On Holy Scripture and Spiritual Books

St. Epiphanius of Salamis ca. 315-403

The acquisition of Christian books is necessary for those who can use them. For the mere sight of these books renders us less inclined to sin, and incites us to believe more firmly in righteousness.

Reading the Scriptures is a great safeguard against sin.

It is a great treachery to salvation to know nothing of the divine law.

Ignorance of the Scriptures is a precipice and a deep abyss.

(The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Sayings 8-11)

St. Benedict of Nursia ca. 480-547

But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life there are the teaching of the holy Fathers, the observance of which leads to the height of perfection. For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not a most unerring rule for human life? Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers does not loudly proclaim how we may come by a straight course to our Creator? Then the Conferences and the Institutes and the Lives of the Fathers, as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil — what else are they but tools of virtue for right-living and obedient monks? But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent they are a source of shame and confusion. (Rule of St. Benedict, Chap. 73)