Sola Scripture—what does it mean and how do we apply it to the interpretation of the Bible? DHK wrote in another thread, This post very well demonstrates the total misunderstanding that is found among some Baptists today regarding the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. This doctrine does NOT teach that the Bible is to be interpreted exclusively from Biblical evidence; it teaches that the 66 canonical books in the Bible, and only the 66 canonical books in the Bible, are the Word of God. But what do we do when we find two conflicting doctrines and the proponents of both doctrines base their doctrine exclusively upon the Bible? The answer to this question is that we examine the verses that each group interprets as teaching their point of view and we consider and weigh all the evidence available to us for and against each interpretation. This consideration and weighing of all the evidence is known as hermeneutics and one of the principles of hermeneutics is that the correct interpretation MUST be represented by at least some individuals throughout the history of the Church. And of course any doctrine that is found to be absent from church history for the first 400 years is to be considered highly suspect. And indeed, one of the primary means that we have to identify pseudo-Christian doctrines is their late origin. And Baptists have been applying this principle of hermeneutics to doctrines for hundreds of years. The logic behind this principle of hermeneutics is that if any given interpretation of a passage in the Bible is the correct interpretation, at least some readers of the Bible must have been aware of the fact down through the ages. And of course any interpretation of a passage in the Bible that is not found anywhere in the vast quantity of church documents that we have for the period after the close of the New Testament Canon and up to the 16th century is virtually for certain a false interpretation. And if instead of that interpretation, which we shall call interpretation A, we find another, conflicting interpretation of the passage in the Bible to be the unanimous interpretation of the Church during that 1500 year period, we can be even more certain that interpretation A is a false interpretation. And if we do not find the unanimous interpretation to be defended but considered to be the obvious interpretation during that entire period, we can be certain that interpretation A is a false interpretation. And, of course, this in not just basic hermeneutics, this is also very basic common sense. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and it cannot be, therefore, so poorly worded that it cannot be understood, especially when it comes to the essential Biblical doctrines of salvation. Therefore, ALL new and novel interpretations are false interpretations. The Bible has not changed, and new interpretations are wrong interpretations. There are thousands upon thousands of documents that have been preserved from the period between the close of the canon of the New Testament up to the 16th century in which passages in the Bible are interpreted to teach conditional security. And many years ago the claim was made that there is not even one document that has been preserved from the period between the close of the canon of the New Testament up to the 16the century in which passages in the Bible are interpreted to teach eternal security. If this claim were found to be true, it would be obvious that these passages in the Bible cannot be correctly interpreted today to teach eternal security, but rather they must be interpreted to teach conditional security. Therefore very many Baptists began searching for documents from this period of time in which at least one passage in the Bible was interpreted to teach eternal security, but even after many years of searching not a single such document has been found, but thousands upon thousands of documents were found in which passages in the Bible were interpreted to teach conditional security. But in spite of the thousands upon thousands of documents supporting the interpretation of conditional security and not a single document supporting the interpretation of eternal security, the large majority of Baptists have tenaciously clung to their pet interpretation. Some have argued that the Roman Catholic Church, which has always interpreted these passages in the Bible to teach conditional rather than eternal security, destroyed all of the documents in which Bible passages were interpreted to teach eternal security. However, there is NO evidence of any kind that the Roman Catholic Church did such a thing, and there is a mountain of evidence that they did Not do such a thing, and if they had, we would find documents in which the doctrine of conditional security was argued for against eternal security, but no such documents have been found. Indeed, during this 1,500 year period there is NO evidence that any passages in the Bible were interpreted to teach eternal security. Others have argued that such documents exist, but they simply have not been found, but that is an argument from silence in the face of thousands of documents to the contrary. It makes about as much sense as arguing that the earth is not round but flat. Yes, there is a huge amount of evidence that the earth is spherical (or approximately so), but someday we might find some evidence that the earth is flat, and in the meantime, being Baptists, we need to teach that the earth is flat! Personally, I believe that the earth is spherical rather than flat and that the security passages in the Bible should be interpreted today as they were for 1,500 years rather than in a new and novel manner. My Summary: If the security passages in the Bible are really accurately interpreted to teach eternal security, someone, somewhere would have noticed that during the 1500 years period between the close of the New Testament Canon and the 16th century—but no one did. Many thousands of people, however noticed that they should be interpreted to teach conditional security. The Bible has not changed, but due to changes in our language and culture and other changes, the historical interpretation of the security passages has been abandoned by many Baptists and replaced by the new interpretation of eternal security. Both interpretations are based exclusively upon the Bible (Sola Scriptura); the study of the evidence for and against the interpretation one chooses has nothing to do with the doctrine of Sola Scriptura unless one introduces security passages from extra-biblical sources and argues that the Biblical passages need to be interpreted in agreement with the extra-biblical sources, and of course no one in any of our threads on these topics has done that. We are discussing only those passages that appear in the Holy Bible and their correct interpretation throughout the history of the Church.