The Purpose of Reading

Dwight Pryor is fond of saying that the Greeks studied to know while the Hebrews studied to revere. This comparison of purpose for the acquisition of knowledge has deeply resonated with me. So you probably won’t be surprised to find that I appreciated the following quote.

If anything in these chapters should prove useful to the soul, it will be revealed to the reader by the grace of God, provided that he reads, not out of curiosity, but in the fear and love of God. If a man reads this or any other work not to gain spiritual benefit, but to track down matter with which to abuse the author, so that in his conceit he can show himself to be the more learned, nothing profitable will ever be revealed to him in anything.

– Maximus the Confessor (580-662 AD)[1]


[1]As quoted in, Daniel B. Clendenin, Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 167.

3 thoughts on “The Purpose of Reading

  1. Wow Nate, I like this! Really makes me think about my own motives and studies. Thanks.

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