WHAT DOES IT MEAN "HOLD FAST TO THAT WHICH YOU WERE TAUGHT?"
by the late Richard C. Nickels (founder of Giving and Sharing)
Many today are claiming to be "holding fast to that which
they were taught." What does the Bible say about "holding fast"?
Are you really holding fast?
A Stubbornness To Let Go of the Truth
Prov.4:13 states, "Take fast hold of instructions let her
not go, keep her, for she is your life." Once one comes to a
truth revealed by the Eternal, he must never let go.
Job had this tenacity that we likewise must have. He held
fast his integrity, refusing to curse his Maker, Job 2:3,9. He
said, "till I die, I will not remove mine integrity from me. My
righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go..." Job 27:5-6.
Job was righteous, but failed to ascribe his righteousness to his
maker. Until the Eternal's revelation of Himself to Job, he held
fast to what he knew, an example of tenacity for us today.
All too many in our time adopt ideas of Biblical teaching
without real proof, and later discard them with equal speed. They
do not hold fast to instruction, stubbornly refusing to let go.
Vigilance and Manly Strength
Some religious groups change with every wind of doctrine,
their followers glibly accepting whatever is taught. This
is evidence of childishness, Eph.4:14. Small children usually
cannot keep their attention for a long span of time. However,
mature faith in our heavenly Father must be steadfast. I Cor.
16:13, "Watch ye (be vigilant, on guard), stand fast in the
faith, quit you like men, be strong." Maturity means being sure
you are right first, then watching that one does not slip and
fall. At times it means admitting you are wrong and correcting
error. It takes a man to confess a mistake. Are you holding to
your faith vigilantly, like a real man?
Refusing to Return to Former Nays of Bondage
"Holding fast" can also mean an adamant refusal to return to
former evil ways. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith
Christ has made us free, and be not en tangled again with the
yoke of bondage" Gal.5:1.
How many former brethren do you know who have renounced the
faith, returning to Sunday-keeping and crass materiality, when
just a short while ago they would supposedly have given up their
lives rather than break the Sabbath, and cheerfully gave to the
Master's work? Like a dog returning to its own vomit, 2 Pet.
2:22, they have not stood fast.
Take note, there is a time to give up former-beliefs, when
one is proven to be in error. But, until then, we like lob, are
to tenaciously cling to the liberty (truth) into which we are
called. This brings us to the next point.
Holding Fast To the Faithful Word
I Thes.5:21 "Prove all things; hold fast that which is
good." If only we would always do this! Instead we too often are
gullible, following others instead of proving what the Eternal
says, Eph.5:10, I Jn.4:l. Some, in error, have concluded that
since they have found the true body of believers, that everything
that this "true church" teaches is the truth, and they must hold
fast to it (the organization's teachings). They forget that even
the New Testament Church had to be corrected continually to get
rid of the error. "New truth" was revealed from time to time.
Proving the truth and holding fast to it is a lifelong process,
not a one-time stagnant commitment. The true believer does not
revert to his wicked past. He proves and grows in truth, holds
fast to proven teachings, continually discards erroneous beliefs.
This is what it truly means to "hold fast."
False Holding Fast
2 Tim.1:13, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which you
have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
Paul taught sound words; never error. He did not change back and
forth in his doctrinal teachings. Yet, today there are people who
claim they are following a great religious leader, "holding fast"
to what he taught. But this religious leader has changed his
teachings back and forth. At no time did he teach 100% truth, nor
did he even at one time teach all that those who say they are
"holding fast" unto: These "holding fast" individuals are in
reality picking and choosing what they want to "hold fast" to!
They are lying when they say they are holding fast.
A true minister must be blameless, "holding fast the
faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound
doctrine both to exhort and to convince (convict) the gainsayers"
Titus l:9. Again, he is not to hold fast to what "the church"
taught 20 years ago, but the faithful word he has been taught.
This implies that the church had some error in the past that was
corrected. Also that it had presently departed from truth
it formerly taught. Hence, we are to hold fast to proven and
revealed truth, not partial truths, not former errors.
Acts 15 clearly shows the growth that the true body of
believers must go through. It is this highest level of growth
that we must hold fast onto. The NT Church of the first century
did not hold fast, they lapsed into error. It is quite likely
there were some then claiming to be "holding fast," but who were
in fact holding fast to errors taught by the gone astray church.
