The Canon of the Bible
God's providence gave us the 27 book New Testament Canon, not the church. God, not men decided the canon. This providence does not mean that church leaders were inspired in their selecting the canon, only that God had his eye on the scriptures the whole time and brought about His will to form the Bible we see today!
A conservative, bible believing perspective!
1. 100AD: All 27 books of the New Testament were in circulation and all but Hebrews, 2 Peter, James, 2 Jn, 3 Jn, Revelation were universally accepted.
2. 100-400 AD: 6 "disputed" books accepted. A number of other books were read in a few churches at various times: Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement, Didache, Epistle of Barnabas, Wisdom of Solomon, Apocalypse of Peter.
1. The Word Bible is from Greek, biblia and is found twice in scripture:
a. I, Daniel, observed in the books (or Bible) [Greek: biblia] the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Daniel 9:2 LXX
b. When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books (or Bible) [Greek: biblia], especially the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:13
2. Earliest evidence for the New Testament canon
3. Why the canon of the New Testament varied by geography from 33 AD - 400 AD
4. We have little solid historical evidence before 200 AD about the canon.
5. Beware of many modern "canon" scholars who reject the Bible.
6. Acceptance of the "disputed" NT books: Hebrews, 2 Peter, James, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation
7. Rejection of "disputed" books: 1 Clement, Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas etc.
I. Canon of the New Testament:
1. Bible books quoted by the Apostolic Fathers
2. Criteria used by apostolic fathers to determine canon.
3. The New Testament first popularized the codex in 100AD for scripture, and was the first book ever produced from the printing press in 1500AD.
4. A list of inspired and non-inspired books mentioned in the Bible that are not part of our canon.
5. When the Bible was first viewed as having both an "Old and New Testament"
6. The Canon of Marcion the heretic proves early existence of New Testament.
7. The early use of "nomina sacra" indicates a canon was recognized.
8. Diocletian's destruction and Constantine's production of scripture
II. Canon of the Old Testament:
1. Which Old Testament text did Jesus prefer and quote from?
2. A list of Old Testament books quoted by Jesus and other New Testament writers
3. The Old Testament Canon: The council of Jamnia
4. List of books in the Christian Bible, Roman Catholic Bible, Greek Orthodox Bible
III. Refuting the claims of Roman Catholics and Orthodox:
1. Questions for Roman Catholics and Orthodox
2. Scripture contains a pattern that must to be followed.
3. Scriptures were more important than tradition to Apostolic Fathers.
4. Apostolic fathers viewed scripture as complete and final and that the age of inspiration was ended.
5. The Church organization and counsels did not give the world the Bible
6. The Catholic Church did NOT give us the Bible!
IV. Reference materials:
1. The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? By F. F. BRUCE, 1943
2. Study resources for the Old and New Testament Canon
3. Ancient lists of Old Testament Book Collections
4. Ancient lists of New Testament Book Collections
5. Various councils, synods and canons related to the Canon
By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.