Church Fathers, Day 171: Origen says pray when you read the Bible

Church Fathers, Day 171: Origen says pray when you read the Bible January 8, 2015

origen_1Pray when you read the Bible

Writing to Gregory, later known as St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (“Wonder- Worker”), Origen, one of the first great Christian biblical scholars, urges him to study Scripture—and to pray when he studies.

So, my son, apply yourself diligently to reading the sacred Scriptures. Yes, I say apply yourself, for we who read things that belong to God need to apply ourselves a lot to keep from saying or thinking anything about them too recklessly.

Apply yourself to studying the things of God, starting with assumptions that are pleasing to God. Then knock at his door, and the gatekeeper will open it—as Jesus says: “To him the gatekeeper opens” (John 10:3).

And when you do apply yourself to the divine study, do it right. With un­wavering trust in God, seek out the true meaning of the Holy Scriptures, which many have missed.

And don’t be satisfied with just knocking and seeking. Prayer is the single most indispensable thing if you want to know the things of God. That’s why the Savior urged us to prayer: not only did he say “knock, and it will be opened to you” and “seek, and you will find,” but also “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Origen, Letter to Gregory, 3


When I read Scripture, do I read with a sincere intent to let the Holy Spirit guide my understanding?

Do I pray for that guidance?


Father, when I read your Scripture, take away the sinful and wicked influence of my own earthly desires, and let your light shine into my soul, dispelling the surrounding darkness of sin.

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