it has not explained with sufficient clearness. This opinion, however, is held by most, that the devil was an angel, and that, having become an apostate, he induced as many of the angels as possible to fall away with himself, and these up to the present time are called his angels.
+++7. This also is a part of the Church’s teaching, that the world was made and took its beginning at a certain time, and is to be destroyed on account of its wickedness. But what existed before this world, or what will exist after it, has not become certainly known to the many, for there is no clear statement regarding it in the teaching of the Church.
+++8. Then, finally, that the Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God, and have a meaning, not such only as is apparent at first sight, but also another, which escapes the notice of most. For those (words) which are written are the forms of certain mysteries, and the images of divine things. Respecting which there is one opinion throughout the whole Church, that the whole law is indeed spiritual; but that the spiritual meaning which the law conveys is not known to all, but to those only on whom the grace of the Holy Spirit is bestowed in the word of wisdom and knowledge.
The term ajswvmaton, i.e., incorporeal, is disused and unknown, not only in many other writings, but also in our own Scriptures. And if any one should quote it to us out of the little treatise entitled The Doctrine of Peter, in which the Savior seems to say to His disciples, ‘I am not an incorporeal demon,’ I have to reply, in the first place, that that work is not included among ecclesiastical books; for we can show that it was not composed either by Peter or by any other person inspired by the Spirit of God. But even if the point were to be conceded, the word ajswvmaton there does not convey the same meaning as is intended by Greek and Gentile authors when incorporeal nature is discussed by philosophers. For in the little treatise referred to he used the phrase ‘incorporeal demon’ to denote that that form or outline of demoniacal body, whatever it is, does not resemble this gross and visible body of ours; but, agreeably to the intention of the author of the treatise, it must be understood to mean that He had not such a body as demons have, which is naturally fine, and thin as if formed of air (and for this reason is either considered or called by many incorporeal), but that He had a solid and palpable body. Now, according to human custom, everything which is not of that nature is called by the simple or ignorant incorporeal; as if one were to say that the air which we breathe was incorporeal, because it is not a body of such a nature as can be grasped and held, or can offer resistance to pressure.
+++9. We shall inquire, however, whether the thing which Greek philosophers call ajswvmaton, or ‘incorporeal,’ is found in holy Scripture under another name. For it is also to be a subject of investigation how God himself is to be understood,—whether as corporeal, and formed according to some shape, or of a different nature from bodies,—a point which is not clearly indicated in our teaching. And the same inquiries have to be made regarding Christ and the Holy Spirit, as well as respecting every soul, and everything possessed of a rational nature.
+++10. This also is a part of the teaching of the Church, that there are certain angels of God, and certain good influences, which are His servants in accomplishing the salvation of men. When these, however, were created, or of what nature they are, or how they exist, is not clearly stated. Regarding the sun, moon, and stars, whether they are living beings or without life, there is no distinct deliverance (Ibid., De Principiis , Preface 3–10). return to article

97 R.P.C. Hanson, Origen’s Doctrine of Tradition (SPCK: London, 1954), pp. 100–101. return to article

98 ANF, Vol. IV, Origen, De Principiis, Preface 2. return to article

99 For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures;…For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures (NPNF2, Vol. 7,Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4:17). return to article

100 Spiritual in truth is the grace we need, in order to discourse concerning the Holy Spirit; not that we may speak what is worthy of Him, for this is impossible, but that by speaking the words of the divine Scriptures, we may run our course without danger (Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 16.1). return to article

101 While from the frequent reading of the sacred Scriptures those of you who are diligent come to understand these things (Ibid., Catechetical Lectures. 17.34). return to article

102 The Divine Scriptures, spoken by the Holy Ghost…What else is there that knoweth the deep things of God, save only the Holy Ghost, who spoke the Divine Scriptures?…The Holy Ghost Himself spoke the Scriptures…Now these the divinely–inspired Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament teach us (Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 4.17; 4.34; 11.12; 16.2; 4.33). return to article

103 Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 4.17.
So for the present listen while I simply say the Creed, and commit it to memory; but at the proper season expect the confirmation out of Holy Scripture of each part of the contents. For the articles of the Faith were not composed as seemed good to men; but the most important points collected out of all the Scripture make up one complete teaching of the Faith…Let us then speak concerning the Holy Ghost nothing but what is written; and whatsoever is not written, let us not busy ourselves about it. The Holy Ghost Himself spoke the Scriptures; He has also spoken concerning Himself as much as He pleased, or as much as we could receive. Let us therefore speak those things which He has said; for whatsoever He has not said, we dare not say…For the things concerning Christ are all put into writing, and nothing is doubtful, for nothing is without a text (Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 5.12; 16.2; 13.8). return to article

104 mhde; to; tuco;n a[neu tw`n qeivwn paradivdosqai grafw`n (Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 4:17). return to article

105 What else is there that knoweth the deep things of God, save only the Holy Ghost, who spoke the Divine Scriptures? But not even the Holy Ghost Himself has spoken in the Scriptures concerning the generation of the Son from the Father. Why then dost thou busy thyself about things which not even the Holy Ghost has written in the Scriptures? Thou that knowest not the things which are written, busiest thou thyself about the things which are not written? There are many questions in the Divine Scriptures; what is written we comprehend not, why do we busy ourselves about what is not written? It is sufficient for us to know that God hath begotten One Only Son  (Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 11.12). return to article

106 Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 5.12. return to article

107 Ibid., Catechetical Lectures 5.12. return to article

<108 NBSA, pp. 300–301. return to article

109 NPNF2, Vol. 7, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 5.12. return to article

110 NBSA, pp. 78–79. return to article

111 NPNF1, Vol. I, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter CXLVIII 15.
However, if you inquire or recall to memory the opinion of our Ambrose, and also of our Cyprian, on the point in question, you will perhaps find that I also have not been without some whose footsteps I follow in that which I have maintained. At the same time, as I have said already, it is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit subjection as to follow their teaching, without admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place (Ibid., Letter LXXXII, Chapter 3, Sections 24–25). return to article

112 Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings: for why dose thou, who knowest not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble thyself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty–two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy–two Interpreters…Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty–second of the Old Testament (NPNF2, Vol. 7, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4.33, 35). return to article

113 NBSA, pp. 459–460. return to article

114 NPNF2, Vol 7, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4.17; 12.5. return to article

115 But this all inspired Scripture also teaches more plainly and with more authority, so that we in our turn write boldly to you as we do, and you, if you refer to them, will be able to verify what we say…But that the providence and ordering power of the Word also, over all and toward all, is attested by all inspired Scripture (NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, Against the Heathen (Contra Gentes,)Conclusion 1, 46).
By Joel God says: ‘And it shall be after these things that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.’ Again through Zecharaiah the voice of God says: ‘But receive my words and my commandments which I charge my Spirit to my servants the prophets…(C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1.5, p. 72). return to article

116 But better testimony about all this is furnished by Holy Scripture, which tells us beforehand when it says, ‘Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands (NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, Against the Heathen (Contra Gentes), 14). return to article

117 But to this the divine Scripture testifies when it says, ‘When the wicked cometh unto the depth of evils, he despiseth (Ibid., Against the Heathen (Contra Gentes) 8). return to article

118 C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1.19, pp. 108–109. return to article

119 But our faith is right, and starts from the teaching of the Apostles and tradition of the fathers, being confirmed both by the New Testament and the Old. For the Prophets say: ‘Send out Thy Word and Thy Truth,’ and ‘ Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is being interpreted God with us.’ But what does that mean, if not that God has come in the Flesh? While the Apostolic tradition teaches in the words of blessed Peter, ‘Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the Flesh;’ and in what Paul writes, ‘Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, and zealous of good works’…For the true and pious faith in the Lord has become manifest to all, being both ‘known and read’ from the Divine Scriptures (NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, Letters of Athanasius, Letter LX.6; LVI). return to article

120 These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me’ (Ibid., Letters of Athanasius, Festal Letter 39.6). return to article

121 Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith’s sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things (Ibid., On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia (De Synodis), Part 1.6).

…the sacred and inspired Scriptures are sufficient to declare the truth…( Ibid., Against the Heathen (Contra Gentes,) 1.1).

One day when he had gone forth because all the monks had assembled to him and asked to hear words from him, he spoke to them in the Egyptian tongue as follows: ‘The Scriptures are enough for instruction, but it is a good thing to encourage one another in the faith, and to stir up with words (Ibid., Life of Antony (Vita Antoni) 16).

Let no one ask such questions any more, or else let him learn only that which is in the Scriptures. For the illustrations they contain which bear upon this subject are sufficient and suitable (C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1.19, pp. 108–109). return to article

122 Tell us, then, is there any passage in the divine Scripture where the Holy Spirit is found simply referred to as ‘spirit’ without the addition of ‘of God’, or ‘of the Father’, or ‘my’, or ‘of Christ’ himself, and ‘of the Son’…But do you answer the question which has been put to you whether anywhere in the divine Scripture you have found the Holy Spirit called simply ‘spirit’, without the above–mentioned addition and apart from the qualifications we have recorded. You cannot answer it! For you will not find it so in Scripture… But if the Scriptures do not speak of the Spirit as an angel, what excuse have they for so great and absurd an audacity?)…These things being thus proved, he must be mad who asks, Is the Spirit also a son? But neither let any man, because this is not written, separate him from the nature of God and from that which is proper to God (C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1.4, 5, 11; 4.5, pp. 68, 70, 88, 185).

Since then nothing is said in the Scriptures, it is evident that these things had never taken place before. (NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word 38). return to article

123 But this all inspired Scripture also teaches more plainly and with more authority, so that we in our turn write boldy to you as we do, and you, if you refer to them, will be able to verify what we say. For an argument when confirmed by higher authority is irresistibly proved (Ibid., Against the Heathen, Part III.45).

And we have proof of this, not from external sources, but from the Scriptures (Ibid., De Decretis or Defense of the Nicene Definition, Chapter IV, Section 17 ).

And when the Apostle says, ‘For whom are all things, and by whom are all things,’ how can these men say, that we were not made for Him, but He for us? If it be so, He ought to have said, ‘For whom the Word was made;’ but He saith not so, but, ‘For whom are all things, and by whom are all things,’ thus proving these men to be heretical and false. But further, as they have had the boldness to say that there is another Word in God, and since they cannot bring any dear proof of this from the Scriptures, let them but shew one work of His, or one work of the Father that was done without this Word; so that they may seem to have some ground at least for their own idea (Ibid., Circular to Bishops of Egypt and Libya (ad Episcopos Aegypti), Chapter II, Section 15). return to article

124 Ibid.,Introduction lxxiv. return to article

125 Ibid., On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia (De Synodis) 1.6. return to article

126 C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1.27–29, pp. 133–136. return to article

127 NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, Ad Adelphium 6. return to article

128 This then is the sense in which they who met at Nicaea made use of these expressions. But next that they did not invent them for themselves (since this is one of their excuses), but spoke what they had received from their predecessors, proceed we to prove this also, to cut off even this excuse from them. Know then, O Arians, foes of Christ, that Theognostus, a learned man, did not decline the phrase ‘of the essence,’..Next, Dionysius, who was Bishop of Alexandria, upon his writing against Sabellius and expounding at large the Savior’s Economy according to the flesh, and thence proving. against the Sabellians that not the Father but His Word became flesh, as John has said, was suspected of saying that the Son as a thing made and originated, and not one in essence with the Father; on this he writes to his namesake Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, to allege in his defense that this was a slander upon him. And he assured him that he had not called the Son made, nay, did confess Him to be even one in essence…And that the Word of God is not a work or creature, but an offspring proper to the Father’s essence and indivisible, as the great Council wrote, here you may see in the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, who, while writing against the Sabellians, thus inveighs against those who dared to say so:…And concerning the everlasting co–existence of the Word with the Father, and that He is not of another essence or subsistence, but proper to the Father’s, as the Bishops in the Council said, you may hear again from the labor–loving Origen also….See, we are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father (Ibid., Defense of the Nicene Council (De Decritis) 25–27). return to article

129 C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), p. 183. return to article

130 NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, Letters of Athanasius, Festal Letter 2.6. return to article

131 Therefore Paul justly praises the Corinthians, because their opinions were in accordance with his traditions…For there is no fellowship whatever between the words of the saints and the fancies of human invention; for the saints are the ministers of the truth, preaching the kingdom of heaven, but those who are borne in the opposite direction have nothing better than to eat, and think their end is that they shall cease to be, and they say, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ Therefore blessed Luke reproves the inventions of men, and hands down the narrations of the saints, saying in the beginning of the Gospel, ‘Since many have presumed to write narrations of those events of which we are assured, as those who from the beginning were witnesses and ministers of the Word have delivered to us; it hath seemed good to me also, who have adhered to them all from the first, to write correctly in order to thee, O excellent Theophilus, that thou mayest know the truth concerning the things in which thou hast been instructed.’ For as each of the saints has received, that they impart without alteration, for the confirmation of the doctrine of the mysteries. Of these the (divine) word would have us disciples, and these should of right be our teachers, and to them only is it necessary to give heed, for of them only is ‘the word faithful and worthy of all acceptation;’ these not being disciples because they heard from others, but being eye–witnesses and ministers of the Word, that which they had heard from Him have they handed down.
+++Now some have related the wonderful signs performed by our Savior, and preached His eternal Godhead. And others have written of His being born in the flesh of the Virgin, and have proclaimed the festival of the holy passover, saying, ‘Christ our Passover is sacrificed;’ so that we, individually and collectively, and all the churches in the world may remember, as it is written, ‘That Christ rose from the dead, of the seed of David, according to the Gospel.’ And let us not forget that which Paul delivered, declaring it to the Corinthians; I mean His resurrection, whereby ‘He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;’ and raised us up together with Him, having loosed the bands of death, and vouchsafed a blessing instead of a curse, joy instead of grief, a feast instead of mourning, in this holy joy of Easter, which being continually in our hearts, we always rejoice, as Paul commanded; ‘We pray without ceasing; in everything we give thanks.’ So we are not remiss in giving notice of its seasons, as we have received from the Fathers. Again we write, again keeping to the apostolic traditions, we remind each other when we come together for prayer; and keeping the feast in common, with one mouth we truly give thanks to the Lord. Thus giving thanks unto Him, and being followers of the saints, ‘we shall make our praise in the Lord all the day,’ as the Psalmist says. So, when we rightly keep the feast, we shall be counted worthy of that joy which is in heaven (NPNF2, Vol. IV, Athanasius, Letters of Athanasius, Festal Letter 2.6–7). return to article

