TRADITION Tradition comes in for a lot of criticism, and rightly so, if there is no higher reason for doing something than that it is the way it has always been done. Yet, the word, “tradition,” has a neutral meaning. It simply refers to “that which is handed over” from one person or group to another. It does not say whether that which is delivered is good or bad, true or false. When traditions are employed for important and useful purposes, they might be thought of as a golden chain which gives order to life, memorializes great events and people of the past, and gives continued life to the noble principles they exemplified. Since God employed humans, beginning with the inspired men who wrote the Scriptures, to hand down the gospel from teachers to disciples, even it, by definition, is “tradition” and is so called by Paul (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6). However, traditions are, at the very least, wasteful when people appeal to them mindlessly. When a man asked his young wife why she cut off the ends of a ham before putting it in the oven, she could only answer that it was because that was what she had always seen her mother do before baking her hams. So, they decided to call her mother and ask her why she had always cut off the ends of her hams. She likewise replied that it was because she had always seen her mother cutting off the ends of her hams before baking. This only intensified their curiosity, and they determined to pursue an answer to their question all the way to her grandmother. However, when they got her on the phone, she resolved the mystery by simply saying, “I always cut off the ends of my hams because they were too big for my pan.” At their worst, traditions are dangerous when they are used for nefarious purposes. In such cases, they conflict with the God’s word and impede obedience to it, or they are put on a par with it and obedience to them is required as if they were God’s word. The Pharisees imposed traditions to make themselves appear more righteous and enrich themselves (Matt. 15:1ff). This made their traditions perhaps the greatest point of conflict between themselves and Jesus. When it is at its best, tradition might be thought of as the passing of a baton between runners in a relay race. Only one baton per team is permitted, and grabbing the baton of an opposing runner, failing to hand one’s baton off cleanly, dropping it, or crossing the finish line without one’s baton can cost a team the victory. The teaching of God’s truth is like this. It is not the prerogative of one generation to produce their own version of “truth,” but, rather, it is their obligation to “hand off” the same truth they received from their forebears, going all the way back to those who originally received it and set it down in Scripture. This ought to impress upon all parents, teachers, and Christians in general the importance of receiving the pure “tradition” of God’s word and faithfully passing it on to the next person or generation just as they had had it passed on to them by those who preceded them. Paul alludes to this responsibility when he says, “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” “ … Keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).
HOME HOME MEDITATIONS MEDITATIONS HYMN HYMN SCRIPTURE SCRIPTURE
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” “ … Keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).
TRADITION Tradition comes in for a lot of criticism, and rightly so, if there is no higher reason for doing something than that it is the way it has always been done. Yet, the word, “tradition,” has a neutral meaning. It simply refers to “that which is handed over” from one person or group to another. It does not say whether that which is delivered is good or bad, true or false. When traditions are employed for important and useful purposes, they might be thought of as a golden chain which gives order to life, memorializes great events and people of the past, and gives continued life to the noble principles they exemplified. Since God employed humans, beginning with the inspired men who wrote the Scriptures, to hand down the gospel from teachers to disciples, even it, by definition, is “tradition” and is so called by Paul (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6). However, traditions are, at the very least, wasteful when people appeal to them mindlessly. When a man asked his young wife why she cut off the ends of a ham before putting it in the oven, she could only answer that it was because that was what she had always seen her mother do before baking her hams. So, they decided to call her mother and ask her why she had always cut off the ends of her hams. She likewise replied that it was because she had always seen her mother cutting off the ends of her hams before baking. This only intensified their curiosity, and they determined to pursue an answer to their question all the way to her grandmother. However, when they got her on the phone, she resolved the mystery by simply saying, “I always cut off the ends of my hams because they were too big for my pan.” At their worst, traditions are dangerous when they are used for nefarious purposes. In such cases, they conflict with the God’s word and impede obedience to it, or they are put on a par with it and obedience to them is required as if they were God’s word. The Pharisees imposed traditions to make themselves appear more righteous and enrich themselves (Matt. 15:1ff). This made their traditions perhaps the greatest point of conflict between themselves and Jesus. When it is at its best, tradition might be thought of as the passing of a baton between runners in a relay race. Only one baton per team is permitted, and grabbing the baton of an opposing runner, failing to hand one’s baton off cleanly, dropping it, or crossing the finish line without one’s baton can cost a team the victory. The teaching of God’s truth is like this. It is not the prerogative of one generation to produce their own version of “truth,” but, rather, it is their obligation to “hand off” the same truth they received from their forebears, going all the way back to those who originally received it and set it down in Scripture. This ought to impress upon all parents, teachers, and Christians in general the importance of receiving the pure “tradition” of God’s word and faithfully passing it on to the next person or generation just as they had had it passed on to them by those who preceded them. Paul alludes to this responsibility when he says, “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
HOME HOME MEDITATIONS MEDITATIONS HYMN HYMN SCRIPTURE SCRIPTURE