Sacred Tradition and Saint Paul’s Spoken Word

The concept of “Sacred Tradition” — extrabiblical church tradition, customs, and teaching that are equal in weight and authority to God’s Holy, infallible, and inerrant Word (i.e. that which is God-breathed, theopneustos in 2 Timothy 3:16) is one of the most divisive ideas to develop in church history. Proponents are quick to pit it against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. However, they typically do so with a gross misunderstanding of what Sola Scriptura means. This often results in an ignorant, even dishonest implication that Sola Scriptura is a rejection of historical, church tradition as a valid and edifying source of authority in the Christian life and community. Mischaracterization aside, Scripture mentions “tradition” in both negative and affirming terms, though there is far more of the former. One of the few verses that speaks positively about unwritten tradition is 2 Thessalonians 2:15. It is also the one most “sacred tradition” proponents cite:

“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV)


1Images from: Sweet Publishing / PAUL IN THESSALONICA AND BEREA, Acts 17:1–15. Free Bible images, Accessed: August 17, 2022

Happy 10th Birthday, Nathan!

Our youngest son is 10 today. By God’s grace, he’s strong, healthy, and full of energy and talent. There are few blessings that compare to seeing your children grow and find their God-given gifts. The text below was written and shared on Facebook nine years ago, on is 1st birthday. It is a testimony we’ll never forget. I love you and pray that you’ll grow to be a great man of faith.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

The Origin of the Eliakim-Peter Typology, Part 3: The Silence of the Fathers

The 17th century commentary on Isaiah 22 by Jacobus Tirinus from the previous post didn’t outline an elaborate Eliakim-Peter typology. It is so brief it defies interpretation, apart from his poor understanding of Scripture, but as with any historical inquiry, there are other concerns. Anachronism is an enemy of understanding and we should be cautious of projecting ideas familiar to us back into a time when they were unknown and drawing unwarranted conclusions. We should also be careful to discern whether Tirinius or others do the same. Upon examination, we’ll see Tirinus does and we’ll also see a deafening silence in the fathers regarding the Eliakim-Peter link.

As a reminder, the English text of his commentary (via Google Translate), stated the following: “…The Messiah is allegorically represented by Eliakim, says Cyril. & Theodoretus. And here St. John observes [in Revelation 3:7] where he speaks of Christ, he who has the key of David opens and no one closes. And Christ promised to delegate the same key to his Vicar Peter, [in Matthew 16:19]. I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” – Jacobus Tirinus (c. ~1645 AD)

Theodoret of Cyrus (Syria): I wonder if he looked anything like this. It’s difficult to decide if he looks contemplative or confused.[1]”File:Theodoret of Cyr (in A. Thevet1584).png.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 28 Sep 2020, 00:50 UTC. 21 Jun 2022, 08:01.


1”File:Theodoret of Cyr (in A. Thevet1584).png.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 28 Sep 2020, 00:50 UTC. 21 Jun 2022, 08:01.
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