132 Ibid., Letters of Athanasius, Festal Letter 2.6. return to article

133 C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (New York: Philisophical Library, 1951), A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit,  Epistle 1.32, p. 146. return to article

134 Ibid., A Letter of Athanasius to Bishop Serapion Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1.32, footnote 1, p. 146. return to article

135 Bertrand de Margerie, S.J., An Introduction to the History of Exegesis (Petersham: St. Bede’s, 1993), Vol. I, The Greek Fathers, p. 210. return to article

136 They who receive the wild doctrines of Valentinus and Marcion, and of all whose minds are similarly diseased, exclude the Law given by God to Moses from the catalogue of the Divine Scriptures (NPNF1, Vol. 9, Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, Book 4.4 ). return to article

137 What need is there to give attention to reading and to the Holy Scriptures, if such a state of unskillfulness is to be welcome among us? (Ibid., On the Priesthood, Book 4.8). return to article

138 Instructed as they have been by the sacred Scriptures, that ‘all is vanity, yea, vanity of vanities,’ (Ibid., Concerning the Statues 19.3). return to article

139 For the divine oracles are a treasury of all manner of medicines (Ibid., Vol. 14, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 37, John 5:6–7). return to article

140 And marvel not if He now putteth forward Moses, although He said, ‘I receive not witness from man,’ for He referreth them not to Moses, but to the Scriptures of God (Ibid., Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 41, John 5:39–40). return to article

141 Nothing is placed in the Holy Scriptures without a reason, for they were uttered by the Holy Ghost (Ibid., Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 50, John 7:25–27). return to article

142 Knowing then these things, and collecting instances of the like kind from the inspired divine Scriptures (Ibid., Vol. IX, A Treatise to Prove that no man can harm the Man Who does not Injure himself 17).

And justly, for the angels, though mighty, are but servants and ministers, but the Scriptures were all written and sent, not by servants, but by God the Lord of all (Ibid., Vol. XIII, Homilies on Galatians, Homily 1, Gal. 1, Verse 9).

As the instruments of their art are the hammer and anvil and pincers, so the instruments of our work are the apostolic and prophetic books, and all the inspired and profitable Scriptures…Let us not hoard gold, but lay up, as our treasures, these inspired books (Four Discourses of Chrysostom: Chiefly on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, F. Allen, Translator (London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 869), Discourse III.2, pp. 63–64).
In order to learn another reason why the teaching of the prophets is more worthy of belief than the report of those who rise from the dead, consider this fact, that every dead person is a servant, but what the Scriptures utter, the Master has uttered (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Fourth Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 85).

If, however, you do not believe the biblical authors, we can supply clear, unmistakable evidence that they were inspired, and that they told us nothing on their own account but with the inspiration coming from that divine love which is higher even that the heavens (Robert Charles Hill, Translator, St. John Chrysostom: Commentary on the Psalms (Brookline: Holy Cross, 1998), Psalm 4, p. 68)

In his opening words the psalmist did not say, ‘My heart spoke.’ After all, since in what he had to say there was nothing human, and on the contrary he was about to describe heavenly and spiritual things, not as a result of his own discovery but from divine impulse, he presents it under the term belchI tell my works to the king…What works does he refer to? Inspired composition. You see, as it is the work of a smith to make a tool, of a builder to build a house, of a shipwright to build a ship, so too it is an inspired composer’s job to produce inspired composition…Then further, to show that what was said was not of human devising, or meditation, or composition, but of divine grace, and that he had simply lent his tongue, he added, My tongue the pen of a fluent scribe (Ibid., Psalm 45, pp. 257, 259, 260). return to article

143 What the Scriptures utter, the Master has uttered…For the Master of the angels, the Lord of the dead and the living, Himself has given the Scriptures their authority (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Fourth Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 85).

So in the holy Scriptures it is impossible without loss to pass by one jot or one tittle, we must search into all. For they all are uttered by the Holy Spirit, and nothing useless is written in them (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 50, John 7:25–27).

And therefore though there be nobody that listens to it, let us do our part, and show that there is nothing superfluous, nothing added at random in the Scriptures. For if these names had no use, they would not then have been added to the Epistle, nor would Paul have written what he has written (Ibid., Vol. X1, Homilies on the Epistle to the Romans, Homily 31, Romans 16:5). return to article

144 Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on Timothy, 2 Timothy, Homily 9, 2 Tim 3:16–17. return to article

145 Now some say that Isaiah had sinned in having failed to rebuke Uzziah when he dared enter the sanctuary, and for that reason wanted to make amends for his sin by a quick show of willing obedience in order to appease God. This is the reason he said his lips were unclean, because of his lack of courage to speak. But I do not agree with those who say such things…All else aside, Scripture nowhere says that Isaiah, when Uzziah committed his sin, was present and yet remained silent, but some have made this conjecture out of their own imaginations (Duane A. Garrett, An Analysis of the Hermeneutics of John Chrysostom’s Commentary on Isaiah 1–8 with an English Translation (Lewiston: Edwin Mellon, 1992), Isaiah 6, p. 132).
And where (it is said) and in what place is this hell? For some fablers say that it is in the valley of Josaphat, thus drawing that which was said about a certain by–gone war, to apply to hell. But the Scripture does not say this (Ibid., Vol. XI, Homilies on the Epistle to the Romans, Homily 31, Romans 16:5). return to article

146 Ibid., Vol. 9, Concerning the Statues, Homily 1.14
…For both they who from the beginning sowed the word were unprofessional (ijdiw`tai) and unlearned, and spake nothing of themselves; but what things they received from God, these they distributed to the world: and we ourselves at this time introduce no inventions of our own; but the things which from them we have received, we speak unto all. And not even now persuade we by argumentation; but from the Divine Scriptures and from the miracles done at that time we produce the proof of what we say (Ibid., Vol. XII, Homilies on First Corinthians, Homily XVI, 1 Corinthians 6.4).
And that you may not suppose that what I say is a mere conjecture, let us, I pray you, direct our discourse to the Scripture itself (Ibid., Vol. IX, Chrysostom, Concerning the Statues, Homily 7.5). return to article

147 An example of his methodology is found in the following excerpt from one of his Homilies on Hebrews on the primacy and necessity of Scripture: ‘What then after so great painstaking? The Apostles also wrote, even as Paul likewise said, ‘they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ (1 Corinthians 10:11) And again Christ said, ‘Ye do err not knowing the Scriptures’ (Matthew 22:29): and again Paul said, ‘That through patience and comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope.’ (Romans 15:4) And again, ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.’ (2 Timothy 3:16) And ‘let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.’ (Colossians 3:16) And the prophet, ‘he shall meditate in His Law day and night’ (Psalm 1:2), and again in another place, ‘Let all thy communication be in the law of the Most High.’ (Ecclus. 9:15) And again, ‘How sweet are Thy words unto my throat.’ (He said not to my hearing, but to my ‘throat’); ‘more than honey and the honeycomb to my mouth.’ (Psalm 119:103) And Moses says, ‘Thou shalt meditate in them continually, when thou risest up, when thou sittest, when thou liest down.’ (Deuteronomy 6:7) ‘Be in them’ (1 Timothy 4:15), saith he. And innumerable things one might say concerning them. But notwithstanding, after so many things there are some who do not even know that there are Scriptures at all. For this cause, believe me, nothing sound, nothing profitable comes from us’ (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on Hebrews, Homily 8, Hebrews 5:1–3). return to article

148 Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms (Brookline: Holy Cross, 1998), p. 25. return to article

149 ‘Therefore every Scribe, which is instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.’ Wherefore elsewhere also He saith, ‘I will send you wise men and scribes.’ Seest thou how so far from excluding the Old Testament, He even commends it, and speaks publicly in favor of it, calling it ‘a treasure’? So that as many as are ignorant of the divine Scriptures cannot be ‘householders;’ such as neither have of themselves, nor receive of others, but neglect their own case, perishing with famine. And not these only, but the heretics too, are excluded from this blessing. For they bring not forth things new and old. For they have not the old things, wherefore neither have they the new; even as they who have not the new, neither have they the old, but are deprived of both. For these are bound up and interwoven one with another (NPNF1, Vol. 10, Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 47.4). return to article

150 As the instruments of their art are the hammer and anvil and pincers, so the instruments of our work are the apostolic and prophetic books, and all the inspired and profitable Scriptures. And as they, by their instruments, shape all the articles they take in hand, so also do we, by our instruments, arm our mind, and strengthen it when relaxed, and renew it when out of condition. (Four Discourses of Chrysostom: Chiefly on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, F. Allen, Translator (London: Longmans, Greem, Reader and Dyer, 869), Discourse III.2,  p. 63). return to article

151 ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.’ Observe the marks of a robber; first, that he doth not enter openly; secondly, not according to the Scriptures, for this is the, ‘not by the door.’ Here also He referreth to those who had been before, and to those who should be after Him, Antichrist and the false Christs, Judas and Theudas, and whatever others there have been of the same kind. And with good cause He calleth the Scriptures ‘a door,’ for they bring us to God, and open to us the knowledge of God, they make the sheep, they guard them, and suffer not the wolves to come in after them. For Scripture, like some sure door, barreth the passage against the heretics, placing us in a state of safety as to all that we desire, and not allowing us to wander; and if we undo it not, we shall not easily be conquered by our foes. By it we can know all, both those who are, and those who are not, shepherds. But what is ‘into the fold’? It refers to the sheep, and the care of them. For he that useth not the Scriptures, but ‘climbeth up some other way,’ that is, who cutteth out for himself another and an unusual way, ‘the same is a thief.’ Seest thou from this too that Christ agreeth with the Father, in that He bringeth forward the Scriptures? On which account also He said to the Jews, ‘Search the Scriptures’ (c. 5:39); and brought forward Moses, and called him and all the Prophets witnesses, for ‘all,’ saith He, ‘who hear the Prophets shall come to Me’; and,’ Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me.’ But here He hath put the same thing metaphorically. And by saying, ‘climbeth up some other way,’ He alluded to the Scribes, because they taught for commandments the doctrines of men, and transgressed the Law (Matthew 15:9); with which He reproached them, and said, ‘None of you doeth the Law.’ (c. 7:19) Well did He say, ‘climbeth up,’ not ‘entereth in,’ since to climb is the act of a thief intending to overleap a wall, and who doeth all with danger. Hast thou seen how He hath sketched the robber? (NPNF1, Vol. 14, Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 59, John 9:34–36). return to article

152 If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from this rule (Ibid., Vol. XI, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily 33). return to article

153 I also always entreat you, and do not cease entreating you, not only to pay attention here to what I say, but also when you are at home, to persevere continually in reading the divine Scriptures. When I have been with each of you in private, I have not stopped giving you the same advice (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 58).

There is another most foolish excuse of these sluggards; that they have not the books in their possession. Now as to the rich, it is ludicrous that we should take our aim at this excuse; but because I imagine that many of the poorer sort continually use it, I would gladly ask, if every one of them does not have all the instruments of the trade which he works at, full and complete, though infinite poverty stand in his way? Is it not then a strange thing, in that case to throw no blame on poverty, but to use every means that there be no obstacle from any quarter, but, when we might gain such great advantage, to lament our want of leisure and our poverty? (NPNF1, Vol. 14, Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 11, John 1:14). return to article

154 He calleth the Scriptures ‘a door,’ for they bring us to God, and open to us the knowledge of God (Ibid., Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 59, John 9:34–36). return to article

155 Great is the profit of the divine Scriptures, and all–sufficient is the aid which comes from them (Ibid., Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 37, John 5:6–7). return to article

156 The Scriptures…make the sheep, they guard them, and suffer not the wolves to come in after them. For Scripture, like some sure door, barreth the passage against the heretics, placing us in a state of safety as to all that we desire, and not allowing us to wander; and if we undo it not, we shall not easily be conquered by our foes (Ibid., Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 37, John 5:6–7). return to article

157 By it we can know all, both those who are, and those who are not, shepherds (Ibid., Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 37, John 5:6–7). return to article

158 This is a soul’s food, this its ornament, this its security (Ibid., Vol. 10, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 2.10).
Yea, rather the reading of the divine Scriptures is not a meadow only, but a paradise; for the flowers here have not a mere fragrance only, but fruit too, capable of nourishing the soul (Ibid.,Vol. 9, Homilies concerning the Statues, Homily 1, end of Sections 1–4). return to article

159 But let us sail upwards, not floating, for we shall soon be weary, and sink; but using the divine Scriptures, as some vessel, let us unfurl the sails of faith. If we sail in them, then the Word of God will be present with us as our Pilot. But if we float upon human reasonings, it will not be so (Ibid., Vol. 13, Homilies on Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians, Homily 7, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). return to article

160 If thus we regulate ourselves, and attentively study the Scriptures, in most things we shall derive instruction from them. And thus shall be able to please God, and to pass through the whole of the present life virtuously, and to attain those blessings which are promised to those that love Him (Ibid., Vol. 13, Homilies on Ephesians, Homily 20, Ephesians 5:22–23). return to article

161 If now we will thus search the Scriptures, exactly and not carelessly, we shall be able to attain unto our salvation; if we continually dwell upon them, we shall learn right doctrine and a perfect life (Ibid., Vol. 14, Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 53, John 8:31). return to article

162 It behooves us therefore to explore all carefully. For the words of the Scriptures are our spiritual weapons; but if we know not how to fit those weapons and to arm our scholars rightly, they keep indeed their proper power, but cannot help those who receive them (Ibid., Vol. 14, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 30, John 3:31). return to article

163 And from these too let us also, when we war against heretics, arm and fortify ourselves. For ‘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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work’ (Ibid., Vol. 14, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily XL). return to article

