So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the TRADITIONS which you were taught by us, either by WORD OF MOUTH or by letter.
On Deposit of Faith — 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have HEARD from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; GUARD [keep] the truth that has been DEPOSITED [entrusted] to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
The second verse is also a good one citing development of doctrine, in that Paul exhorts Timothy how to rightly divide God’s word by following a “pattern of sound words.” Essentially, he taught Timothy how to derive doctrine from the deposit. This means that there is much to be derived from the deposit, otherwise there is no pattern to follow—there would instead be some static list of doctrines! The Church still uses the Apostolic hermeneutic today. :o
When you use the word “HEARD” above, it appears you using this as some sort of proof that this word must signify being told something verbally as opposed to some other source. We know that those who are taught something from God (see John 6:45) and who 'listen" [Greek AKOUW in both 2Ti 1:13 and John 6:45] did not here him verbally.
NAB John 6:45 It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens = AKOUW to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
In the section of Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich Greek lexicon where the word AKOUW is discussed along with 2Ti 1:13 it makes this comment:
Still other constrs. occur, which are also poss. when the hearing is not directly fr. the mouth of the informant, but involves a report which one has received fr. the pers. in any way at all
Therefore one cannot assume that this Greek word means hearing the words spoken from another. It could as easily mean reading and learning from the words one wrote to someone else or conveyed via some other means.
NJB 2 Timothy 1:13 Keep as your pattern the sound teaching you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
I would see this as counsel to compare anything one hears which might be new against what one has already been taught (see my post where AKOUW does not always mean to hear with the ears) and to reject anything that does not fit the earlier pattern.
God gave ‘gift of tongues’ … and ears to hear them, and the preaching of the word. The primary means of spreading gospel is by preaching … not reading. As borne out by Christ using preaching/healing as his primary means of teaching, and his great commission to the Apostles to do the same.
It was only when others starting composing errant accounts of the gospel message … that the Apostles & Luke, Mark were moved to record the accurate account.
I don’t deny that the gospel was preached verbally. That is besides the point. I have shown you that the Greek word AKOUW can mean either listening verbally or otherwise. I don’t argue that it always means “otherwise.” This is your argument and you bear the burden of proof that it always means listening with one’s ears, if that is your position, or that it means this in your proof-text.
Remember, I don’t deny that there were not instructions given by word of mouth. I have already posted four categories of transmission.
Sacred truth written down in Scripture.
Sacred truth spoken.
Administrative instructions of a verbal nature.
Administrative instructions written down in Scripture.
Just because something was relayed verbally in one context does not mean that it was not later written down. In addition not all letters went to each congregation at the time it was written. For example, the Corinthians might not have information Paul wrote to the Romans except by word of mouth until the entire body of letters was copied and distributed. In those days this would take considerable resources and time.
In the mean time word of mouth would be the only way to communicate these things.
That being said, I have re-read 2 Timothy chapters 1-2 and see that there was a specific problem or heresy related to some teaching that the resurrection had already occurred. (2 Ti 2:18). In this instance there was no new truth being taught. It was an error that was being corrected.
In short, you need to prove not just that some instructions and teachings were given orally, but that some important instructions were both given orally but also never written down.
I believe taking the entirety of scripture into account, you have a better chance of coming to a solid conclusion than you do by looking at any single verse, but ultimately “nothing” can be “proven” from scripture alone.
Being Catholic, I of course don’t feel the burden of doctrinal proof that Sola Scriptura requires of its adherents.
I had actually thought about that one. However the fact that not all he did was written down does not mean there was some sort of secretive passing on of information from student to teacher that was never recorded. It merely says that not everything that Jesus did was written. To appeal to this for some sort of doctrine would be an argument from silence.
I am not an expert in Patristics, but are there arguments between two opposing sides that relies upon a verbal tradition to prove a point?
Here is something from a Catholic that appears to give evidence that there was an older tradition about whether the Holy Spirit is God.
“The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) Their History and Theology” , page 46 says that even though Athanasius believed that “the Spirit belongs to the essence of the Son as the Son belongs to the essence of the Father. Yet according to the custom of the time, Athanasius did not call the Spirit God” [Davis The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) Their History and Theology by Donald Davis, S.J. ]
Why would Athanasius not call the holy spirit God and why would the tradition of that time consider this incorrect if tradition was passed down from the apostles to church leaders? The only thing that makes sense is that it was an innovation to consider the holy spirit to be God that was a new doctrine introduced into the church at that time.
Heavens NO ! A new innovation or new doctrine, 200 plus years later after Chrst. That makes NO SENSE. New Testament & even OT] Scriptures taught the Trinity.
satan can twist the truth, to those who read scripture [w/o the Apostolic understanding provided by the Church]. ‘Private interpretation/judgment’ of scripture has always been a tool satan effectively used/uses to confuse those … outside the Church. And even those inside the Church … like Martin Luther, who reject and become Apostate.