Hebrews 5:14

But solid food belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age [perfect], even them who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Those had not their senses exercised, nor did they know good and evil. He is not speaking now concerning life [conduct], when he says to discern good and evil, for this is possible and easy for every man to know, but concerning doctrines that are wholesome and sublime, and those that are corrupted and low. The babe knows not how to distinguish bad and good food. Oftentimes at least it even puts dirt into its mouth, and takes what is hurtful; and it does all things without judgment; but not [so] the full grown man. Such [babes] are they who lightly listen to everything, and give up their ears indiscriminately: which seems to me to blame these [Hebrews] also, as being lightly carried about, and now giving themselves to these, now to those. Which he also hinted near the end [of the Epistle], saying, Be not carried aside by various and strange doctrines. Hebrews 13:9 This is the meaning of to discern good and evil. For the mouth tastes meat, but the soul tries words. Job 34:3 8. Let us then learn this lesson. Do not, when you hear that a man is not a Heathen nor a Jew, straightway believe him to be a Christian; but examine also into all the other points; for even Manichæans, and all the heresies, have put on this mask, in order thus to deceive the more simple. But if we have the senses of the soul exercised to discern both good and evil, we are able to discern such [teachers]. But how do our senses become exercised? By continual hearing; by experience of the Scriptures. For when we set forth the error of those [Heretics], and you hear today and tomorrow; and provest that it is not right, you have learned the whole, you have known the whole: and even if you should not comprehend today, you will comprehend tomorrow. That have, he says, their senses exercised. You see that it is needful to exercise our hearing by divine studies, so that they may not sound strangely. Exercised, says he, for discerning, that is, to be skilled. One man says, that there is no Resurrection; and another looks for none of the things to come; another says there is a different God; another that He has His beginning from Mary. And see at once how they have all fallen away from want of moderation, some by excess, others by defect. As for instance, the first Heresy of all was that of Marcion; this introduced another different God, who has no existence. See the excess. After this that of Sabellius, saying that the Son and the Spirit and the Father are One. Next that of Marcellus and Photinus, setting forth the same things. Moreover that of Paul of Samosata, saying that He had His beginning from Mary. Afterwards that of the Manichæans; for this is the most modern of all. After these the heresy of Arius. And there are others too. And on this account have we received the Faith, that we might not be compelled to attack innumerable heresies, and to deal with them, but whatever any man might have endeavored either to add or take away, that we might consider spurious. For as those who give the standards do not oblige [people] to busy themselves about measures innumerable, but bid them keep to what is given them; so also in the case of doctrines. But no man is willing to give heed to the Scriptures. For if we did give heed, not only should we not be ourselves entangled by deceit, but we should also set others free who are deceived, and should draw them out of dangers. For the strong soldier is not only able to help himself, but also to protect his comrade, and to free him from the malice of the enemy. But as it is, some do not even know that there are any Scriptures. Yet the Holy Spirit indeed made so many wise provisions in order that they might be safely kept. And look at it from the first, that you may learn the unspeakable love of God. He inspired the blessed Moses; He engraved the tables, He detained him on the mount forty days; and again as many [more] to give the Law. And after this He sent prophets who suffered woes innumerable. War came on; they slew them all, they cut them to pieces, the books were burned. Again, He inspired another admirable man to publish them, Ezra I mean, and caused them to be put together from the remains. And after this He arranged that they should be translated by the seventy. They did translate them. Christ came, He receives them; the Apostles disperse them among men. Christ wrought signs and wonders. What then after so great painstaking? The Apostles also wrote, even as Paul likewise said, they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11 And again Christ said, You do err not knowing the Scriptures Matthew 22:29: and again Paul said, That through patience and comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope. Romans 15:4 And again, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable. 2 Timothy 3:16 And let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16 And the prophet, he shall meditate in His Law day and night Psalm 1:2, and again in another place, Let all your communication be in the law of the Most High. Sirach 9:15 And again, How sweet are Your words unto my throat. (He said not to my hearing, but to my throat); more than honey and the honeycomb to my mouth. Psalm 119:103 And Moses says, You shall meditate in them continually, when you rise up, when you sit, when you lie down. Deuteronomy 6:7 Be in them 1 Timothy 4:15, says he. And innumerable things one might say concerning them. But notwithstanding, after so many things there are some who do not even know that there are Scriptures at all. For this cause, believe me, nothing sound, nothing profitable comes from us. Yet, if any one wished to learn military affairs, of necessity he must learn the military laws. And if any one sought to learn navigation or carpentry or anything else, of necessity he must learn the [principles] of the art. But in this case they will not do anything of the kind, although this is a science which needs much wakeful attention. For that it too is an art which needs teaching, hear the prophet saying, Come, you children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11 It follows therefore certainly that the fear of God needs teaching. Then he says, What man is he that desires life? Psalm 34:12 He means the life yonder; and again, Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking guile; de part from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:13-14 Do you know indeed who said these things, a prophet or a historian, or an apostle, or an evangelist? For my own part I do not think you do, except a few. Yea and these themselves again, if we bring forward a testimony from some other place, will be in the same case as the rest of you. For see, I repeat the same statement expressed in other words. Wash ye, make you clean, put away your wickedness from your souls before My eyes, learn to do well, seek out judgment. Keep your tongue from evil, and do good: learn to do well. Isaiah 1:16-17 You see that virtue needs to be taught? For this one says, I will teach you the fear of the Lord, and the other, Learn to do well. Now then do you know where these words are? For myself I do not think you do, except a few. And yet every week these things are read to you twice or even three times: and the reader when he goes up [to the desk] first says whose the book is, [the book] of such a prophet, and then says what he says, so that it shall be more intelligible to you and you may not only know the contents of the Book, but also the reason of the writings, and who spoke these things. But all in vain; all to no purpose. For your zeal is spent on things of this life, and of things spiritual no account is made. Therefore not even those matters turn out according to your wishes, but there also are many difficulties. For Christ says, Seek the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 These things He said, shall also be given in the way of addition: but we have inverted the order and seek the earth and the good things which are in the earth, as if those other [heavenly] things were to be given us in addition. Therefore we have neither the one nor the other. Let us then at last wake up and become coveters of the things which shall be hereafter; for so these also will follow. For it is not possible that he who seeks the things that relate to God, should not also attain human [blessings]. It is the declaration of the Truth itself which says this. Let us not then act otherwise, but let us hold fast to the counsel of Christ, lest we fail of all. But God is able to give you compunction and to make you better, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
8 mins

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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