164 Reading the Scriptures is a great means against sinning (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 60). return to article

165 For the divine oracles are a treasury of all manner of medicines, so that whether it be needful to quench pride, to lull desire to sleep, to tread under foot the love of money, to despise pain, to inspire confidence, to gain patience, from them one may find abundant resource (Ibid., Vol. 14, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 37, John 5:6–7). return to article

166 Let us then give diligent heed to the study of the Scriptures: for if thou doest this the Scripture will expel thy despondency, and engender pleasure, extirpate vice, and make virtue take root, and in the tumult of life it will save thee from suffering like those who are tossed by troubled waves (Ibid., Vol. 14, The Two Homilies on Eutropius, Homily 2, After Eutropius Having Been Found Outside The Church Had Been Taken Captive 1). return to article

167 For as a wall built of adamant, so his writings fortify all the Churches of the known world, and he as a most noble champion stands in the midst, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, casting down imaginations, and every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and all this he does by those epistles which he has left to us full of wonders and of Divine wisdom. For his writings are not only useful to us, for the overthrow of false doctrine and the confirmation of the true, but they help not a little towards living a good life (Ibid., Vol. IX, On the Priesthood, Book 4, Sections 7–9). return to article

168 We must thoroughly quench the darts of the devil and beat them off by continual reading of the divine Scriptures (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 59). return to article

169 Where the inspired books are, from thence all satanical influence is banished (F. Allen, Translator, Four Discourses of Chrysostom, Chiefly on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1869), Discourse III, p. 64). return to article

170 And yet in this case too there is a mirror, spiritual, and far more excellent, and more serviceable than that other one; for it not only shows our own deformity, but transforms it too, if we be willing, into surpassing beauty. This mirror is the memory of good men, and the history of their blessed lives; the reading of the Scriptures; the laws given by God. If thou be willing once only to look upon the portraitures of those holy men, thou will both see the foulness of thine own mind, and having seen this, wilt need nothing else to be set free from that deformity. Because the mirror is useful for this purpose also, and makes the change easy (NPNF1, Vol. X, Homilies on Matthew, Homily IV, Section 16). return to article

171 The Scriptures were not given us for this only, that we might have them in books, but that we might engrave them on our hearts…For if the devil will not dare to approach a house where a Gospel is lying, much less will any evil spirit, or any sinful nature, ever touch or enter a soul which bears about with it such sentiments as it contains. Sanctify then thy soul, sanctify thy body, by having these ever in thy heart, and on thy tongue. For if foul speech defiles and invites devils, it is clear that spiritual reading sanctifies and draws down the grace of the Spirit. The Scriptures are divine charms, let us then apply to ourselves and to the passions of our souls the remedies to be derived from them (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily XXXII). return to article

172 Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 59. return to article

173 If thus we regulate ourselves, and attentively study the Scriptures, in most things we shall derive instruction from them…Let us then give diligent heed to the study of the Scriptures (NPNF1, Vol. XIII, Homilies on Ephesians, at the end of Homily 20… Ibid.,Vol. 14, The Two Homilies on Eutropius, Homily 2, After Eutropius Having Been Found Outside The Church Had Been Taken Captive 1). return to article

174 Hearken ye, as many as are worldly, and have the charge of wife and children; how to you too he commits especially the reading of the Scriptures and that not to be done lightly, nor in any sort of way, but with much earnestness…I also always entreat you, and do not cease entreating you, not only to pay attention here to what I say, but also when you are at home, to persevere continually in reading the divine Scriptures. (Colossians, Homily 9, Col 3:16–17; (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 58). return to article

175 If now we will thus search the Scriptures, exactly and not carelessly, we shall be able to attain unto our salvation (NPNF1, Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 53, John 8:31). return to article

176 Tarry not, I entreat, for another to teach thee; thou hast the oracles of God. No man teacheth thee as they; for he indeed oft grudgeth much for vainglory’s sake and envy. Hearken, I entreat you, all ye that are careful for this life, and procure books that will be medicines for the soul. If ye will not any other, yet get you at least the New Testament, the Apostolic Epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, for your constant teachers. If grief befall thee, dive into them as into a chest of medicines; take thence comfort of thy trouble, be it loss, or death, or bereavement of relations; or rather dive not into them merely, but take them wholly to thee; keep them in thy mind (Ibid., Vol. XIII, Homilies on Colossians, Homily 9, Colossians 3:16–17). return to article

177 God will not have us listen to the words and sentences contained in the Scriptures carelessly, but with much attention (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 15, John 1:18). return to article

178 If we continually dwell upon them, we shall learn right doctrine and a perfect life (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 53, John 8:31). return to article

179 Let us then, beloved, give heed to the Scriptures, and if no other part be so, let the Gospels at least be the subjects of our earnest care, let us keep them in our hands (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 53, John 8:31). return to article

180 The Scriptures were not given us for this only, that we might have them in books, but that we might engrave them on our hearts (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 32, John 4:13–14). return to article

181 These words are said to us that we may not apply ourselves to the words of the Scriptures carelessly or in a chance way, but with great exactness (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 15, John 1:18). return to article

182 On this account I am ashamed and astonished, when I behold among the Greeks men despising riches, but all mad among ourselves. For even if we could find some despising riches, we should find that they have been made captive by other vices, by passion or envy; and a hard thing it is to discover true wisdom without a blemish. But the reason is, that we are not earnest to get our remedies from the Scriptures, nor do we apply ourselves to those Scriptures with compunction, and sorrow, and groaning, but carelessly, if at any time we chance to be at leisure. Therefore when a great rush of worldly matters comes, it overwhelms all; and if there hath been any profit, destroys it. For if a man have a wound, and after putting on a plaster, do not tie it tight, but allow it to fall off, and expose his sore to wet, and dust, and heat, and ten thousand other things able to irritate it, he will get no good; yet not by reason of the inefficacy of the remedies, but by reason of his own carelessness. And this also is wont to happen to us, when we attend but little to the divine oracles, but give ourselves up wholly and incessantly to things of this life; for thus all the seed is choked, and all is made unfruitful (Ibid., Vol. XIV, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 84, John 18:37). return to article

183 Tarry not, I entreat, for another to teach thee; thou hast the oracles of God. No man teacheth thee as they; for he indeed oft grudgeth much for vainglory’s sake and envy. Hearken, I entreat you, all ye that are careful for this life, and procure books that will be medicines for the soul. If ye will not any other, yet get you at least the New Testament, the Apostolic Epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, for your constant teachers. If grief befall thee, dive into them as into a chest of medicines; take thence comfort of thy trouble, be it loss, or death, or bereavement of relations; or rather dive not into them merely, but take them wholly to thee; keep them in thy mind…This is the cause of all evils, the not knowing the Scriptures (Ibid., Vol. 13, Homilies on Colossians, Homily 9, Colossians 3:16–17). return to article

184 To you I say this; for we will not decline the battle with them. But the man who is unarmed and naked, though he fall among the weak, though he be the stronger, will easily be vanquished. Had you given heed to the Scriptures, had you sharpened yourselves each day, I would not have advised you to flee the combat with them, but would have counseled you to grapple with them; for strong is truth. But since you know not how to use the Scriptures, I fear the struggle, lest they take you unarmed and cast you down. For there is nothing, there is nothing weaker than those who are bereft of the aid of the Spirit (Ibid., Vol. 14, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 66, John 12:8). return to article

185 Because then ye stand I know not where, at some far distance from her, therefore is there confusion of thoughts, therefore the many waves, therefore the tempest. For when men have fallen from heavenly glory and the love of heaven, they desire present glory and become slaves and captives. ‘And how is it that we desire this,’ say you? From the not greatly desiring that. And this very thing, whence happens it? From negligence. And whence the negligence? From contempt. And whence the contempt? From folly and cleaving to things present and unwillingness to investigate accurately the nature of things. And whence again doth this latter arise? From the neither giving heed to the reading of the Scripture nor conversing with holy men, and from following the assemblies of the wicked (Ibid., Vol. 12, Homilies on First and Second Corinthians,1 Corintrhians Homily 29, 1 Corinthians 12:1–2). return to article

186 For from this it is that our countless evils have arisen—from ignorance of the Scriptures; from this it is that the plague of heresies has broken out; from this that there are negligent lives; from this labors without advantage. For as men deprived of this daylight would not walk aright, so they that look not to the gleaming of the Holy Scriptures must needs be frequently and constantly sinning, in that they are walking the worst darkness (1 Corinthians 15:10.) (Ibid., Vol. 11, Homilies on the Epistle to the Romans, The Argument). return to article

187 Knowing this, let us not merely pick out (eklegwmen) these things, but let us learn and be taught by them: for they were not written without a purpose. It is a great evil to be ignorant of the Scriptures: from the things we ought to get good from, we get evil (Ibid., Vol. 11, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily 34). return to article

188 The ignorance of Scripture is a great cliff and a deep abyss; to know nothing of the divine laws is a great betrayal of salvation (Catharine Ross, Translator, St John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1999), Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, p. 59). return to article

189 We must thoroughly quench the darts of the devil and beat them off by continual reading of the divine Scriptures. For it is not possible, not possible for anyone to be saved without continually taking advantage of spiritual reading (Ibid., p. 59).  return to article

190 Paul then applies to reading, for it is no slight advantage that is to be reaped from the Scriptures. But we are indolent, and we hear with carelessness and indifference. What punishment do we not deserve! (Ibid., Vol. 13, Homilies on Timothy, 1Timothy, Homily 13, 1 Timothy 4:16).
So with the Scriptures, if we confound their order; they will even so retain their proper force, yet will do us no good. Although I am always telling you this both in private and in public, I effect nothing, but see you all your time nailed to the things of this life, and not so much as dreaming of spiritual matters. Therefore our lives are careless, and we who strive for truth have but little power, and are become a laughing stock to Greeks and Jews and Heretics. Had ye been careless in other matters, and exhibited in this place the same indifference as elsewhere, not even so could your doings have been defended; but now in matters of this life, every one of you, artisan and politician alike, is keener than a sword, while in necessary and spiritual things we are duller than any; making by–work business, and not deeming that which we ought to have esteemed more pressing than any business, to be by–work even. Know ye not that the Scriptures were written not for the first of mankind alone, but for our sakes also? Hearest thou not Paul say, that ‘they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come; that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope’? (1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4) (Ibid., Vol. 14, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily 30, John 3:31). return to article

191 Do you wish your son to be obedient? From the very first ‘Bring him up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.’ Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’; so that this makes for thee. Never say, this is the business of monks. Am I making a monk of him? No. There is no need he should become a monk. Why be so afraid of a thing so replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian. For it is of all things necessary for laymen to be acquainted with the lessons derived from this source; but especially for children. For theirs is an age full of folly; and to this folly are super added the bad examples derived from the heathen tales, where they are made acquainted with those heroes so admired amongst them, slaves of their passions, and cowards with regard to death; as, for example, Achilles, when he relents, when he dies for his concubine, when another gets drunk, and many other things of the sort. He requires therefore the remedies against these things. How is it not absurd to send children out to trades, and to school, and to do all you can for these objects, and yet, not to ‘bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord’? And for this reason truly we are the first to reap the fruits, because we bring up our children to be insolent and profligate, disobedient, and mere vulgar fellows. Let us not then do this; no, let us listen to this blessed Apostle’s admonition. ‘Let us bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.’ Let us give them a pattern. Let us make them from the earliest age apply themselves to the reading of the Scriptures. Alas, that so constantly as I repeat this, I am looked upon as trifling! (Ibid., Vol. 13, Homilies on Ephesians, Homily 21, Ephesains 6:1–3). return to article

192 Ibid., Vol. 13, Homilies onThessalonians, Homily 4, 2 Thessalonians 2:15. return to article

193 Bertrand de Margerie, An Introduction to the History of Exegesis (Petersham: St. Bede’s, 1993), Vol. I, The Greek Fathers, p. 213. return to article

194 NPNF2, Vol. 7, Gregory Nazianzen, Introduction to the ‘Theological’ Orations, p. 280. return to article

195 William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers (Collegeville: Liturgical, 1979), Vol. II, p. 3. return to article

196 Basil: Just so all Scripture is God inspired and profitable, and there is nothing in it unclean…I bethink me how you and I have learned together the lessons of the best and holiest books. Each of us went through the sacred and God–inspired Scriptures…And how many other forms of unclean lust have been found out in the devils’ school, while divine scripture is silent about them (NPNF2, Vol. VIII, Basil, Letters, Letter 42.3; 41.1; 160.2).
    Gregory of Nyssa: Every scripture is divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit...That when he wrote this, he did so not under the guidance of evangelists, apostles, or any of the authors of the Old Testament, is plain to every one who has any acquaintance with the sacred and Divine Scripture…But, after searching through all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as this  (Ibid., Vol. V, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book 2.14; 11.5; 2.12).
    Gregory of Nazianzus: We however, following the Divine Scriptures, and removing out of the way of the blind the stumbling blocks contained in them, will cling to salvation, daring any and every thing rather than arrogance against God (Ibid., Vol. 7, Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 42.18)….so as not to sow upon thorns, and have made plain the face of the ground, being molded and molding others by Holy Scripture (Ibid., Oration 42.18; 28.1). return to article

197 Ibid.,Vol. V, Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul And the Resurrection, p. 439, Column 1). hmei~ de; th`~ ejxousiva~ a{moiroi tauvth~ ejsme;n, th`~ levgein fhmi; a{per boulovmeqa, kanovni panto;~ dovgmato~ kai; novmw/ kecrhmevnoi th`/ aJgiva/ Grafh`/: avnagkaiw~ pro;~ tauvthn blevponte~, tou`to decovmeqa movnon, o{, ti per a]n h`/ sumfwnou`n tw`/ tw`n gegrammevnwn skopw`/ (PG 46.49). return to article

198 FC, Vol. IX, Ascetical Works, Concerning Faith p. 59.
    Rule Eighty: What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words [of the Scripture], not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin,’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin (FC, Vol. 9, Ascetical Works, The Morals, Rule 80, Cap. 22,  pp. 203–204).
    Rule Twenty–six: That every word and deed should be ratified by the testimony of the Holy Scripture to confirm the good and cause shame to the wicked (Ibid., Rule 26, p. 106). return to article

199 Cum id nullo Scripturæ testimonio fultum sit, ut falsum improbabimus. (De Cognitione Dei,  PG 46:1115. Though listed in the Greek Series, this particular treatise is only extant in the Latin version).

