“Where Is That In The Bible?”


            "Where is that in the Bible?" The question presumes we don’t have any other source for our Holy Tradition. This is typically a question coming forth from the Protestant belief of "Sola Scriptura", or "The Bible Alone" (all by itself). Unfortunately, for most of what happens in the Christian world, it is not in the Bible.


            A verse you can point to is the following from the Gospel of John 21:25 - And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (This and all succeeding bible references are from the NKJ version)


Other verses you can point to are:


Phillippians 4:9

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.


II Thessalonians 2:15
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.


            The "word" in that last scripture means "word of mouth", or Oral Tradition. At the time of the Apostles, Oral Tradition was as important as Written Tradition. Part of the written tradition is what we call the New Testament. It is not all of the written tradition. Some of Paul's letters were lost. At the time of the authorization of the New Testament (end of the 4th century), the Oral Tradition spoken of by Paul was now contained in the Holy Tradition of the Church, some of it written down and some of it translated into the experience of the Church (liturgy, Iconography, etc.). It was because the Church was experiencing the life of the Apostles that they could determine which texts were appropriate to put in the New Testament Canon.


            These same men also authorized other texts for the edification of the people. Not a part of the New Testament Canon, but rather a Second Canon of spiritual readings - a preferred book list of sorts.


            "Sola Scriptura", or "The Bible by itself", leaves out all other texts, all other parts of Holy Tradition, and all of the experience of the Church. So the one who asks the question, "Where is that in the Bible?", will have to be content with the verses from the Bible that say not everything that was done was written down, and some was passed on orally.


Another verse often neglected or re-translated (e.g., the meaning of “Church”), is:


1 Timothy 3:15

but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.


The Church is the pillar and support of the Truth, not the New Testament. When you separate the Bible from the Holy Tradition of the Church, you can leave interpretation of the Truth open to misunderstanding and mistranslation.


            Sharing our Holy Tradition with those who accept “Sola Scriptura” is often sharing from this "extra" part that they don't accept. Unfortunately that is their loss, and you have to be content to a certain degree that they will make the choice not to accept what you know to be true because they have chosen to... limit their understanding to only those parts they can interpret from the New Testament, and unfortunately the New Testament is not the whole story.



Scripture List Pointing Outside the New Testament (NKJ)

 

John 21:25     - And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

 

John 20:30     - And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

 

Phillippians 4:9        The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

I Thessalonians 4:1      - Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;

 

II Thessalonians 2:15  - Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

 

II Thessalonians 3:6    - But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

 

I Corinthians 11:2    - Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.



TRADITION - <<paradosis>> in Greek, "a handing down or on" , or of "apostolic teaching.”


For more information on the Holy Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, see the article on Holy Tradition under Orthodoxy 101.