So there’s a thread floating around entitled “How do we interpret scripture”, but I’d like to expound on that and discuss by what “authority” do we Christians interpret scripture. The reason I ask is that there is obviously a problem within the ranks of Protestism and that is schism. This is due in large part of a critical issue of authority. Ever since Martin Luther’s rally cry of Sola Scriptura, Protestants have jubilantly jumped on the Sola Scriptura bandwagon as if they truly espouse it. If all Protestants base their beliefs on the Bible alone, then one must ask why there are so many differing viewpoints and opinions regrading theology and biblical interpretation? In light of thousands of different protestant denomination, fact is, no one truly uses the principle of sola scriptura. Interpretation of scripture is shaped by our philosophical assumptions, claiming to be taking scripture in its plain and simple meaning. But, those who start with different assumptions see an entirely different plain and simple meaning. Never is one able to approach the Bible without additional frameworks influencing the manner in which one interprets the Bible. For instance, regarding interpreting the Gospels one would be better to check his or her preconcived notions at the door and submit to the fact that Jesus was a Jew talking mainly to Jews, therefore we should read the Gospels in a 1st century Jewish context with a Hewbrew mindset. But being Gentiles we usually read the Gospels in a Greek mindset. But anyway... The question becomes who or what speaks authoritatively on biblical interpretation? Is it the scholar? Your local pastor? Who determines whether five-point Calvinism or Arminianism is correct? Are they even mutually exclusive? Questions as such become even more daunting when we add to the mix interpreting the trajectory of doctrinal development. Why do we trust the doctrine of the Trinity when the concept is somewhat undeveloped in scripture? Can we rely upon the creed of Nicea as true Christian orthodoxy? So where does authority rest for you? Please do not flippantly say, "Well the Bible is my authority." That is to side-step the question. Perhaps the question would be better phrased as: On what authority do you determine what is an accurate interpretation of Scripture? It seems to me that Protestants have become their own little Popes, declaring their personal interpretation to be authoritative and anything that questions their myopic view is infringing upon their equally valid understanding. But is it really equally valid? So, again I ask, who or what determines correct biblical interpretation? The way you answer this question defines what you believe and how you communicate the Gospel narrative. Therefore for the responsible church leader I wouldn’t treat this question very lightly.