Once more he calls the Father ‘only God,’ who employs the Only–begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? what apostle? what prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit…For an inspired testimony (Gk: graphe) is a sure test of the truth of any doctrine: and so it seems to me that ours may be well guaranteed by a quotation from the divine words. (NPNF2, Vol. 5, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book 2.14; 1.22). return to article

200Gregory of Nyssa: What word, then, of the inspired Scripture has taught us the manifold and multiform character of what we understand in speaking of the soul? Is it a unity composed of them all, and, if so, what is it that blends and harmonizes things mutually opposed, so that many things become one, while each element, taken by itself, is shut up in the soul as in some ample vessel?…For when you take from a body its color, its shape, its degree of resistance, its weight, its quantity, its position, its forces active or passive, its relation to other objects, what remains, that can still be called a body, we can neither see of ourselves, nor are we taught it by Scripture…Wherefore Holy Scripture omits all idle inquiry into substance as superfluous and unnecessary (Ibid.,Vol. 5, Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book).
    Gregory of Nazianzus: And thus we see that God is not a body. For no inspired teacher has yet asserted or admitted such a notion, nor has the sentence of our own Court allowed it. Nothing then remains but to conceive of Him as incorporeal (Ibid., Vol. 7, Gregory Nazianzen, The Second Theological Oration IX, p. 291). return to article

201 Ibid,, Vol. 8,Basil, Letters, Letter CLXXXIX, To Eustathius the Physician, paragraph 3. return to article

202 Ibid., Vol. V, Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity, and of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, p. 327. return to article

203 But you stand round me rather as judges than as learners. Your desire is rather to test and try me than to acquire anything for yourselves. I must therefore, as it were, make my defense before the court, again and again giving answer, an again and again saying what I have received. And you I exhort not to be specially anxious to hear from me what is pleasing to yourselves, but rather what is pleasing to the Lord, what is in harmony with the Scriptures, what is not in opposition to the Fathers (Ibid., Vol. 8, Basil, Prolegomena, p. lxi). return to article

204 Ibid., Vol. 8, Basil, On the Holy Spirit 7.16. return to article

205 Regulae Brevius Tractate, Interrogatio et Responsio XCVIII. PG 31:1149-1152. Translation by William Goode, Vol. III, p. 132. return to article

206 FC, Vol. 9, Basil, Ascetical Works, The Morals, Rule 72, pp. 185–186. return to article

207 I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings…As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason (NPNF1, Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter LXXXII, Chapter 1, Section 3).

For the reasonings of any men whatsoever, even though they be Catholics, and of high reputation, are not to be treated by us in the same way as the canonical Scriptures are treated. We are at liberty, without doing any violence to the respect which these men deserve, to condemn and reject anything in their writings, if perchance we shall find that they have entertained opinions differing from that which others or we ourselves have, by the divine help, discovered to be the truth. I deal thus with the writings of others, and I wish my intelligent readers to deal thus with mine (Ibid., Vol. I, Augustin, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter 148, Section 15). return to article

208 Thomas Aquinas, Truth, Vo. II, trans. James V. McGlynn, S.J., (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1953), Question 14, Article X, 11, p. 258. return to article

209 FC, Vol. IX, Ascetical Works, The Morals, Rule 26, p. 106. return to article

210 When, by the grace of God, I learned of your piety’s command, worthy as it is of the love you bear God in Christ, whereby you sought from us a written profession of our holy faith, I hesitated at first as to my answer, sensible as I am of my own lowliness and weakness…At any rate, you yourselves know that a faithful minister must preserve unadulterated and unalloyed whatever has been entrusted to him by his good master for dispensation to his fellow servants. Consequently, I also am obliged in the common interest to place before you, in accordance with God’s good pleasure, what I have learned from the Holy Scriptures…But if ‘the Lord is faithful in all his words’ and ‘All his commandments are faithful, confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth and equity,’ to delete anything that is written down or to interpolate anything not written amounts to open defection from the faith and makes the offender liable to a charge of contempt. For our Lord Jesus Christ says: ‘My sheep hear my voice,’ and, before this, He had said: ‘But a stranger they follow not but fly from him because they know not the voice of strangers.’ And the Apostle, using a human parallel, more strongly forbids adding to or removing anything from Holy Writ in the following words: ‘yet a man’s testament if it be confirmed, no man despiseth nor addeth to it.’ So, then, we have determined in this way to avoid now and always every utterance and sentiment not found in the Lord’s teaching…I have neither the leisure nor the skill at present, however, to collect from the Holy Scripture, even at your urging, all the references made throughout to the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, but I think it will satisfy even your conscience if I place before you a few selected passages to show how our thoughts derive from the Scriptures and to provide grounds for certainty both for you yourselves and any others who desire to place their confidence in us; for, just as many proofs declare to us only one divine doctrine, so also, a fair–minded person will recognize in the few proofs I have give the divine character which is in all (FC, Vol. IX, Saint Basil, Ascetical Works, Concerning Faith, pp. 57, 59, 63). return to article

211 The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself….He, I say, appeared on earth and ‘conversed with men,’ that men might no longer have opinions according to their own notions about the Self–existent, formulating into a doctrine the hints that come to them from vague conjectures, but that we might be convinced that God has truly been manifested in the flesh, and believe that to be the only true ‘mystery of godliness,’ which was delivered to us by the very Word and God, Who by Himself spoke to His Apostles, 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 Scriptures , 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. We believe, then, even as the Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when He said, ‘Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ This is the word of the mystery whereby through the new birth from above our nature is transformed from the corruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed from ‘the old man,’ ‘according to the image of Him who created’ at the beginning the likeness to the Godhead. In the Faith then which was delivered by God to the Apostles we admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor addition, knowing assuredly that he who presumes to pervert the Divine utterance by dishonest quibbling, the same ‘is of his father the devil,’ who leaves the words of truth and ‘speaks of his own,’ becoming the father of a lie. For whatsoever is said otherwise than in exact accord with the truth is assuredly false and not true (NPNF2, Vol. 5, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book 2.1). return to article

212 FC, Vol. 9, Ascetical Works, The Morals, Rule 80, Cap. 22, pp. 203–204. return to article

213 NPNF2, Vol. 5, Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul And the Resurrection. return to article

214 Ibid., Vol. 7, Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 31.23. return to article

215 Ibid., Vol. 5, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius 1.23
The following is an example of this methodology of reasoning from Scripture to Scriptural conclusions as employed by Basil:
But since the question now raised by those who are always endeavoring to introduce novelties, but passed over in silence by the men of old, because the doctrine was never gainsaid, has remained without full explanation (I mean that which concerns the Holy Ghost) I will add a statement on this subject in conformity with the sense of Scripture. As we were baptized, so we profess our belief. As we profess our belief, so also we offer praise. As then baptism has been given us by the Savior, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so, in accordance with our baptism, we make the confession of the creed, and our doxology in accordance with our creed. We glorify the Holy Ghost together with the Father and the Son, from the conviction that He is not separated from the Divine Nature; for that which is foreign by nature does not share in the same honors. All who call the Holy Ghost a creature we pity, on the ground that, by this utterance, they are falling into the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against Him. I need use no argument to prove to those who are even slightly trained in Scripture, that the creature is separated from the Godhead. The creature is a slave; but the Spirit sets free. The creature needs life; the Spirit is the Giver of life. The creature requires teaching. It is the Spirit that teaches. The creature is sanctified; it is the Spirit that sanctifies. Whether you name angels, archangels, or all the heavenly powers, they receive their sanctification through the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself has His holiness by nature, not received by favor, but essentially His; whence He has received the distinctive name of Holy. What then is by nature holy, as the Father is by nature holy, and the Son by nature holy, we do not ourselves allow to be separated and severed from the divine and blessed Trinity, nor accept those who rashly reckon it as part of creation. Let this short summary be sufficient for you, my pious friends. From little seeds, with the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, you will reap the fuller crop of piety. ‘Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser.’ I will put off fuller demonstration till we meet. When we do, it will be possible for me to answer objections, to give you fuller proofs from Scripture, and to confirm all the sound rule of faith. For the present pardon my brevity. I should not have written at all had I not thought it a greater injury to you to refuse your request altogether than to grant it in part (Ibid., Vol. 8, Basil, Letters, Letter 159.2). return to article

216 Ibid., Vol. V, Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection, p. 439. return to article

217 Ibid., Vol. V, Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection, p. 439. return to article

218 Ibid., Vol. V, Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection, p. 439. return to article

219 Jaroslav Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture (New Haven: Yale, 1993), p. 191. return to article

220 NPNF2, Vol. 8, Basil, Letters, Letter 283.
[Ecousa de; th;n ek tw`n qeivwn Grafw`n paravklhsin, ou[te hmwn ou[te a[llou tino;~ dehqhvsh/ pro;~ to; ta; devonta sunora/`n, aujtavrkh th;n ejk tou`  aJgivou Pneuvmato~ e[cousa sumboulivan kai; oJdhgivan pro;~ to; sumfevron. PG 32:1020. return to article

221 NPNF2, Vol. 5, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book 2.9. return to article

222 Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us ‘in a mystery’ by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay; — no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more (Ibid., Vol. 8, Basil, On the Holy Spirit, XXVII.66). return to article

223 For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. Moreover we bless the water of baptism and the oil of the chrism, and besides this the catechumen who is being baptized. On what written authority do we do this? Is not our authority silent and mystical tradition? Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil itself taught? And whence comes the custom of baptizing thrice? And as to the other customs of baptism from what Scripture do we derive the renunciation of Satan and his angels? Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation?
…Time will fail me if I attempt to recount the unwritten mysteries of the Church. Of the rest I say nothing; but of the very confession of our faith in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what is the written source? If it be granted that, as we are baptized, so also under the obligation to believe, we make our confession in like terms as our baptism, in accordance with the tradition of our baptism and in conformity with the principles of true religion, let our opponents grant us too the right to be as consistent in our ascription of glory as in our confession of faith. If they deprecate our doxology on the ground that it lacks written authority, let them give us the written evidence for the confession of our faith and the other matters which we have enumerated. While the unwritten traditions are so many, and their bearing on ‘the mystery of godliness is so important, can they refuse to allow us a single word which has come down to us from the Fathers;—which we found, derived from untutored custom, abiding in unperverted churches;—a word for which the arguments are strong, and which contributes in no small degree to the completeness of the force of the mystery? (NPNF2, Vol. 8, Basil, On the Holy Spirit, XXVII.66–67). return to article

224 It remains for me to trace the origin of the word ‘with;’ to explain what force it has, and to shew that it is in harmony with Scripture (Ibid., Vol. 8, Basil, On the Holy Spirit,  XXVII.65). return to article

225 William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers (Collegeville: Liturgical, 1979), Vol. III, p. 1. return to article

226 But Thou sufferedst me not to be carried away from the faith by any fluctuations of thought, whereby I believed Thee both to exist, and Thy substance to be unchangeable, and that Thou hadst a care of and wouldest judge men; and that in Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, and the Holy Scriptures, which the authority of Thy Catholic Church pressed upon me, Thou hadst planned the way of man’s salvation to that life which is to come after this death (NPNF1, Vol.1, Augustin, Confessions, Book 7.11)
First, however, we must demonstrate, according to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, whether the faith be so (Ibid., Vol. 3, Augustin, On the Holy Trinity 1.4). return to article

227 This is most pertinent to the matter which I have in hand,– namely, the confirmation of the universal and unquestionable truth of the Divine Scriptures (Ibid., Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters, Letter 82.7).
For, truly, when he pronounces anything to be untrue, he demands that he be believed in preference, and endeavors to shake our confidence in the authority of the divine Scriptures (Ibid., Letter 28.3.4). return to article

228 Foster and strengthen me, then, for I am, as I have said, but a child in the sacred Scriptures and in spiritual studies (Ibid., Letter 25.3).
As to the principles which ought to be followed in the interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures, they are stated in the book which I have written (Ibid., Letter 75.20). return to article

229 Take good heed, then, to these fearful words of the great apostle; and when you feel that you do not understand, put your faith in the meanwhile in the inspired word of God (Ibid., Vol. 5, Augustin, On Grace and Free Will, Letter 1.7).
I think, too, that I have so discussed the subject, that it is not so much I myself as the inspired Scripture which has spoken to you, in the clearest testimonies of truth (Ibid., On Grace and Free Will 41).

He therefore does injury to the scripture of the Old Testament with heretical impiety, who with an impious and sacrilegious face denies that it was inspired by the good, supreme, and very God (Ibid., On the Merits and Remission of Sins 3.15).

In the next place, if faith is what is required of me, I should prefer to keep to the Scripture, which tells me that the Holy Spirit came and inspired the apostles, to whom the Lord had promised to send Him (Ibid., Vol. 4, Augustin, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental 14). return to article

230 As to those who read futurity by taking at random a text from the pages of the Gospels, although it is better that they should do this than go to consult spirits of divination, nevertheless it is, in my opinion, a censurable practice to try to turn to secular affairs and the vanity of this life those divine oracles which were intended to teach us concerning the higher life (Ibid., Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters, Letter 55.37).
And this death of the whole man is followed by that which, on the authority of the divine oracles, we call the second death (Ibid., Vol. 2, Augustin, City of God 13.2). return to article

231 Look, here have ye, brethren, the Scriptures of God: this epistle is canonical (Ibid., Vol. 7, Augustin, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Homily 7, 1 Jn. 4:4–12).
Whatever doubt a man hath in his mind when he heareth the Scriptures of God, let him not depart from Christ (Ibid., Vol. 8, Augustin, Expositions on the Psalms, Psalm 97.1). return to article

232 But that nation, that people, that city, that republic, these Israelites, to whom the oracles of God were entrusted, by no means confounded with similar license false prophets with the true prophets; but, agreeing together, and differing in nothing, acknowledged and upheld the authentic authors of their sacred books. These were their philosophers, these were their sages, divines, prophets, and teachers of probity and piety. Whoever was wise and lived according to them was wise and lived not according to men, but according to God who hath spoken by them (Ibid., Vol. 2, Augustin, City of God 18.41, p. 385).

