Unlearning Tradition, Relearning Scripture
An online dictionary defined tradition as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. With theology, however, it is a doctrine believed to have divine authority though not in Scriptures.” It was the second definition that this site hopes to address, or unlearn – traditions that claim divine authority yet is nowhere to be found in Scripture.
Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, did endorse traditions. He wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:15,
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” The traditions that Paul endorsed have apostolic authority; they are taught in the Scripture. In another letter, Paul said: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
On his letter to the Galatians, Paul opened his epistle saying:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7)
He then explained the source of his teachings, again saying:
For I would have you know, brothers, that the Gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
Peter, another apostle of Jesus Christ, affirmed and confirmed Paul’s commitment to the Word of Christ/God; so he wrote:
Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Finally, in Hebrews 1:1-2, Scripture said:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.
In John 1:1, Scripture said: “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ, cf. John 1:14, 16-17], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In other words, Jesus Christ had the final words of truth. There will be no new revelation from God, the Canon of Scripture begin and close with Christ’s revelation of His Word. For the Lord God alone is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13).
The Bible is a unity. Both the Old and New Testament Scripture are coherent. The Old Testament Scripture declared, the New Testament Scripture affirmed its fulfillment. The goal of this site therefore is not to create adversity, rather to be consistent with the truthful teachings of the Scripture. The Old and New Testament Scripture serves as a commentary for each other. Only then may we be consistent with the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples: “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
P.S. We do not discount using extra-biblical resources like the lexicon, Bible dictionaries or encyclopedias – especially in understanding historical settings or relevance.
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