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Title: Systematic Theology An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine By

Systematic Theology
  • An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine
  • By Wayne Grudem

  • Recommended books for further study on Bibliology

Chapter 3 The Canon of Scripture
  • What belongs in the Bible and what does not

Why is the Canon Important?
  • The study of the canon is vitally important
    because Gods words have AUTHORITY, POWER,
    LIFE. Therefore, to find, know, and obey Gods
    words rather than studying and following the
    subjective and faulty opinions/stories of mere
    man is of utmost significance because it impacts
    Gods blessing on our life and ultimately plays a
    role in our eternal destiny.
  • Mans words are merely opinion, but Gods words
    are authoritative, powerful, and life giving.
    Therefore, NONE of Gods words are optional as He
    has commanded us to obey Him FULLY!
  • Deuteronomy 61-3 "Now this is the commandment,
    the statutes and the judgments which the LORD
    your God has commanded me to teach you, that you
    might do them in the land where you are going
    over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son
    and your grandson might fear the LORD your God,
    to keep all His statutes and His commandments
    which I command you, all the days of your life,
    and that your days may be prolonged. 3 "O
    Israel, you should listen and be careful to do
    it, that it may be well with you and that you may
    multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of
    your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing
    with milk and honey.
  • Matthew 2819-20 19 "Go therefore and make
    disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in
    the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
    Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I
    commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even
    to the end of the age."
  • Deuteronomy 3247 47 "For it is not an idle word
    for you indeed it is your life. And by this word
    you will prolong your days in the land
  • Matthew 44 4 But He answered and said, "It is

What is the Canon?
  • Literally The word canon means measuring
    rod. This word can be traced to the ancient
    Greeks (as kanon referred to a rod, ruler, staff,
    or measuring rod) and ultimately to the Hebrews
    (as kaneh meant reed by which builders measured
    lengths/Ezekiel 4216).
  • Theologically The canon of Scripture refers to
    which books are measured as being inspired by
    God and therefore accepted/included in the Bible
    as Gods Holy Word.
  • Practically The Bible is the written revelation
    of God and is the means we measure good vs. evil,
    right vs. wrong, and truth vs. error. The canon
    of Scripture is the standard, norm, and
    rule by which Christians measure their lives
    (Galatians 616)
  • Ultimately The canon of Scripture are the books
    that Christians determine as authoritative
    because they were breathed out by God and not man
    (2 Timothy 316-17, 2 Peter 120)
  • Grudems Definition The canon is the list of
    all the books that belong in the Bible.
  • Synonyms for the Canon Holy Bible, Gods Word,
    Sacred Scriptures, Authoritative Writings, Books
    that Defile Hands, and Prophetic Books

Canonicity of the Old Testament
  • Grudem The earliest collection of written words
    of God was the Ten Commandments (p.55)
  • Writings considered sacred or holy were kept
    in the Ark of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 3124-26)
    and later kept in the Temple (2 Kings 228)
  • The Collection of absolutely authoritative words
    from God grew in size throughout the time of
    Israels history
  • Leaders Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah
  • Prophets Samuel, Elijah, Nathan, Gad, Jehu,
    Major Prophets (5 Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
    Daniel, Hosea), Minor Prophets (12)
  • Kings David, Solomon
  • Priests Ezra
  • Paul refers to the Old Testament as the sacred
    writings (2 Timothy 315)
  • In the later Talmudic (Jewish) tradition the
    canonical, or sacred books were revered as holy
    and called books that defile the hands.

Development of the Old Testament
  • Torah (Pentateuch/Law) Written by Moses and
    completed by Joshua (Deuteronomy 34-Joshua 1).
  • Joshua added to the Mosaic Law and placed it the
    Tabernacle (Joshua 2426).
  • Judges picks up where Joshua left off (Judges
    11) but was not completed until Samuels time
    (Judg 176 181 191 2125).
  • Samuel continues the prophetic tradition of
    writing and covers the history of David (1
    Samuel) and directs that others continue the task
    (1 Sam 1920).
  • Nathan and Gad also write histories of David (1
    Chron 2929).
  • The history of Solomon was recorded by the
    prophets Nathan, Ahijah, and Iddo (2 Chron 929).
  • The acts of Rehoboam were written by Shemaiah and
    Iddo (2 Chron 1215).
  • The history of Abijah was added by the prophet
    Iddo (2 Chron 1322).
  • The story of Jehoshaphats reign was recorded by
    Jehu the prophet (2 Chron 2034).
  • The reign of Hezekiah was written by Isaiah (2
    Chron 3232).
  • The life of Manasseh was recorded by unnamed
    prophets (2 Chron 3319).
  • The other kings also have their histories
    recorded by prophets (2 Chron 3527).
  • Just before the Exile Jeremiah wrote his
    prophesies down (Jeremiah and Lamentations).
  • During the Exile, Ezekiel and Daniel continued on
    the writing tradition with their prophecies
    (Ezekiel and Daniel). Ezekiel referred to Daniel
    by name (Ezek 1414, 20) and Daniel had copies of
    the Books of Moses and Jeremiah.
  • After the Exile, Ezra the Priest returned from
    Babylon with the books of Moses and the prophets
    (Ezra 618 Neh 914, 26-30) and is likely the
    Chronicler (cf. 2 Chron 3622-23 and Ezra 11-2).