But some one may say, Why then is it written, ‘The Lord said to Moses;’ and not, rather, The angel said to Moses? Because, when the crier proclaims the words of the judge, it is not usually written in the record, so and so the crier said, but so and so the judge. In like manner also, when the holy prophet speaks, although we say, The prophet said, we mean nothing else to be understood than that the Lord said; and if we were to say, The Lord said, we should not put the prophet aside, but only intimate who spake by him (Ibid., Vol. 3, Augustin, On the Holy Trinity, Book III.23, p. 65).
Now I confess the reason of this is hidden from me; only I think that even those men, to whom certainly the Holy Spirit revealed those things which ought to be held as of religious authority, might write some things as men by historical diligence, and others as prophets by divine inspiration; and these things were so distinct, that it was judged that the former should be ascribed to themselves, but the latter to God speaking through them: and so the one pertained to the abundance of knowledge, the other to the authority of religion (Ibid., Vol. 2, Augustin, City of God 18.38). return to article

233 This especially would I recommend to your pious discretion, that by reading the word of God, and by serious conversation with your partners’ you should either plant the seed or foster the growth in her heart of an intelligent fear of God. (Ibid., Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters, Letter 20.3)
‘When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men but, as it is in truth, the word of God’ (and there are countless other like sayings in the Scriptures respecting the word of God, which is disseminated in the sounds of many and diverse languages through the hearts and mouths of men; and which is therefore called the word of God, because the doctrine that is delivered is not human, but divine) (Ibid., Vol. 3, Augustin, On the Holy Trinity, Book 15, Chapter 11). return to article

234 When we ask them with the voice of God, that is, of the sacred Scriptures, about Christ…So the voice of God in the Holy Scriptures accuses the Jews (Ibid.,Vol.4, Augustin, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XII, Section 10. return to article

235 So for the time being treat the scripture of God as the face of God. Melt in front of it (The Works of Saint Augustine, John  E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., trans. Edmund Hill, O.P. (Brooklyn: New City Press, 1990), Part 3, Vol. 2, Sermons, Sermon 22.7, p. 46. return to article

236 For the authority is extant of the divine Scriptures, from which our reason ought not to turn aside; nor by leaving the solid support of the divine utterance, to fall headlong over the precipice of its own surmisings (NPNF1, Vol. 3, Augustin, On the Holy Trinity, III.11). return to article

237 ‘Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think that ye have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me;’ ‘If ye believed Moses, ye would believe me, for he wrote of me;’ ‘They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them;’ ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe though one rose from the dead.’ What have you to say for yourselves? Where is your authority? If you reject these passages of Scripture, in spite of the weighty authority in their favor, what miracles can you show? However, if you did work miracles, we should be on our guard against receiving their evidence in your case; for the Lord has forewarned us: ‘Many false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall do many signs and wonders, that they may deceive, if it were possible, the very elect: behold, I have told you before.’ This shows that the established authority of Scripture must outweigh every other; for it derives new confirmation from the progress of events which happen, as Scripture proves, in fulfillment of the predictions made so long before their occurrence (Ibid., Vol.4, Augustin, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XIII, section 5). return to article

238 For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honor only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error (Ibid., Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters, Letter 83.2).

At the same time, as I have said already, it is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit subjection as to follow their teaching, without admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place (Ibid., Letter LXXXII, Chapter 3, Section 24).

I do not need to say that I do not suppose you to wish your books to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error (NPNF1, Vol. I, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter LXXXII, Chapter 1, Section 3).

If we are perplexed by an apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, The author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood. In the innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority. Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself… In consequence of the distinctive peculiarity of the sacred writings, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist. (Ibid., Vol. 4, Augustin, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.5).

For it cannot be remotely possible that the authority of the Scriptures should be fallacious at any point (FC, Vol. 20, Saint Augustine Letters, Letter 147, p. 181).

This, however, we have said, in order that no one might suppose that the utterances of the divine Scriptures are contrary the one to the other (NPNF1, Vol. 3, Augustin, On Faith and the Creed 2.2).

For it cannot be that the divine Scripture deceiveth or is deceived (Ibid., On Patience 22). return to article

239 Ibid., Vol. 1, Augustin, City of God 11.3
I do not want you to depend on my authority, so as to think that you must believe something because it is said by me; you should rest your belief either on the canonical Scriptures, if you do not see how true something is, or on the truth made manifest to you interiorly, so that you may see clearly (FC, Vol. 20, Saint Augustine Letters, Letter 147,Chapter 2, p. 171).

But if it is supported by the evident authority of the divine Scriptures, namely, of those which in the Church are called canonical, it must be believed without any reservation. In regard to other witnesses of evidence which are offered as guarantees of belief, you may believe or not, according as you estimate that they either have or have not the weight necessary to produce belief (FC, Vol. 20, Saint Augustine Letters, Letter 147, Chapter 4,p. 173).

There is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions of bishops and the extension of the Church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind (NPNF1, Vol. 4, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XI, Section 5).

This shows that the established authority of Scripture must outweigh every other  (Ibid., Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XIII, section 5).
For, as regards any writing professing to come immediately from Christ Himself, if it were really His, how is it not read and acknowledged and regarded as of supreme authority in the Church, which, beginning with Christ Himself, and continued by His apostles, who were succeeded by the bishops, has been maintained and extended to our own day (Ibid., Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XXVIII, section 4–5).

Now, who is it that submits to divine Scripture, save he who reads or hears it piously, deferring to it as of supreme authority (Ibid., Vol6, Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Book I, Chapter XI).  return to article

240 Ibid., Vol.4, Augustin, On Baptism 2.4. return to article

241 De Cresconium 2.39–40. Cited by A.D.R. Polman, The Word of God According to St. Augustine (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961), p. 65. return to article

242 NPNF1, Vol.I, Augustin, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter 148, Section 15.
Accordingly, with respect also to the passages which he has adduced—not indeed from the canonical Scriptures, but out of certain treatises of catholic writers—I wish to meet the assertions of such as say that the said quotations make for him…Especially as in writings of such authors I feel myself free to use my own judgment (owing unhesitating assent to nothing but the canonical Scriptures)…(Ibid., Vol. 5, Augustin, On Nature and Grace 71).

I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the Ms. is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine (NPNF1, Vol I, Augustin, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter LXXXII, Chapter 1, Section 3.

As regards our writings, which are not a rule of faith or practice, but only a help to edification, we may suppose that they contain some things falling short of the truth in obscure and recondite matters, and that these mistakes may or may not be corrected in subsequent treatises. For we are of those of whom the apostle says: ‘And if ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.’ Such writings are read with the right of judgment, and without any obligation to believe. In order to leave room for such profitable discussions of difficult questions, there is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions of bishops and the extension of the Church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind (NPNF1, Vol4, Augustin,  Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XI, Section 5). return to article

243 Argument from authority is the method most appropriate to this teaching in that its premises are held through revelation; consequently it has to accept the authority of those to whom revelation was made. Nor does this derogate from its dignity, for though weakest when based on what human beings have disclosed, the argument from authority is most forcible when based on what God has disclosed. All the same holy teaching also uses human reasoning, not indeed to prove the faith, for that would take away from the merit of believing, but to make manifest some implications of its message. Since grace does not scrap nature but brings it to perfection, so also natural reason should assist faith as the natural loving bent of the will yields to charity. St. Paul speaks of bringing into captivity every understanding unto the service of Christ. Hence holy teaching uses the authority of philosophers who have been able to perceive the truth by natural reasoning, for instance when St. Paul quotes the saying of Aratus, As some of your poets have said, we are of the race of God.
+++Yet holy teaching employs such authorities only in order to provide as it were extraneous arguments from probability. Its own proper authorities are those of canonical Scripture, and these it applied with convincing force. It has other proper authorities, the doctors of the Church, and these it looks to as its own, but for arguments that carry no more than probability.
+++For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books, not on a revelation, if such there be, made to any other teacher. In this sense St. Augustine wrote to St. Jerome; Only to those books or writings which are called canonical have I learnt to pay such honour that I firmly believe that none of their authors have erred in composing them. Other authors, however, I read to such effect that, no matter what holiness and learning they display, I do not hold what they say to be true because those were their sentiments (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae FP Q[1] A[8] R.O. 2: Latin text and English translation, Introductions, Notes, Appendices and Glossaries (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1976), Vol. I, pp. 31–33). return to article

244 Let us not hear, You say this, I say that; but let us hear, Thus saith the Lord. There are the Dominical books, whose authority we both acknowledge, we both yield to, we both obey; there let us seek the Church, there let us. Therefore let those testimonies which we mutually bring against each other, from any other quarter than the divine canonical books, be put out of sight. I would not have the holy Church demonstrated by human testimonies, but by the divine oracles…We adhere to this Church; against those divine declarations we admit no human cavils…Let no one say to me, What hath Donatus said, what hath Parmenian said, or Pontius, or any of them. For we must not allow even Catholic bishops, if at any time, perchance, they are in error, to­ hold any opinion contrary to the canonical Scriptures of God…All such matters, therefore, being put out of sight, let them show their Church, if they can; not in the discourses and reports of Africans, not in the councils of their own bishops, not in the wri­tings of any controversialists, not in fallacious signs and mira­cles, for even against these we are rendered by the word of the Lord prepared and cautious, but in the ordinances of the Law,  in the predictions of the Prophets, in the songs of the Psalms, in the words of the very Shepherd himself, in the preachings and labours of the Evangelists, that is in all the canonical authorities of the sacred books. Nor so as to collect together and rehearse those things that are spoken obscurely, or ambiguously, or figuratively, such as can interpret as he likes, according to his own views. For such testimonies cannot be rightly understood and expounded, unless those things that are most clearly spoken, are first held by a firm faith
…We ought to find the Church, as the Head of the Church, in the holy canonical Scriptures, not to inquire for it in the various reports, and opinions, and deeds, and words, and visions of men…Whether they (i.e. the Donatists) hold the Church, they must show by the canonical books of the Divine Scriptures alone; for we do not say that we must be believed because we are in the Church of Christ, because Optatus of Milevi, or Ambrose of Milan, or innumerable other bishops of our communion, commended that Church to which we belong; or because it is extolled by the councils of our colleagues, or because through the whole world, in the holy places which those of our communion frequent, such wonderful answers to prayer or cures happen…Whatever things of this kind take place in the Catholic Church, are therefore to be approved of, because they take place in the Catholic Church; but it is not proved to be the Catholic Church, because these things happen to be in it. The Lord Jesus Christ, when He had risen from the dead…judged that His disciples were to be convinced by the testimonies of the Law, and the Prophets and the Psalms…These are the proofs, these the foundations, these the supports of our cause. We read in the Acts of the Apostles, of some who believed, that they searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so. What Scriptures, but the canonical Scriptures of the Law and the Prophets? To these have been added the Gospels, the Apostolical Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John…But if they do not choose to understand, it is sufficient for us that we adhere to that Church, which is demonstrated by such extremely clear testimonies of the holy and canonical Scriptures. (Augustine, On the Unity of the Church 3, 11, 18, 19, 22. Cited by William Goode, Vol. II, p. 321–322). return to article

245 NPNF1, Vol. I, Augustin, City of God 20.1. return to article

246 Ibid., Vol.3, Augustin, On the Good of Widowhood [De Bono Viduitatis.], Section 2.
If you ask how I know, I answer that we read in Scripture, the source of truth: ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God,’ and other passages of like tenor (FC, 1953), Vol. 20, Saint Augustine Letters, Letter 147. Augustine to the noble lady Paulina, greeting, Chapter 37,p. 204).
The city of God…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 and by which we walk without doubting whilst we are absent from the Lord. So long as this faith remains inviolate and firm, we may without blame entertain doubts regarding some things which we have neither perceived by sense nor by reason, and which have not been revealed to us by the canonical Scriptures, nor come to our knowledge through witnesses whom it is absurd to disbelieve (NPNF1, Vol. I, Augustin, City of God 19.18).
What those who fear God and have a docile piety are looking for in all these books is the will of God. The first step in this laborious search, as I have said, is to know these books, and even if not yet so as to understand them, all the same by reading them to commit them to memory, or at least not to be totally unfamiliar with them…The fact is, after all, that in the passages that are put plainly in scripture is to be found everything that touches upon faith, and good morals, that is to say hope, charity, which we dealt with in the previous book (The Works of Saint Augustine, John  E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., trans. Edmund Hill, O.P. (New York: New City Press, 1996), Part 1, Vol. 11, De Doctrina Christiana, Book II, Chapter 9, Section 14, p. 135). return to article

