How does “Tradition” Relate to “Sola Scriptura”

By: Rev. Sam Harris; ©1999
A previous article in the Roman Catholic section prompted the question, “How does keeping the traditions (2 Thes. 2:15) relate to Sola Scriptura? Rev. Harris explains.

How does “Tradition” Relate to “Sola Scriptura”?


In the Roman Catholicism section, there is an article titled “Sola Scriptura?”. As a recommitted Christian, I believe in Sola Scripture. The question I have pertains to the keeping of the traditions that’s mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:15. How does this apply to Sola Scriptura?


2 Thessalonians 2:15 reads: “So, then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”

The word “traditions” in the Greek is “paradosis.” This word can also be translated “teachings,” i. e. the teachings of Paul and his associates. A good cross reference verse is 1 Corinthians 11:2, where Paul writes: “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions (teachings), just as I delivered them to you.”

A tradition or teaching can be communicated from one to another and be of a divine or human origin.

Examples of human traditions can be found in Matthew 15:2 & 3 where Jesus is con­fronting the Pharisees and scribes. Many of their traditions were not found in the Law of Moses, therefore, not divine in origin. Other examples of human traditions: Galatians 1:14 and Colossians 2:8.

Whether a “tradition” is human or divine depends upon it’s Scriptural basis. There­fore—Sola Scriptura!

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