The Problematic Character of Sola Scriptura

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This article argues that the well-known phrase sola scriptura, that has become a shorthand for the orthodox protestant view of the authority of Scripture, is not or no longer adequate to express that view. It first highlights the origin of the triad sola scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide¸ and then argues that the expression is problematic because of the relationship between Scripture and tradition, the indispensableness of hermeneutics, the importance of general revelation for the understanding of Scripture, and the intrinsic relationship between the self-convincing nature of Scripture as God’s revelation and the witness of the Holy Spirit in the church in general and in the individual believers. Rather than from Scripture alone, protestant theology should be developed from Scripture as the primary and supreme authority, within the hermeneutical context of the confession of the Church of all ages, and in the acknowledgement that Scripture as such is insufficient without the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSola Scriptura
Subtitle of host publicationBiblical and Theological Perspectives on Scripture, Authority, and Hermeneutics
EditorsHans Burger, Arnold Huijgen, Eric Peels
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789004356436
ISBN (Print)9789004355170
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameStudies in Reformed Theology


  • Tradition
  • autopistia of Scripture
  • hermeneutics
  • sufficiency of Scripture
  • witness of the Holy Spirit


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