A. Root meaning: from Greek kanwn , meaning rod, ruler, standard for measure.
B. Theological meaning: rule, standard, norm—normative writings.
Discovery of Canonicity (5 important questions)
Was it written by a prophet? An Apostle? Or an association of an Apostle?(Heb. 1:1; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Were the writers confirmed by an act of God? (John 3:2, Acts 2:22, Hebrews 2:3)
Does it tell the truth about God? (Deut 18:22; Gal. 1:8).
Does it have the power of God? (Heb. 4:12).
Was it accepted by the people of God? (Dan. 9:2; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:15).
Progressive Development of the Old Testament Canon
Moses wrote (Deut. 31:24)
Joshua added (Josh. 24:26)
Samuel added his writings (1 Sam. 10:25)
Prophets were collected (Dan. 9:2; Zech. 7:12)
Two main reasons we may affirm the O.T. canon of 39 books:
1. It was the canon of Jesus (Luke 24:27,44).
2. It was the canon of the 1 st century Jewish community.
What about the “Apocrypha?”
The apocrypha (“hidden” or “secret”) refers to the 11 books accepted as Scripture by the Catholic church.
At the time of Christ, the OT canon included only the 39 books as they are found in today’s Protestant Bible.
It was not until 1546, at the Council of Trent, that the Catholic church decreed that the 11 books should be included in the canon.
Reasons for Rejecting the Apocrypha as Canonical:
Judaism has never accepted it as inspired.
Great Jewish leaders of old rejected it (Philo, Josephus, etc.)
Jesus and apostles did not accept it.
Most early church fathers rejected it.
The Catholic Church used the apocrypha to support their teachings, such as praying for the dead and purgatory.
The Completion of the New Testament Canon
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the father by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. Hebrews 1:1-2
“ Former Days ” God spoke through the prophets.
“ Last days ” God spoke through His son.
Why the Canon is Closed
1. Christ and the Apostles lived in the “last days”. Heb. 1:1-2, John 2:18
2. Christ is God’s last word in the last days. (Hebrews 1:2)
Christ fulfilled “all things” (Matt. 5:17-18)
Christ promised “all truth” to His apostles. (John14:26; 16:13)
3. Christ’s 12 apostles are the only official channel of His eyewitness teaching (Luke 1:1-2; John 15:27; Acts 1:21,22; Heb. 2:3-4)
4. The eyewitness Apostles lived only in the first century (John 15:27; Acts 1:21-22)
Why the Canon is Closed (ctd.)
5. The 27 books of the NT are the only apostolically confirmed literature extant about Christ.
Scripture John 2:18
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”(John 2, KJV)
Matthew 5:17 - 18
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Scripture references (“all truth”)
26 “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 things that I said to you .(John 14:26).
13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.. (John 16:13).
Scripture reference Acts 1:21, 22
21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 “beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection
Why the Canon is Closed (ctd.)
Many books were written by eyewitness apostles. (Matthew; John; 1&2 Peter; 1, 2, 3 John; Revelation)
26 “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 things that I said to you.
Closing the Canon cont.
Paul’s letters were confirmed by apostles teaching (Acts 15; Gal.2; 2 Peter 3:15-16).
Hebrews was confirmed by the apostles (Hebrews 2:3-4).
Mark was a disciple and secretary of Peter (1 Peter 5:13).
Luke was an associate of Paul (Acts 16; Col, 4:16).
James and Jude were associates of the apostles (and half brothers of Christ). (Acts 15; Jude 1; James 1:1).
Therefore, the 27 books of the New Testament are God’s last words in these last days (i.e. the canon is closed ).
2 Peter 1:20-21
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Scripture references (re. acts of God)
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
Scripture reference (Truth about God)
22 “when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
Scripture reference (power of God)
2 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Scripture Reference (People of God)
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
1 Thess. 2:13
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
2 Pet. 3:15
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
By A.D. 397, the Church Council of Carthage recognized the 27 books of the New Testament as authoritative books.
Recognized which books were canon using specific criteria.
“ A collection of authoritative books” NOT “an authoritative collection of books.”
Recognizing God’s truth, not our determining truth. (Mohammed, Joseph Smith, modern prophet).