Article VI of the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion of the Episcopal Church, adopted in 1801, states:
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
Note what this Article does not say:
- It doesn't say that everything in Scripture is necessary to salvation. It says only that if it's not in Scripture, it's not necessary to salvation.
- It doesn't say we are required to believe everything that's found in Scripture or provable thereby. It says only that if something is not found in Scripture and cannot be proved thereby, we're not obligated to believe it as an article of the faith.
In other words, Scripture serves as the outer limits of what the church may require its members to believe. As explained in this Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles: "At the Reformation, the leaders of our Church stoutly resisted any suggestion that they were departing from Catholic teaching. They maintained that they were merely reforming the teaching of the Church to bring it into line with the teaching and practices of the Primitive Church, by rejecting the new articles which had been added to the Faith by the Church of Rome." (Emphasis added.)
Article VI therefore leaves us room for us to be prayerfully judicious in the weight and importance we assign to different passages in Scripture.