Why is Tradition necessary after Bible was Canonized?

Hey everybody,

Once the Bible was canonized, why was Tradition still needed? I could see having Tradition up until the time the Bible was put together, but why the need after that? God bless.


Hi Curtis,

Frist of all, who decided on the canon of the Bible? The Church, following Tradtion. Who interprets the Bible. The Church, following tradition.

Finally, read the last verse in the gospel of St.John :

Jesus accomplished many other actions. If one were to relate them in detail, the whole world would not suffice to contain all the books that would have to be written.

So you can see that the bible does not contain all that Jesus did and said. That is why we need Tradition.


Sacred Tradition is the revelation of God to His people via the Holy Spirit. Scripture does not take the place of Tradition but finds it’s source in the same wellspring of revelation. The two with the Magisterium (teaching authority of the Church) make up our single deposit of faith. So, in short, both Scripture and Tradition are the Word of God and therefore inspired so as not to be dismissed…God Bless…teachccd :slight_smile:

What are some examples of things that Jesus did or said that aren’t in Scripture but are just solely Sacred Tradition?

Because there are 35,000 protestant denominations that each claim to be based on the bible, and nothing but the bible.

More than anything, tradition teaches us how to read the bible, and keeps us from charging off in odd directions, like the JWs [to choose just one of well, 35,000 examples].

For one, the concept of the Holy Trinity, of which Jesus is an integral part, is not explicitly defined in Scripture.

However, it is not correct to think of Sacred Tradition and Scripture as being isolated, or independent of one another:

CCC Article 80:
Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal. Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own always, to the close of the age.


To aid in the interpretation of Scripture, and to preserve other truths not contained in Scripture.

We also need the Magisterium. They are “three legs of the stool”. Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium.

God Bless

Scripture is to tradition as special relativity is to general relativity…


I wonder what I meant by that?:confused:

Well, actually it is true. Scripture is the written portion of tradition. If you get rid of tradition, you cut scripture off from its very roots. There would be nothing supporting it.

If you get rid of tradition, you cut scripture off from its very roots. There would be nothing supporting it.

Indeed! There are other examples of things not explicitly taught in Scripture, such as the nature and importance of the sacraments, how Our Lord wanted the apostles to go about the missions, the hypostatic union, the Mass, the goodness of marriage in the Christian Age, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, etc. Also, more fundamentally, Our Lord chose to found a visible Church and to preserve her from error by the Holy Ghost, which is a good reason in itself to think that we need more than Scripture to know God’s will and do it. Finally, as others have pointed out, when others have tried to seperate themselves from the Church and the very sacramental worldview of Catholics with all that it entails (not only the preservation of the sacraments themselves, but also the goodness of physical creation, the centrality of having a visible Church and clearly distinct central authority, as a sign of God’s own authority, and the mystery of the Incarnation itself), they have fallen into all kinds of errors regarding these and other things, precisely in improperly interpreting the Scriptures. That so many strong disagreements exist among Protestants about central issues was a major reason for my own return to the Church.


In a nutshell, Tradition includes the Scriptures. Without Tradition, we would not know which writings would be inspired and which would not. Second, those parts of Tradition beyond the text of the scriptures illuminate the intended meaning of the authors of scripture. Tradition reveals truth in scripture and scripture in turn sheds light on Tradition.

Sorry, but I don’t have time for a more detailed response at this moment. I hope this little bit helps.


If the Bible were written like the Catechism, or Leviticus, or even the Didache, we wouldn’t need Tradition.

We must be careful not to omit some traditions from the Jews the Church has continued.

Here’s an article about the Jewish roots of the Catholic teachings about contraception:


It is actually a Protestant Tradition that once the Bible was complete Tradition would no longer be necessary. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Bible does not say that Scripture is the sole source for teaching.

2TI 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2TI 3:17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. NASB

Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching. Nowhere does Paul say that Scripture is the sole source for teaching.

2TI 1:13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
2TI 1:14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you

The early Church, like Paul, did not have a “New Testament” to refer to. They had oral tradition and a handful of letters. Our Fathers did their best to select those writings which they felt to be inspired and save them for all time that we may use them profitably for teaching.

I only asked this question because of the Scripture verse that one of the users brought up. All of God’s Authority is One and the Same…Three interdependent legs of the same Authority just like the Trinity…Its amazing how clear God makes things through the use of numbers.

Very good…just wanted to make sure. Sounds like your studying and RCIA program is paying off. I (perhaps like yourself) converted from a different faith tradition several years ago. It will be my 10 year anniversary as a Catholic when you are confirmed.

Augmenting your comment…I’ve been amazed at how clearly the Catechism addresses many of the questions that perplex others without faith, or even those of a different faith tradition. Many of the questions debated on these forums are addressed quite concisely and completely. I still find pearls of Wisdom within its pages even after these 10 year. In fact, I think that I am still learning to fully appreciate it.


There are many, many good responses to the OP.

I like Pope Benedict’s explanation given not too long ago best. Tradition is not just the transmission of doctrine and sacred realities, rather it is also the living stream that connects us to Jesus himself, it allows the Church, even today, to come into contact with Jesus, with all his teachings and the means of salvation he bequethed to the Church.

We cannot really know a person through a book. For example, we could read autobiographies of famous personalities, but we don’t really know (in the sense of having some relationship) that person, no matter how deeply I pore over that book. Only contact with the person or his family could transmit that knowledge and open that relationship to me.

Christianity is ultimately about relationship with a person: the God-man Jesus Christ. The Bible is ontologically incapable of bringing us into contact with Jesus. Our relationship with Jesus can only be experienced within the context of the Church which carries within herself the living memory of Jesus and his words and actions. This is what we call Tradition.

Scripture cannot obliterate the place and importance of Tradition, of which it is a part of. If it were to do so, Scripture would cease to be Scripture.

Monogamy is not prescribed by scripture, but by the teaching authority of the Church.

What about Jesus’ teaching on divorce in the Sermon on the Mount?

Hi Curtis,

What are some examples of things that Jesus did or said that aren’t in Scripture but are just solely Sacred Tradition?

Everything the church teaches that is not found in the Bible.


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