247 Augustine reiterates these thoughts in his comments on the miracle of Christ’s raising Lazarus from the dead. He emphasizes the fact that though not everything Christ did is recorded in Scripture, that which has been recorded is sufficient for salvation:
Among all the miracles wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Lazarus holds a foremost place in preaching. But if we consider attentively who did it, our duty is to rejoice rather than to wonder. A man was raised up by Him who made man: for He is the only One of the Father, by whom, as you know, all things were made. And if all things were made by Him, what wonder is it that one was raised by Him, when so many are daily brought into the world by His power? It is a greater deed to create men than to raise them again from the dead. Yet He deigned both to create and to raise again; to create all, to resuscitate some. For though the Lord Jesus did many such acts, yet all of them are not recorded; just as this same St. John the evangelist himself testifies, that Christ the Lord both said and did many things that are not recorded; but such were chosen for record as seemed to suffice for the salvation of believers. (Tractate 49.1) All things that are read from the Holy Scriptures in order to our instruction and salvation, it behooves us to hear with earnest heed
…And yet even in regard of them, (a thing which ye ought especially to observe, and to commit to your memory, because that which shall make us strong against insidious errors, God has been pleased to put in the Scriptures, against which no man dares to speak, who in any sort wishes to seem a Christian), when He had given Himself to be handled by them, that did not suffice Him, but He would also confirm by means of the Scriptures the heart of them that believe: for He looked forward to us who should be afterwards; seeing that in Him we have nothing that we can handle, but have that which we may read’ (NPNF1, Vol. VII, Augustin, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Homily 2, 1 John 2:12–17, section 1).
+++For though the Lord Jesus did many such acts, yet all of them are not recorded; just as this same St. John the evangelist himself testifies, that Christ the Lord both said and did many things that are not recorded; but such were chosen for record as seemed to suffice for the salvation of believers (Ibid., Vol.VII, Augustin, Tractates on John, Tractate XLIX, John 11:1–5).
+++He who sent the prophets before His own. descent also dispatched the apostles after His ascension. Moreover, in virtue of the man assumed by Him, He stands to all His disciples in the relation of the head to the members of His body. Therefore, when those disciples have written matters which He declared and spake to them, it ought not by any means to be said that He has written nothing Himself; since the truth is, that His members have accomplished only what they became acquainted with by the repeated statements of the Head. For all that He was minded to give for our perusal on the subject of His own doings and sayings, He commanded to be written by those disciples, whom He thus used as if they were His own hands (Ibid., Vol.VII, Augustin, Harmony of the Gospels, Book I.54). return to article

248 Ibid., Vol. 3, Augustin, On the Creed, A Sermon to Catechumens 1.
The apostle says: Since if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that the Lord raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto justice, and with the mouth one makes confession unto salvation (Rom 10:9–10). This is what the Symbol builds up in you, what you must both believe and confess, so that you may be saved. And indeed, the things you are going to receive in a short enough form, to be committed to memory and repeated by word of mouth, are not new things which you haven’t heard before. I mean, you are quite used to hearing them in the holy scriptures and in sermons in church. But they have been compressed into a brief summary, and reduced to a definite, tightly knit order; and that is how they are to be handed over to you, to build up your faith and to prepare you to confess it, without burdening your memories. ‘This then is what you are faithfully going to retain, and to give back from memory (The Works of Saint Augustine, John Rotelle, Editor (New Rochelle: New City, 1993), Part III, Vol. VI, Sermons, Sermon 214.1, p. 150). return to article

249 NPNF1, Vol. III, Augustin, On Faith and the Creed 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, pp. 321-333. return to article

250 Inasmuch as it is a position, written and established on the most solid foundation of apostolic teaching, ‘that the just lives of faith;’ and inasmuch also as this faith demands of us the duty at once of heart and tongue, — for an apostle says, ‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,’ — it becomes us to be mindful both of righteousness and of salvation. For, destined as we are to reign hereafter in everlasting righteousness, we certainly cannot secure our salvation from the present evil world, unless at the same time, while laboring for the salvation of our neighbors, we likewise with the mouth make our own profession of the faith which we carry in our heart. And it must be our aim, by pious and careful watchfulness, to provide against the possibility of the said faith sustaining any injury in us, on any side, through the fraudulent artifices [or, cunning fraud] of the heretics.
+++We have, however, the catholic faith in the Creed, known to the faithful and committed to memory, contained in a form of expression as concise as has been rendered admissible by the circumstances of the case; the purpose of which [compilation] was, that individuals who are but beginners and sucklings among those who have been born again in Christ, and who have not yet been strengthened by most diligent and spiritual handling and understanding of the divine Scriptures, should be furnished with a summary, expressed in few words, of those matters of necessary belief which were subsequently to be explained to them in many words, as they made progress and rose to [the height of] divine doctrine, on the assured and steadfast basis of humility and charity (Ibid., On Faith and the Creed 1). return to article

251 Ibid., On Faith and the Creed 10.25. return to article

252 These things beings so, beloved, persevere in the tradition which you have learned. Be true to the pact you made with the Lord, to the profession of faith which you made in the presence of angels and of men. The words of the Creed are few—but all the mysteries are in them. Selected from the whole of Scripture and put together for the sake of brevity, they are like precious gems making a single crown. Thus, all the faithful have sufficient knowledge of salvation, even though many are unable, or too busy with their worldly affairs, to read the Scriptures (FC, Vol. 7, Writings of Niceta of Remesiana, Explanation of the Creed, section 13, p. 53. return to article

253 For, as you know, a Creed (Symbolum) gets its name from being a ‘collection.’ For what is called in Greek suvmbolo~ is termed in Latin ‘Collatio.’ But it is therefore a collection (collatio) because when the faith of the whole Catholic law was collected together by the apostles of the Lord, all those matters which are spread over the whole body of the sacred writings with immense fullness of detail, were collected together in sum in the matchless brevity of the Creed, according to the Apostle’s words: ‘Completing His word, and cutting it short in righteousness: because a short word shall the Lord make upon the earth.’ This then is the ‘short word’ which the Lord made, collecting together in few words the faith of both of His Testaments, and including in a few brief clauses the drift of all the Scriptures, building up His own out of His own, and giving the force of the whole law in a most compendious and brief formula. Providing in this, like a most tender father, for the carelessness and ignorance of some of his children, that no mind however simple and ignorant might have any trouble over what could so easily be retained in the memory (NPNF2, Vol.11, John Cassian, On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius, Book 6, Chapter 3). return to article

254 For holy Scripture setteth a rule to our teaching, that we dare not ‘be wise more than it behoveth to be wise;’ but be wise, as himself saith, ‘unto soberness, according as unto each God hath allotted the measure of faith.’ Be it not therefore for me to teach you any other thing, save to expound to you the words of the Teacher, and to treat of them as the Lord shall have given to me (NPNF1,Vol3, Augustin, On the Good of Widowhood [De Bono Viduitatis.], Section 2).

So if anybody reads my book, let him pass judgment on me. If I have said something reasonable, let him follow, not me, but reason itself; if I’ve proved it by the clearest divine testimony, let him follow, not me, but the divine scripture (The Works of Saint Augustine, John Rotelle, O.S.A., ed. trans. Edmund Hill, O.P. (New York: New City Press, 1997), Part 3, Vol. 1, Newly Discovered Sermons, Sermon  162C.15, p. 176).

But seeing that the obscurity of this most mysterious subject, the origin of the soul, compels me to do as I have done, let them rather stretch out a friendly hand to me, confessing my ignorance, and desiring to know whatever is the truth on the subject; and let them, if they can, teach or demonstrate to me what they may either have learned by the exercise of sound reason, or have believed on indisputably plain testimony of the divine oracles. For if reason be found contradicting the authority of Divine Scriptures, it only deceives by a semblance of truth, however acute it be, for its deductions cannot in that case be true. On the other hand, if, against the most manifest and reliable testimony of reason, anything be set up claiming to have the authority of the Holy Scriptures, he who does this does it through a misapprehension of what he has read, and is setting up against the truth not the real meaning of Scripture, which he has failed to discover, but an opinion of his own; he alleges not what he has found in the Scriptures, but what he has found in himself as their interpreter (NPNF1, Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters, Letter 143.7). return to article

255 Ibid., Vol. 4, Augustin, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 26.3. return to article

256 Ibid., Vol. 4, Augustin, Answer to Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta, Book III, Chapter 6. return to article

257 You ask whether He [i.e. the Holy Spirit] was begotten or not. Sacred Scripture has said nothing about this, and it is wrong to violate the divine silence. Since God did not think that this should be indicated in His writings, He did not want you to question or to know through idle curiosity (FC, Vol. 66, Sermons 187–238, Sermon 213.2 p. 107). return to article

258 Who will tell the reasons and motives of these differences within one and the same grace when Sacred Scripture is silent about them? (Ancient Christian Writers (New York: Newman, 1952), Vol. 14, St. Prosper of Aquitaine: The Call of All Nations, p. 103). return to article

259 I do not say these things definitively. For I consider it presumptuous to speak definitively of things concerning which the divine Scripture does not speak distinctly. But I have said what I conceived was suitable to the views of piety. (Questions in Genesis, cap. 4. Translation by William Goode, Vol. III, p. 191.
Egw; de; tau‘ta oujk ajpofainovmeno~ levgw : tolmhro;n ga;r ajpofantikw`~ oimai levgein, peri; w|n hJ qeiva diarJrJhvdhn ouj levgei Grafhv : ajlla; o{per toi`~ eujsebevsi logismoi`~ aJrmovttein uJpevlabon, ei[rhka  (Quaestiones in Genesim 4, PG 80:84). return to article

260 This being so, the question is asked why, if everything in this world is controlled by the care, governance and judgment of God, the external aspects of life among the barbarians are very much better than ours; why even among us the lot of good men is more difficult than that of the bad? Why should upright men be cast down while reprobates grow strong? Why does the whole world come under the sway of authorities, for the greater part unjust? I could answer with reason and sufficient constancy: ‘I do not know,’ because I do not know the secret councils of God. The oracle of the heavenly Word is sufficient proof for me in this case. God says, as I have proved in the previous books, that He regards all things, rules all things and judges all things. If you wish to know what you must believe, you have Holy Scripture. The perfect explanation is to hold with what you read (FC, Vol. 3, The Writings of Salvian, The Presbyter, The Governance of God, Book 3, section 1, pp. 67–68. return to article

261 NPNF1, Vol. IV, Augustin, On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Book II, Chapter 6. return to article

262 Ibid., Vol. 5, Augustin, On the Merits and Remission of Sins and on the Baptism of Infants (De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione, et de Baptismo Parvulorum), Book III, Chapter 14.

Let us not suppose, then, that human nature cannot be corrupted by sin, but rather, believing, from the inspired Scriptures, that it is corrupted by sin, let our inquiry be how this could possibly have come about. (Ibid., Vol. 5, Augustin, On Nature and Grace  (De Natura et Gratia) 22).

How can this arrogant asserter of free will say, ‘That we are able to think a good thought comes from God, but that we actually think a good thought proceeds from ourselves’? He has his answer from the humble preacher of grace, who says, ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.’ Observe he does not say, ‘to be able to think anything;’ but, ‘to think anything.’ Now even Pelagius should frankly confess that this grace is plainly set forth in the inspired Scriptures; nor should he with shameless effrontery hide the fact that he has too long opposed it, but admit it with salutary regret; so that the holy Church may cease to be harassed by his stubborn persistence, and rather rejoice in his sincere conversion (Ibid., Vol. 5, Augustin, On the Grace of Christ (De Gratia Christi) 26–27).

It (the Church) prays that believers may persevere; therefore God gives perseverance to the end. God foreknew that He would do this. This is the very predestination of the saints, ‘whom He has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and unspotted before Him in love; predestinating them unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath shown them favor in His beloved Son, in whom they have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace, which has abounded towards them in all wisdom and prudence; that He might show them the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Him, in the dispensation of the fullness of times to restore all things in Christ which are in heaven and which are in earth; in Him, in whom also we have obtained a lot, being predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things.’ Against a trumpet of truth so clear as this, what man of sober and watchful faith can receive any human arguments? (Ibid., Vol. 5, Augustin, On the Gift of Perseverance (De Dono Perseverantiae) 15). return to article

263 Augustine, On the Unity of the Church 22. Cited by William Goode, Vol. II, p. 322. return to article

264 NBSA, pp. 430. return to article

265 The Works of Saint Augustine, John Rotelle, Ed., Roland Teske, S.J., Translator, (Hyde Park: New City, 1995), Answer to Maximinus the Arian, Book II.3, p. 282. return to article

266 Ibid., Debate With Maximinus, Introduction,, p. 177. return to article

267 NPNF2, Vol. 8, Basil, On the Holy Spirit 7.16. return to article

268 And yet even in regard of them, (a thing which ye ought especially to observe, and to commit to your memory, because that which shall make us strong against insidious errors, God has been pleased to put in the Scriptures, against which no man dares to speak, who in any sort wishes to seem a Christian), when He had given Himself to be handled by them, that did not suffice Him, but He would also confirm by means of the Scriptures the heart of them that believe: for He looked forward to us who should be afterwards; seeing that in Him we have nothing that we can handle, but have that which we may read (NPNF1, Vol. 7, Augustin, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Homily II.1). return to article

269 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 and by which we walk without doubting whilst we are absent from the Lord (Ibid., Vol. 2, Augustin, City of God 19.18). return to article

270 Every sickness of the soul hath in Scripture its proper remedy (Ibid.,Vol. 8, Augustin, St. Augustin on the Psalms, Psalm 37, section 2)….Each disease of the soul has its own remedy in the Scriptures (Ancient Christian Writers (Westminster: Newman, 1961), Vol. 30, Psalm 36, section3, p. 253).