What is the Apocrypha?
What is the Pseudepigrapha?
Why is the Apocrypha not Canonical?
  • Jews and Jewish history never accepted it
  • Talmud states the Holy Spirit had departed Israel
    (why called 400 silent years)
  • Josephus states it was not deemed worthy because
    during this time there was no succession of
  • 1 Maccabees itself claims there were no prophets
    during this time
  • Jesus and apostles never quoted it (295 O.T.
    quotes in the N.T.)
  • The Early Church rejected it -
  • Jerome printed it (A.D. 404), but was careful to
    separate it from the other Scriptures in the
    Latin Vulgate saying their were doubtful books,
    books of the church, but not books of the
  • The Catholic church at the Counsel of Trent
    (1546) declared Jeromes Vulgate and the included
    Apocrypha as part of the canon even though
    earlier councils had rejected it (the Council of
    Laodicea in AD 367 and the Fourth General Council
    Chalcedon in AD 451). They did this because the
    Apocrypha is the main source to support
    unbiblical doctrines such as alms, the mass,
    prayers for the dead, and purgatory.

Why is the Apocrypha not Canonical?
  • These books are considered to contain hidden
    spiritual truth and are hard to understand.
    Essentially these are the works that are only
    truly understood by the initiated and not by
  • There are 15 books in the Apocrypha and
    supposedly bridge the gap between Malachi and
    Matthew (see Geisler and Nix, 93).
  • Should they be accepted as Scripture? NO!
  • The New Testament never cites an Apocryphal book
    as inspired.
  • Jesus never cites an Apocryphal book as inspired.
  • Their inclusion in the Septuagint (LXX) is moot
    because it was a Greek translation from
    Alexandria, Egypt, not in the Hebrew from
  • Most all of the early church fathers spoke
    against the Apocrypha.
  • When we apply the tests of Canonicity to the
    Apocrypha, it fails!
  • Nowhere does it claim to be prophetic.
  • It does not come with the authority of God.
  • It contains historical error (Tobit 13-5 and
    1411) and theological heresy (2 Macabees 1245
    46 4).
  • It merely repeats what is already present in the
    39 Canonical books.
  • There is a conspicuous absence of prophecy.
  • Nothing is added to our knowledge of Jesus the
  • The reception by the people of God to whom they
    were originally presented was negative.

Why is the Apocrypha not Canonical?
  • Apocrypha means hidden things. The word Apocrypha
    was then associated with the meaning spurious or
    untrue. These writings consist of 13 books 1 and
    2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, an addition of Esther,
    additions to Daniel, Wisdom of Solomon.
    Ecclesiasteicus (also known as the wisdsom of
    Jesus the son of Sirach) Baruch, the letter of
    Jeremiah, the prayer of Manasses and 1 and 2
  • Some of these books are traced to the
    inter-testamental period such as Maccabees. There
    were 400 years of silence in the inter-
    testamental period where God did not speak nor
    have prophets. 1 Maccabees 927 and 1441 tell us
    the prophets ceased to appear among the people.
    So the book of Maccabees as well as the Apocrypha
    could never be considered inspired scripture
    equal to the Old Testament these books were
    always held as historical writings with some
    questionable accuracy not as inspire writ. If God
    was silent in this inter testament period, no
    inspiration or prophetic writing, where does this
    put the Apocrypha?
  • Some find a similar quote  in 2 Esdras 7 of
    Heb.11 therefore the Apocryphal book is now
    inspired. We may find the same rare quotes in
    other religions as well but this does not
    validate their religion as true. An example would
    be Paul in Acts 17 who quotes from one of the
    Greeks own poets book. Yes there may be some
    truth in the Apocrypha, no one is disputing this,
    but they were never considered inspired as the
  • The reasons become obvious as we examine the
    contradictions to the received Scriptures.We read
    in of suicide being commended in 2 Maccabees 14
    41, 42, and the writer apologizes for defects. It
    is the only book where prayers for the dead are
    found, that contradicts the received
    Scripture  (2 Maccabees 1244).  The expiatory
    sacrifice which eventually became the Mass (2
    Maccabees 1239-46). Alms giving with expiatory
    value, and having the ability to deliver someone
    from death (Tobit 129, 410). The worship of
    angels (Tobit 1212). invocation and intercession
    of the saints (2 Maccabees 1514 Baruch 34). 
    Place of Purgatory and the redemption of souls
    after death (2 Maccabees 1242, 46).

