The following of "Tradition"
About This Study
The verses in "PART 1" are all based on a New Testament Greek word,
paradosis. In these passages, this word refers to teachings and
instructions, whether verbal or written, that are handed over, or delivered,
from one individual (or group) to another. This word can have positive or
negative connotations, depending on the context. For example, it has positive
connotations, when it refers to teachings and instructions that come from
God (by way of the apostles and prophets). On the other hand, it has negative
connotations, when it refers to man-made teachings and instructions, which
claim to be from God, or which are given a greater emphasis than God's Word
"PART 2" contains verses which use the verb form of this word
(paradidomi - to deliver). This word can be used in many ways, in
reference to anything (or anyone) being delivered or handed over to someone
(or something). It can also be used in reference to a person being betrayed
or handed-over to his enemies. This part of the study focuses mainly on the
verses which mention the handing-over (or handing-down) of teaching and
instruction - primarily that which has been received from God.
These two related words focus on the idea of delivering or handing-down
teachings, from one person (or group) to another. Other New Testament words exist,
which have a greater focus on "doctrine" or on the "teachings" themselves.
The Issue of "Man-Made" vs. "God-Made"
MAN-MADE TEACHINGS/TRADITIONS - God opposes man-made traditions (teachings
and instructions) which are exalted, or given priority, over his Word. He
hates all man-made substitutes - teachings which nullify the teachings and
instructions that come from God. We have a moral obligation to reject such
GOD-MADE TEACHINGS/TRADITIONS - These were received from God, and
delivered to the people by the apostles and prophets. Now, having been put
into written form (the Bible), they can be handed down from generation to
generation, without fear of them being lost, or the message itself being
corrupted over time. We have a moral obligation to base our lives on these
PART 1 - Teachings and Instructions Passed from
One Individual (Or Group) to Another.
A. God is opposed to people exalting man-made traditions over his Word
- Matthew 15:1-9 & Mark 7:1-13.
Background: The religious leaders followed traditions that were passed-down
to them from previous leaders - Mark 7:3-4.
The religious leaders verbally attack Jesus and his disciples: They question
Jesus about his disciples not following these traditions - the implication
being that the religious leaders considered the disciples wrong for not doing
so - Matthew 15:1-2; Mark 7:1-2, 5.
Jesus' reply: He shows the religious leaders that they (the leaders) are
the ones who are sinning. He tells them that they are breaking God's commands,
for the sake of their man-made traditions. He also gives an example of how
they are doing this - Matthew 15:3-9 (see also v. 10-20); Mark 7:6-13 (see
also v. 14-23).
B. The effect of salvation on a person's views about "tradition": The
example of the apostle Paul.
Before God saved him, he was eager to promote human traditions - Galatians
After God saved him, his perspective was totally reversed.
He warned people against man-made traditions: He told them to base their
lives on Christ, and to not become ensnared by man-made traditions (and the
religious systems that are based upon such traditions) - Colossians 2:8.
He commanded people to follow God's teachings - the "traditions" which he
(Paul) passed on to them. He praised the people when they did so - 2
Thessalonians 2:15 and 1 Corinthians 11:2.
He warned people to keep away from so-called "Christian brothers" who did
not follow God's teachings/traditions (referring to the teachings which Paul
passed on to them) - 2 Thessalonians 3:6.
PART 2 - About the Teachings/Traditions That Were
Delivered to Us (Originally From God, Delivered by the Apostles and
A. The type of people God used, to give us these teachings (some specific
Moses handed down various teachings - Acts 6:14.
The apostle Paul, and those with him, delivered various instructions
to the people. The specific instructions mentioned here originally came from
the apostles and other early church leaders (in agreement with the Holy Spirit)
- Acts 16:4. [These specific instructions are described in the next section.]
The apostle Paul delivered many "traditions" (teachings given to
him by God) to the people - 1 Corinthians 11:2, 15:3.
B. The type of teachings that were delivered/handed-down to the people
(some specific examples):
Eyewitness accounts about Jesus' life were handed-down by people
who saw those events - Luke 1:2. [These handed-down historical accounts were
put into writing for others to read. See Luke 1:3-4.]
The message about Christ's death, burial and resurrection: It was delivered
unto the people - 1 Corinthians 15:3.
The way of righteousness: The sacred commandments (about this way) were
passed on to them - 2 Peter 2:21. [This passage is a warning against
rejecting the way of righteousness.]
"The faith" - that was once-for-all delivered to God's people -
Specific instructions which were delivered to the people, regarding
the relationship between Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), and whether or not
the Gentiles were required to follow the teachings of Moses - Acts 16:4.
[These instructions were from God - Acts 15:28.]
The Old Testament teachings, which were handed down from Moses - Acts 6:14.
[Some aspects of these teachings were of a temporary nature, and are not
part of the "new covenant" of the New Testament. (See Hebrews 8:7-13.) This fact, which
would have been preached by Stephen, was distorted by his false accusers.]
C. Misc. Verses:
People being committed/entrusted to the teaching about salvation
and obedience - Romans 6:17. [In this passage, the people are being entrusted
to the teachings, which, when accepted, would have a life-changing effect
on them. In the previous section, it was the other way around: The teachings
were entrusted to the people!]
People handing-down man-made traditions - Mark 7:13. [Within this
context, the handing-down of man-made traditions was condemned by Jesus.
These traditions were being given a greater emphasis than God's Word.]
Dennis Hinks © 2000