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HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO BE Canonicity

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Title: HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO BE Canonicity


1
HOW THE BIBLECAME TO BECanonicity
Chuck Gianotti March 2006
2
  • The Bible and Christian tradition claim that the
    Bible is God's direct verbal communication with
    us, and is the infallible source for instructions
    in life and values.

3
  • If the foundations are destroyed what can the
    righteous do?
  • Matthew 724-27

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Necessary Steps From God To Us
  • REVELATION
  • Gods mind ? mind of original writers
  • INSPIRATION
  • Writers minds ? original text
  • CANONIZATION
  • Original text ? post-apostolic acceptance
  • TRANSMISSION
  • Accepted texts ? manuscript copies (MSS)
  • TRANSLATION
  • MSS copies ? contemporary translations
  • ILLUMINATION
  • Contemp. transl. ? our minds/hearts

7
Definition CANON
  • It means something straight or something to
    keep straight and hence also a rule or something
    ruled or measured. It came to be applied to the
    Scriptures, to denote that they contained the
    authoritative rule of faith and practice, the
    standard of doctrine and duty.

8
Definition CANON
  • Canonization is not the process of making a book
    to be Scripture by human decision. Rather, it is
    the process of recognizing that a book is
    inspired. A book would be inspired of God whether
    or not people recognized it as such.

9
Overview
  • The importance of this study
  • External evidence of history
  • Internal Bibles claims about itself
  • Claims of Jesus words (Matt 724-27,
    2435)
  • Bibles claims for itself (2 Tim
    316, 2 Pet 121)
  • Bibles warnings (Rev 2218-19)
  • If not true, then its a hoax.

10
Overview
  • Assaults on the integrity of the Bible
  • Current attacks
  • Nothing new

11
The Original Witnesses
  • 12 disciples purportedly appointed to be Jesus
    official witnesses

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
will send in my name, he will teach you all
things and bring to your remembrance all that I
have said to you. John 1426 But
you i.e. the Apostles will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to
the end of the earth. (Acts 18
12
The Original Witnesses
  • 12 disciples purportedly appointed to be Jesus
    official witnesses
  • Paul was purportedly appoint to be Jesus
    official spokesman

Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom
given him, as he does in all his letters when he
speaks in them of these matters. There are some
things in them that are hard to understand, which
the ignorant and unstable twist to their own
destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
2 Peter 315-16
13
The Eye-Witness Claims
  • John claimed to be eye-witness
    (1 John 11-3)
  • Peter claimed to be eye-witness (2
    Peter 116-18)
  • Luke claimed to be accurate researcher
    (Luke 11-4)
  • Paul claimed to be eye-witness, appealed to
    eye-witnesses
    (1Cor 155-8)
  • Writer of Hebrews appealed to eye-witnesses (Heb
    23-4)

14
Some writers may toy with the fancy of a
Christ-myth, but they do not do so on the
ground of historical evidence. The historicity of
Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian
as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not
the historians who propagate the Christ-myth
theories. F. F. Bruce
15
PROBLEM
  • Jesus didnt pen any writings himself
  • Witnesses spread the teachings of Jesus orally.
  • Some put into writing their testimony of Christ
    and his teachings.
  • After they died, other writings began to appear
    claiming apostolic authority.
  • Succeeding generation were faced with determining
    which writings were authentic and authoritative.

16
PROBLEM
  • They were concerned about corruptions of their
    teachings after they were gone

    (2 Peter 21, Acts 2029-30)
  • They reportedly made provisions for their
    teachings to be preserved and circulated
    (2 Tim 22, Col 416)

17
The Historical Process
  • The process of investigation.
  • What do we have to work with?
  • No original documents
  • 1000s of copies and quotes from NT writings
  • Manuscripts (MSS)
  • Lectionaries
  • Ancient Translations
  • Quotes found in early church writings

18
John 1831-32, 37-38
The Rylands Papyrus 457 (a.k.a. P52) discovered
in Egypt dated not later than A.D. 150.  Its
present location is John Rylands Library in
Manchester.
19
Chester Beatty Papyrus II (3rd century) Romans
1529-33, 1625-27
Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 2nd
ed., Plate II.
20
Codex Sinaiticus (4th century) John 211-25
Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 2nd
ed., Plate IV.
21
A tattered page from the Geneva Bible ca. 1578
22
NUMBER OF MSS EXTANT
  • 75 papyri MSS (A.D. 117-300)
  • John Rylands Fragment (A.D. 117-138) -
    oldest
  • Chester Beatty Papyri (A.D. 250) - most of the
    NT

297 parchment-uncials MSS (4-9th cent.) Codex
Vaticanus A.D. 325-350 Oldest parchment
2,646 parchment-minuscule MSS (9-15th cent)
Oldest family of texts dates from 10th century
1,997 Lectionaries (7th-12th cent)
Total 5,015 MSS
23
Comparing of MSS
  • Homers Iliad 643
  • Caesars Gallic Wars 10
  • Livys History of Rome 20
  • Tacitus Annals of Imperial Rome 2
  • New Testament 5,015

24
Comparing time to first MSS
  • Caesars Gallic Wars 900 years
  • Tacitus Annals of Imperial Rome 800 years
  • Homers Iliad (earliest fragments) 400 years
  • New Testament
  • Complete MSS 300 years
  • Most of the NT less than 200 years
  • Some books about 100 years
  • One fragment within 1 generation

