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A Man of the Book: St. Patrick's Approach to Scripture

T.M. Moore

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T.M. Moore shows how St. Patrick was "a man of the book." So were Sts. Chyrsostom, Basil, Gregory, and the other great Fathers of the Church.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2:12, 13

This week large numbers of people will demonstrate the perfectly pagan propensity to ruin a good thing by celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a wide assortment of debauched, frivolous, and utterly irrelevant activities. Certainly among the things our Biblical worldview calls us to recover is the legacy and honor of great saints from the past. If we would say with the psalmist, "As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight" (Ps. 16:3), we must take every opportunity to rehabilitate the reputations of those whom secular interests have besmirched or minimized. Therefore, we turn each year at this time to set the record a little straighter concerning Patrick, the great fifth-century missionary/bishop under whose ministry a revival of true Christianity began lasting nearly 500 years.

Patrick ministered among the heathen in Ireland for some sixty years. During this time multiple thousands came to know the Lord, hundreds of churches were founded, and a momentum for missions and cultural transformation began that ultimately affected Ireland, Britain, the Low Countries, France, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, and Northern Italy. He was not eloquent, had no financial backers, and was frequently at odds with his sending agency back home. But God honored his work as few have been honored over the 2,000 year history of Christianity.

Patrick's success may be attributed in no small part to his faithful attention to the Bible. Patrick was a man of the Book. As we see in the two surviving documents from Patrick's own hand -- his Confession and the Letter Against the Soldiers of Coroticus -- Patrick knew the Bible thoroughly, used it faithfully, and trusted it implicitly for every area of life. His example in approaching the Bible and using it can be instructive for us yet today.

Read the entire article on the Breakpoint website.

Posted: 3/31/04



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