Friday, February 20, 2009

Biblical Evidence For Apostolic Oral Tradition

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From my 2009 book, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (mostly just Bible passages)

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AUTHORITATIVE ORAL TRADITION (INCLUDING “WORD” AND “WORD OF GOD”)

Matthew 13:19
When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.

Matthew 13:20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; (other instances of “the word”: Matt 13:21-23; Mk 2:2; 4:14-20,33; Lk 1:2; 8:12-13,15; Jn 1:1,14 [of Jesus]; Jn 14:24; Acts 6:4; 8:4; 11:19; 14:25; 16:6; Gal 6:6; Eph 5:26; Col 4:3; 1 Pet 3:1)

Luke 5:1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret. (other instances of “word of God”: Lk 3:2; 8:11,21; Acts 6:2; 13:5,7,44,48; 17:13; 18:11; Rom 9:6; 1 Cor 14:36; Eph 6:17; Phil 1:14; Col 1:25; 1 Tim 4:5; 2 Tim 2:9; Titus 2:5; Heb 6:5; 13:7; 1 Jn 2:14; Rev 1:9; 20:4)

Luke 11:28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Acts 4:4 But many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 8:14 . . . Sama'ria had received the word of God . . .

Acts 8:25 Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. (other instances of “word of the Lord”: Acts 15:36; 16:32; 19:10,20; 1 Thess 1:8; 4:15)

Acts 10:36-44 You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest; not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

Acts 11:1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

Acts 12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Acts 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord spread throughout all the region.

Acts 14:3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. (cf. Acts 20:32: “word of his grace”)

Acts 15:7 And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.”

Acts 15:27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.

Acts 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessaloni'ca, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach);

Romans 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 14:29-30 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent.

2 Corinthians 3:6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Ephesians 1:13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, (cf. 2 Tim 2:15: “word of truth”)

Philippians 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (cf. 1 John 1:1: “word of life”)

Colossians 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit;

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

In 1 Thessalonians “Scripture” or “Scriptures” never appear. “Word,” “word of the Lord,” or “word of God” appear five times (1:6,8, 2:13 [twice], 4:15), but in each instance it is clearly in the sense of oral proclamation, not Scripture.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 . . . stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth, or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you,

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me . . . guard the truth which has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

2 Timothy 2:2 And what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.

Hebrews 1:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 2:1-4 Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 5:13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child.

James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

James 1:22-23 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror;

1 Peter 1:23 You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

1 Peter 1:25 “but the word of the Lord abides for ever.” That word is the good news which was preached to you.

1 Peter 2:8 . . . they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

2 Peter 1:19,21 And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. . . . no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 2:7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.

1 John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love.

Revelation 1:2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.

Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne;

NEW TESTAMENT ALLUSIONS TO AUTHORITATIVE ORAL TEACHING NOT RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE


Matthew 13:3 And he told them many things in parables, . . .

Matthew 28:20
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.

Mark 4:2
And he taught them many things in parables, . . . . .

Mark 4:33
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;

Mark 6:34
As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Luke 11:53
As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard, and to provoke him to speak of many things,

Luke 24:15-16,25-27
While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. . . . And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

John 16:12
I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

John 20:30
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; (cf. Jn 21:25: “many other things which Jesus did”)

Acts 1:2-3
until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God.

NEW TESTAMENT CITATIONS OF OLDER NON-BIBLICAL ORAL TRADITIONS


Matthew 2:23 And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

This notion cannot be found in the Old Testament, yet it was passed down “by the prophets.” Thus, a prophecy, which is considered to be “God's Word” was passed down orally, rather than through Scripture.

Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 23:2 The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;

The phrase or idea of Moses' seat cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament. It is found in the (originally oral) Mishna, where a sort of “teaching succession” from Moses on down is taught.

1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

The Old Testament says nothing about such miraculous movement, in the related passages about Moses striking the rock to produce water (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:2-13). But rabbinic tradition does.

2 Timothy 3:8 As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith;

These two men cannot be found in the related Old Testament passage (Exodus 7:8 ff.), or anywhere else in the Old Testament.

James 5:17 Eli'jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.

The reference to a lack of rain for three years is absent from the relevant Old Testament passage in 1 Kings 17.

1 Peter 3:19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,

This is drawn from the Jewish apocalyptic book 1 Enoch (12-16).

Jude 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

Jude 14-15
It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Direct quotation of 1 Enoch 1:9.

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