“The wisdom of what a person says is in direct proportion to…”

onchristianteachingFrom St. Augustine in On Christian Teaching:

The wisdom of what a person says is in direct proportion to his progress in learning the holy scriptures — and I am not speaking of intensive reading or memorization, but real understanding and careful investigation of their meaning. Some people read them but neglect them; by their reading they profit in knowledge, by their neglect they forfeit understanding. Those who remember the words less closely but penetrate to the heart of scripture with the eyes of their own heart are much to be preferred, but better than either is the person who not only quotes scripture when he chooses but also understands it as he should. For a person who has to speak wisely on matters which he cannot treat eloquently, close adherence to the words of scripture is particularly necessary. The poorer he sees himself to be in his own resources, the richer he must be in those of scripture, using them to confirm what he says in his own words; so that although once deficient in words of his own he can grow in stature, as it were, by the testimony of something really important.

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