“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
II Thessalonians 2:15
Traditions are those things which have been passed down or transferred from one generation to another. Some traditions are worth preserving and observing, but others are not. Jesus rebuked some of the religious people in His day for exalting their traditions above the Scripture. In their case, the traditions had effectively replaced the Word of God. They were more committed to their man-made traditions than the inspired Truth.
We all must be willing to let go of traditions that are only the philosophies or opinions of men. However, when Paul wrote to the church members in Thessalonica, he admonished them to “hold the traditions.” These traditions were were based on the teachings of the Bible and they were to be protected and preserved. It is interesting that we are encouraged to “hold” these Biblical precepts and principles. The command to “hold” implies action. We are to seize or retain truths that have been imparted to us.
The fact that we are to “hold the traditions” implies that there are forces present that will attempt to take these traditions from us. We know this is true. There has always been an attempt to cast doubt on the integrity and accuracy of Scripture, as far back as the Garden of Eden. There are many liberal and compromising elements in our society, as well as in the religious community, bent on eroding our confidence in the Bible. Therefore, we must be diligent to “hold the traditions.”
It is not original with us, but we sometimes say, “If it is new, it is not true; and if it is true, it is not new.” There is certainly nothing wrong with advances in such things as technology, medical treatment, etc. Even Bible study has been aided with the availability of the computer. However, the contemporary trends toward new forms of worship, new Bible translations, new standards of behavior and appearance, new alliances forbidden in the Scripture are direct assaults on the traditions that have been passed to us.
In referencing the origin of those worthwhile traditions, Paul said, “which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Bible truths make up those traditions which we are to hold to. When tempted to relax our grip on God’s Word, be reminded to “hold the traditions.”