“It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that first-hand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than second-hand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire“
C.S Lewis, Introduction to On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius
I’m not really one for making New Year’s resolutions but January 1 as far as I still live in a world that recognises that day as the beginning of a new year, seems to me a great period to take stock of what has occurred in the previous and a looking forward to the year ahead. One of the things I resolved to do this year was reading more of the Bible, especially in chunks as opposed to my focus the year before much more on the study on each Book of the Bible. This however does not mean I have altogether abandoned the careful looking at sections of the Bible slowly and meditatively but adding to it, a taking in of an overall redemptive picture that we find painted in the Scriptures.
Now, I read a fair bit of theological works, sometimes devotionally and I have found myself blessed by many writings of fellow Christians that have gone before me and those still on earth with me but the quote above has reminded me of the need to always return to the Bible as a Primary source.
To quote is to misquote and I have misquoted Lewis above, as he is not at all referring to a daily or regular Bible reading but he is here speaking of the reading of ancient books in their original. This is the academic demand to refer to Primary sources, especially as the student advances in their studies. Quoting from secondary sources as an undergrad might earn you high marks so long as you’re able to demonstrate an understanding of key ideas, but at any level higher than that, nothing less that the source text will do.
Chasing the white rabbit, in footnotes is an academic delight. For theology, the source, the Primary source is always the Bible.