Augustine on Biblical Misuse

"It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on topics non-Christians know from reason and experience.

"If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him trying to support his foolish opinion from the Bible, how are they going to believe the Bible on the important matters of faith when they think the Bible is full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

"Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on us all when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of the Bible.

For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."

[From John Taylors, Ancient Christian Writers, The Words of the Fathers in Translation, no. 41 New York: Newman Press, 1982, vol. 1, pp. 42-43]

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