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A STUDY OF THE CANON Which Books Belong In The Bible? What does canon mean? The word, taken from the Greek, means a rule which serves as a measure, or that ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A%20STUDY%20OF%20THE%20CANON

(No Transcript)
  • Which Books Belong In The Bible?

What does canon mean?
  • The word, taken from the Greek, means a rule
    which serves as a measure, or that which is
  • In the NT the word is used of the territory
    apportioned to Paul for his ministry 2 Cor.
    1013, 15-16 the measure of the rule.
  • It also designated the rule of doctrine set forth
    by the apostle Gal. 616 walk by this rule
  • A book is canonical to a Jew or Christian,
    which is recognized as the bearer of the
    revelation communicated by the Spirit of God.

Divine Inspiration Determines Canonicity
  • Divine inspiration and canonicity are inseparably
    bound together.
  • By definition, the library of 66 books which make
    up the Bible are all inspired of God.
  • Why? All Scripture is inspired of God 2 Tim.
    316, 17
  • Writings which lacked this element did not belong
    in the Bible, so they were excluded.
  • Writings which possessed this quality were
    included in the canon of Scripture.
  • No inspired books were excluded no uninspired
    books were included!

Canon of the Old Testament
  • The oracles of God were entrusted to the Jewish
    people Rom. 32.
  • Israelites were the jealous guardians of the
    canon of Scripture given into their care John
    539, 45 929-30.

Josephus on the OT canon
  • Josephus Nothing can be better attested than
    the writings authorized among us. In fact, they
    could not be subject to any discord, for only
    that which the prophets wrote ages ago is
    approved among us, as they were taught by the
    very inspiration of God.For we have not an
    innumerable multitude of books among us,
    disagreeing from and contradicting one another,
    but only 22 books, which contain the records of
    all past times which are justly believed to be
    divine (Against Apion I.8.861-862).

Philo of Alexandria(A Contemporary of the
  • The Jews would die ten thousand times rather
    than to permit one single word to be altered of
    their Scriptures (Eusebius, Evangelical
    Preparation 8.6).

Development of the OT Canon
  • Entire Law put into the Holy of Holies beside the
    ark Deut. 3124-26.
  • Samuel wrote in a book which he laid up before
    the Lord 1 Sam. 1025.
  • Histories of Samuel, David, Nathan and others
    recorded 1 Chron. 2929 2 Chron. 929 1215.
  • Daniel read from the books Dan. 92.
  • Zechariah cited the earlier prophets 14, 6
    77, 12.

The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • This massive cache of documents arose during the
    period 225 BC to AD 70.
  • They include copies of every OT book except
  • They also include other books dealing with
    special Essene beliefs and some of the apocryphal
    books Manual of Discipline.
  • Only the OT books were considered authoritative
    as Scripture. The Essene writings cite many of
    the OT books as fully authoritative and
  • Six copies of Daniel are found among them one
    dates to as early as 110 BC.

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1QHa Col 9 A scroll of prayers and hymns
(hodayot) discovered in Cave 1. These are unlike
the biblical Psalms in form, and express the
religious aspirations of an individual/individuals
at that time. The hymn on this column (lines
1-36) typically thanks God for personal salvation
and election, "You have supported me in steadfast
faithfulness and with your holy spirit you
delighted me" (line 32).
The Dead Sea Isaiah Scroll shown above preserves
all 66 chapters of the Bible's longest book. 
Jesus Accepted the Common Jewish Canon of
Inspired Books
  • Jesus quoted Deuteronomy more than any other OT
    book, and the Psalms second (45 separate
  • All the books he quoted from are in the OT we use
  • Not once did he ever quote from one of the books
    of the Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha

Which Books Belong in the Bible?
  • The Apocrypha

The Canon of the OT in the Time of Christ
  • The canonical writings, according to Jesus, are
    the Law, Prophets, and Psalms Lk. 2244
  • Martyrs of the OT are Abel to Zechariah (Genesis
    to 2 Chronicles) Lk. 1151
  • Rabbis at Jamnia in A.D. 90 argued this issue
    but the canon was already established by internal
    evidence of inspiration and historical usage.
    Not accomplished by rabbinic fiat. No formal
    decision was issued and no decree pronounced that
    was binding on synagogues.
  • OT apocryphal books existed but were rejected
    because written in the Greek language, or after
    the close of the prophetic period.

Apocryphal Books
  • The 14 apocryphal books were not officially
    recognized by the Roman Catholic church until AD
  • They were not accepted by Jerome, who made the
    Latin translation Catholics revere today.
  • These books never claim to be the Word of God,
    nor the work of prophets.
  • Some are interesting and valuable as history but
    they are not inspired and they are not Holy

Development of the NT Canon
  • Peter speaks of all the epistles of Paul,
    putting them on a plane with the other
    Scriptures (2 Pet. 315-16).
  • Paul says the Scripture says and quotes from
    Deut. 254 and Luke 107.
  • In Jude 18, he quotes 2 Pet. 33 as authoritative
    and says it is a word from the apostles. 2 Peter
    is the least well attested book in the NT
    Scriptures, some even denying its authenticity!

Development of the NT Canon
  • All of the early Christian writers quote from the
    NT writings, calling them Scripture (Clement of
    Rome Ignatius Polycarp Papias Justin Martyr
  • Tertullian (about AD 200) coined the expression
    the New Testament in contrast with the OT,
    acknowledging the same quality of inspiration in
    the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.

