Faith According to What is Written


The Written Word

“But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak,” (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Looking at this passage helps us understand one aspect of what God desires for the minister of His Word; that such a one would be an authentic proclaimer of God’s Word because he believes that Word. This faith is tied with the written word, not with tradition communicated by word of mouth or through some sort of vision or extra-revelation, but simply through the written word. As Paul states, it is faith, “according to what is written.” As it was in the past, so it is now – men of faith spoke because they believed, and so now also, we speak because we believe.

This is brought up in Paul’s words to Timothy:

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,” (2 Timothy 3:14)

A minister of God’s Word is to be convinced of the things he has learned. And again, it is interesting how Paul ties Scripture in with this, for right after Paul says these words to Timothy he continues: “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

And finally, those well known verses that we all know: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Our faith is tied to Scripture. It is tied to the word of the Apostles.

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

And how can we test tradition? How can we know if someone speaks the truth when they claim tradition that is not written? For many say they have this verbal tradition and that it has been preserved throughout the ages. Calvin put it simply: “we may judge in part from this Epistle what traditions he [Paul] here recommends, for he says — whether by word, that is, discourse, or by epistle. Now, what do these Epistles contain but pure doctrine, which overturns to the very foundation the whole of the Papacy, and every invention that is at variance with the simplicity of the Gospel?”[1]

And lest men think they are free to make up their own tradition, may we not forget those ten passages in which man’s uninspired traditions are stigmatized, for they were placed above the written Word of God (Matt. 15:2, 3, 6; 7:3, 5, 8, 9, 13; Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:8).

“No tradition of the apostles except their written word can be proved genuine on satisfactory evidence. We are no more bound to accept implicitly the Fathers’ interpretations of Scripture, because we accept the Scripture canon on their testimony, than we are bound to accept the Jews’ interpretation of the Old Testament, because we accept the Old Testament canon on their testimony.”[2]


[1] Calvin, “Commentary on Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians | Christian Classics Ethereal Library,” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom42.vii.iv.vi.html.
[2] Jamieson, Robert, D.D. “Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2”. “Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible”. <http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/jfb/view.cgi?book=2th&chapter=002&gt;. 1871.

One Response to Faith According to What is Written

  1. Lee says:

    Interesting quote from Jamieson – thanks.

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