Catholic Response (
  • The name apocrypha is applied by Catholics to
    writings of a religious character, outside the
    scriptural Canon which, though not inspired, made
    some pretensions to divine authority or were
    sometimes considered sacred. Examples of some of
    these books include the Ethioptic Henoch,
    Assumption of Moses, and the Apocalypse of
    Abraham. In the early history of the Church,
    about forty books were condemned as apocryphal.
  • To prevent possible misunderstanding it must be
    remembered that there is a different use of the
    word in Protestant circles.
  • During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther
    and those who ultimately followed his example,
    removed seven books from the Old Testament,
    following the Torah as it had been edited by the
    rabbis at the Council of Jamnia (100A.D.).

Catholic Response (
  • Protestants then applied the term apocrypha to
    those books that were removed (now
    called deuterocanonical by Catholics, as
    Catholics still hold them to be inspired and
    canonical). Unfortunately, Protestants often
    include The Prayer of Manassas, 3 and 4 Esdras,
    and Bell and the Dragon, which only increases
  • The Prayer of Manassas, and 3 and 4 Esdras were
    never considered a part of the Canon of Holy
    Scriptures, but were included for a time in some
    versions of the Latin Vulgate because it was
    still considered fit for reading, and naturally
    included a clear introduction that they
    were not a part of the Canon. Some translators
    chose to keep these books because of their beauty
    in style. There is probably no Catholic Bible
    that has included these books for at least 200
  • The Catholic Church follows the Greek Septuagint,
    the work of approximately 70 Jewish authors, who
    translated the Hebrew texts into Greek, as Greek
    was more commonly used by the Jews than Hebrew at
    the time. This translation was done about 300B.C.
  • There is no Jewish document of pre-Christian
    dating which gives us a complete list or
    catalogue of the inspired books of the Old
    Testament. Yet, there is much evidence that
    authentic collections of the sacred books were in

Catholic Response (
  • There were besides the Palestinian Jews, another
    community of Greek-speaking Jews, principally
    located in Alexandria. For their own benefit, the
    Greek translation of the (Old Testament)
    Scriptures was made. Although it has been long
    assumed that there were great differences of
    opinion between Alexandria and Jerusalem
    regarding different theories of inspiration, the
    Alexandrian (Hellenistic) Jews looked to
    Jerusalem for their Scriptures, translations, and
    religious guidance. Doubts or questions from
    Alexandria were sent to Jerusalem for resolution.
    The Alexandrian Jews used the deuterocanonical
    books because they had received them from
    Palestine. As these books were sent from
    Palestine, they no doubt had some measure of
    canonicity there. Acceptance of these
    deuterocanonical books in Palestine at this time
    would not have been a problem, as the rigid
    concept used approximately 400 years later at the
    Council of Jamnia was not considered necessary.
  • The Old Testament was not considered officially
    defined by the Jews until the threat of
    "Christian heresy". Its wide diffusion of
    Christian writings led the Jews of Palestine to
    convene the Council of Jamnia. Their criterion
    was that the book had to conform to the
    Pentateuch, could not have been written after the
    time of Esdra (400B.C.), and it had to be written
    in Hebrew and in Palestine.

Catholic Response (
  • The inspiration of the deuterocanonical books was
    eventually recognized throughout the Catholic
    Church after some initial concern, and
    consequently became officially accepted at
    various Church councils (Carthage, Trent, etc.).
  • At the time of Our Lord and the Apostles, the
    Septuagint version was used by all the Jews of
    the dispersion, and the sacred writers of the New
    Testament made diligent use of a Greek version
    which contained the deuterocanonical books and
    passages. Had these not been considered inspired,
    surely the Apostles and disciples would have
    warned the early Christian readers and determined
    exactly the authentic catalogue of sacred books.
  • The only passage in the New Testament which may
    contain a possible allusion to an apocryphal book
    is Jude 14f. Hence, nowhere in the New Testament
    is there an explicit citation, in which an
    apocryphal book is assumed as canonical.

Why is the Apocrypha not Canonical?
  • Grudem Thus the writings of the Apocrypha
    should not be regarded as part of Scripture
  • They do not claim for themselves the same kind of
    authority as the Old Testament writings
  • They were not regarded as Gods words by the
    Jewish people from whom they originated
  • They were not considered Scripture by Jesus or
    the New Testament authors
  • They contain teachings inconsistent with the rest
    of the Bible
  • We must conclude that they are merely humjan
    words, not God-breathed words like the words of
    Scripture. They do have value for historical and
    linguistic research, and they contain a number of
    helpful stories about the courage and faith of
    many Jews during the period after the Old
    Testament ends, but they have never been part of
    the Old Testament canon and they should not be
    thought to as part of the Bible. Therefore, they
    have no binding authority for the thought of
    olife of Christians today. (p. 60)

Principles of Discovering Canonicity
  • Is the book AUTHORITATIVE?
  • Does it claim to be of God?
  • Is the book PROPHETIC?
  • Was it written by a servant of God?
  • Is the book AUTHENTIC?
  • Does it tell the truth about God, man, etc?
  • Is the book DYNAMIC?
  • Does it possess the life-transforming power of
  • Is the book RECEIVED?
  • Was it received/recognized by the original
    recipients being from God?