Our Lord and God takes care of and heals every ailment of the soul, and so he produced many medicines from the holy scriptures (which you could call the shelves of his pharmacy or drugstore) when the divine readings were being read (The Works of Saint Augustine, John  E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., (Brooklyn: New City Press, 1990), Part 3, Vol. 2, Sermons, Sermon 32.1, p. 137). return to article

271 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 (NPNF1, Vol.2, Augustin, On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Chapter 9). return to article

272 But, as I have already said in the eighteenth book of this work, we do not hold it necessary to believe all that profane history contains, since, as Varro says, even historians themselves disagree on so many points, that one would think they intended and were at pains to do so; but we believe, if we are disposed, those things which are not contradicted by these books, which we do not hesitate to say we are bound to believe (Ibid., Vol. 2, Augustin, City of God 21.6). return to article

273 This is most pertinent to the matter which I have in hand, namely, the confirmation of the universal and unquestionable truth of the Divine Scriptures, which have been delivered to us for our edification in the faith, not by unknown men, but by the apostles, and have on this account been received as the authoritative canonical standard (Ibid., Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters, Letter 82.7). return to article

274 The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions of bishops and the extension of the Church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind…Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself. In other books the reader may form his own opinion, and perhaps, from not understanding the writer, may differ from him, and may pronounce in favor of what pleases him, or against what he dislikes. In such cases, a man is at liberty to withhold his belief, unless there is some clear demonstration or some canonical authority to show that the doctrine or statement either must or may be true. But in consequence of the distinctive peculiarity of the sacred writings, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist (Ibid.,Vol.4, Augustin, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book 11.5). return to article

275 These are wonderful and amazing words, even before they are understood; once understood they have to be wholeheartedly embraced. We are enabled, though, to understand them, not by human aids but by being inspired to grasp them by the one who was good enough to inspire fishermen to utter them (The Works of Saint Augustine, John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed.,, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P. (Hyde Park: New City, 1997), Part 3, Vol. 11, Newly Discovered Sermons, Sermon 341.3, p. 284). return to article

276 A.D.R. Pohlman, The Word of God According to St. Augustine (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961), p. 63. return to article

277 Congrue quis dixerit panem illorum esse panem luctus, et furorem draconum esse vinum eorum, et furorem aspidum insanabilem: Oleum quoque, repromissionem de coelestibus, quo quasi ungunt discipulos, et laborum praemia pollicentur, quae detestatur propheta, dicens: Oleum autem peccatoris non impinguet caput meum, Sed et alia quae absque auctoritate et testimoniis Scripturarum quasi traditione apostolica sponte reperiunt atque confingunt, percutit gladius Dei; homines autem et jumenta, vel logismou; et aijsqhvsei~, id est, cogitationes et sensus eorum accipiamus (Commentariorum In Aggaeum Prophetam,1:11, PL25:1398. Translation by William Goode, Vol. 3, p. 1). return to article

278 Hippolytus: There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source…Whatever things, then, the Holy Scriptures declare, at these let us look; and whatsoever things they teach, these let us learn; and as the Father wills our belief to be, let us believe; and as He wills the Son to be glorified, let us glorify Him; and as He wills the Holy Spirit to be bestowed, let us receive Him. Not according to our own will, nor according to our own mind, nor yet as using violently those things which are given by God, but even as He has chosen to teach them by the Holy Scriptures, so let us discern them. (ANF, Vol. 5, Against the Heresy of One Noetus 9)

Cyprian: Whence is that tradition? Whether does it descend from the authority of the Lord and the Gospel, or does it come from the injunctions and Epistles of the Apostles? For that we are to do what is written, God testifieth and admonisheth, saying to Joshua: ‘The book of this law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein.’…If then it is commanded in the Gospel, or is contained in the Epistles or Acts of the Apostles…let this divine and holy tradition be observed…Nor ought custom, which had crept in among some, to prevent the truth from prevailing and conquering; for custom without truth is the antiquity of error.
But there is a brief way for religious and simple minds, both to put away error, and to find and to elicit truth. For if we return to the head and source of divine tradition, human error ceases… And this it behooves the priests of God to do now, if they would keep the divine precepts, that if in any respect the truth have wavered and vacillated, we should return to our original and Lord, and to the evangelical and apostolical tradition; and thence may arise the ground of our action, whence has taken rise both our order and our origin (ANF, Vol. 5, Cyprian, The Epistles of Cyprian, Epistle 73.2, 9, 10).

Epiphanius: I cannot give the answer to any question with my own reason, but I can with a conclusion from scripture (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis (Leiden: Brill, 1994), Book II, Section V, Against Paul the Samosatian, Heresy 65.5,3, p. 213).

Marius Victorinus: That such is the faith, with the permission of God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we shall affirm. Let no one say, understanding me in a blasphemous way, that it is my own teaching. Indeed, all that I say is said by Holy Scripture and comes from Holy Scripture (FC, Vol. 69, Marius Victorinus, Theological Treatises on the Trinity, Reply of Victorinus, Book IA, p. 165).

Hilary of Poitiers: This faith, and every part of it, is impressed upon us by the evidence of the Gospels, by the teaching of the Apostles (NPNF2, Vol. 9, On the Trinity II.22)…Therefore let private judgment cease; let human reason refrain from passing barriers divinely set. In this spirit we eschew all blasphemous and reckless assertion concerning God, and cleave to the very letter of revelation. Each point in our enquiry shall be considered in the light of His instruction, Who is our theme (NPNF2, Vol. 9, On the Trinity IV.14)

Ambrose: For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures? (NPNF2, Vol. 10, Ambrose, On the Duties of the Clergy, Book I, Chapter 23, section 102).

Jerome: For all questions, let us seek for suitable beams from the testimonies of the Scriptures, and cut them down, and build the house of wisdom within us.
Aiunt Hebraei sola tantum ad contignandum ligna fuisse necessaria, stantibus muris templi post incendium. Hoc illi. Nobis autem praecipitur, non extra vias nostras ponere corda nostra; sed quae prius posueramus, rursum ponere in viis nostris, et postquam hoc fecerimus, ascendere de domibus concavis in montem, ut cum pervenerimus ad montis altitudinem, in quo necessaria ad aedificationem templi Dei ligna sunt, de omni Scripturae sanctae monte, in quo varia virtutum et paradisi ligna plantata sunt, praecidamus ea, et aedificemus templum Domini operibus bonis et  dogmatibus veritatis: quod cum fuerit exstructum, placeat Domino, et glorificetur in eo. Igitur quia haec mandata sunt nobis ut ponamus corda nostra in viis nostris, ascendamus in montem rationabilem, et ad singula problemata, congrua de testimoniis Scripturarum ligna quaerentes, praecidamus ea, et aedificemus domum sapientiae in nobis: postquam enim haec fuerit exstructa, finis aedificationis ejus erit, ut Dominus glorificetur in nobis. (Commentariorum In Aggaeum Prophetam 1:17–18, PL25:1396. Translation: William Goode, Vol. 3, p. 151).

The other things, also, which they find and feign, of themselves, without the authority and testimonies of the Scriptures, as if by apostolical tradition, the sword of God [the word of God in the Scriptures] strikes down.’ (Congrue quis dixerit panem illorum esse panem luctus, et furorem draconum esse vinum eorum, et furorem aspidum insanabilem: Oleum quoque, repromissionem de coelestibus, quo quasi ungunt discipulos, et laborum praemia pollicentur, quae detestatur propheta, dicens: Oleum autem peccatoris non impinguet caput meum, Sed et alia quae absque auctoritate et testimoniis Scripturarum quasi traditione apostolica sponte reperiunt atque confingunt, percutit gladius Dei; homines autem et jumenta, vel logismou~; et aijsqhvsei~, id est, cogitationes et sensus eorum accipiamus (Commentariorum In Aggaeum Prophetam 1:11, PL25:1398. Translation by William Goode, Vol. 3, p. 1).

That which does not have authority from the Scriptures, we may as readily disdain (contemn), as well approve…Hoc quia de Scripturis non habet auctoritatem, eadem facilitate contemnitur, qua probatur. (Commentariorum in Evangelium Matthaei, Liber Tertius, PL 26:173).

Theophilus of Alexandria (d. 412): ‘It would be the instigation of a demonical spirit to follow the conceits of the human mind, and to think anything divine, beyond what has the authority of the Scriptures.’
Daemoniaci spiritus esset instinctus, sophismata humanarum mentium sequi, et aliquid extra Scripturarum auctoritatem putare divinum (Epistola XCVI. PL 22:778. Translation by William Goode, Vol. 3, pp. 154–155.

Niceta of Remesiana: These things beings so, beloved, persevere in the tradition which you have learned. Be true to the pact you made with the Lord, to the profession of faith which you made in the presence of angels and of men. The words of the Creed are few—but all the mysteries are in them. Selected from the whole of Scripture and put together for the sake of brevity, they are like precious gems making a single crown. Thus, all the faithful have sufficient knowledge of salvation, even though many are unable, or too busy with their worldly affairs, to read the Scriptures (FC, Vol. 7, Writings of Niceta of Remesiana, Explanation of the Creed, section 13, p. 53).

John Cassian: For, as you know, a Creed (Symbolum) gets its name from being a ‘collection.’ For what is called in Greek suvmbolo~ is termed in Latin ‘Collatio.’ But it is therefore a collection (collatio) because when the faith of the whole Catholic law was collected together by the apostles of the Lord, all those matters which are spread over the whole body of the sacred writings with immense fullness of detail, were collected together in sum in the matchless brevity of the Creed, according to the Apostle’s words: ‘Completing His word, and cutting it short in righteousness: because a short word shall the Lord make upon the earth.’ This then is the ‘short word’ which the Lord made, collecting together in few words the faith of both of His Testaments, and including in a few brief clauses the drift of all the Scriptures, building up His own out of His own, and giving the force of the whole law in a most compendious and brief formula. Providing in this, like a most tender father, for the carelessness and ignorance of some of his children, that no mind however simple and ignorant might have any trouble over what could so easily be retained in the memory (NPNF2, Vol. 11, John Cassian, On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius, Book 6, Chapter 3).

Theodoret: Orth.—Do not, I beg you, bring in human reason. I shall yield to scripture alone.
Eran.—You shall receive no argument unconfirmed by Holy Scripture, and if you bring me any solution of the question deduced from Holy Scripture I will receive it, and will in no wise gainsay it (NPNF2, Vol. III, Theodoret, Dialogue I).
Orth.—This agrees with what we have said, for we have learnt the rule of dogmas from the divine Scripture (Ibid., Dialogue III).
For us the divine writings are sufficient (Ibid., Vol. III, Theodoret, Letter XXI, To the Learned Eusebius).

They will find that by God’s grace I hold no other opinion than just that which I have received from holy Scripture (Ibid., Vol. III, Letter LXXXII – To Eusebius, Bishop of Ancyra).

The impiety of Sabellius, Photinus, Marcellus, and Paulus, we refute by proving by the evidence of divine Scripture that the Lord Christ was not only man but also eternal God, of one substance with the Father (Ibid., Vol III, Theodoret, Letter 151).

John of Damascus:  Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets in former times and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us. All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honor, seeking for nothing beyond these (Ibid., Vol. IX, John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book I, Chapter I).

Cyril of Alexandria:That which the divine Scripture has not spoken, how shall we receive it, and reckon it among verities? (Glaphyrorum In Genesim, Lib. II, PG 69:53. Translation by William Good, Vol. 3, p. 181).

Sufficient, sufficient for this [i.e. for obtaining a knowledge of the faith] are the Scriptures of the holy Fathers, [i.e., the inspired writers] which if any one would diligently study and vigilantly attend to, he would immediately have his mind filled with divine light. For, they did not speak of themselves, but ‘all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable’’ (De SS. Trinitate Dialogus I,  PG75:665. Translation by William Goode, Vol. 3, pp. 281–282).

Therefore the inspired Scripture is abundantly-sufficient, even so that those who have been nourished by it ought to come forth wise and very prudent, and possessed of an understanding abundantly instructed in all things…What that is profitable to us is not spoken by it? For, first, (what is also more excellent than all other things,) any one may see in it the glorious doctrine of the true knowledge of God…Moreover, in addition to this, it teaches us how to order aright our life and conversation, and by its divine and sacred laws directs us in the way of righteousness, and makes the path of all equity clear to us’ (Contra Julian, Lib. VII, PG76:852–853. Translation by William Goode, Vol. 3, pp. 282–283).

Paul requires us to prove every thing, and says, Be wise money-changers. But an exact and scrupulous knowledge of each particular matter we can obtain from no other source than from divinely–inspired Scripture (Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, trans. R. Payne Smith (Studion Publishers, 1983), Homily 55, p. 240).

Salvian the Presbyter (5th Century): I could answer with reason and sufficient constancy: ‘I do not know,’ because I do not know the secret councils of God. The oracle of the heavenly Word is sufficient proof for me in this case. God says, as I have proved in the previous books, that He regards all things, rules all things and judges all things. If you wish to know what you must believe, you have Holy Scripture. The perfect explanation is to hold with what you read (FC, Vol. 3, The Writings of Salvian, The Presbyter, The Governance of God, Book 3, section 1, pp. 67-68).

Cesarius of Arles: You ask whether he (the Holy Spirit) was begotten or not. Sacred Scripture has said nothing about this, and it is wrong to violate the divine silence. Since God did not think that this should be indicated in His writings, He did not want you to question or to know through idle curiosity(FC, Vol. 66, Sermon 213.2, p. 107).

Vincent of Lerins:  Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient (NPNF2, Vol. XI, Vincent of Lerins, A Commonitory 2.4).

Gregory the Great: As servants that serve well are ever intent upon their masters’ countenances, that the things they may bid they may hear readily, and strive to fulfil; so the minds of the righteous in their bent are upon Almighty God, and in His Scripture they as it were fix their eyes on His face, that whereas God delivers therein all that He wills, they may not be at variance with His will, in proportion as they learn that will in revelation. Whence it happens, that His words do not pass superfluously through their ears, but that these words they fix in their hearts (A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1844), Vol. 2, Morals on the Book of Job: Parts 3 & 4, Book XVI, Chapter 35, p. 252).

Cosmas of Indicopleustes (6th century): It behoveth not a perfect Christian to attempt to confirm anything from those [writings] that are doubted of, the canonical and commonly received Scriptures explaining all things sufficiently…every doctrine received by Christians (Topographiae Christianae Lib. VII, PG 88:373. Translation by William Goode, Vol. 3, p. 208). return to article

279 NBSA, pp. 66-67. return to article

280 J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), pp. 41–43, 46. return to article

281 Louis Bouyer, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1964), pp. 129, 132–133. Translated by A.V. Littledale. First published by Les Editions du Cerf, Paris, 1954. return to article

282 There is, then, a true sense in which the Christian faith, without losing its integrity or its intensity, may be enlarged in breadth and relevancy as it is transmitted down the ages. This is one sense of tradition, and the force of tradition in that sense has to be distinguished from the authority attaching to the original deposit of faith and, for most practical purposes, from that attaching to the contents of the Bible. But this is not what the Fathers meant by paradosis. When they wished to refer to the accumulating wisdom of philosophically grounded Christianity they called it, not paradosis, but didascalia or teaching. The word paradosis they reserved in its strict sense for something yet more fundamental, something that depended not merely on divine guidance, but on divine action. And so far were they from distinguishing tradition from the deposit of faith or from the contents of the Bible, that, broadly speaking, it signified to them the actual divine revelation, the substance of which was to be found set forth in Scripture and, with certain simple qualifications, nowhere else (G.L. Presige, Fathers and Heretics (London: SPCK, 1958), pp. 5-6). return to article

283 But did the Fathers maintain the principle of the sufficiency of Scripture in matters of faith? The inspiration and authority of the Bible are never for one moment in question, while the primacy of the Scriptures as a source of doctrine can easily be demonstrated from their writings. An example of this, at once early and decisive, may be cited from St. Irenaeus. At the beginning of his third book which contains his appeal to Tradition he can write: ‘For we know the Economy ofour salvation through those through whom the Gospel reached us. This they proclaimed at that time, but afterwards through the Will of God handed down to us in Scripture to be the future foundation and column of our faith.’ The main point of the passage is the living voice of the Kerugma first embodied in the apostolic Scriptures and then handed down to the contemporary Church through the apostolic Ministry. The accent falls upon the continuity between the oral tradition of the first generation and the teaching office of the Christian bishop in later times. Yet, so accustomed is St. Irenaeus to the decisive role of the Bible that he introduces a phrase here to dovetail his argument more closely with the appeal to Scripture to which his second book is devoted…In contrast to the placita of the philosophers, Hippolytus can state that ‘as many of us as wish to study religion will not learn it elsewhere than from the Oracles of God.’…A clearer example, though still restricted to a particular point, is to be found in the polemic of Tertullian against Hermogenes, who maintained the view that God created the Universe out of preexistent matter: ‘I adore the plenitude of Scripture which reveals to me both the Creator and created things; in the Gospel, however, I find more—the Logos as the minister and servant of the Creator. But that all things were made from pre‑existent Matter I have so far never read. Let the factory of Hermogenes be shown to be in Scripture; if it is not in Scripture, let him fear the curse marked out for those who add and subtract’ (Rev. xxii, 18-19)
+++The first general statement of the principle of the sufficiency of Scripture occurs in Clement of Alexandria. For him the source of the teaching is the Lord through the prophets, the Gospel, and the Apostles. If any one supposes that another source is necessary, no other can be discovered. We use Scripture as a norm (criterion) for the discovery of things. Origen finds an allegory of the sufficiency of Scripture in the provisions of Leviticus vii, 16-17… The evidence becomes more explicit in the fourth century…The demand for a scriptural term at the Council of Nicea illustrates the temper of the times. Though evidently not ill–pleased to be asked for a theological exercise of his own, St. Athanasius reminds the recipient of the Contra Gentes that ‘the holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.’ The list of the Canonical Books contained in his Festal Letter concludes with the sentence: ‘These are the fountains of salvation that those who thirst may be satisfied with the living words which they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of holiness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take anything from them.’ The allusion to the closing verses of the Apocalypse is also echoed by St. Basil. St. Gregory of Nyssa discovers in the three angelic visitors of Genesis xix, 1‑7 a reference to the Trinity. He indignantly rejects the obviously correct exegesis of the angels as ministering spirits. ‘Whatever is not supported by the testimony of Scripture we reject as false.’ If the application is unfortunate, the principle is clear. St. John Chrysostom compares the Scriptures to the door of the sheepfo1d: ‘He who does not use the Scriptures but climbs up some other way without following the appointed road, the same is the thief.’ Finally, Theodoret in his Dialogue requests his intercolutor to avoid human reasonings, ‘for I listen to Scripture alone.’
+++Nor are examples lacking in the West. St Ambrose asks how we can receive what we do not find in Holy Scripture, while St. Augustine uses language from which perhaps part of the eighth Anglican article is derived: ‘In these things which are plainly laid down in Scripture all things are found which embrace faith and morals.’ St. Vincent of Lerins has no hesitation in admitting that ‘the Canon of Scripture is perfect, sufficient in itself and more than sufficient for everything.’ There can be no doubt that the Bible is fundamentally an orthodox book, sufficient if its teaching is studied as a whole to lead to orthodox conclusions. Such was the experience of St. Hilary of Poitiers, who makes the surprising confession that he only discovered the Creed of the Council of Nicea on the very eve of his exile, although he had previously held the teaching which it contained on the basis of his study of the Bible (H.E.W. Turner, The Pattern of Christian Truth (London: A.R. Mowbray, 1954), pp. 297-300). return to article

284 As regards the pre–Augustinian Church, there is in our time a striking convergence of scholarly opinion that Scripture and Tradition are for the early Church in no sense mutually exclusive: kerygma, Scripture and Tradition coincide entirely. The Church preaches the kerygma which is found in toto in written form in the canonical books. The Tradition is not understood as an addition to the kerygma contained in Scripture but as the handing down of that same kerygma in living form: in other words everything is to be found in Scripture and at the same time everything is in the living Tradition…This coinherence implies the explicit denial of the extrascriptural Tradition. ‘To appeal to revelatory truth apart from Scripture is [for Irenaeus] heretical gnosticism’ (Heiko Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), pp. 366–367). return to article

285 What the apostles had preached viva voce (orally), they had ‘handed down to us in the Scriptures as the pillar and bulwark of our faith.’ Not to assent to the content of these scriptures was to hold in contempt those who had communion with Christ the Lord…So it was that the terms apostolic, catholic, traditional, and orthodox became synonymous terms. The apostolic dogmas was a standard term for that which was believed, taught and confessed by the orthodox catholic church on the basis of the word of God (Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1974), Vol. I, p. 114, 120). return to article

286 In the substance of its doctrine this apostolic tradition agrees with the holy scriptures, and though derived, as to its form, from the oral preaching of the apostles, is really, as to its contents, one and the same with those apostolic writings. In this view the apparent contradictions of the earlier fathers, in ascribing its highest authority to both scripture and tradition in matters of faith, resolve themselves. It is one and the same gospel which the apostles preached with their lips, and then laid down in their writings, and which the church faithfully hands down by word and writing from one generation to another (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1910), Vol. II, Ante–Nicene Christianity, pp. 527-528). return to article

287 Tradition is the revelation which reaches us by way of the apostles in the living preaching and teaching of the church; that what the church believes and proclaims is identical with the revelation message which the apostles brought. This original message has been faithfully preserved and transmitted from generation to generation through the succession of bishops. However, this same message has also been preserved in writing. That is to say, the unadulterated apostolic teaching is to be known from Scripture (Ellen Flesseman–van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), p. 128). return to article

288 There are, of course, plenty of references in the Fathers to the ‘tradition of the Church’ and ‘the Church’s rule of faith’, and similar phrases, but what they mean in each instance is ‘the Scriptures as interpreted by the Church’, because to the Fathers the Scriptures are the Church’s tradition. That is all we can conclude from the fact that they constantly refer back to the Bible for their doctrine, and that they mention no other source of doctrine, except common sense and the rules of logic. Even when they are interpreting the Bible in opposition to the teaching of heretical sects, and claim that their interpretation is the Church’s interpretation (as they often do), they cannot reasonably be understood as referring to an oral tradition not written, and separate from Scripture, but rather to the way in which the Church has always interpreted its tradition. Had such an independent oral tradition existed, it would have been a secret one, inaccessible to except to the initiated, in contrast to the written tradition which was available to everybody. But this secret tradition is just the tradition which Irenaeus (fl. 150-180) attributes to some of the heretical sects against which he is writing, and which on behalf of the Church he disavows (R.H. Fuller and R.P.C. Hanson, The Church of Rome: A Dissuasive  (Greenwich: Leabury, 1948), p. 69).
It is certain that all the fathers believed that the rule of faith was in its contents identical with the contents of the Bible, and that they all regarded the rule as open to being proved from the Bible (R.P.C. Hanson, Tradition in the Early Church (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962), p. 125). return to article

289 In this regard four final points may be made that the Fathers sensed but did not always formulate as explicitly as one could desire. First, the coexistence of the oral and written Word or tradition must not mean their equation, for the two must be differentiated as well as identified and the former subordinated to the latter. Second, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life and work of the church does not imply the church’s exemption from the control of Holy Scripture, for it is by the latter that the Holy Spirit rules the church and discharges His ministry. Third, although Christianity cannot abandon its constitutive understanding of Scripture without abandoning itself, no agreed interpretation, however ancient or assured, can be described as definitive, for under the Spirit the new investigation that is demanded may necessitate important modifications, especially in detail. Fourth, the dogmas of the church do not form, even at the hermeneutical level, a body of teaching comparable in status to Holy Scripture, for while they may stand up to rigorous biblical scrutiny and commend themselves to successive generations of believers, they are always historical interpretations and as such they can have only a relative normativeness and not the absolute normativeness that, under God, Holy Scripture itself enjoys (Scripture and Truth, D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Editors (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983), Geoffrey Bromiley, The Church Fathers and the Holy Scripture, p. 219). return to article

290 Alister McGrath, The Intellectual Roots of the Reformation (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), pp. 140–141. return to article

291 Norman Geisler, Thomas Aquinas: An Evangelical Appraisal (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), pp. 45,  47. return to article

292 Argument from authority is the method most appropriate to this teaching in that its premises are held through revelation; consequently it has to accept the authority of those to whom revelation was made. Nor does this derogate from its dignity, for though weakest when based on what human beings have disclosed, the argument from authority is most forcible when based on what God has disclosed.
All the same holy teaching also uses human reasoning, not indeed to prove the faith, for that would take away from the merit of believing, but to make manifest some implications of its message. Since grace does not scrap nature but brings it to perfection, so also natural reason should assist faith as the natural loving bent of the will yields to charity. St. Paul speaks of bringing into captivity every understanding unto the service of Christ. Hence holy teaching uses the authority of philosophers who have been able to perceive the truth by natural reasoning, for instance when St. Paul quotes the saying of Aratus, As some of your poets have said, we are of the race of God.
+++Yet holy teaching employs such authorities only in order to provide as it were extraneous arguments from probability. Its own proper authorities are those of canonical Scripture, and these it applied with convincing force. It has other proper authorities, the doctors of the Church, and these it looks to as its own, but for arguments that carry no more than probability.
+++For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books, not on a revelation, if such there be, made to any other teacher. In this sense St. Augustine wrote to St. Jerome; Only to those books or writings which are called canonical have I learnt to pay such honour that I firmly believe that none of their authors have erred in composing them. Other authors, however, I read to such effect that, no matter what holiness and learning they display, I do not hold what they say to be true because those were their sentiments (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ: Latin text and English translation, Introductions, Notes, Appendices and Glossaries (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1976), Vol. I, pp. 31–33, FP Q[1] A[8] R.O. 2, Reply OBJ 2). return to article

293 It should be noted that though many might write concerning Catholic truth, there is this difference that those who wrote the canonical Scripture, the Evangelists and Apostles, and others of this kind, so constantly assert it that they leave no room for doubt. That is his meaning when he says ‘we know his testimony is true.’ Galatians 1:9, ‘If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema!’ The reason is that only canonical Scripture is a measure of faith. Others however so wrote of the truth that they should not be believed save insofar as they say true things’ (Thomas’s commentary on John’s Gospel, Super Evangelium S. Ioannis Lectura, ed. P. Raphaelis Cai, O.P., Editio V revisa (Romae: Marietti E ditori Ltd., 1952) n. 2656, p. 488).
    Latin Text: Notandum autem, quod cum multi scriberent de catholica veritate, haec est differentia, quia illi, qui scripserunt canonicam Scripturam, sicut Evangelistic et Apostoli, et alii huiusmodi, ita constanter eam asserunt quod nihil dubitandum relinquunt. Et ideo dicit Et scimus quia verum est testimonium eius; Gal. I, 9: Si quis vobis evangelizaverit praeter id quod accepistis, anathema sit. Cuius ratio est, quia sola canonica scriptura est regula fidei. Alii autem sic edisserunt de veritate, quod nolunt sibi credi nisi in his quae ver dicunt. return to article

294 Jasper Hopkins and Hebert Richardson, eds., trans. (Toronto: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1976), Vol. 2,  Anselm of Canterbury: De Concordia Praescientiae et Praedestinationis et Gratiae Dei cum Libero Arbitrio, De Concordia III, Caput 6, pp. 207–208.

Siquidem nihil utiliter ad salutem spiritualem praedicamus, quod sacra Scriptura Spiritus sancti miraculo fecundata non protulerit, aut intra se non contineat. Nam, si quid ratione dicamus aliquando, quod in dictis ejus aperte monstrare aut ex ipsis probare nequimus, hoc modo per illam cognoscimus utrum sit accipiendum aut respuendum. Si enim aperta ratione colligitur, et illa ex nulla parte contradicit; quoniam ipsa sicut nulli adversatur veritati, ita nulli favet falsitati: hoc ipso quia non negat quod ratione dicitur, ejus auctoritate suscipitur. At, si ipsa nostro sensui indubitanter repugnat; quamvis nobis ratio nostra videatur inexpugnabilis, nulla tamen veritate fulciri credenda est. Sic itaque sacra Scriptura omnis veritatis, quam ratio colligit, auctoritatem continet, cum illam aut aperte affirmat, aut nullatenus negat (De Concordia Praescientiae Dei Cum Libero Arbitrio, Quaestio III. De Concordia Gratiae et Liberi Arbitrii, Cap. VI, PL 158:528). return to article

295 Brian Tierney, The Origins of Papal Infallibility (Leiden: Brill, 1972), p. 16. return to article

296 Yves Congar, Tradition and Traditions (New York: Macmillan, 1967), p. 87. return to article

297 Richard Muller, Post–Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), Vol. II, pp. 13, 20, 22, 28, 30. return to article

298 Louis Bouyer, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1964), pp. 129–130. Translated by A.V. Littledale. First published by Les Editions du Cerf, Paris, 1954. return to article

299 George Tavard, Holy Writ or Holy Church (London: Burns & Oates, 1959), p. 20. return to article

300 Heiko Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), pp. 372–373. return to article

301 Alister McGrath, The Intellectual Roots of the Reformation (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), pp. 140–141. return to article