Often, when we speak of tradition, there is one that we have forgotten. It must be remembered that there is another, godly tradition that we are to follow. It is the Pauline tradition.

"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle"(II Thessalonians 2:15).

"Now, we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us"(II Thessalonians 3:6).

We are to receive the traditions of Paul because:

(1) He is our DIVINELY appointed pattern.

"Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting" (I Timothy 1:16).

A pattern is "that which is to be copied or imitated" (Webster), "a sketch for imitation" (Strong).

Therefore, Paul writes:

"And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes, that ye may learn in us . . ." (I Corinthians 4:6).

"Wherefore I beseech you that you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus . . . who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ . . ." (I Corinthians 4:16,17).

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1).

"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do . . ." (Philippians 4:9).

"But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life . . ." (II Timothy 3:10)

(2) He is our DIVINELY appointed apostle.

"For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office" (Romans 11:13).

(3) To him has been committed this current DISPENSATION.

"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward" (Ephesians 3:1,2).

"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God" (Colossians 1:25).

This current dispensation was committed to Paul as a trust.

". . . a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me" (I Corinthians 9:17).

"According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (Timothy 1:11).

". . . the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me . . ."(Galatians 2:7).

"But hath in due times manifest His word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour" (Titus 1:3).

The word commit means "to give in trust; to put into the hands or power of another; to entrust; to put into any place for preservation; to deposit" (Webster), "to deposit (as a trust or for protection), to entrust" Strong (#3908, #4100).

The word trust means a "charge received in confidence; that which is committed to one's care; something committed to a person's care for use or management, and for which an account must be rendered" (Webster).

As we receive the truth of this dispensation, we also receive the dispensation itself.

". . . which is given me to you-ward" (Ephesians 3:2).

". . . which is given to me for you" (Colossians 1:25).

"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust . . . And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also"(I Timothy 6:20; II Timothy 2:2).

Why was Timothy to commit his trust to faithful men?

"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (I Corinthians 4:2).

We now have a trusteeship that has been committed to our own trust. We need to be faithful to Paul's pattern Paul's tradition and be ever so careful of the traditions of men!

Are we following Paul's traditions, or man's?

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

Visit Clyde's web site at http://www.pilkingtonandsons.com

Return to Index of Clyde Pilkington's Writings