How was Canonicity actually determined?
  • 3 BASIC STEPS in the process of Canonization
  • Inspiration by God
  • Recognition by men of God
  • Collection and preservation by the people of God
  • God determined the canon, not man, by inspiring
    divine books. Man/the church does not determine
    or decide the canon, but only recognizes it by
    collecting, preserving, studying, preaching, and
    obeying divine books.
  • Geisler In a real sense, Christ is the key to
    the inspiration and canonization of the
    Scriptures. It was He who confirmed the
    inspiration of the Hebrew canon of the Old
    Testament and it was he who promised that the
    Holy Spirit would direct the apostles into all
    truth. (A General Introduction to the Bible p.

How did the church/men of God measure or
recognize Gods inspired words (4 steps)?
  • Credentials - The authors were Prophets or
  • Contradictions - The book did not contain any
    errors or contradict other books of Scripture
  • Content - The books contained divine content
    (knowledge known only by God and authoritative
    messages to man)
  • Gods laws (Genesis-Deuteronomy)
  • Gods history (Joshua-Esther)
  • Gods worship (Job-Song of Solomon)
  • Gods prophecies (Isaiah-Malachi)
  • Gods Gospel (Matthew-John)
  • Gods Church (Romans-Jude)
  • Gods Kingdom (Revelation)
  • Circulation Collection, Preservation,
    Adherence by the Israel (O.T.) and the Church

Wrong or inadequate views on canonicity
  • Age determines canonicity
  • There are many ancient books not in the canon
    and many young books that were placed in the
    canon immediately after they were written.
  • Old Testaments examples The Book of the Wars
    of the Lord referenced in Numbers 2114 and the
    Book of Jasher referenced in Joshua 1013 are
    not part of the Hebrew canon.
  • New Testament examples Not all of Pauls
    letters were apparently inspired or if they all
    were, God did not see fit to preserve them all
    and include them in the Canon (The first Epistle
    to Corinth referenced at 1 Corinthians 59, The
    third Epistle to Corinth called the
    Severe/Sorrowful Letter referenced
    at 2 Corinthians 24, 78-9, The Earlier Epistle
    to the Ephesians referenced at Ephesians 33-4,
    and The Epistle to the Laodiceans referenced
    at Colossians 416)
  • Language determines canonicity
  • Many books in the Hebrew and Greek language are
    not in the canon
  • Parts of Daniel and Ezra were written in Aramaic

Wrong or inadequate views on canonicity
  • Agreement with the Torah, or other books of the
  • The Talmud and Midrash agree with the Torah but
    are not considered canonical
  • Religious value determines canonicity
  • The Apocrypha has historical and religious value
    (just like Christian books that are written
    today), but it was never considered canonical by
    the Jews, the early church, or Protestants today.
  • The church/religious community determines
  • Geisler A book is not the Word of God because
    it is accepted by the people of God. Rather, it
    was accepted by the people of God because it is
    the Word of GodGod gives the book its divine
    authority, not the people of God. They merely
    recognize the divine authority which God give to
    it. (p. 210)
  • Certain Old Testament prophecies were rejected or
    ignored by Israel, but that did not make them any
    less inspired, divine, or authoritative.
  • The danger of the Roman Catholic view that the
    church/councils/Magisterium determines the canon
    is that divine authority it dependent upon human
    approval or recognition. Rather, when God speaks
    it has immediate authority whether or not people
    recognize it immediately or obey it right away.
  • Geisler Underlying all the insufficient views
    of what determined canonicity is the failure to
    distinguish between determination and recognition
    of canonicity. (p. 211)
  • Canonicity is determined by God by what books
    He choose to inspire and preserve
  • Canonicity is recognized by men of God by what
    books the church recognized as inspired by God
    and therefore collected, preserved, studied,
    preached, and obeyed.

Key points in history where man recognized Gods
canon (Grudem)
  • Melito, bishop of Sardis (170 A.D.) that named
    all the O.T. books as canonical except Esther
    (excluded the Apocrypha)
  • Origin, 185-254 A.D., theologian and philosopher
    from Alexandria (quoted by Eusebius) affirms O.T.
    canon including Esther
  • Anthasius, 367 A.D. of Alexandria, in Paschal
    Letter lists all the books of our present N.T.
    and O.T. canon except Esther. He says,
    concerning the Apocryphal books, not indeed
    included in the Canon, but appointed by the
    Fathers to be read by those who newly join us,
    and who wish for instruction in the word of
  • Jerome, 404 A.D. did not want to include the
    Apocrypha as part of his Latin Vulgate
    translation, but the Pope overruled him. Jerome
    separated them and was the first to call these
    books apocryphal hidden/doubtful.
  • Martin Luther, 1536 A.D. affirms O.T. canon
    without Apocrypha, but also removes Hebrews,
    James, Jude, and Revelation from his N. T. canon.

