What is the basis for Sola Scriptura?

This question is in disarray. The title appears to be asking about Sola Scriptura but is really asking about personal interpretation of the Bible. The answers are a mixed bag between the two, with most attempting to point out the confusion and then choosing one of the two topics to answer.

With this being our main question on the topic of Sola Scriptura, it really should be fixed.

How can we fix it?

  • 1
    part of the problem is the OP uses "Sola Scriptura" as an abbreviation for "personal interpretation", so that further muddles the pond... Commented May 7, 2012 at 3:29

3 Answers 3


These problems were brought up almost immediately after the question was asked, but the site was new, and nobody had authority, nor will to step on the toes of others, so a lot of discussion happened, and not a lot of action.

The problem is that the original question was very confusing, and was really about multiple questions. As it's worded now, I think the question is clear, but the title doesn't match it at all. More importantly, the answers don't match, to varying degrees.

I understand how, as @PeterTurner points out, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura can be confusing to a Catholic, thus leading to a confused question. But that does not justify a title/question mismatch. It does justify asking a question that needs to be clarified to be a good question.

I think my suggestion would be to close the question, then encourage the OP, or others, to ask the various questions that are present in this one question:

  1. What is the basis for Sola Scriptura?
  2. What is the basis for personal Biblical interpretation?
  3. Does the doctrine of Sola Scriptura preclude external assistance in Biblical interpretation?
  4. Etc...

Alternately, clean up the question to clearly ask about one of these sub-topics, and delete any answers that no longer fit (with the possibility to un-delete if the OP chooses to clean them up to match again).

EDIT: As it seems, once again, this question is generating discussion, and no action, I have now cast a VtC on the question. :)


To a Catholic, Sola Scriptura is tantamount to personal interpretation because it's interpretation without Church authority and tradition. Sorry if this doesn't make sense. In my defense, this is question #2 on the site and I've learned a lot since then.

I'd think it would be one of those things where maybe the mods can lock it and say it's not a good example of a good question. Then you can ask the real question (and answer it).

BTW, assuming that a person asking a question knows what they're talking about is assuming quite a bit. I've answered a few muddled Catholicism questions here :)

Also, did you see my follow-up question?


The question appears to be, "What is the Protestant's Authoritative Source of Revelation."

The author posits a straw man in saying that anyone can interpret the Scriptures any way they want. The Protestant laity are asked to submit to the elders of their church. There is church discipline, etc. None of that appears represented in the question or the accepted answer. :\

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