THE TRADITIONS OF MEN

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The critics of Jesus and his disciples watched him like a hawk to find something to condemn him. It did not take them long before they found the disciples eating their food without going through the ceremonial washing required by “the traditions of the elders” (Mark 7:1-5). They demanded an explanation why they would have the audacity to violate the “traditions of men.”

Jesus defended the actions of the disciples by referring them to the word of God. He had previously rebuked them for adding their man-made traditions to the Sabbath day and thereby making the law of God of no effect (Mark 2:23-3:6). Now on this occasion, He replied,

“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:6-8).

In making application of Isaiah’s teaching, Jesus explained that they held on to their traditions while letting go of the commands of God. The word of God taught them to honor and take care of their parents in their old age (Exodus 20:12). But by their “traditional trick,” they released themselves from this obligation—thus violating the word of God. This was just one example, because Jesus said, “And you do many things like that” (Mark 7:13).


The divine revelation of the gospel handed down to us by Christ and the apostles is also referred to by the term tradition: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The traditions and commandments of men are not to be blindly followed, but the biblical traditions are to be faithfully followed (2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:2).

Copyright © 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved



Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 45142
shelby@thefloyds.net