For the Church Fathers the texts that eventually would comprise the canon of sacred scripture stood as a rich resource from which a vast array of interpretations could be made. To be sure, I expect that anyone at least peripherally familiar with patristic exegesis has had a moment of pause when confronted by a particularly unusual reading of a biblical verse. Seeming contradictions and drastic variations in interpretation may be frustrating (or fascinating) to modern readers, but they draw attention to one of the most important characteristics of early Christian exegesis. The process of reading the scriptures was primarily a spiritual exercise. The Church Fathers committed themselves to a thorough engagement with the texts in and of themselves, without considering that they acquired meaning because they pointed to some reality outside of themselves.1 Their exegesis did not rely on some exterior reference point to bring clarity. Instead, the scriptures were approached as a totality, a unified whole that made sense on its own terms. The key to understanding them was the conviction that Jesus Christ lay at their center. Ultimately, the entirety of the scriptures communicated the person, mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus.