Augustine of Hippo: Understanding the Scriptures (De Doctrina Christiana 2.9)

In all of these [canonical] books, those who fear God and are of a meek and reverent disposition seek the will of God. And in pursuing this search the first rule to be observed is, as I have said, to know these books, if not yet with the understanding, still to read them so as to commit them to memory, or at least so as not to remain wholly ignorant of them. Next, those matters that are plainly laid down in them, whether concerning rules of life or rules of faith, are to be searched into more carefully and more diligently; and the more of these a reader discovers, the more capacious will his understanding become. For among those things that are plainly laid down in Scripture can be found all matters that concern faith and lifestyle, namely, hope and love, of which I have spoken previously. After this, when we have made ourselves to a certain extent familiar with the language of Scripture, we may proceed to open up and investigate the more obscure passages, and in doing so we should draw examples from the plainer expressions to throw light on the more obscure ones, and use the evidence of passages about which there is no doubt to remove all hesitation in regard to the doubtful passages. And in this matter memory counts as a great deal; but if the memory should be defective, no rules can supply the deficiency.

John Anthony McGuckin. The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years (Kindle Locations 23283-23291). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

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