15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word or by letter. WEB
“stand firm and hold the traditions which you were taught by us” The word tradition means to pass down to another person, in this case, a message which is person-to-person (orally) that it might continue with each generation. What was the message? The answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Let’s see what Paul’s tradition was.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
“13 For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe.”
The tradition was the same message that was penned as we have it in our Bibles today. There is no missing or secret message of God where one special religious group contains. The Scriptures define itself with what it means. We can rest assured that we have the full message of Jesus Christ.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”ESV
Jesus gave to His disciples [believers] the keys of the Kingdom.
Every Christian possesses the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The phrase “the keys of the Kingdom” has to do with binding and releasing. Bind means that a Christian can declare to a person if he/she rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ that their sins remain. Loose means that the believer can say to them, your sins have been forgiven, if they repent and confess Jesus as Lord [Romans 10:9].
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
The keys of the Kingdom of Heaven refer to the Word of God as seen in Matthew 23:13 which says,13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.ESV
The scribes and Pharisees through their traditions have added to the Word of God which prevented people from knowing the true Living God and making them unable to get saved.
Mark 7:8-13 [Jesus speaking to the scribes and Pharisees]
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” ESV
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. ESV
To make matters worse, the scribes and Pharisees who knew the Truth and had access to the Kingdom of Heaven so people can get saved didn’t go in themselves. That is why Jesus said about them in Matthew 15:14,“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” ESV
[A Catholic said]“You Protestants have some big problems if you cannot see the difference between Veneration and Adoration. Your understanding is so one dimensional. Because you have a limited view of Divine Revelation; only accepting scripture without tradition. Take a look at your Bible which says, ” Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”(2 Thes. 3:6) and also, ” So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”(2 Thes 2:15, RSV)”
The word tradition in those two passages has nothing to do with Catholic theology, that is number 1. Remember, context ascribes to a word the meaning of it which is the key to understanding Holy Scripture.
Let us look at 2 Thes. 3:6, in that passage the keyword is: idle…Paul is saying not to be idle and remember the tradition spoken about that issue. Paul is not referring to a doctrine that is passed down verbally that only the Catholics know but, their traditions has to do with the message of idleness that was already written down which are the Scriptures. In 2 Thes. 3:6, he was referring to this passage:
1 Timothy 5:13
13 At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips† and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say.
Now, let’s look at 2 Thes. 2:15
2 Thessalonians 2:15
15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.
The question to ask is, [what traditions do they, the church must hold to?] Another question to ask, for understanding this passage, [do we know what the Apostles taught?]
The first answer to the question would be that the traditions are the same message as that of Scripture and the second question, the answer is, yes, we do know what they taught. Below are 5 points that clarify what the Apostle Paul meant by traditions.
1. We stand firm in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2. The Apostles taught [verbally, traditions or written down, our Bible which is the same message] pertaining to Jesus Christ. 3. Jesus said in Matthew 7 [referring to standing firm] that to hear His Word and to do it, a person has built his house [his life] on the rock [saving faith in Jesus Christ] and nothing will bring him down [destroy his faith in Jesus] 4. Paul with the rest of the Apostles will never contradict with the traditions they taught and what has been written down which are the Scriptures. 5. The traditions and what has been penned down [our Bible] are both and the same, the Scriptures since there is only one author, the Holy Spirit and one message about Jesus Christ.
What are the traditions? Basically, some places that the 12 Apostles and Paul visited, they were taught the Word of God but, later some got letters containing the Word of God that was taught to them and some did not. So, both the word tradition and the Word of God were the same message.