Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
The word “Therefore” is especially given based on Paul’s words back in verses 1 & 2 of this chapter. However, he has supported those words with everything else since. He said then to them that they should not be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from them. In other words, “Anything you have heard which has not been given to you by an apostle, or which cannot be confirmed as apostolic in nature, is to be rejected outright.” After that, he defended this position by reexplaining what he had already explained to them, confirming that what he said was to be taken as authoritative. Anything contradictory to that was a false message.
He then says again, “brethren.” He is addressing them as fellow-believers in Christ, and he wants them to be sound in their doctrine and faith. For this reason, he continues with the words, “stand fast.” To stand is to be sound, fixed, and firm in doctrine. They were not to waiver and be “soon shaken or troubled” when some Johnny-come-lately passed along something which was not in accord with sound apostolic teaching. To support this, he continues with, “and hold the traditions which you were taught.”
“The traditions” are those things which they first heard from Paul and his associates, and which became ingrained in them. The word “tradition” here means “from close-beside.” It indicates something passed on from one generation to the next. As the apostles gave them their first instruction in Christ. It was this, and this alone, which they were to hold fast to. The word translated as “hold” means to seize hold of and to put under one’s control. This is what they were to do with the word given to them, and this is what we are to do with the word, once delivered to us, today. We are to hold fast to it, and we are not to be shaken by every wind of doctrine which passes by. How sad that Paul’s words are pretty much completely ignored by countless cults and unsound churches today!
He finishes with the words, “whether by word or by our epistle.” This is referring to the “traditions you were taught.” Those things which are apostolic in nature, and which were either in writing, or which would be codified in writing by other apostles, form what we call “the word of God,” or “the Holy Bible.” Once the word was recorded, and canonicity was determined, the word was set. What we should ask God when we hear someone claim divine inspiration over anything we hear is, “Shall I accept this, or will I stand fast on Your word alone?” It is a question each person must answer on his own. Is God’s word sufficient for our life and practice, or is it not?
Life application: This verse again shows us the truth of the doctrine of apostolic inspiration. It further implies then that when the apostolic age ended, no further revelation is given for our doctrine and faith. Paul’s words show that people should only hold on to what can be confirmed as from this divinely inspired process. It is exactly the reason why we are to never accept prophetic utterances, or claims of divine inspiration, by anyone else. The church age is literally spattered with false teachers who have claimed divine inspiration (and who continue to do so today), but none of their messages are to be considered authoritative or acceptable.
Lord God, You have spoken. Your word is set, and it is settled. May we never accept any supposed “word” from You by those who would attempt to add to what You have, once and for all time, delivered to the saints for their life, doctrine, and practice. Help us to be secure in our minds that the sixty-six books of the Bible are all-sufficient for us to know Your intentions for us, and to reject anything else which claims divine inspiration. You have spoken, and we have a sure, precious, and understandable word. Amen.