Development of the NT Canon
  • Tertullian (AD 200) wrote How happy is this
    Church!She blends the law and prophets with the
    writings of the evangelists and apostles and it
    is thence she refreshes her faithWoe to them who
    add or retrench anything to or from that which is
    written. To wish or believe without the
    Scriptures of the New Testament is to wish or
    believe against them (Prescriptions 36).

Development of the NT Canon
  • Justin Martyr (about AD 148) says in regard to
    the meetings of the early Christians They would
    read either the Memoirs of the apostles or the
    Gospelsalong with the books of the prophets and
    in each assembly, after the reading, the
    president would give an exhortation based on the
    reading (Apology I, 67).
  • Within 50 years of the death of the last apostle,
    exact quotations from almost the entire NT are
    found in the writings of the defenders of the
    faith and even in those of heretics.

Lists of Accepted Books
  • The Muratorian Fragment, a list discovered in
    the 18th century by L. Muratori provides a
    partial listing of the books considered
    authoritative in AD 170. (Some scholars date it
    to the 4th century.) Lacks only 5 of our present
  • In the 3rd century Origin names all the NT books,
    but says Hebrews, James, 2 3 John and Jude were
    questioned by some.

Lists of Accepted Books
  • Eusebius of the 4th century names all the NT
    books as we have them today. Says some are
    suspected of not being genuine (James, 2 Peter, 1
    2 John and Jude).
  • In 367 Athanasius of Alexandria published a list
    of 27 books exactly as we have them in our Bibles

  • It is not tedious to speak of the books of
    the NT. These are the four gospels, according to
    Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. After these, the
    Acts of the Apostles and the 7 letters of
    apostles, called General, namely of James, one
    of Peter, two of John, three after these, one
    of Jude. In addition there are 14 letters of
    Paul, written in this order Roman, 2 to the
    Corinthians Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
    Colossians two to the Thessalonians Hebrews
    two to Timothy one to Titus and finally, that
    to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of
    John. These are the fountains of salvation, that
    they who thirst may be satisfied with the living
    words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed
    the doctrine of godliness. Let no one add to
    these, neither let him take away from these
    (Athanasias, Easter Letter, 367 AD).

Understanding the Process of Canonization
  • The church did not produce the Bible the Bible
    produced the church Lk. 811.
  • The church did not pass judgment on the Bible
    the Bible passes judgment on the church Jn.
  • Method of distribution Transfer, collect and

Understanding the Process of Canonization
  • Method of distribution
  • Transfer from one church to another.
  • Collect (Gospels, Epistles, etc.)
  • Copy from originals copy the copies.
  • Some steps described in the NT itself Col. 416
    Eph. 11 1 Pet. 11 2 Pet. 316 Rev. 111.

Stages of Acceptance of Books
  1. Recognition of Scripture Principle NT authors
    affirmed the authority of their writings (2 Pet.
    315, 16 Rev. 2218, 19)
  2. Recognition of the Canon Principle there were
    only a limited number of authoritative writings
    not all books claiming authority were apostolic.
  3. Recognition of a Closed Canon Lists of accepted
    books were drawn up. Some legitimate books
  4. General Recognition of the Closed Canon Reached
    at different times in various geographical areas.
    Spurious and heretical books shut out.

Tests Applied To Discover Inspired Books
  • Does the book claim inspiration?
  • Was it written by an Apostle?
  • Is the content in keeping with apostolic
  • Is it accepted and read by loyal churches?
  • Does it have the ring of genuineness? (Gospel
    of Thomas has Jesus make a long beam out of a
    short one changed children into goats and back
    into children etc.).

Eusebius, Church History 3.25
  • Distinguishes between what he calls
  • Acknowledged books inspired and authoritative.
  • Disputed or spurious books harmless and useful
    for individual study.
  • Heretical books dangerous errors taught in them.

  • books put forward by the heretics in the
    name of the apostles, whether containing gospels
    like of Peter, or Thomas, or Mathias or any
    others beyond these or acts like of Andrew or
    John or the other apostles. Concerning these
    books no one in the churches succession of
    writers saw fit to mention. Furthermore, the
    manner of phrasing departs from apostolic custom,
    and the thoughts and tendencies brought forward
    in them are so out of harmony with true orthodoxy
    that they are clearly shown to be the
    imaginations of heretics. Wherefore, they are
    not to be reckoned even among the spurious
    writings but are to be avoided as altogether
    disgusting and ungodly (Eusebius, Church
    History, 3.25).

NT Apocryphal Books
  • Apocryphal (doubted or disputed) books
    circulated widely during the early years of the
  • Sects and cults wrote them some were harmless
    letters by orthodox Christians (1 Clement
    Didache Shepherd of Hermas).
  • Each faction had its own canon of books Marcion
    of Romes is most famous (Luke and part of Pauls

NT Apocryphal Books
  • Eusebius has a list of rejected books and
    letters used by the heretics and their cults.
  • In Christian history there have been a few voices
    raised against individual books Luther opposed
    James and Hebrews.
  • These have been isolated voices.
  • Modernists in our time deny Peter wrote 2 Peter
    John wrote the Fourth Gospel claim the Johannine
    epistles were penned by an unknown elder, etc.
  • But this lack of faith in Gods providential care
    of his Word is a sure mark of modernism.

The Canon
  • The issue of the canon is really a question of
    history and providence.
  • It was settled long ago.
  • We can trust that it was settled correctly by the
    intrinsic value of the books themselves, since
    they were given by inspiration 2 Tim. 316
  • We can trust Gods providence He said he would
    preserve His word 1 Pet. 125
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