I was raised as a Christian believing that right belief comes from the scriptures alone. If there was an issue that appeared to be “in the gray” then I would attempt to make a final determination from a broader evaluation of biblical principle. After reading Chapter 2 in “The Mosaic of Christian Belief” by Roger E. Olson I came to more fully understand the idea that there are other factors outside of scripture that can aid in making conclusions about right belief.
One representation for this is found in the Wesleyan Quadrilateral which teaches that proper Christian belief is shaped by four main sources and norms: Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. Tradition represents what Olson often refers to as the “Great Tradition” which is the “consensus of beliefs held in common by the early church fathers and the Reformers of the sixteenth century as expressed in common by the ecumenical creeds and Reformation confessions of faith.” (p 57)
I am not going to take a lot more time to unpack the quadrilateral in this post, but do want to make clear that scripture is still the primary and final authority (sola scriptura) in determining belief; however, we are likely in error when we do not take into account tradition, reason, and experience when making determinations about right belief. Next time you wrestle with an issue of controversy such as women’s and men's roles in the church, gifts of the Spirit, or the inerrancy of scripture go to the scriptures first, but also take into account tradition, reason, and experience as you seek to confirm proper belief.
For a more “scholarly” take on this issue check out this post by Josh Malone on First Theology or take the introductory course in the Theology program, which will likely begin in September.