To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
Being raised non-denominational brings certain assumptions when reading the Bible. As is also the case when being raised however it is a person is raised—we read based upon what we know. Or what we understand to be true. It’s difficult to change a perspective, to see things through an unbiased lens. When I started to read the Word outside the preconceived notions of a denomination (or lack there of), it was hard.
There are things I was taught to interpret a certain way, and verses I naturally glanced over without a second thought. The introduction and conclusions to Paul’s letters are one of those things. “Praise be to God,” “Live a good and honorable life,” etc. More specifically, “Follow the traditions we taught you.” This seems easy enough: Live by our teachings. From a Bible-only religious education, this is easily glanced over. But once you start to learn of Sacred Tradition, it has a whole new meaning.
Paul’s not just talking about “being good” and honoring God. He’s talking of the traditions passed down from the apostles, both verbally and by letter, in a time when there was no written Gospel to refer to. They depended upon one another to learn the Truth. And this is the beginning of the Church as we know it today. Of its Tradition, entwined with what we now understand through written Gospel.
Obviously, maybe. Sola scriptura is fine and admirable, but it leaves gaps and questions. What did we do before the Bible was compiled? Was Christianity an unorganized chaos, simply waiting for the direction of a written book? Not at all. The proof is right there in Bible itself—people were being baptized. They were being saved. And they were doing it through Tradition, through the newly-formed teachings of the Church.
It wasn’t a bunch of unorganized guys who created Christianity. It started with Jesus, who taught his disciples, who in turn taught their disciples. And so on down the line, for thousands of years. This had to start somewhere. It started with Peter’s preaching, and with Paul’s letters, and with the brief and wonderful ministry of Jesus Christ Himself.