I wandered, O my God, too much astray from you... in these days of my youth, and I became to myself a barren land. ... My soul was sickly and full of sores....
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love you for your own sake, whose joy you yourself are. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to you, of you, for you; this is it, and there is no other.
Anyone who delights in the Lord has been transformed by a work of God. At first, we ran far away in our hearts and gorged on the hollow sweetness of sin, languishing in exile from God and starved for his goodness. But God showed us our filthiness, drew us to himself by his goodness, and gave himself to us as our joy.
Augustine of Hippo wrote about this experience perhaps more passionately and powerfully than any other believer in history. That has made this book one of the most well-loved of the Christian era.
In this course, you will join the millions of saints who have found it enlarge their understanding of God's sovereignty and greatness, while also shining a light on their own sinfulness and the power of God’s grace. You will read Confessions with other like-minded students, and discuss its theology in the light of Scripture with your coach in a live class each week, so that you can drink more deeply of joy in Christ.
What are the "Reading with the Fathers" Courses?
The goal of these courses is to help students better understand and delight in Christ through Scriptural theology in the light of a careful reading of a historic Christian book.
“A careful reading” because we want to honor the author and his book and deal rightly with its contents (“love your neighbor as yourself”)
“Scriptural theology” because our main focus at Biblearc is on studying the Bible
“To better understand and delight in” because theology should not only inform the head but affect the heart and hands
To help you understand Augustine's descriptions of himself, his conversion, and the God who saved him
So you can judge those descriptions in the light of Scripture
So you will better know and delight in Christ through Scriptural theology
Read the first step of the lesson (about 10 minutes of work).
Read the assigned text from Augustine's Confessions (between two to three hours).
Answer questions to help you dig into the meaning of the text and of Scripture and submit an assignment for feedback (about 20 minutes).
Watch clips from the live class time for a discussion of the chapter (about half an hour).
Although this course seeks to follow what is taught in the Treasury course about reading extrabiblical literature, there are no prerequisites for taking it.
Through the Biblearc Books eReader, you will have free access to a 1912 translation by Edward Pusey that is in the public domain. But we recommend that you purchase a modern translation which will be easier to read. The following example from the beginning of Chapter I demonstrates the difference in language style:
"Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it repose in Thee" (Pusey).
"You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (Chadwick).
"In yourself you rouse us, giving us delight in glorifying you, because you made us with yourself as our goal, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (Ruden).
Augustine's Confessions, translated by Henry Chadwick
This is the translation I'll be quoting from in the course. It also includes an introduction to Augustine and his Confessions, as well as a good number of footnotes. It is a highly-rated, accurate translation in modern English by a top scholar, as well as being extremely inexpensive.
Augustine's Confessions, translated by Sarah Ruden
This translation might be a little easier to read than Chadwick. Using the spectrum of Bible translation, it plays the NIV to Chadwick's ESV. It is colorful and enjoyable. If you've already read the Confessions, you'll enjoy the contrast between this and a more "literal" translation.
To access the free translation by Pusey, follow these steps:
Follow the instructions given.
The book will appear in your library. You can read, highlight, and copy and paste text.