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Scripture, Tradition, and Reason

In the Episcopal Church, we are called to live out our faith on a daily basis, whether we are at home, school, work, or recreation. The cornerstones of our faith are Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.


Scripture is the word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The 39 books of the Old Testament contain the story of God’s love from Creation up to the birth of Jesus the Christ. They contain the laws God gave to the Hebrew people. The New Testament contains the story of Jesus' life and teachings, the accounts of his life as told by his followers (found in 4 gospels) and the beginning of the church [ekklesia or community of believers] and letters from early church leaders to the ekklesia. The New Testament is written in 27 books. Within a worship service in the Episcopal Church, lessons from scripture are read from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Gospel (the story of the life of Jesus), the Psalms (ancient songs from the Old Testament). Additionally, the prayers, rites and rituals included in Book of Common Prayer, mostly come directly from the Old and New Testaments.


As followers of Jesus, we are part of the living faith of the Jesus Movement that spans 2,000 years. The community received from Jesus' disciples and apostles became the church. Tradition is the embodiment of our experience as Christians throughout the centuries. The heart of our tradition is expressed through the Bible, statements of faith (called the Creeds - written in first centuries of the church’s existence), the Sacraments (vehicles of God's grace including the Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist), and the ordained ministry passed in apostolic succession by Jesus' original followers to his Church. Our tradition is expressed with many voices, among which are a variety of worship styles, languages, cultures, architecture, and music. Our tradition encourages this diversity. We seek to value the life and story each person can bring to the community of faith. As in a multi-textured tapestry, each person’s offering is woven into the life of the whole, making it stronger and more beautiful. 


The gift of Reason, as a complement to Scripture and Tradition, leads us to seek answers to our questions and to grow spiritually. Being active in a community of faith strengthens us to carry our faith into the world. Weaving Scripture, Tradition, and Reason together, our faith is strengthened as we grow in Christ Jesus our Lord.