In colloquial English the word ‘tradition’ tends to be understood as a noun referring to a more-or-less static set of propositions, often used to define the identity of the particular group that accepts them. This article seeks to challenge this convention by defending an older, more fluid sense of traditio that is not only found in but formative of a variety of major Christian theological sources. The argument draws especially on Jean Calvin, his preferred theological authority Augustine and briefly the New Testament itself, showing that each demonstrates a fundamental interest in Christian teaching as participation in divine pedagogy. Using the doctrine of election as a case study, I argue that this pedagogical framework evidences a dynamic conception of traditio as tradere, or a discourse on how human beings faithfully participate in what is properly a divine giving-and-receiving. This conception of tradition as pedagogy is commended for both its theological and its critical merit.