25
Canonicity Began With The Apostles
  • The authority of the Apostles
  • Oral tradition

26
  • For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure
    in those who spoke much, but in those who taught
    the truth in those who rehearsed the
    commandments given by the Lord to faith, and
    proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one
    who had attended on the elders came, I asked
    minutely after their sayings, what Andrew or
    Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by
    Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew,
    or by any other of the Lords disciples For I
    imagined that what was to be got from books was
    not so profitable to me as what came from the
    living and abiding voice.
  • Papias, Oracles, 1 (early 2nd century)

27
Canonicity Began With The Apostles
  • The authority of the Apostles
  • Oral tradition
  • References to the four-fold gospel begin to
    surface in beginning of the 2nd century

28
  • Let us act according to that which is written
    (for the Holy Spirit saith, Let not the wise man
    glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man
    glory in his might, neither let the rich man
    glory in his riches but let him that glorieth
    glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and
    doing judgment and righteousness), being
    especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus
    which He spake, teaching us meekness and
    long-suffering. For thus He spoke Be ye
    merciful, that ye may obtain mercy forgive, that
    it may be forgiven to you as ye do, so shall it
    be done unto you as ye judge, so shall ye be
    judged as ye are kind, so shall kindness be
    shown to you with what measure ye mete, with the
    same it shall be measured to you. 1st
    Clement to Corinthians

29
Canonicity Began With The Apostles
  • The authority of the Apostles
  • Oral tradition
  • References to the 4-fold gospel begin to surface
    in beginning of the 2nd century
  • Gospel according to Matthew
  • Gospel according to Mark

30
Canonicity Began With The Apostles
  • Mark became Peters interpreter and wrote down
    accurately all that he remembered, whether the
    sayings or the doings of the Lord, but not in
    orderfor he had neither heard the Lord nor
    followed him, but followed Peter later on, as I
    said. Peter was accustomed to teach as occasion
    required, but not as though he were making a
    compilation of the dominical oracles. So Mark
    made no mistake in writing down certain things as
    he called them to mind for he paid attention to
    one thing to omit none of the things he had
    heard and to make no false statements in any of
    them. Papias (ca. AD 130-140)

31
Canonicity Began With The Apostles
  • The authority of the Apostles
  • Oral tradition
  • References to the 4-fold gospel begin to surface
    in beginning of the 2nd century
  • Gospel according to Matthew
  • Gospel according to Mark
  • Gospel according to Luke
  • Gospel according to John

32
Canonicity Began With The Apostles
  • Acts
  • The authority of Pauls writings.
  • The General Epistles of James, Peter, John, Jude
  • Epistle to the Hebrews (anonymous)

33
Circulation of the Apostolic Writings
  • Copies of Mark circulated to Matthew and Luke
  • Pauls letters circulated almost immediately
  • Peter refers to in all Pauls epistles (1
    Peter 315-16)
  • 1 Peter was written to Christians in wide geo.
    area
  • Forgeries of Paul began to surface

34
The Apostolic Fathers
  • Clement of Rome (AD 95-96)
  • Ignatius of Antioch (110)
  • Didache (100-150)
  • Papias of Hierapolis (130?)
  • Epistle of Barnabas (130?)
  • Polycarp of Smyrna (110-135)
  • Shepherd of Hermas (100-150)

35
INFLUENCES ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON
  • Apostolic Roots
  • Spread of False Teaching
  • Judaizers (Apostolic times)
  • Gnostics (2nd-5th centuries)

36
Gnosticism
Holy
Pure
Emanations
Demiurge (God of Bible)
Sinful
Creation
Material
Unpure
Physical
37
INFLUENCES ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON
  • Apostolic Roots
  • Spread of False Teaching
  • Judaizers (Apostolic times)
  • Gnostics (2nd-5th centuries)
  • Marcionites (2nd century)
  • Montanists (last half of 2nd century)

38
INFLUENCES ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON
  • Apostolic Roots
  • Spread of False Teaching
  • Persecution
  • Book Making Practices

39
SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON
  • General pattern of acceptance
  • Four Gospels (end of Apostolic period)
  • Pauls writings, Acts, Revelation (end of 1st
    cent.)
  • Rest of NT debated, took longer to be accepted.
  • Some other books debated, but rejected.

40
SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON
  • General pattern of acceptance
  • No ecclesiastical headquarters
  • Recitations in church services

41
SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANON
  • Although the fringes of the emerging canon
    remained unsettled for generations, a high degree
    of unanimity concerning the greater part of the
    NT was attained among the very diverse and
    scattered congregations of believers not only
    throughout the Mediterranean world but also over
    an area extending from Britain to Mesopotamia. By
    the end of the third century and the beginning of
    the fourth century, the great majority of the
    twenty-seven books that still later came to be
    widely regarded as the canonical NT were almost
    universally acknowledged to be authoritative.
    Bruce Metzger

42
CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION
  • Apostolic authority
  • Acceptance by the churches
  • Affirmed spiritual validation

The canon has been considered to be closed since
the 4th century!
43
THE APOCRYPHA
  • Came from the Septuagint (LXX)
  • Writings
  • Esdras
  • Tobit and Judith
  • Prayer of Azariah, etc.
  • Ecclesiasticus
  • 1 2 Maccabbeees, Psalm 151
  • Additions to varrious OT books
  • Etc.

44
OTHER NON-CANONICAL WRITINGS
45
GNOSTIC WRITINGS
  • Gospel OF Thomas (A.D. 140)
  • Gospel of Philip (2nd century)
  • Exegesis of the soul (A.D. 200)

46
  • For we also have had the gospel preached to us,
    just as they did but the message they heard was
    of no value to them, because those who heard did
    not combine it with faith
  • Hebrews 42

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through
the word of Christ Romans 1017
47
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