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Scripture Reading: Mark 7:5-13

Hold the Traditions



1.  Traditions provide a sense of stability and security.

2.  Religious traditions: Some good and some bad; Bible distinguishes.

3.  Tradition (paradosis): “A handing down or on” (Vine).*

4.  Two sources of religious traditions: God or Man (Matt. 21:25).

  a.  Traditions from men are not binding and not spiritually profitable, Col. 2:8, 20-23.

  b.  Traditions from God are binding and spiritually profitable, 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6.

  c.  We have to tell the difference, Phil. 1:9-10.



  A.  They Often Excite Zealous Emotions, Gal. 1:14.

      -To such an extent that people keep them and reject God’s commandments, Mark 7:9 (cf. Rom. 10:2-3).

  B.  They Are Easily Regarded as Equal to God’s Word, Mark 7:1-8.

    1.  Tradition of the elders (Jewish washings).

      a.  Added to God’s law (Found fault when not kept, 7:2-5).

      b.  Catholic Church: Scripture and “sacred tradition.” *

    2.  Other human traditions:

      a.  Instrumental music in worship (alongside singing, Eph. 5:19); Addition.

      b.  Religious holidays (Christmas, Easter); Religious ceremonies.

    3.  Vain, hypocritical, and sinful, Mark 7:6-7; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9.

  C.  They Invalidate God’s Word, Mark 7:9-13 (Corban).

    1.  Sprinkling for baptism (Col. 2:12).

    2.  Denominationalism invalidates one church (Eph. 4:4; Jno. 17:21).

    3.  Mardi Gras and Lent, Rom. 13:13-14 (Gal. 5:21).

  D.  They Spoil One’s Faith, Col. 2:8.

    1.  Human philosophies and religions (Humanism, evolution; Buddhism, Hinduism; Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism; Premillennialism, Calvinism, etc.).

    2.  Be rooted and grounded in Christ to avoid corruption, Col. 2:6-7.


II.  APOSTOLIC TRADITIONS, Acts 2:42 (instructions).

  A.  The Apostles’ Doctrine: Word of God, 2 Thess. 2:15 (1 Thess. 2:13).

  B.  How Were Apostolic Traditions Delivered? Jude 3

    1.  Revelation received from the Lord, Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 11:23 (15:3).

    2.  Delivered through inspired teaching, 2 Thess. 2:15.

  C.  What is Our Responsibility Toward the Apostolic Traditions?

    1.  Hold fast, 2 Thess. 2:15: “To lay hold of, take, seize, to hold fast, not to discard or let go; to keep carefully and faithfully” (Thayer, 359).

    2.  Walk in them, 2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2: “keep.”



  A.  Avoid By Being People of the Book. (God’s truth)

    1.  Human traditions take hold when Bible is ignored/minimized (Hos. 4:6). Illus. Catherine the Great. (i.e., no Bible reason).*

    2.  Protect comes through diligent Bible study and use, 2 Tim. 2:15.

  B.  Avoid By Not Thinking of Men More Highly than We Should, 1 Cor. 4:6.

    1.  “...the ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written….” (KJV)

    2.  Prominent preachers, close friends, parents, and family: Apostolic traditions must prevail over all these considerations.

    3.  Including ourselves, 1 Cor. 8:2 (Gal. 6:3).

  C.  Avoid By Continuing to Hold Fast the Apostolic Traditions, Col. 2:6-8.

    1.  Grow in the faith and persevere.

    2.  Respect God’s truth as the only and final authority for serving Him.



1.  Some traditions are harmless (liberties and judgment).

2.  But, when they add to, take from, and replace God’s holy, apostolic traditions (NT) they must be rejected, opposed, and guarded against.





 * Tradition: “a giving up, giving over…the act of giving up…the surrender of cities…a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept,… objectively, what is delivered, the substance of a teaching” (Thayer).


 * Catholic Church: “Her (RCC) supreme rule of faith ever has been and ever will be the Scriptures together with sacred tradition.”  (Dogmatic Constitu­tion on Divine Revelation, Vatican II Council; “Divine Revelation,” 20)


 * Tradition without reason (i.e., without Bible):  William Poteet wrote in The Pentecostal Minister how in 1903 the Russian Czar noticed a sentry posted for no apparent reason on the Kremlin grounds. Upon inquiry, he discovered that in 1776 Catherine the Great found there the first flower of spring. “Post a sentry here,” she commanded, “so that no one tramples that flower under foot!” Some traditions die hard.  (Leadership, Summer, 1989, p. 43)




By: Joe R. Price

Posted March 9, 2022