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The following are various emails I received in 2004 on Catholicism. The the emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>Subject: Traditions

Hi Gary,

I want to ask you a couple of questions about tradition. I showed my cousin (who's Catholic) Colossians 2:8, and he was explaining to me that there's 2 types or tradition. He said there is tradition of man and Tradition with a capital T. So my question to you is that is there 2 types of tradition that the Bible speak of?

I know of a verse in 2nd Thessalonians 2:15 in the KJV that talks about keeping tradition which my cousin brought up to show that there are 2 types, but I'm not going to take his word for it. So I am asking you.

And another question is, what does Colossians 2:8 speak about when he said tradition of men?

Thanks again Gary for helping me out.

God bless,

2Thes 2:15 So, consequently, brothers [and sisters], be standing firm and be holding [or, keeping] the handed down teachings which you* were taught, whether by word or by our letter.

Col 2:8 Be watching out lest anyone will be carrying you* away as spoils of war [fig., taking control of you*] through philosophy [or, human wisdom] and empty deception, according to the traditions of people, according to the rudimentary elements [or, basic teachings] of the world and not according to Christ.

The above is how I translated these verses in my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament. As can be seen, in the first I used "teachings" not traditions. But the important point is that these were teachings/ traditions given by Paul, an apostle. That is a far cry from a church's own teachings/ traditions. The point is, the only teachings/ traditions we are to follow are those from the "apostles and prophets" that are contained in the Bible. These are the only ones we can be assured are in fact from the apostles and prophets.

So yes, there are two kinds of tradition, those contained in the Bible that came from the apostles and prophets and those that are not Biblical.

The Catholic Church tries to claim that many of its traditions come from the apostles if though they are not in the Bible, but in many, many cases, this can be shown not to be so. There is no evidence whatsoever, for instance, that the apostles invoked Mary and asked her to pray for them after she died or that they invoked other departed "saints." And they most definitely did not create statues of them and adorn their places of worship with the statues. Not only is there no Biblical support for such practices, but there is Biblical evidence against them.

As for Col 2:8, the point of "the traditions of people" is that Paul is referring to any tradition that is not given by God, again through his apostles and prophets. And again, the only ones we are sure of are those in the Bible.


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