The Augustinian priest, Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the first to point out that Scripture alone, without the Church interpretation was enough. With the invention of the printing press in the late 15th century and the growth of the new vernacular languages, printing and translating the Bible was an important element in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Sermons on Bible readings took on a new importance. The printed Bible book also became an icon. There were immediate difficulties within this reform movement over the question of the clear meaning of Scripture. Each group and even each individual within the group began to interpret Scripture as they saw fit.
The Bible, particularly the Christian New Testament, represents the source and foundation of any Christian reflection. Scripture alone (sola scriptura) sounds easy enough until you realize that there is always an individual human interpretation or an established communitarian way of interpreting the Bible because it is a “living document”. Layers of understanding continue to develop with each new reading. Thus, various biblical passages have served as the source of theological conflict for many centuries.