Reading the Bible with the Church Fathers

By John Bergsma 

Dr. John Bergsma is Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. A former Protestant pastor, he is the author of several books on Scripture and the Catholic faith.

I went into reading the Apostolic Fathers convinced that they were going to show that the early Church was Calvinist, which was my theological background, but they let me down in a big way. But what they showed me instead was so beautiful: the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith.

Reading St. Ignatius of Antioch, I realized that the way he interpreted the Scriptures was not the way that Protestants approached them. I saw that St. Ignatius, for example, took the Lord's words in earnest when the Lord spoke of eating His very Body and Blood. This was a literal interpretation that I as a Protestant never took, even though I prided myself on being a literal interpreter of Scripture.

Soaking myself in the earliest of the Church Fathers, I realized that I needed to become Catholic myself, and that brought me to the Church. On February 21, 2001, I had my confirmation, eighteen months after reading the Church Fathers and observing how they interpreted the Scriptures.

Watch Live

Bible and the Church Fathers Books and DVD box

Join Scott Hahn, John Bergsma, and Mike Aquilina for the launch of our newest Journey Through Scripture study, The Bible and the Church Fathers.

Watch for free online Wednesday, February 19, at 7:00 p.m., Eastern Time