The Do’s & Don’ts of Studying Patristics – Eric Ayala [2-Part Series]

“Church Fathers”

Eric Ayala:

The study of the Patristic writers can give us great value in the development and understanding of the Historical Theology of the Church. However, the study of the Patristic writers can also be difficult, confusing, and hard to navigate. This post, and the one to follow, will provide some Do’s and Don’ts to help in the study of Patristics…


  1. Do allow them to challenge what you think
  2. Do understand the historical precedent they can give
  3. Do get their counsel and insight into the scriptures



  1. Don’t use them as proof texts for your own ideas
  2. Don’t assume that they are all speaking dogmatically for the entire church
  3. Don’t use them as a shortcut to scriptural study


Read part 1part 2, or listen to both [12 min.]




2 Replies to “The Do’s & Don’ts of Studying Patristics – Eric Ayala [2-Part Series]”

    1. I agree, these can apply to almost any period of church history, but there are some interesting similarities in the rise of the early Baptists and the early church; persecuted, decentralized, holding to the truth despite the consequences, anti-cultural etc. They were also not a monolithic group, for there were very different views between say, Roger Williams, John Bunyan and Benjamin Keach. In fact, thinking of Roger Williams, perhaps another “Do” should be added to my list, “Do understand the biographies of the men you are reading.” Roger Williams shifted his views greatly during his life and depending on when you read of him you will get very different teachings. People change views, so it is important to know the timeframe of what you are reading in relation to that whole persons life and progression. Such as Tertullian before or after becoming a Montanist or Martin Luther in his multiple different stages of growth through the reformation process.

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