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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

St. Jerome Doctor of the Church, Translator and Defender of Holy Scripture

We name St. Jerome, who is commemorated on September 30 among us, as a doctor not simply because of his commentary on Holy Scripture and exemplary life, but chiefly because he labored to render the Bible in Latin which was nearly the universal language of the world in his day. Besides making the Bible accessible to the Church for nearly 1000 years, he also preferred the Hebrew Old Testament to the Greek translation. His high view of Scripture as the Word of God wherein God speaks and which makes men wise unto salvation is shown in the brief quote below where he urges the bishop of Nola to live in the Scripture. We would do well to follow his advice.

I beg of you, my dear brother, to live among these books, to meditate upon them, to know nothing else, to seek nothing else. Does not such a life seem to you a foretaste of heaven here on earth? Let not the simplicity of the scripture or the poorness of its vocabulary offend you; for these are due either to the faults of translators or else to deliberate purpose: for in this way it is better fitted for the instruction of an unlettered congregation as the educated person can take one meaning and the uneducated another from one and the same sentence. I am not so dull or so forward as to profess that I myself know it, or that I can pluck upon the earth the fruit which has its root in heaven, but I confess that I should like to do so. I put myself before the man who sits idle and, while I lay no claim to be a master, I readily pledge myself to be a fellow-student. “Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Let us learn upon earth that knowledge which will continue with us in heaven. (Found at Early Church Texts).

David PetersenComment