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Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers

by Chris Hall

Many Chris­tians today long to become reac­quaint­ed with their ancient ances­tors in the faith. They see a deep­er wor­ship and devo­tion in the prayers and hymns of the ear­ly church. And they believe that the writ­ings of the ear­ly church can shed new light on their under­stand­ing of Scrip­ture. But where and how do we begin? Our first encounter with the writ­ings of the church fathers may seem like vis­it­ing a far coun­try where the lan­guage, assump­tions, con­cerns and con­clu­sions are com­plete­ly unfa­mil­iar to us. As Hall points out, the ancient fathers hear music in Scrip­ture where we remain tone-deaf. Despite their occa­sion­al eccen­tric­i­ties, theirs is a hear­ing refined through long lis­ten­ing in song, wor­ship, teach­ing, med­i­ta­tion and oral read­ing. And like true mas­ters they chal­lenge and cor­rect our mod­ern assump­tions as they invite us to tune our ears to hear the divine melodies of the Bible. Read­ing Scrip­ture with the Church Fathers is an excep­tion­al guide.

1998

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