The Extreme Forms of "Sola Scriptura" Are Very Odd

I ran across the passage quoted below while researching job opportunities, as a pledge that faculty of a certain college must take before they can be employed there:

"The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible, God’s infallible written Word, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that it was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that it was written without error (inerrant) in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks."

To my knowledge, the Bible itself never talks about the Bible at all. Therefore it is certainly not something you find in the Bible that your beliefs should be based solely on the Bible. I also don't think anywhere in the Bible it says the entire Bible is uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit (since the Bible never mentions "the Bible"!). I am also not aware of any passages where the Bible says it itself is inerrant.*

So what we seem to have here is a declaration that all our beliefs should be based on the Bible, except for the entire paragraph of beliefs in which I find such declaration!

No text interprets itself: Any Biblical interpretation will be part of a tradition of Biblical interpretation, just as any constitutional interpretation will be part of a tradition of constitutional interpretation. Rationalism in religion is just as much an error as rationalism in politics.

* I have checked with several Protestant friends, and, in fact, they also seem to regard the above passage as unfounded.


  1. The really odd part Gene is the caveat about "in the original manuscripts". That's a concession to Biblical scholarship, and I have seen this ame sort of declaration made without that caveat.

    The bigger point is that the Bible as such was assembled around the year 370. The individual books existed, as do many books left out of course, but the notion that this set in particular was a canon has no scriptural authority. So why these books and none other? What's the authority for that?

    1. Yes Ken, you're quite right about the late assembly of the books. If one rejects apostolic succession as a criteria, as the extreme sola scriptura school does, it is hard to see why we would attribute those particular books this importance.


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