Religious texts (also known as scriptures, from the Latin scriptura, meaning "writing") are texts which religious traditions consider to be central to their practice or beliefs. Religious texts may be used to provide meaning and purpose, evoke a deeper connection with the divine, convey religious truths, promote religious experience, foster communal identity, and guide individual and communal religious practice.
- I resolved, therefore, to direct my mind to the Holy Scriptures, that I might see what they were. And behold, I saw something not comprehended by the proud, not disclosed to children, something lowly in the hearing, but sublime in the doing.
- Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 3, Chapter 5
- SCRIPTURES, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- 'Tis a dangerous thing to engage the authority of scripture in disputes about the natural world, in opposition to reason; lest time, which brings all things to light, should discover that to be evidently false which we had made scripture to assert … We are not to suppose that any truth concerning the natural world can be an enemy to religion; for truth cannot be an enemy to truth, God is not divided against himself.
- For as the aged, or those whose sight is defective, when any books however fair, is set before them, though they perceive that there is something written are scarcely able to make out two consecutive words, but, when aided by glasses, begin to read distinctly, so Scripture, gathering together the impressions of Deity, which, till then, lay confused in our minds, dissipates the darkness, and shows us the true God clearly.
- Faith has no less need of the word than the fruit of a tree has of a living root.
- When the mind has taken in the meaning of a passage in any Psalm, this insensibly slips away from it, and ignorantly and thoughtlessly it passes on to a text of some other Scripture. And when it has begun to consider this with itself, while it is still not thoroughly explored, the recollection of some other passage springs up, and shuts out the consideration of the former subject. From this too it is transferred to some other, by the entrance of some fresh consideration, and the soul always turns about from Psalm to Psalm and jumps from a passage in the Gospels to read one in the Epistles, and from this passes on to the prophetic writings, and thence is carried to some spiritual history, and so it wanders about vaguely and uncertainly through the whole body of the Scriptures, unable, as it may choose, either to reject or keep hold of anything, or to finish anything by fully considering and examining it, and so becomes only a toucher or taster of spiritual meanings, not an author and possessor of them.
- The scriptures, if taken literally, very often make a kind of nonsense. But understood in their more esoteric meaning, as metaphor and symbol, the scriptures of all religions keep trust with humanity, keep that relationship between what we call God, the Logos of our planet, and His expression, humanity and the lower kingdoms. They keep us informed that there is a relationship, that there is a Plan of evolution, that this is not the end, that we will go on until we create perfection on the planet — perfection being the total working out of the Plan of the Logos, in all of its varied manifestations. Another problem with these ancient scriptures is that they have all, more or less, become distorted in their slow dissemination over the centuries.
- Benjamin Creme in The Ageless Wisdom, An Introduction to Humanity's Spiritual Legacy, (1996), p. 23
- People who claim to derive their morals from scripture do not really do so in practice. And a very good thing too, as they themselves, on reflection, should agree.
- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006), p. 267
- In any case, despite the good intentions of the sophisticated theologian, a frighteningly large number of people still do take their scriptures, including the story of Noah, literally. According to Gallup, they include approximately 50 per cent of the US electorate. Also, no doubt, many of those Asian holy men who blamed the 2004 tsunami not on a plate tectonic shift but on human sins, ranging from drinking and dancing in bars to breaking some footling sabbath rule. Steeped in the story of Noah, and ignorant of all except biblical learning, who can blame them? Their whole education has led them to view natural disasters as bound up with human affairs, paybacks for human misdemeanours rather than anything so impersonal as plate tectonics.
- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006), p. 270
- I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures, but with experiments and demonstrations.
- Scriptura cum legentibus crescit.
- Scripture grows with its readings.
- Gregory the Great, Homilies on Ezekiel
- Scriptura sacra mentis oculis quasi quoddam speculum opponitur, ut interna nostra facies in ipsa videatur. Ibi etenim foeda, ibi pulehra nostra cognoscimus.
- Holy Scripture presents a kind of mirror to the eyes of the mind, so that our inner face may be seen in it. There we learn our own ugliness, there our own beauty.
- Gregory the Great, Morals in the Book of Job, 553d, as translated in Cultural Performances in Medieval France (2007), p. 129
- It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truths announced in the Holy Scriptures, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
- Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer (30 March 1863)
- The reason why all those we have mentioned hold false opinions and make impious or ignorant assertions about God appears to be nothing else but this, that scripture is not understood in its spiritual sense, but is interpreted according to the bare letter.
- Origen, “How divine scripture should be interpreted,” On First Principles, book 4, chapter 2, § 2, in Readings in World Christian History (2013), p. 69
- Our contention with regard to the whole of divine scripture is that it all has a spiritual meaning, but not all a bodily meaning; for the bodily meaning is often proved to be an impossibility.
- Origen, “How divine scripture should be interpreted,” On First Principles, book 4, chapter 2, § 2, in Readings in World Christian History (2013), p. 75
- But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
- [W]hen we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures
- Robert D. Hales, "Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation"
- A miracle, whether in contravention to, or beyond, nature, is a mere absurdity; and, therefore, ... what is meant in Scripture by a miracle can only be a work of nature, which surpasses, or is believed to surpass, human comprehension.
- Scripture does not explain things by their secondary causes, but only narrates them in the order and the style which has most power to move men, and especially uneducated men, to devotion; and therefore it speaks inaccurately of God and of events, seeing that its object is not to convince the reason, but to attract and lay hold of the imagination. If the Bible were to describe the destruction of an empire in the style of political historians, the masses would remain unstirred.