2 Thes.2:15, "Therefore brethren (because, verses 10-11, some
didn't love the truth and believed a lie), stand fast, and hold.
the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or
our epistle." Church traditions we must hold fast to are precepts
and customs not specifically from the Bible, but yet not contrary
to the Bible. Respect for right traditions and refusal to depart
from them is an important part of "holding fast".
Holding Fast In the Unity of the Spirit
Holding fast is not an individual act, it must be done
collectively: "...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind
striving together for the faith of the gospel" Phil.1:27.
Also, "...stand fast in the Lord .... of the same mind in the
This certainly forbids individualizing what we are to hold
fast unto. Various ones who say they are holding fast are often
diametrically in opposition among themselves as to what they are
holding fast unto. They cannot agree on the specific doctrines
the church once taught that they should hold fast to. Clearly a
sad spectacle of confusion.
Those that are truly standing fast in one spirit many not
always agree exactly on every issue. But they have the same mind,
are helping one another discard untruth, holding fast to revealed
truth, growing together toward perfection. This is an area that
is totally lacking among some that say they are holding fast to
Hold fast to the truth, not contentiously, but harmoniously
with your brethren. Paul was so concerned for his brethren that
he wrote, "For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord" I
Holding Fast is a Lifelong Profession
How long will you hold fast? Only as long as the one who
taught you remains faithful? Or as long as you live?
We are the Almighty's house, "if we hold fast the confidence
and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" Heb.3:6 and "if
we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end"
Holding fast is a lifelong profession, Heb.4:14, and 10:23,
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without
wavering...." Rev.2:25-26, "Hold that which you have already,
hold fast till I come .... keeps my works unto the end...."
Not Leaving the Faith
The early believers "continued steadfastly in the apostles'
doctrine" Acts 2:42. It wasn't long before they had to be
admonished to "continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be
not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard"
Col.1:23. Some were commended for their "steadfastness of your
faith" in the Messiah, Col.2:5.
So we need to be sober, vigilant, on guard against losing
the steadfastness of our faith, being wary of our adversary,
"whom resist steadfast in the faith" I Pet.5:8-9. Remember to
"beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the
wicked, fall from your own steadfastness" 2 Pet.3:17.
Holding Fast to the Right Name
Rev.2:13, "you hold fast my name, and have not denied my
faith." See also Rev.14:1.
Holding Fast Must Entail Elimination of Error
Some say that they must hold to and continue in the things
they were taught, and that the Eternal will not reveal new things
to them. This as we have seen, is not supported by Scripture. We
must hold only to the faithful word we have been taught.
Two passages seem, at first glance, to support this
erroneous no-growth viewpoint. Rev.2:24-25, as many as have not
this doctrine (of Jezebel), and which have not known the depths
of Satan as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
But that which you have already hold fast till I come." Rev.
3:11, "hold that fast which you have, that no man take your
Does this mean that they were to hold fast, even
to some "minor" errors? This is not the Eternal's Spirit! They
were to hold fast to that truth that they had. They must purify
their garments, get rid of errors, not hold fast to errors.
Sadly, there are those who are adamantly "holding
fast"--unto error. To these, the Savior warns, "Remember
therefore how you have received and heard (through the blood of
martyrs, those who held fast unto the end), and hold fast, and
repent" Rev.3:3. Repentance must be a part of "holding fast."
Holding Fast Means Growth in the Truth
All too many brethren are merely "holding fast" to the truth
they have, refusing to grow into more truth. Opportunities to
learn more, to become more obedient to Biblical instructions,
come along, but they look the other way. New truth is so
unsettling. It took all their courage and resolve to make that
initial step into the church. Now they want to settle down to
peace and quiet.
However, this is NOT holding fast. It is being like the
"wicked servant" who produced nothing. He held fast to the one
talent(pound), but did nothing to add there unto. As a result, he
had the one taken from him and got nothing, no reward. Matt.
25:l4-30, Luke 19:11-27. Unless you are a profitable servant,
bringing increase with what you are given, you will lose what you
To hold fast to the truth, you must grow into more truth.
Show us a person who says he has all truth, and that person is on
the way to losing what truth he has.
Let us "walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being
fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of
This is holding fast. It is being careful, "lest you also,
being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your
steadfastness. But GROW in GRACE and in the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever.
Amen." 2 Pet.3:17-18.
Are you REALLY holding fast?
Entered on this Website November 2007