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The Persecuted Church

 

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The Tradition of Traditions.

Does the Bible speak of knowing tradition, or just Scripture?

Paul writes in 2 Tim.3:15 says: “From a child you have known the holy scriptures....” The “scriptures” at this point meant the Old Testament. Timothy was not brought up on the New Testament as it was still being written.  This verse explains that as a child he was taught the Old Testament by his mother and grandmother. The Apostle Paul states that the Scriptures were available and sufficient to lead one to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because they contain what would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches that all scripture is inspired but never speaks of tradition in this manner.This is why it is called God’s word, it is written, God given for all.

The Old Testament was elicited by Jesus when He came along two disciples who were on the road to Emmaus discussing the events (Luke 24:13-27). Luke 24:44 “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Ps 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.” His purpose was to fulfill what was written of him by the prophets that are found in the Old Testament.

 Jesus would argue often with the religious leaders about their traditions outside God’s word. He admonished the religious leaders to “search the Scriptures” (John 5:39), “is it not written in your law?” (John 10:34; Luke 10:25), “have you not read?” (Matt.12:3; 12:5; 19:4; 21:16; 22:31).

 This clearly shows that the people had access to and were recommended to read and interpret the Scriptures for themselves, not blindly rely on their religious teachers to teach them what it meant.

 The word tradition occurs only 14 times in the whole New Testament but in the Old Testament not once is it found. 8 references to tradition are from Jesus himself, all of them are derogatory. Not once does he insinuate they are useful or scriptural. Why is that?

Every time the Pharisees, the religious men, brought up traditions as equal to the Scripture, Jesus brought them to the word. He called what they taught the traditions of men because they did not come from God, they came after the Old Testament was completed.  These religious men thought the word was not sufficient.  God had Moses write everything down in the book of the law, so there any mistakes would be minimized. If God did so in the Old Testament would He change His policy in the new? Jesus pointed to the Old Testament word, just as Moses did.  

 Jesus always quoted the Scriptures as the final source of His authority (Matt. 22:29 32; Mark 7:9 13) He corrected the people if they had a wrong understanding because of the religious teachers traditions, Stating, “You err, not knowing the Scriptures.” This eventually led to the confrontation of believing in him or the religious traditions of the elders, Mark 12:10 “Have you not read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

When one listens to other men’s reinterpretation or additions they are rejecting the cornerstone just as they did in Jesus’ day.

 2 Thess. 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

 It is this one SCRIPTURE that is used to often prove traditions are acceptable.
However Paul’s point is that these traditions which were taught were the same ones were written down. V.5 Paul previously stated “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” This Paul says he already taught them in person but now is writing it down. Not something different but the same. Anything said would be consistent with the rest of the teachings they received, those things were written down. These are what would be used to have one practice their Christianity.

Acts 17:10-11 When Paul and Silas went to Berea, they went into the synagogue. We read inv.11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” What Scripture could they search to validate their message except the Old Testament? They did not ask their rabbi, pastor or priest. They did this themselves, and were commended by the apostle that wrote most of the New Testament letters.

 The book of Acts has numerous examples of the apostles using the Scriptures.  They often quoted the Old Testament to validate the meassage they were preaching, especially to the Jews.

In Acts 8, Philip was led of the Lord to where a certain Ethiopian eunuch was passing by. As Philip approached, he heard him reading from the book of Isaiah. The Ethiopian invited him to ride along in the chariot and Philip explained, “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). The Holy Spirit used the book of Isaiah, it was sufficient to lead this man to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ when explained by one who knew the fulfillment.

In Acts 18 Apollos, known to be mighty in Scripture He was preaching the “things of the Lord,” but he knew only the baptism of John (v. 25). He did not know that the Messiah had come and died on the Cross, and was resurrected. Two disciples, Aquila and Priscilla, heard him in the synagogue and took him aside and “...expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (v. 26). And from that point onward he continued to preach and exhort, “showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28). He is later mentioned several times by the Apostle Paul (1 Cor.1. 3).

Paul specifically warns in 1 Corinthians 4:6: “Do not exceed beyond what is written,” which negates any traditions coming after the Bible was completed as having any equal value to the Scripture.

That is why what Paul taught was penned on paper, pointing to the Scripture as our final authority as 2 Tim.3:16-127 states.

Paul explained in Gal 1:14 “And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” Paul understood the differences of what tradition was and what Scripture is.

Paul stated in Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, AND NOT AFTER CHRIST.” He said to” let the word of God dwell in you richly.” He never spoke of learning of tradition. It is ONLY the word of God that is living and active (Heb.4:12) to change one from the inside, traditions can never be of equal value to what God has written down for all generations to live by. As Jesus said....  My WORDS are SPIRIT and they are LIFE. Traditions in the church hundreds of years after are not His word and do not have his spirit or life.

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