Don't know much about history … " So croons the popular song. And today, among the least-known figures of history are the early church fathers. But not only are such people as Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Basil the Great the originators of the church's founding doctrines (the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, and many others), they have much to teach us on that favorite Protestant subject: Bible study.

For the fathers (and mothers!) of our faith, Scripture was the Fountain—the source of everything that mattered. They studied the Hebrew Bible (though usually in Greek translation), along with the apostles' documents that would become the New Testament, with an almost physical thirst for God and his truth. Their writings resound with the joy of those who have discovered the Well of Life and tasted its sweet waters.

These teachers developed the art and science of interpretation in different directions. What did their approaches—all reverent, but each distinctive—look like, and how do they continue to affect the church today?

In this issue we meet such larger-than-life Bible teachers as Irenaeus, Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa. We peer over their shoulders as they work, to see the rich, quirky, inspiring ways they drew life from the Book that was the center of their lives. And we see how, as they read, they sought to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).

As I read the stellar articles (sure, I'm not biased) our authors provide in this issue, I gained a new appreciation of how reverently the early generations studied Scripture—in settings marked by worship and the pursuit of holiness. The Holy Spirit clearly worked in the early Christians to open the eyes of their hearts—even though they ...

Subscriber Access OnlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.