Roman Catholic view of Canonization
  • Pentecost (30/33AD)The beginning of the Church
    the Church exists before a determination of a
    canon or a definitive list of books of what was
    later called the Bible. The NT was not even
    written yet. The Bible is the book of the Church,
    we are not a church of the Bible.
  • Melito, Bishop of Sardis (c. 170)Produced the
    first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament
    canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of
    books but contains only the Old Testament
    protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther.
  • Council of Laodicea (c. 360)A local council of
    the church in union with Rome produced a list of
    books of the Bible similar to the Council of
    Trent's canon. This was one of the Church's
    earliest decisions on a canon.
  • Council of Rome (382)Local church council under
    the authority of Pope Damasus, (366-384) gave a
    complete list of canonical books of the OT and NT
    which is identical with the list later approved
    by the Council of Trent.
  • Council of Hippo (393)Local North African Church
    council in union with and under the authority of
    the Bishop of Rome approved a list of OT and NT
    canon (same as later approved by the Council of
  • Council of Carthage (397)Local North African
    Church council in union with and under the
    authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list
    of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the
    Council of Trent)
  • Pope Innocent I, Bishop of Rome, 401-417
    (405)Responded to a request by Exuperius, Bishop
    of Toulouse, with a list of canonical books of
    Scripture this list was the same as later
    approved by the Council of Trent.
  • Council of Carthage (419)Local North African
    Church council in union with and under the
    authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list
    of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the
    Council of Trent)
  • Council of Florence, an ecumenical council
    (1441)Complete list of OT and NT canon was drawn
    up this list later adopted by the Fathers of the
    Council of Trent
  • Council of Trent, an ecumenical council called to
    respond to the heresy of the Reformers
    (1545-1563)The canon of OT and NT received final
    definitions 46 books in the OT 27 in the NT
    "Henceforth the books of the OT and the NT,
    protocanonical and deuterocanonical alike, in
    their entirety and with all their parts, comprise
    the canon and are held to be of equal authority."
    The ancient Vulgate edition of the Bible was
    called the authoritative edition of the Bible.
  • Vatican I Council (1869-1870)Reaffirmed the
    decree of Trent. The Church holds the books of
    Holy Scripture as sacred and canonical, not
    because she subsequently approved them, nor
    because they contain revelation without error,
    but precisely because "having been written by the
    inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as
    their author and, as such, they have been handed
    down to the Church itself.
  • Providentissimus Deus (1893), Pope Leo XIII,
    Bishop of Rome, 1878-1903Inaugurated a new era in
    Roman Catholic biblical studies. Presented a plan
    for biblical study Defined inspiration "By
    supernatural power God so moved and impelled the
    human authors to write - he so assisted them in
    writing - that the things he ordered and those
    only they first rightly understood, then willed
    faithfully to write and finally expressed in apt
    words and with infallible truth.
  • Pascendi Dominica Gregis (1907), Pope Pius X,
    Bishop of Rome, 1903-1914Refuted the errors of
    the Modernists Scored erroneous teaching on the
    origin and nature of the Sacred Books, on
    inspiration on the distinction between the
    purely human Christ of history and the divine
    Christ of faith on the origin and growth of the
  • Spiritus Paraclitus (1920), Pope Benedict XV,
    Bishop of Rome, 1914-1922Commends modern critical
    methods in biblical studies. All biblical
    interpretation rests upon the literal sense. Goal
    of biblical studies is to learn spiritual
    perfection, to arm oneself to defend the faith,
    to preach the word of God fruitfully.
  • Divino Afflante Spiritus (1943), Pope Pius XII,
    Bishop of Rome, 1939-1958Permitted scholars to
    use original text of Scriptures. No claim was
    made that the Vulgate is always an accurate
    translation, but that it is free from any errors
    in faith or morals. The scholar must be
    principally concerned with the literal sense of
    the Scriptures search out and expound the
    spiritual sense avoid other figurative senses.
    Literary criticism should be employed. Stated
    that there are but few texts whose sense was
    determined by the authority of the Church (only
    seven biblical passages have been definitively
    interpreted in defending traditional doctrine and
    morals--Jn 35, Lk 2219, 1 Cor 1124, Jn 2022,
    Jn 2023, Rom 512, Ja 5 14) this counteracts
    the frequent misunderstanding that Catholics have
    no freedom interpreting the Scriptures.
  • Humani Generis (1950), Pope Pius XII, Bishop of
    Rome, 1939 - 1958Instructs scholars on evolution,
    polygenism and OT historical narratives
  • Vatican II Council (1962-1965)The decree, On
    Divine Revelation, declares that there is one
    source of Divine Revelation, Jesus Christ that
    there are two modes of handing on revelation
    Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition "in a
    certain way merge into a unity and tend toward
    the same end," and "it is not from sacred
    Scripture alone that the Church draws her
    certainty about everything that has been
    revealed." Concerning Inerrancy of Scripture
    "The Books of Scripture must be acknowledged as
    teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error
    that truth which God wanted put into the sacred
    writings for the sake of our salvation.
    "Emphasized that "in order to see what God wanted
    to communicate in Scripture, we must investigate
    the intention of the sacred author, and one way
    to do this is by paying attention to the literary
    form employed by the sacred writer."

