Apostolic Authority and Traditions
1 Corinthians 11:2
Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.…

In using language so imperious to all seeming as this is, St. Paul spake as an apostle, i.e. as one sent and commissioned by the Divine Head and Ruler of the Church. That he should use such language at all is very instructive and significant to all who read the Epistles and desire to receive them in the appropriate and intended spirit.

I. APOSTOLIC INDIVIDUALITY AND AUTHORITY ASSERTED, "That ye remember me." What an assumption is here of importance and peculiar authority! It was Paul's great concern that his converts should remember Christ: does he here set himself up as a rival of the Lord? By no means. But he claims to be the minister, the ambassador of Christ to the Churches, whose words are to be received as the words of one speaking by the Spirit of Christ. Readers of the New Testament are by such language reminded that the inspired writers, through their personal, intimate, official relation to Christ, have a claim upon the respectful attention and the cordial faith of those who profess to be Christ's.

II. THE OBSERVANCE OF INSPIRED TRADITIONS ENJOINED. In Christianity there is an element of law and an element of liberty; and these two elements are in harmony each with the other, the two being necessary in order to the completeness of the dispensation In some passages even of this Epistle stress is laid upon freedom; whilst in this verse stress is laid upon subjection. Traditions, communications, of a religious kind had been committed by the apostle to these Corinthians. What were these?

1. Traditions of doctrine. It was from Paul's lips that many of them had first heard the gospel; to him all were indebted for the systematic exposition of its glorious truths.

2. Traditions of precept and conduct. This letter is itself full of such; for Paul combined, in a remarkable and admirable manner, the functions of the teacher of truth and those of the ethical instructor.

3. Traditions of discipline. As soon as societies were formed, it became necessary to draw up and promulgate regulations for the internal government and ordering of such societies. They naturally looked to inspired apostles for directions how to proceed, and they did not look in vain. The context shows us how dependent the first Churches were upon apostolic guidance for the maintenance of their order and the administration of their offices and affairs.

III. SUBJECTION TO APOSTOLICAL DIRECTIONS COMMENDED. We gain here an insight into the very mixed character of the members of the primitive Churches. Much in their conduct is in this very Epistle censured with something like severity; yet praise is not withheld where praise is due. There is a kind of praise which is dangerous, which involves insincerity on the part of those who offer, and fosters pride on the part of those who receive it. Yet the general fault amongst men and amongst Christians is unduly to withhold praise. Such commendation as this of the apostle could not but encourage and stimulate to a cheerful and resolute obedience to the injunctions of apostolic and Divine authority. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

WEB: Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

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