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The Early Church Fathers on the Holy Scriptures.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202)
    Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218)
    Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253)
    St. Serapion of Alexandria, (A.D. 190-211)

St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

"(This is) true knowledge, the teaching of the Apostles, and the long-established (ancient) system of the Church throughout the whole world; and the mark of Christ's body according to the successions of the bishops, to whom they (the Apostles) delivered that Church, which is in every place; the most perfect treatment of the Scriptures which has come down even to us without deception in the guardianship, admitting neither addition nor diminution; both the reading unfalsified, and the exposition according to (as regards) the Scriptures legitimate and careful, and without danger, and without blasphemy."

Adv. Hæres. l. iv. c. 33. n. 7,8 page 272
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 127

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

The following is part of a valuable defense of the genuineness of St. Luke's Gospel, against Marcion:

"To sum up:

    • if it is certain that the truest is the most ancient
    • that most ancient is that which is from the beginning, and
    • that the beginning is that which comes from the Apostles

it will, in like manner, also be certain that, what has been handed down by the Apostles, shall have been held sacred by the churches of the Apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians read; also what the Romans close at hand trumpet forth, to whom both Peter and Paul left the Gospel sealed also with their blood. We have also the churches taught by John. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, nevertheless the succession of bishops, counted up to their origin, will stand by John as the author. Thus also is the noble origin of the other churches recognized. I say, therefore, that the Gospel of Luke which we are principally defending, holds its place, from the first of its publication, amongst the churches, not the apostolic alone, but all which are covenanted with them by the fellowship of religion; whilst that of Marcion is to most not known, and known to none except to be therefore condemned. That Gospel too has churches, but its own; as of later date, as they are false, whose origin if you seek for, you will more easily find it apostate than apostolical; with Marcion, to wit the founder, or some one from Marcion's hive. Wasps, too, form nests; Marcionites, too, form churches. The same authority of the apostolic churches will defend the other Gospels also, which accordingly we have through those churches, and according to those churches, I mean the Gospel of John and Matthew. It is some such compendious arguments as these that we make use of, when we are arguing on the genuineness of the Gospel against heretics, defending both the order of time which rules against the posterior date of the falsifiers, and the authority of the churches which takes under its guardianship the tradition of the Apostles; because the truth must needs precede what is false, and proceed from those by whom it has been handed down."

Adv. Marcion, l. iv. n. 5, pp. 415, 416.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 25-26

Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253), Alexandrian; born in Egypt, philosopher, theologian, writer.

"As I have learned by tradition regarding the four Gospels, which also are the only undisputed ones in the Church of God which is under Heaven, that the first was written, etc."

T. iii. Comm. in Matthew p. 4440; Euseb. II. E. I. vi. c. xxv.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 327

"If therefore any church holds this epistle as Paul's (Hebrews), let it receive praise on this account. For the ancients have not rashly transmitted it as Paul's."

T. iv. Frag, in Ep. ad Hebr. p. 698.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 327

St. Serapion of Alexandria, eighth bishop of Antioch, (A.D. 190-211), known principally through his theological writings.

"We receive, even as Christ, both Peter and the rest of the Apostles; but writings which falsely bear their names, as experienced men we reject, since we know that we have no such books transmitted to us."

Euseb. II E. l. vi c. 12
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 399



From the testimony and authority of the Catholic Church all Christians receive the Sacred Scriptures, and believe them to contain the revealed Word of God.

From the Jews, who had preserved them with religions care, the Christian Church received the books of the Old Testament, but it would not be until latter that the canon would be fixed.
Only after mature deliberation, and a collation of the scattered evidences, was the Canon of Sacred Scriptures canonized and universally acknowledged at the Council of Rome in A.D. 382.


Old Testament New Testament
Genesis Proverbs Matthew
Exodus Ecclesiastes Mark
Leviticus Song of Songs Luke
Numbers Wisdom John
Deuteronomy Sirach Acts
Joshua Isaiah Romans
Judges Jeremiah 1 Corinthians
Ruth Lamentations 2 Corinthians
1 Samuel Baruch Galatians
2 Samuel Ezekiel Ephesians
1 Kings Daniel Philippians
2 Kings Hosea Colossians
1 Chronicles Joel 1 Thessalonians
2 Chronicles Amos 2 Thessalonians
Ezra Obadiah 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy
Nehemiah Jonah Titus
Tobit Micah Philemon
Judith Nahum Hebrews
Esther Habakkuk James
1 Maccabees Zephaniah 1 Peter, 2 Peter
2 Maccabees Haggai 1 John, 2 John, 3 John
Job Zechariah Jude
Psalms Malachi Revelation



The books of the New Testament, after the ascension of our Savior, were written under various, often accidental, circumstances, and on various occasions: the Gospels, principally:

      • to satisfy the laudable wishes of many, who were naturally desirous to be informed of the facts of our Savior's life;
      • to impress His admirable lessons on their minds;
      • to perpetuate His words; and
      • to oppose the wild conceptions of some dissatisfied men.

The Acts of the Apostles were written to record the first preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles, and the interesting events of the labors of St. Paul; and


The Epistles, for the further instruction, generally, of those who had been converted to Christianity, and to strengthen them in the arduous duties of their new calling.

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