DEVELOPMENT OF THE Old Testament Canon
  • adapted from materials of Professor Paul Hahn of
    the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas
  • 1000-50 BCThe Old Testament (hereafter "OT")
    books are written.
  • C. 200 BCRabbis translate the OT from Hebrew to
    Greek, a translation called the "Septuagint"
    (abbreviation "LXX"). The LXX ultimately
    includes 46 books even though only two of the
    books were written at the time the LXX was
  • AD 30-100Christians use the LXX as their
    scriptures. This upsets the Jews.
  • C. AD 100So Jewish rabbis meet at the Council of
    Jamniah and decide to include in their canon only
    39 books (22 books in the Hebrews division),
    since only these can be found in Hebrew.
  • C. AD 400Jerome translates the Bible from Hebrew
    and Greek into Latin (called the "Vulgate"). He
    knows that the Jews have only 39 books, and he
    wants to limit the OT to these the 7 he would
    leave out (Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2
    Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach or
    "Ecclesiasticus", and Baruch--he calls
    "apocrypha," that is, "hidden books." But Pope
    Damasus wants all 46 traditionally-used books
    included in the OT, so the Vulgate has 46.
  • AD 1536Luther translates the Bible from Hebrew
    and Greek to German. He assumes that, since Jews
    wrote the Old Testament, theirs is the correct
    canon he puts the extra 7 books in an appendix
    that he calls the "Apocrypha.
  • AD 1546The Catholic Council of Trent reaffirms
    the canonicity of all 46 O.T. books.

Canonization of the New Testament Canon
  • Christ spoke divine words
  • John 178 8 For I gave them the words you gave
    me and they accepted them. They knew with
    certainty that I came from you, and they believed
    that you sent me.
  • The Apostles spoke divine words
  • 1 Thessalonians 213 13 And we also thank God
    continually because, when you received the word
    of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it
    not as the word of men, but as it actually is,
    the word of God, which is at work in you who
  • The Apostles were given apostolic signs
    gifts/ability to perform miracles.
  • These signs/miracles validated that they spoke
    for God. (Acts 243, Acts 512, Romans 1519, 2
    Corinthians 1212, Hebrews 24)
  • 1 Corinthians 211-14 Even so the thoughts of
    God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12
    Now we have received, not the spirit of the
    world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we
    may know the things freely given to us by God,
    13 which things we also speak, not in words
    taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by
    the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with
    spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does not
    accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they
    are foolishness to him and he cannot understand
    them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Canonization of the New Testament Canon
  • Inspired by Apostles/associates of Apostles
  • (Mark, Luke, Acts, Hebrews, Jude) Grudem close
    association of Mark with the Apostle Peter, and
    of Luke with the Apostle Paul. Similarly, Jude
    apparently was accepted by virtue of the authors
    connection with James and the facttaht he was the
    brother of Jesus. (p.62)
  • Self-Attesting Contents.
  • Grudem In these cases (Hebrews)the words of
    these books would have been self-attesting that
    is, the words would have borne witness to their
    won divine authorship as Christians read them.
    (p. 63) John 1027 My sheep hear my voice.
  • Apostles were directly commissioned by Jesus.
    Therefore, they had authority to speak and write
    words/messages that are Gods words/messages
  • Grudem The apostles, then, have authority to
    write words that are Gods own words, equal in
    truth status and authority to the words of the
    Old Testament Scriptures. They do this to
    record, interpret, and apply to the lives of
    believers the great truth about the life, death,
    and resurrection of Christ. (p. 61)

The Canon includes Mans Great Failures and Gods
Great Acts of Redemptive History
  • Purpose
  • Fall
  • Flood
  • Nation
  • Exodus
  • Land
  • Kingship
  • Exile
  • Restoration
  • Silence
  • Messiah
  • Sacrifice
  • Resurrection
  • Church
  • Rapture
  • Tribulation
  • Return
  • Kingdom
  • Judgment

