Al-Imaam ash-Shaatibee, may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned two ways of obtaining knowledge: Where Al-Imaam ash-Shaatibee, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
One Way: Is taking knowledge orally (directly from the scholars) which is the most beneficial of the two ways and the safest of them… Second Way: Browsing over books of writers and authors of (Islamic) literatures. Whereas it (this way of obtaining knowledge) is also beneficial in relation to its field with two conditions: Firstly: That he obtains an understanding of what was intended regarding that requested science and (that) he becomes familiar with the terminologies of its authors, which will complete for him his comprehension of the books, (in reality) that occurs through the first way of taking knowledge from the scholars orally or it returns to it… whereas books on its own without the guideline of the scholars does not benefit the student anything, which is something usually observed. Secondly: That he strives for the books of the early scholars for verily they are more established in it (knowledge) than other than them of the later scholars and the basis for that is by experience and by narrations.
Reference: al-Muwaafaqaat (1/96).