Traditionally Untraditional A reflection on 2 Tim. 3:16

Brother X showed up at chapel a little while back. Don't worry, I'm not going to rip him. I actually found him pretty good this time around. He preached on something a bit more... what's the word... traditional?

The topic was the absolute authority of God's Word and his text was 2 Timothy 3:16. You know:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness

He used the text to argue for Biblical Inerrancy and the abolition of tradition. He did a pretty good job even if I disagree with the conclusion. That conclusion being the promotion of a Sola Scriptura with major 'roid rage.

As you may know from some of my book reviews, I have been reading a lot about the role of tradition in Church history. It is clear from even a cursory glance that church tradition and reverence for scripture go hand in hand. One would not exist without the other, and the other is just as dependent on the first.

Case in point, how did we get the current construction of the cannon of scripture? Church counsels confirmed the passages that were already accepted within the community of believers. The tradition (that word means what is passed on, that's all) of the universal Church became official.

Note that this tradition was not empty or vain or unquestioned. The authority of the scriptures was passed down (tradition) from the Apostles, to the disciples they made, to the next generation, etc. We have Paul talking about this process in his letters, Luke mentioning it in his gospel and Mark penning a gospel for a disciple who was actually an eye-witness.

As I was sitting, listening to his message it dawned on me that 2 Timothy 3:16 could easily be interpreted to make the opposite point. In it we have the inspiration of God. But that inspiration seems to be almost useless on its own. The inspiration is dependent on righteous teaching, reproof, correction and instruction.

When was the last time you spent 45 minutes in a service and only heard the gospel of John read aloud from beginning to end?

In other words, there's always an element of interpretation associated with scripture. Otherwise, all we would do in our church meetings is read the Bible, inhale, exhale and leave. When was the last time you spent 45 minutes in a service and only heard the gospel of John read aloud from beginning to end?

We don't do that. We interpret. We take scripture and pass down teaching that expounds on and clarifies the meaning of the words. That is tradition. Never mind our structured church services, the fact that we have a set of predictable teachings from any section of scripture indicate that we follow a tradition.

It's just human nature. Don't you think God knows this about us? Don't you think God can use this to glorify Himself? I believe He does.

Look, you can believe what you like about the role of tradition in the church. I believe it is something that we cannot escape. On the contrary, it is something we should be keenly aware of and appreciate.

Created By
Christopher Jimenez


Created with images by hurk - "synagogue brighton church" • stevepb - "bible scripture gospel"

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