Canonization of the New Testament Canon
  • Pauls Proof Peter says Pauls writings are
  • 2 Peter 315-16 15 and regard the patience of
    our Lord as salvation just as also our beloved
    brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him,
    wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters,
    speaking in them of these things, in which are
    some things hard to understand, which the
    untaught and unstable distort, as they do also
    the rest of the Scriptures, to their own
  • Lukes Proof Paul says that Lukes writings are
  • 1 Timothy 518 18 For the Scripture says, "YOU
    and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
  • Peters Proof Peter says he is an eyewitness who
    has been moved by God
  • 2 Peter 116-21 16 For we did not follow
    cleverly devised tales when we made known to you
    the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For
    when He received honor and glory from God the
    Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him
    by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son
    with whom I am well-pleased "-- 18 and we
    ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven
    when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19
    So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to
    which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp
    shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and
    the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But
    know this first of all, that no prophecy of
    Scripture is a matter of one's own
    interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made
    by an act of human will, but men moved by the
    Holy Spirit spoke from God.
  • Johns Proof John says he is an eyewitness who
    has physically seen/touched Christ
  • 1 John 11-3 What was from the beginning, what
    we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes,
    what we have looked at and touched with our
    hands, concerning the Word of Life-- 2 and the
    life was manifested, and we have seen and testify
    and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was
    with the Father and was manifested to us-- 3
    what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you
    also, so that you too may have fellowship with
    us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father,
    and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Development of the New Testament Canon
  • adapted from materials of Professor Paul Hahn of
    the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas and
    Mark Bonocore Bob Stanley (Roman Catholics)
  • C. AD 51-125The New Testament books are written,
    but during this same period other early Christian
    writings are produced--for example, the Didache
    (c. AD 70), 1 Clement (c. 96), the Epistle of
    Barnabas (c. 100), and the 7 letters of Ignatius
    of Antioch (c. 110).
  • C. AD 140Marcion, a businessman in Rome, teaches
    that there were two Gods Yahweh, the cruel God
    of the OT, and Abba, the kind father of the NT.
    So Marcion eliminates the Old Testament as
    scriptures and, since he is anti-Semitic, keeps
    from the NT only 10 letters of Paul and 2/3 of
    Luke's gospel (he deletes references to Jesus'
    Jewishness). Marcion's "New Testament"--the first
    to be compiled--forces the mainstream Church to
    decide on a core canon the four gospels and
    letters of Paul.
  • C. AD 200But the periphery of the canon is not
    yet determined. According to one list, compiled
    at Rome c. AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the NT
    consists of the 4 gospels Acts 13 letters of
    Paul (Hebrews is not included) 3 of the 7
    General Epistles (1-2 John and Jude) and also
    the Apocalypse of Peter.
  • AD 367The earliest extant list of the books of
    the NT, in exactly the number and order in which
    we presently have them, is written by Athanasius,
    Bishop of Alexandria, in his Paschal letter of
    367. Note this is well after the Constantine's
    Edict of Toleration in 313 A.D.
  • AD 382 Council of Rome (whereby Pope Damasus
    started the ball rolling for the defining of a
    universal canon for all city-churches). Listed
    the New Testament books in their present number
    and order. 
  • AD 393 Council of Hippo,  which began "arguing it
    out." Canon proposed by Bishop Athanasius.
  • AD 397 The Council of Carthage, which refined the
    canon for the Western Church, sending it back to
    Pope Innocent for ratification. In the East, the
    canonical process was hampered by a number of
    schisms (esp. within the Church of Antioch).
  • AD 787 The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II, which
    adopted the canon of Carthage. At this point,
    both the Latin West and the Greek / Byzantine
    East had the same canon. However, ... The
    non-Greek, Monophysite and Nestorian Churches of
    the East (the Copts, the Ethiopians, the Syrians,
    the Armenians, the Syro-Malankars, the Chaldeans,
    and the Malabars) were still left out. But these
    Churches came together in agreement, in 1442A.D.,
    in Florence.
  • AD 904Pope Damasus, in a letter to a French
    bishop, lists the New Testament books in their
    present number and order.
  • AD 1442At the Council of Florence, the entire
    Church recognizes the 27 books, though does not
    declare them unalterable.AD 1536In his
    translation of the Bible from Greek into German,
    Luther removes 4 NT books (Hebrews, James, Jude,
    and Revelations) from their normal order and
    places them at the end, stating that they are
    less than canonical.
  • AD 1536 In his translation of the Bible from
    Greek into German, Luther removed 4 N.T. books
    (Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation) and placed
    them in an appendix saying they were less than
  • AD 1546At the Council of Trent, the Catholic
    Church reaffirms once and for all the full list
    of 27 books as traditionally accepted. (R.C.
    view At the Council of Trent, the Catholic
    Church reaffirmed once and for all the full list
    of 27 books. The council also confirmed the
    inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books which had
    been a part of the Bible canon since the early
    Church and was confirmed at the councils of 393
    AD, 373, 787 and 1442 AD. At Trent Rome actually
    dogmatized the canon, making it more than a
    matter of canon law, which had been the case up
    to that point, closing it for good).

