The Imitation of Christ

Author: Thomas À Kempis

Chapter V

Of the reading of Holy Scriptures

It is Truth which we must look for in Holy Writ, not cunning of words. All Scripture ought to be read in the spirit in which it was written. We must rather seek for what is profitable in Scripture, than for what ministereth to subtlety in discourse. Therefore we ought to read books which are devotional and simple, as well as those which are deep and difficult. And let not the weight of the writer be a stumbling-block to thee, whether he be of little or much learning, but let the love of the pure Truth draw thee to read. Ask not, who hath said this or that, but look to what he says.

2. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Without respect of persons God speaketh to us in divers manners. Our own curiosity often hindereth us in the reading of holy writings, when we seek to understand and discuss, where we should pass simply on. If thou wouldst profit by thy reading, read humbly, simply, honestly, and not desiring to win a character for learning. Ask freely, and hear in silence the words of holy men; nor be displeased at the hard sayings of older men than thou, for they are not uttered without cause.


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Chicago: Thomas À Kempis, "Chapter V," The Imitation of Christ, trans. Müller, F. Max (Friedrich Max), 1823-1900 in The Imitation of Christ Original Sources, accessed November 29, 2022,

MLA: Kempis, Thomas À. "Chapter V." The Imitation of Christ, translted by Müller, F. Max (Friedrich Max), 1823-1900, in The Imitation of Christ, Original Sources. 29 Nov. 2022.

Harvard: Kempis, TÀ, 'Chapter V' in The Imitation of Christ, trans. . cited in , The Imitation of Christ. Original Sources, retrieved 29 November 2022, from