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Why St. Augustine thought the Bible was boring

ST AUGUSTINE

Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 08/28/22

At first, St. Augustine was bored with the Bible, and it took him a while to warm up to sacred scripture.

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Have you ever thought the Bible was boring? St. Augustine, arguably one of the best known saints of all time, had a similar feeling about the Bible. He picked-up the Bible and didn’t get anything out of it.

In his Confessions, St. Augustine explains how, “For not as I now speak, did I feel when I turned to those Scriptures; but they seemed to me unworthy to be compared to the stateliness of Tully [the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero].”

Pope Benedict XVI explains a few of the reasons why St. Augustine didn’t like the Bible in a general audience in 2008.

[H]e began to read Scripture, the Bible. But it disappointed him. This was not only because the Latin style of the translation of the Sacred Scriptures was inadequate but also because to him their content itself did not seem satisfying.

This led him to pursue the philosophy of the Manicheans, a heretical sect, and for a while he was not interested in the Bible.

However, after listening to sermons by St. Ambrose, he was captivated by the Bible, as Pope Benedict XVI explains.

Augustine realized that the whole of the Old Testament was a journey toward Jesus Christ. Thus, he found the key to understanding the beauty and even the philosophical depth of the Old Testament and grasped the whole unity of the mystery of Christ in history, as well as the synthesis between philosophy, rationality and faith in the Logos, in Christ, the Eternal Word who was made flesh …Thus, Augustine followed his reading of the philosophers’ writings by reading Scripture anew.

The life of St. Augustine reminds us that even if we think the Bible is boring at first, if someone can show us the beauty of it all, our heart can be changed and we can see the Bible in a new way.

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