The previous two essays explore the role of Scripture, sacred tradition, and the Magisterium in the formation of Church teaching, from three different perspectives: Catholic, Sola Scriptura, and a rebuttal of Sola Scriptura.

The Catholic perspective argues that Scripture, sacred tradition, and the Magisterium are all essential sources of authority in understanding the faith. Catholics believe that sacred tradition complements and exhorts the Bible and that the Magisterium serves to provide guidance and interpretation of both scripture and tradition. The interplay between the three sources of authority provides a comprehensive understanding of God’s revelation throughout history. Catholics maintain that a separation of any one of these sources of authority would result in an incomplete and/or inaccurate understanding of the faith.

The Sola Scriptura perspective highlights that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and sufficient authority for all matters of faith and practice. It emphasizes that the Bible itself testifies to its sufficiency, and that any source of authority that is not based on scripture should be disregarded. This perspective also emphasizes the Holy Spirit’s role in teaching and guiding believers, and that the interpretation of scripture should be based on private interpretation.

The rebuttal of Sola Scriptura argues that the Bible’s sufficiency is not in question, but emphasizes that the Catholic Church has always recognized sacred tradition and the Magisterium as sources of authority in the development of Church teachings. Catholics believe that the reliance on the Bible alone can lead to an incomplete and/or erroneous understanding of the faith, as extra-biblical tradition and the Magisterium’s reliable interpretation of Scripture provide the Church with the ability to deepen our understanding through a constantly evolving history.

In conclusion, these perspectives highlight the issue of authority in understanding the faith. Catholics draw from scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium while Protestant authority draws on the Bible alone and depends upon accurate self interpretation by each believer.