Why Anglicans Study the Bible in Light of Tradition

While Scripture is the foundational aspect of Anglican theology, another key “leg” of the three-legged stool is tradition. Anglicans value studying Scripture within tradition, bringing insights and decisions from the larger communion of saints, across time and geography, to bear on the interpretation and implementation of Scripture. In other words, each time we open Scripture, it is not simply one individual studying Scripture alone, it is very intentionally a group effort in partnership with the great cloud of witnesses.

Unity through worship

First and foremost in the Anglican tradition is the Book of Common Prayer. At the end of the sixteenth century, the Church of England was deeply divided between the Puritans and those who wanted to hold on to more of the Roman Catholic elements of the church (later referred to as Anglo-Catholics). With Queen Elizabeth at its head, the Church of England decided that it wasn’t going to enforce doctrinal unity outside of what it saw as central Christian belief. Rather, they emphasized unity of worship. Drawing heavily on existing material while injecting insights from the Reformers, Anglicans created the Book of Common Prayer to unify worship across all their churches. Consequently, it is Anglicans’ common worshipping and praying life that has the largest influence on its views of Scripture and the rest of tradition.

A diverse body

That focus on unity of worship has allowed for a wide diversity in the way the tradition has developed. Most Anglicans have always held the Church Fathers in high regard. Many Anglicans have drawn on Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologians as a way to understand Scripture and interpret existing tradition. Still other have been significantly influenced by Lutheran and Reformed theologians. This mix has created an Anglican tradition with a character all its own. At the same time, however, most Anglicans still draw on sources outside of the Anglican tradition.


Anglican Portfolio is created with this emphasis on unity of worship and the attendant theological diversity in mind. Curated by an expert in Anglican theology and tradition, it includes voices from across the theological spectrum. Featuring acclaimed resources such as Fathers of the Church: St. Augustine (30 vols.), the Oxford History of the Christian Church, the SCM Studies in Worship and Liturgy (5 vols.), and thousands more, it’s the most comprehensive base package we’ve ever created for the Anglican tradition. And if you get Anglican Portfolio before October 9 you’ll save hundreds of dollars! 

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Written by
Benjamin Amundgaard

Benjamin is a product manager, marketer, communicator, teacher, leader. He is the Senior Director of Bible Study Products at Faithlife.

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Written by Benjamin Amundgaard