This is from an email I sent:
The reason I like the early church fathers is because they provide insight into some important interpretations of Scripture, especially in regard to the Old Testament. One teaching that is completely lost to us is throughout the early church fathers. It is in regard to the Law, to sacrifices, and to the Sabbath. It appears to me, though, that all leaders of the early churches knew about it. Jesus literally brought the Law to fullness (i.e., extended, completed it), as he said in Matthew 5:17. Thus, the Sabbath, which was a physical rest practiced weekly, became a spiritual rest practiced continually. We enter into that rest in Christ, as Hebrews 4 teaches, and that rest is perpetual, not dependent an a day.
I can argue that doctrine based on Scripture, but I learned it from the fathers. I also learned about the “second law” from the fathers. While sacrifices existed before Aaran made the golden calf, they were not mandatory or part of the Law until after the golden calf. Moses had to return to the mountain to get this second law. This explains Jeremiah 7:21-23, which is mysterious to us who rely only on the Scriptures. There God denies ever commanding the Israelites to offer sacrifices!! There are a couple other verses like the one in Jeremiah, but I don’t know them off the top of my head.
The early church fathers had a different perspective on the Scriptures and a better understanding of the prophecies of Christ than we do. This is simply true. Wouldn’t you want to know what Jesus said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? I think the early churches did know because Jesus taught those same things to the apostles over the 40 days before he ascended into heaven. The apostles taught those things to the churches, and we would benefit greatly by learning those things ourselves.
This does not turn the fathers into Scripture, but it does make them better commentators on Scripture than just about anyone around today. There are things we have lost over the last 2,000 years. It would be great to get them back. Some of them are seen in the united churches of the second and third centuries, and some even lasted a few centuries into the apostasy.