The words that Jesus spoke in person are precious. Everyone who respects the Bible values the sayings of Jesus. However, there are those who value the words of Jesus, yet devalue the words of His apostles. The “red letters” in your Bible were put there by man; God did not make the print red. In fact, a careful examination of the Gospels will reveal that Jesus Himself taught that the words of the apostles would be a continuation of His own teachings. The words of the apostles do carry much weight.
Jesus told the apostles to go and teach the gospel to the world, baptizing believers, and to continue teaching these new converts to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18-20).
But these apostles could not remember all of these commandments of Christ on their own or understand it all fully at that time (John 16:12). Jesus, therefore, promised to send the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, who would bring all of these teachings back to the remembrance of these apostles (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit would also “guide them into all truth” after Jesus’ resurrection (John 16:13; Acts 2:1-42).
This is why Peter could say that the writings of Paul the apostle were “scripture” (2 Peter 3:16). This confirms what Paul said about his own writings being “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37).
Jesus speaks of the force or importance of the apostles’ words as a continuation of His own words and Jesus expects you and me to hear them and to carefully observe their teachings:
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20). Note, this is spoken specifically to the apostles.
We should allow what Jesus says here to sink deep into our hearts because Jesus is confirming the importance of what Paul would go on to say about the instructions of the apostles in 2 Thessalonians 2:15: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
The inspired teachings of the apostles are sometimes translated “traditions” (inspired traditions) and the same Greek word translated “traditions” in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is translated “ordinances” in 1 Corinthians 11:2: “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” Notice that when we keep the teachings of the apostles, we are to be praised. When we follow the words of the apostles, we are also promised that God will be with us: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Phil. 4:9).
The Gardendale church of Christ invites you to visit with us and bring your Bible and see that we are following the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Indeed, he words of the apostles have force.
.”…if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours [apostles’] also” (John 15:20).
— Michael R. Baggett