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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Tradition

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Colossians 2:8 Titus 1:14 , a doctrine, sentiment, or custom not found in the Bible, but transmitted orally from generation to generation from some presumed inspired authority. In patriarchal times, much that was valuable and obligatory was thus preserved. But tradition has long been superseded by the successive and completed revelations of God's will which form the inspired Scriptures, the only perfect and sufficient rule of belief and practice. With this, even before the time of the Savior, Isaiah 8:20 , all traditions were to be compared, as being of no value if they conflicted with it, added to it, or took from it, Revelation 22:19 . The Jews had numerous unwritten traditions, which they affirmed to have been delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, and by him transmitted to Joshua, the judges, and the prophets. After their wars with the Romans under Adrian and Severus, in view of their increasing dispersion over the earth, the Jews desired to secure their traditions by committing them to writing. Accordingly Rabbi Judah "the Holy," composed the Mishna, or second law, the most ancient collection of the Hebrew traditions, about A. D. 190-220.

To this text two commentaries were afterwards added: the Gemara of Jerusalem, probably about A. D. 370; and the Gemara of Babylon, A. D. 500; forming, with the Mishna, the Talmud of Jerusalem and that of Babylon. The contents of these voluminous works poorly remunerate the student of the laborious task of reading them. Our Savior severely censured the adherents of such legendary follies in his own day, and reproached them with preferring the traditions of the elders to the law of God itself, and superstitiously adhering to vain observances while they neglected the most important duties, Matthew 15:1-20 Mark 7:1-13 . The traditions of the Romish church, with less apology than the ancient Jews had before the New Testament was written, are still more in conflict with the word of God, and still more deserving of the Savior's condemnation.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 3:6 , "tradition" means inspired instructions from the lips of those who received them from God, and were authorized to dispense them in his name. These apostolic sayings were obligatory only on those who received them as inspired directly from the apostles. Had any of them come down to our times, the only means of endorsing them must be by showing their agreement with the word of God, since inspiration and miracles have ceased.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Tradition'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/t/tradition.html. 1859.


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