Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tradition and the Word of God

33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:33-35 (ESV)
We don’t have these words of Jesus recorded anywhere but here. This isn’t to say that Jesus didn’t say these words. We know he did. The gospels don’t record everything Jesus ever said. The early church, the first generation would have had many different traditions of Jesus Christ, would have known much more about the disciples and the things they had done than we do today. Some of these things have been recorded through the efforts of men like Papias whose history is preserved today in the Church History of Eusebius. Others have been lost completely. Some of the extra biblical recordings can be helpful in understanding scripture, and yet scripture, that which we have recorded in the apostolic word, is what determines doctrine. The sola scriptura of the reformation doesn’t care to ignore tradition, reading Luther and the other reformers one is amazed at their knowledge and understanding of church fathers and the history of the church. On the other hand they also understood that tradition can’t be trusted completely. And of course, it would also be nice if what was claimed as tradition might at least have some roots to at least the second century if not the first.

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