Church Fathers, Day 175: St. Basil wants us to take our examples from Scripture

Church Fathers, Day 175: St. Basil wants us to take our examples from Scripture January 12, 2015

st_basil_3Take your examples from Scripture

Scripture, St. Basil tells us, gives us an example for every occasion. When we want to learn how to live a good life, we should turn back to the great examples we find in the Bible.

Studying inspired Scripture is the most important way of finding out what we should do. There we find both instructions for our conduct and the lives of blessed men, given to us in writing as living examples of godly life, so that we can imitate their good deeds.

Whatever is wrong with you, if you imitate these examples, you can find a cure for your ailment, as if you’d gone to the pharmacy.

If you love chastity, you’ll dwell on the story of Joseph, and learn chaste actions from him. You’ll discover that he not only had self-control over pleasure, but also had a habitually virtuous mind.

You learn endurance from Job. Everything in his life began to turn against him: in a moment he was plunged from wealth to indigence, and from being the father of fine children to childlessness. But he remained the same. His soul was not crushed. He didn’t even get angry at the friends who came to comfort him but trampled on him and made his troubles worse.

If you want to know how to be both modest and great-hearted, look at David— noble in his feats of battle, but meek and unruffled when he had a chance at revenge on his enemies. Moses was the same way, confronting those who sinned against God with a great heart, but bearing it with a meek soul when they spoke ill against himself.

Just as painters copying a picture constantly look at the model, and then do their best to transfer its lines to their own work, keep your eyes turned to the lives of the saints, as if you were looking at living and moving statues, and imitate their virtues to make them yours.

St. Basil, Letter 2, 3


What problems am I struggling with in my own life?

What famous examples in the Bible could help me deal with them?


Father, from the days of Abraham and Moses to the present day, you have formed your people in the image of your Son. Bless me with the gift of your Kingdom, and let me serve you with my every desire.

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