The Bible Is Final
The Importance of Apostolic Tradition
Peter and Paul (as well as the other New Testament writers) continually affirm the importance of apostolic tradition. Whether by word of mouth or by letter, they intend for their Spirit-moved words to be handed down.
"When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea." (Colossians 4:16)
"I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren." (1 Thessalonians 5:27)
"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)
"Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 1:13)
Now one must ask why? Why was it so important to pass on the letters and words of the apostles if God directly reveals His word to Christians everywhere? In fact, in the ludicrous extreme, if God's will is made known to us today why should we have a Bible at all? What is interesting is that Paul not only stresses that his words be handed down, but he dispatches warning that they should not be altered or added to,
"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other." (1 Corinthians 4:6)
"I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:6-12)
Warning after warning is given throughout the New Testament for those that might distort the gospel of Christ. This warning to the Galatians is truly severe. Paul not only reiterates the penalty for altering the word of God, but he also reasserts his apostleship, confirming that he passes on through preaching, what he received through revelation from Jesus Christ.