Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers

  • Read the Bible holistically - The fathers insist that the narrative of the Bible is a continuous, deeply connected story from Genesis through Revelation. . . . the fathers insist that the biblical narrative reaches its culmination, its thematic climax, with the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God.
  • Read the Bible christologically - For them, Jesus Christ was the key to opening the Old Testament.
  • Read the Bible communally - The fathers insisted that exegesis is an ecclesiatical task. It takes place within the church for the church. . . . Patristic exegetes conducted their work in the church for the chruch, an idea foreign to many modern scholars who conduct their work in the academy and largely for the academy.
  • Read the Bible within the context and practice of prayer, worship and spiritual formation - Their exegetical work was done in the context of the preparation of sermons or the instruction of catechumens. As they read a text they asked themselves, What is the word of Christ in this text to my congregation? How can I shepherd my flock more effectively through preaching this text well? How is it addressing my heart as well as my mind?

--From Christopher Hall's Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, 191-96