Already quoted. Basically, scripture alone is lord and master over all other writings on earth. Luther then goes on to cite Paul and Augustine in support of the claim. A person can read it in English in Defense And Explanation Of All Articles in the American Edition.
I couldn't find "Defense And Explanation Of All Articles" online.
When you wrote that Luther's definition of Sola Scripture was "already quoted", I guess you mean what I quoted earlier:
An Assertion of All the Articles
"I do not want to throw out all those more learned [than I],
but Scripture alone to reign, and not to interpret it by my own spirit or the spirit of any man, but I want to understand it by itself and its spirit.2"
Certainly that would entail that scripture is ruling things, but to say that it's "lord and master over all other writings" makes it sound like it "governs" all other writings, which seems a different idea. When he says that he wants "Scripture alone to reign," I take it that he is referring to scripture alone deciding religious doctrines. And he said something along those lines later, saying in other words that he must be convinced of some doctrine by the scriptures for the doctrine to be accepted by him.
I have seen his Sola Scriptura being defined different ways.
With Definition #1, if we take it to mean A.
- 1. I have seen it being called the only "final, infallible" source of written authority. This term could mean that it's either A. the only authority that is both final and infallible, or B. that it is the only authority that is infallible and and is also the final authority. It seems that Tertiumquid is taking the term to mean B.
- 2. You are saying that it means that "scripture alone is lord and master over all other writings on earth."
- 3. In his statement that I quoted above, I take it to mean that he wants scripture alone to rule or decide on religious doctrines and he wants to understand it "by itself."
that it is the only source that is both final AND infallible, then maybe Roman Catholics could agree with this idea, in the sense that the Bible is considered both the highest ranked written authority among infallible authorities. Just because you consider the Bible final and
infallible doesn't necessarily mean that you exclude all other texts as fallible. You could have an EO who considers the Bible and the Councils to be "infallible" and then sees the Bible as being explicit on a certain topic, and so he says "the Bible, the highest authority, has spoken on this topic, so its position is final." In other words, the Bible being your final authority on some issue doesn't mean that the other authorities are necessarily mistaken. They could just be ambiguous or not necessary to be consulted once we have the Biblical view. In other words, it becomes a procedural issue. You could have more than one "infallible" source to check as an authority on an issue and you stop with the Bible as your final source.
If we take it to mean Definition 1 B.
then it would be helpful to see where Luther considered the Bible explicitly the only infallible source, because I have seen claims that Luther didn't consider the Bible infallible.
By comparison, the EO Church doesn't seem to have a consensus on the Bible being infallible. Augustine had that view, but Augustine isn't foundational in Orthodoxy to the extent that he is in the Western Church. The most common idea in the EO Church on infallibility is that the Bible and the Ecumenical Councils are infallible.
With Definition #2,
it sounds ambiguous what it means for it to be the only master "over" all other writings, and it doesn't necessarily mean that the Bible is "infallible." Does the idea of being a "master over them" mean that we use the scripture to interpret all other writings? Or does it mean that we use the Bible to judge whether all other writings are right or wrong? I take it that you mean the latter. Like I said earlier, if it's just a matter of considering the Bible the highest authority, which makes it the highest judge on doctrines, then this is classical patristics.
A criticism that I have heard from EOs on using the Bible to judge other doctrines is procedural and directional. Namely, the EOs read the Church Fathers and traditions in harmony with the Bible, rather than interpreting the Fathers and the Bible in contradiction to each other. The issue comes up when the Bible and the Fathers are ambiguous on some topic. For instance, there is a certain ambiguity in the Bible as to the nature of the Real Presence, probably because it's a supernatural mystery. Calvinists interpret
the Bible to mean that Jesus does not have a direct Presence in the communion food, and then they take their misinterpretation of the Bible and use their misinterpretation to judge the Church Fathers as wrong on the topic. In the Orthodox Church on the other hand, we try to read the Bible and the Fathers in harmony.
With Definition #3
(the "Bible alone" reigns on religious doctrines), the implication seems to be that other sources of authority, such as Councils, would not also reign in deciding doctrines. So for instance if the Bible was ambiguous on infant baptism and we had Church Fathers and Councils on the topic, Luther's idea would be to go by the Bible alone, and not to have the Fathers and Councils also
be reigning on that topic.
The underlying real-life problem here is what I mentioned earlier, that sometimes the Bible is not clear on numerous theological topics. The Bible's meaning is sometimes not actually self-evident. Luther writes in that quote that I gave above from him that he wants the Bible alone to reign and to understand it "by itself." But sometimes the Bible "by itself" is not clear in its meanings. And then the issue becomes how you go about understanding the Bible.
We can say that we want the Bible to rule over all other writings and teachings, but what rules over our reading of the Bible in the first place? If we use our reason and the Holy Spirit and Tradition to rule our understanding and interpretations of the Bible, does this imply that the Holy Spirit and Tradition and Reason are also ruling the Bible? In other words, if we use the Bible to say that a doctrine or writing is correct, and this means that the Bible is "ruling over" those other writings, then if we judge the Bible to be correct based on the Holy Spirit and our Reason and our Tradition (eg. Augustine and Luther calling the Bible "infallible"), then are those things based on this line of logic also "ruling over" the Bible in harmony with it?
At times Luther presented the Bible as if it was self-evident in its meaning, like saying that he wanted to understand it "by itself", but at other times he pointed to Church fathers as authorities to understand the Bible. So he was speaking in opposite directions on that topic, and it's probably a debate that is not resolvable because it's a kind of inner contradiction due to the underlying problem that the Bible is often not self-evident. So even if I had the energy and devotion to go through pages and pages on the topic, the issue would not be resolved because Lutheranism has a dogmatic or axiomatic stance on "Sola Scriptura."
As much as Luther criticised the Catholic Church for its dogmatism and its teachings that are not in the Bible, it seems dogmatic about "Sola Scriptura" even though the Bible nowhere explicitly says that the Bible is the only final, infallible source of authority. After all, imagine that in the End Times events God spoke from Heaven on some topic. If it was actually God's voice, wouldn't that be an infallible authority as well? And being later in time, wouldn't it be a more "final" authority?