Which books of the New Testament were disputed
and when?
Confirmation of the New Testament Canon (27
  • Witness of the Church Fathers
  • Polycarp
  • Irenaeus
  • Athanasius
  • Eusebius
  • Jerome
  • Augustine
  • Witness of the Early Lists and Translations
  • Muratorian
  • Athanasius
  • Old Latin
  • Syriac

Stimulus for the Church to collect New Testament
books and announce a Canon
  • Theology which books should be read and
    practiced by the churches
  • False teaching Anti-Semitic Marcion (A.D. 140)
    published his own canon (included only Luke and
    10 of Pauls letters)
  • Persecution Diocletian ordered the destruction
    by fire of the Scriptures (303 A.D. )

The Canon is CLOSED, fully SUFFICIENT, and
CONFIRMED by experience/history
  • The Cannon is Closed Since Revelation deals with
    the final culmination/end of all things what
    more needs to be added?
  • Grudem (speaking of Hebrews 11-12) in these
    last days suggests that Gods speech to us by
    his Son is the culmination of his speaking to
    mankind an is his great and final revelation to
    mankind in this period of redemptive history.
    (p. 64) (great argument against the Mormons,
    JWs, Islam, and everyone else who has added to
  • The Cannon is FULLY SUFFICIENT
  • Grudem The New Testament writings contain the
    final, authoritative, and sufficient
    interpretation of Christs work of redemption
    ...Once the writings of the New Testament
    apostles and their authorized companions are
    completed, we have in written form the final
    record of everything that God wants us to know
    about the life, death, and resurrection of
    Christ, and its meaning for the lives of
    believers for all time. Since this is Gods
    greatest revelation for mankind, no more is to be
    expect once this is complete. (p.64)
  • 2 Peter 13 3 seeing that His divine power has
    granted to us everything pertaining to life and
    godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who
    called us by His own glory and excellence.
  • Grudem How do we know we have the right books?
    ...Our confidence is based on the faithfulness
    of GodWe know that God our Father is in control
    of all history, and his not the kind of Father
    who will trick us or fail to be faithful to us or
    keep from us something we absolutely need.(God
    would not) allow all of his church for almost two
    thousand years to be deprived so something he
    himself values so highly and is so necessary for
    our spiritual lives? (p.65)
  • The Cannon is CONFIRMED by experience and
  • Grudem Day after day, year after year,
    Christians find that the words of the Bible are
    indeed the words of God speaking to them with an
    authority, a power, and a persuasiveness that no
    other writings possess (Hebrews 412) we become
    persuaded that the present canon is rightby
    historical data (the early church correctly
    noticed absurdities and aberrations in
    non-canonical writings) (p.66)

Warnings NOT to add to Scripture
  • Deuteronomy 42 "You shall not add to the word
    which I am commanding you, nor take away from it,
    that you may keep the commandments of the LORD
    your God which I command you.
  • Deuteronomy 1232 "Whatever I command you, you
    shall be careful to do you shall not add to nor
    take away from it.
  • Proverbs 306 Do not add to His words Or He will
    reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
  • Revelation 2218-19 18 I testify to everyone
    who hears the words of the prophecy of this book
    if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the
    plagues which are written in this book 19 and
    if anyone takes away from the words of the book
    of this prophecy, God will take away his part
    from the tree of life and from the holy city,
    which are written in this book.

Absurdities and Aberrations
  • The Shepherd of Hermes Teaches the necessity of
    penance and the the possibility of the
    forgiveness of sins at least once after
    baptismThe author seems to identify the Holy
    Spirit with the Son of God before the
    incarnation, and to hold that the Trinity came
    into existence only after the humanity of Christ
    had been taken up into heaven. (p. 67)
  • The Gospel of Thomas Let Mary go away from us,
    for women are not worthy of life. Jesus said
    Lo, I shall lead her, so that I may make her a
    male, that she too may become a living spirit,
    resembling you males. For every woman who makes
    herself a male will enter the kingdom of heaven.

  • Grudem There is therefore historical
    confirmation of the correctness of the current
    canon. Yet it must be remembered in connection
    with any historical investigation that the work
    of the early church was not to bestow divine
    authority or even ecclesiastical authority upon
    some merely human writings, but rather to
    RECOGNIZE the divinely authored characteristics
    of writings that already had such a quality.
    This is because the ultimate criterion of
    canoncity is divine authorship, NOT human or
    ecclesiastical approval. (p.68)

What if someone claims to find a book authored by
one of the O.T. prophets or N.T. apostles? Even
if it was authenticated as ancient - should we
consider adding this to our canon or consider it
to be authoritative to our lives?
Next Week Read Chapter 4 The Four
Characteristics of Scripture Authority, Clarity,
Necessity, Sufficiency
  • How do we know that the Bible is Gods Word?