The Lord has often used people in church history whom we may not have liked had we lived during their days. Jerome, for example. He possessed a brilliant mind, a sharp tongue, hot blood, and thin skin. He was a contrarian, remembered as one of the church’s most irritable scholars and among the first of the great Bible translators who have spread the gospel abroad.

Jerome was an Italian, born about 330, who early fell in love with women and books. After indulging in the former, he joined an ascetic group to enjoy the latter; but his sandpaper personality caused the group to disintegrate. As Jerome struggled to control his sexual energy, he began advancing the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. He believed that after Jesus’ birth, Mary continued to live a virgin’s life; and his own Herculean efforts to remain celibate led to his so exalting virginity that he considered marriage beneficial only because it brought virgins into the world.

Perhaps the answer for him was a hermit’s life in the desert, practicing severe self-disciplines. It didn’t work. He still dreamed of Roman dancing girls. Returning to Rome, he faced the temptations head-on and avoided the dancing girls. But he didn’t avoid Paula, a young widow who became, not a sexual partner, but a lifelong soulmate. In Rome, in the early 380s, he discovered his life’s work. Pope Damasus suggested he prepare a new Latin version of the Gospels and Psalms. Jerome set to work on it, and for the next 22 years, he labored tirelessly as a Bible translator.

His sharp tongue made trouble in Rome, so he and Paula moved to Bethlehem in 386. Near the birthplace of Jesus, they established separate monasteries for men and women where Jerome balanced his need for companionship with a corresponding need for solitude, study, and asceticism. He poured himself into the Latin translation of the Bible, his life’s crowning achievement. He died, white-haired and wrinkled, on September 30, 420.

With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do. What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me … ? Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. (Romans 7:22-25a)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Sept. 30.

Also On This Day

1736 – Three slaves are admitted into the church by baptism on St. Thomas Island by Frederic Martin who had replaced the original Moravian missionary Leonard Dober. They are the first converts on St. Thomas. When he is unable to pay a fine, Martin will later be imprisoned for refusing to take an oath in court where he was summoned to testify against a robber.

1824James “Diego” Thomson, Scottish Presbyterian and colporteur of the British and Foreign Bible Society, arrives in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with 800 New Testaments to distribute, which will later be considered the first significant Protestant influence on this Catholic nation.

1943 – Death from a seizure of the Orthodox priest Seraphim (Nicholas Zagorovsky), considered a martyr because of the years he spent in exile and because after his release he was forced to live a life of privation and suffering in order to hold religious services in secret.

Accessed 29 September 2022.


  1. Tell me about it. You’d be surprised at what is hidden in these posts. I have never learned so much about our Christian Heritage and the people behind it in their contributions. They are truly interesting and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of your week. Blessings and peace.


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