Saints on Reading Scripture

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
– St. Jerome

“But what is the answer to these charges?  ‘I am not,’  you will say,  ‘one of the monks, but I have both a wife and children, and the care of a household.’  This is what has ruined everything, your thinking that the reading of scripture is for monks only, when you need it more than they do.  Those who are placed in the world, and who receive wounds every day have the most need of medicine.  So, far worse even than not reading the scriptures is the idea that they are superfluous.  Such things were invented by the devil.”
– St. John Chrysostom

“Let us…put our soul in at the reading of the Scriptures as though into some peaceful harbor. It is, after all, a harbor without billows, an impregnable wall, an unshakeable tower, imperishable glory, invulnerable armor, imperturbable satisfaction, undying enjoyment and whatever else you class a good—such is the communion with the divine Scriptures. It repels discouragement, preserves good spirits, makes the poor person richer than the affluent, bestows security on the rich, makes the sinner righteous, sets a secure guard on the righteous, snatches away ill-gotten gains, makes goods that are missing spring up, drives out wickedness, leads on to virtue—or does not so much lead on as even roots deeply and makes it last without end, being a spiritual remedy, a kind of divine and ineffable incantation which eliminates ailments, rooting up the thorns of sin, making the furrow clean, casting the seeds of piety and bringing the crop to fruition.”
– St. John Chrysostom

“The best way to discover our duty is to study the divinely inspired Scriptures, for in them we find both instructions about conduct and the lives of blessed men, delivered in writing. They are laid before us like living images of the godly life for the imitation of their good works. When we devote our­selves to the imitation of what is offered there, we find the appropriate medicine for whatever deficiency or illness we feel we have, as from a pharmacy.”
– St. Basil the Great

“Whensoever a man reads the Divine Books, the devils are afraid.”
– Desert Fathers

“A brother said to an old man, ‘See, abba, I frequently ask the Fathers to give me an earnest reminder for the salvation of my soul, and I do not remember a thing of what they tell me.’ Now the old man had two empty vessels, and he said to the brother, ‘Go, bring one of the vessels and pour water in it: rinse it, pour it out, and put it back in its place, all shiny.’ The brother did this several times, and the old man said to him, ‘Of the two vessels, which one is cleaner?’ The brother answered, ‘The one I put water in and cleaned.’ Then the old man said to him, ‘son, thus it is with the soul that frequently hears the word of God; though the soul remembers nothing of what she asked, she is nonetheless cleansed more than the soul that did not inquire.’”
– Desert Fathers

“Holy Scripture is invested with supreme authority by reason of its sure and momentous teachings regarding the faith. Whatever, then, it tells us of Enoch, Elias and Moses — that we believe. We do not, for instance, believe that God’s Son was born of the Virgin Mary simply because He could not otherwise have appeared in the flesh and ‘walked amongst men’ — as Faustus would have it — but we believe it simply because it is written in Scripture; and unless we believe in Scripture we can neither be Christians nor be saved.”
– St. Augustine

“Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us… If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.”
– St. Isidore

“When reading the Holy Scriptures, he who is humble and engaged in spiritual work will apply everything to himself and not to someone else.”
– St. Mark the Ascetic

“Meditations on the scriptures teaches the soul the discourse with God.”
– St. Isaac the Syrian

“How then shall we know if Christ is in us, and how should we examine ourselves? By recounting the oracles of the divine Scriptures and placing them before our souls like mirrors, by these we shall judge our whole selves.”
– St. Symeon the New Theologian

“Holy Scripture is above all other books not only by its authority because it is Divine, or by its utility because it leads to eternal life, but also by its antiquity and its literary form.”
– St. Venerable Bede

“If you read worldly magazines and newspapers, and derive some profit from them, as a citizen, a Christian, and a member of a family, then you ought still more and still oftener to read the Gospel and the writings of the Holy Fathers; for it would be sinful for a Christian, who reads worldly things, not to read divinely-inspired ones.”
– St. John of Kronstadt

“O brethren, read more of the Gospels, the Epistles of the Apostles and the works of the holy Fathers! Through such reading does the soul come to know God, and the mind becomes so occupied with the Lord that the world is quite forgot, as if you had never been born.”
– St. Silouan the Athonite

“Nothing would please us more than to see our beloved children form the habit of reading the Gospels – not merely from time to time, but every day.”
– Pope St. Pius X