2 Thessalonians 2:15

2:15 traditions. “Traditions” can be either valuable or harmful, depending on whether or not they support God’s Word. Jesus, for example, rebuked the Pharisees on this basis: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3). Paul, on the other hand, encouraged the Thessalonians to keep the traditions they had been taught by him, either verbally or in writing (see also II Thessalonians 3:6). For the first twenty years or so of the spread of Christianity, each church needed to carefully and accurately remember what they had been taught orally by the apostles or their prophets, pastors, and teachers, for they did not yet have the New Testament in written form. By this time, however, Paul had written down at least some of his teachings, and the New Testament was beginning to take shape. Eventually, by the time the last apostle died, it would all have been written and circulated among the churches, and there would be no further need for them to be guided by the oral traditions. The corresponding message to us today, therefore, would be to “stand fast, and hold the Scriptures which ye have been taught.”

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