I started reading John Piper’s The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin the other night. In his intro about the importance of studying the great saints of the past, Piper reminded me, through the words of Luther, how often I stop there and how insufficient that is. In his (and Luther’s words):

But let us be admonished, finally, from the mouth of Luther that the only original, true, and life-giving spring is the Word of God. Beware of replacing the pure mountain spring of Scripture with the sullied streams of great saints. They are precious, but they are not pure. So we say with Luther,

The writings of all the holy fathers should be read only for a time, in order that through them we may be led to the Holy Scriptures. As it is, however, we read them only to be absorbed in them and never come to the Scriptures. We are like men who study the sign-posts and never travel the road. The dear fathers wished by their writing, to lead us to the Scriptures, but we so use them as to be led away from the Scriptures, though the Scriptures alone are our vineyard in which we ought all to work and toil.

John Piper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy : God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006), 37-38.

All too often I drink only from the sullied stream and ignore the pure mountain stream. May God have mercy and change my drinking habits.

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan