The Canon of Scripture, No. 1
morning we’re going to look at the Canon of
Scripture—the books that are in the Bible, why they are there, and how they came to
The modern theories of
inspiration give a very large place to the activity of man and a
comparatively minor role to God in the writing of the Bible.
The real issue facing you and me as Christians today is whether the Bible
is to be regarded and accepted as a trustworthy teacher of doctrine;
whether it has divine propositions of truth that we can depend upon.
In the past, all doctrine was drawn from the Bible. If
we reject today, as is commonly done, what the Bible teaches about its own inspiration and about its claims to
authority, it raises the question as to how we can depend upon anything it teaches
How can we depend
upon what the
Bible says about there being one living and true God if we
can’t trust what it
says about its own inspiration?
we depend upon what it says about Jesus Christ and the redemption He
provided on the cross?
How can we depend
upon the divine standards of morality—that these work, that
important, and that we should subject ourselves to these?
and I cannot dismiss the Bible as being
in error on the subject of inspiration and still claim that God can
can save the sinner, and can bring us to a knowledge of Himself. The
only way we know these things is through
the bible itself.
Once we reject
authority we have nothing to believe in.
the objection that the critics have been leveling
against the believers in inspiration is that we have been assuming that
Bible is the Word of God.
raises the question, “What if that’s not true?
What if the Bible
is really not the Word of God?” Then
everything that we build on the Bible is
You may not say,
don’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God,”
but if you ignore it and you
neglect it and your daily feeding upon it, you are in effect saying
really is not that important, and it in effect to you is not the Word
the Holy Spirit has to bring understanding to each
person concerning the inspiration, the authority, and the origin of the
as God’s Word.
This cannot be
from the Scriptures and its content and its prophetic fulfillment and
but ultimately God the Holy Spirit witnesses to our Spirits that His
indeed the Word of God.
Man alone cannot
identify what is God’s Word. It
the help of God the Holy Spirit to do that.
has not revealed to us in the Bible how He has taken
these human writers, and how He used them to bring about His choice of
without stifling their personalities and their personal expressions. The
liberal assumes that once anybody touches
a human hand to a writing, that writing automatically must be in error. The
liberal says it is not possible for a human
hand to produce a writing and that writing not to contain error. However,
we know that even a good businessman
knows when a secretary can’t produce letters in the way she
should, and he
knows how to fire one and find one that does produce and perform as he
It is ridiculous
to think that
an omnipotent God could not prepare writers whom He could guide to
writings without error even though they were human.
God cannot keep His writers from
cluttering up His book with all kinds of errors, then He certainly is
This is why we
have said to
you that the doctrine of inspiration involves very definitely your
theism—your concept of the nature and the essence of god. When
you reject inspiration, and when the rejects
inspiration, he is also rejecting the God which is revealed in the
why we say that the God of modern
theology is not the God of the Bible. It’s
a totally different personality altogether.
any part of the Bible is fallible because men wrote it,
then all of it is fallible and in doubt.
There is no way
for a fallible man today to separate what is true and
what is false.
You and I can
some parts of the Bible from archaeology, from geography, and from
secular records, but we can’t confirm all of it.
when the liberal says that some parts of the
Bible are true, he is contradicting himself in effect because He is
that somehow God managed to use a human instrument without recording
Why he could he
done it in all parts?
would expect from an omnipotent God.
the general view that people have consequently of the
Bible today is that human reason on its own is competent to decide what
and what is wrong in the Bible.
reason can pass judgments on the Word of God.
So it is
incredible to people today that anyone would feel, for example,
bound by the biblical rules for the use of sex.
considered unreasonable to abide by the Bible rules on
All you have to
do is listen to
some of these talk programs.
subject is explored, the Bible is never brought into the picture as
anything to say on this subject. When
anybody suggests pursuing biblical standards of morality, the panel
almost always just about ready to swallow his teeth.
can’t believe that anybody would go
through his whole life on the basis of biblical sexual morality.
approach the Bible as a human product that’s filled
with clear-cut serious errors.
gone through many of these and have tried to show you that these errors
irrefutable and that in effect there is not place in the Bible where
there is a
clean-cut contradiction and error. The
Bible’s claim to be the absolute Word of God cannot simply be
dismissed as the
claims of over-zealous disciples.
of course it’s not easy for you and me to buck this
This is the
toward the bible.
As a matter of
it is not easy for you and me to buck any popular movement today which
contradicts portions of the Word of God.
When we may have
something critical to say about some popular movement
today, we expect you to be a mature object Christian who is able to
the confines of the objection and to not interpret this as a wholesale
condemnation of the movement.
saying that within this movement which may be acceptable and which we
improve in its goals and in general, there is this feature that is a
of sound doctrine and which bears the seed of bitter fruit. It
is that particular feature of which we are
critical and of which we condemn because we have justified scriptural
for that condemnation.
We expect you to
limit what we say in order to caution you and alert you to the limits
we are speaking, and not to broaden out beyond your own.
of you who are positive will do that. But
those who are negative and who are
looking for a club are going to go beyond what is said.
it isn’t easy to buck the climate of
something popular and still be understood in what it is that we are
The Christian who
Word of God is certainly aware that there are difficulties in the Word. We
have given you an example or two where we’re
just not sure at all what the answer is of the difficulty that we find
Scripture, but on the basis of our knowledge we cannot say that we are
with something that is an outright error.
Nor can the
liberal say that he is dealing with an outright error
because he doesn’t have that much knowledge.
knows that if he rejects the Word of God, he is out of
touch with God completely.
greater difficulty than accepting the Bible and recognizing that we
difficulties that we can’t exactly resolve.
The believer who
is operating on divine viewpoint would rather stand
with the Bible than to stand against what it claims.
raises the question as to why we have 66 books in the
bible and only those.
In both Old and
New Testament times there were many other books which were written and
were rejected and not included in the Word of God.
Christians have simply accepted that these books should be
included in the Word of God.
Some do not
hold to these books alone. The
will add the Koran.
Scientists will add Science and Health with the Key to the Scriptures. The
Mormons will add the Book of Mormon. The
Roman Catholics will add 14 books to the
Old Testament called the Apocrypha. So
you and I today are confronted with whether or not the Bible is a
Has God completed
and do we have everything in it that is supposed to be in it. That’s
what I would like to pursue with you in
closing up this series on our Bible.
the liberal finds God speaking to him in many other
places besides the Word of God.
of God is viewed as merely one means of divine revelation.
it’s necessary for us to answer certain
Why was each book
Bible placed there?
Why have certain
other books been excluded from the Bible?
Why have all of
these approved books been brought together in on volume
called the Bible?
Does the Bible
books in it which do not properly belong there?
Have any inspired
books been omitted which do belong there? To
provide a permanent written source of
divine viewpoint, God had to take some writers, give them information,
produce a sacred Scripture.
refer to the books that belong to the Bible as the canon
It comes from the
Greek word “kanon.” “Kanon”
simply means a measuring stick, a
rule, a standard, or a rod.
So the word
is used of anything that serves to regulate or determine other things. It’s
a testing rule.
word “canon” has come to have a technical meaning
connection with Scripture.
It refers to
the testing rule or the standard which determines whether a book
Scripture or not.
this standard are admitted into the Bible.
Those that do not
are viewed as non-canonical and they are
when we speak of the canon of Scripture we are actually
referring to the collection of books which has met the standard to
This is the
that we refer to as the Bible.
speak about the canon of Scripture, we’re talking about the
66 books that
compose our Bible.
were certain tests for canonicity. One,
there was the test of divine
Is a book
inspired by the
Holy Spirit or is it just a human product?
The early Jewish
believers and the early Christian believers looked at
the books which came into their hands and they examined the authorship. They
looked to see whether this book had upon
it divine authorship—whether it was inspired or whether it
was just a human
Some they decided
one way and
others they decided the other way.
they looked at human authorship. Was
the book written, was it edited, or was
it endorsed by a spokesman from God; that is, was he a prophet, or was
apostle, or someone closely associated with an apostle.
looked at genuineness.
Are we able to
take this book and trace it back to the time in which it
claims to be written and from the person from whom it professes to come? Some
of these books were written later and
they were given the name of some famous previous author, but they were
really written by that person.
Is it a true
record of the facts?
Does what the
book presents actually represent the facts or is it filled
Then there was
testimony, both of the Jewish people that endorsed this book and the
later that confirmed this book.
ancient versions of Scripture also followed through on this.
there’s a reason for the canon of Scripture.
is necessary that we know what books are actually
the books from God in order to give mankind a revelation from God. Certain
books were prepared by God for
Until these books
recognized we could not have Scripture, so we had to have some means of
recognizing what was indeed from God.
with the completion of the book of Revelation in 95 A.
D. the canon of Scripture was closed, and there was no more Scripture
God speaks to us
this completed canon of Scripture. What
does this mean?
If the canon of
is closed, then God is no going to speak to you in a vision in the
You are not going
to go home and eat ice
cream and pickles before you go to bed, and have a dream from God that
you direction for your life.
have a nightmare, but you will not have guidance from God.
only way you’re going to get guidance
from God is through the canon of Scripture—these
authoritative books that have
been proven to be inspired records.
you and I, if we’re going to learn anything
from God have to learn the Word of God.
This is why you
should be a fanatic for Bible doctrine, for learning the
propositions of divine truth.
I read an
article by a radio preacher this week in which he was decrying the fact
the Scripture calls upon pastors of local churches to be teachers of
He said if this
requirement of the
Word of God were enforced today, 85% of people who are in the people
This means that
maybe 15% are
performing the only function God ever called a pastor-teacher to, and
to communicate the Word of God.
is sad that most people don’t understand this, and
consequently they’re sitting out there in those 85% of the
churches where they’re
getting nothing, or worse than that, they’re getting
something that is
downright detrimental and poisonous to them.
If you value the
learning of the Word of God, then you will not belittle
the supreme importance of the teaching ministry of the local church. I
also recognize that there is an ignorant
type of accusation that goes around that usually comes from that 85%
want to prepare and doesn’t want to get ready to teach
That is that,
“Oh, you can
learn doctrine but it won’t make you a godly person.
you can learn doctrine but this won’t
lead you into godly living.
mean you’re going to act right.”
whoever said that, and I read this in another article, I
don’t really know that I’ve ever heard anybody say
That if you will
just learn the Bible you
will do what is right.
people say that if you learn Bible doctrine, you will have the
which you may now proceed to do what is right, but you will have to
be positive toward the Word of God.
Obviously, if you
are negative toward what you learn, or you receive it
with mental reservations which is the same thing, then it will not
So when the 85%
tries to dissuade
you from the importance of the Word of God and tell you that all we
love, which incidentally because nobody has communicated the Word of
them they don’t understand that word either.
you need is love:”
understand and you just remember the frame of reference from which
trying to cover up the
lack of instruction in the Word.
for this reason God said, “I have to provide you with a
canon, a standard, so that you may know when I am speaking, and you may
where to go to find the mind of God.” We
have a permanent written source as our textbook and guideline. To
preserve the manuscripts from corruption
and destruction, it was necessary in the hostile days of the
Christianity for the believers to know what was Scripture, what
canon, because sometimes they had to put their lives on the line. If
you were a believer under persecution and
you were going to preserve the Word of God, it would be very important
to know what was the Word of God, and you weren’t going to
hazard your life for
it was necessary for the believers to immediately decide
what was Scripture and what was not. In
302 A. D., the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered all sacred books of the
Christians to be burned.
It would have
been a waste of a Christian’s life to die defending a
we needed to have a canon in order to prevent inclusion
into the Bible of uninspired books which claimed to be Scripture. There
was much spurious literature.
In 330 A. D., the
Roman Emperor Constantine
order 50 copies of the Bible made for use in the churches.
raised the question as to what should be
included in these copies as the official Bible.
we’re going to look this morning, first of all, at the
Old Testament canon and the organization of the Hebrew Old Testament. Remember
that this is the Bible which was
used by Jesus Christ and the disciples.
In the Hebrew
Bible the arrangement is different than the English
The Hebrew Bible
begins with the
book of Genesis and it ends with the book of 2 Chronicles.
Hebrew Bible contains 24 books.
Hebrew arrangement was 24 books,
but these 24 books are identical to the 39 books which you and I have
Old Testament today.
certain books that we divide, like 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1
Chronicles, and so on.
So though we have
39 books, they’re identical to their 24.
The Law / The
arrangement began, first of all, with the first section
which was called the Law.
contained five books:
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The
Christians referred to these five books as the
“Pentateuch,” which means “five
books.” The Jews called it the “Torah,”
meaning the Law.
These books were
written by Moses and they
constituted one-fourth of the Old Testament.
wrote, there was no Scripture.
God spoke to
The Bible many
times calls these five books the
Law of Moses.
He is often
Psalms and in the prophets.
critics reject the Mosaic authorship, as we have learned.
they substituted that documentary hypothesis
theory, that these documents, JEDP, were put together 1,000 years after
purportedly wrote these books.
New Testament writers report that Jesus Christ
repeatedly said that Moses wrote the Torah (John 5:46-47, Luke 16:31,
these first five
books of the Law of Moses were accepted as canonical because of
prophet Moses who wrote these books.
They were not
accepted because of their antiquity, because of their literary
style, because of some royal decree, or because of some ecclesiastical
canonical because of who wrote them—a
spokesman of God.
next section is called the Prophets. In
the Prophets we have eight books. The
Jews called this section the “Nevi’im.”
was broken down into two sections. First
of all, the Former Prophets which
constituted four books:
Samuel, and Kings.
These are largely
books of history, of God’s guidance of the Jews, from the Law
books to the end
of the kingdom.
God told Moses in
Deuteronomy 18:15-22 that a line of prophets would follow him, ending
great prophet Jesus Christ.
following Moses, Joshua was raised up as a prophet to continue the
Moses had begun (Joshua 5:13-15). Judges
was combined with Ruth by an unknown author written in the time of
Joshua in the tradition of
continuing the revelation from God.
The Former Prophets
Former Prophets are not considered separate histories,
but they’re considered to be a continuous story.
writer views himself as adding on to the
When the book of
along, Joshua viewed himself as picking the story up from where Moses
and attaching himself to the previous book.
Jesus and the
apostles spoke of the Old Testament as a unit, and that’s
why they refer to it as “the Law and the Prophets,”
or just “The Law.” The
Holy Spirit under inspiration led each
consecutive writer to add his part to it.
For this reason,
a writer will in some way often hook his book onto the
one that precedes it.
In Joshua 24:26
read that he wrote in the book of the Law of God, meaning that he was
the book of the Law of Moses.
writings actually begin in Deuteronomy 34.
critics have often liked to scoff about Deuteronomy 34 because
it describes the death of Moses. This
one of the attacks concerning errors in the Bible:
could Moses have written this chapter
about his death?
Well, he could
it, of course, by sheer unadulterated revelation from God as to what
to happen to him.
But the truth of
matter is, apparently, that Joshua was the one who received this
having been there on the scene, and he completed the last part of
and thereby tied his book into the Law of Moses.
Joshua ends in Joshua 24:28 because the next
verses, Joshua 24:29-33, tell us about the death of Joshua. Who
Not Joshua, but
evidently the writer of
He added that and
book of Joshua and tied his book in to the continuous series that they
So it went down
the line that
the Old Testament writers were conscious of writing the continuous
Often they would
add an appendix, under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to the previous book.
probably added the genealogy of David in Ruth
The last two
verses of 2
Chronicles, for this reason, are identical with the first three of
reason of attaching to the previous book.
and Kings is a continued history of the kings of
Judah and Israel.
Over 400 years
formed the basic source book for the book of Chronicles.
Former Prophets were accepted as canonical because the
writers were confirmed with the same miracles and the same fulfilled
as had been Moses.
The Latter Prophets
other section of the prophets are the Latter Prophets.
them we have the Major Prophets—Isaiah,
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel—three books. Then
the Hebrews call it one book called the Minor Prophets, but we divide
twelve books called our twelve minor
prophets—“minor” because they are short
These are largely
quotations from each other, showing that they were accepted by their
contemporaries as canonical books.
final section of the ancient Jewish arrangement of their
Scriptures was called “The Writings.”
called this the “Ketuvim.”
These books are
classed as various miscellaneous writings. Three
of them are poetical books—Psalms,
Proverbs, and Job.
there is another segment called The Five Rolls (or The Five
Scrolls), the “Megillot.” The
are the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Esther. These
were kept separate.
They were the
Five Rolls treated as a unit
but kept separate for readings at specified Hebrew feasts.
of Solomon would be read at the Passover
Ruth would be
would be read at
the Feast of Tabernacles; Esther at the Feast of Purim; and,
the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
there were three books in the last segment of The
Writings—Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles.
unclassified general books, mostly historical, and they close
the Jewish order of the Old Testament.
they formed 24 books of the Hebrew Bible and they have
the same content as our books.
the Greek translation, the Septuagint, Samuel, Kings,
Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah, each are divided in two, and they add
The twelve books
are divided into
twelve separate books.
Then 15 more
books are created, making our 39 books.
used the 39-book division.
The Latin Vulgate
followed and it came into
our English Bible in this way.
the modern Hebrew Bible today may be divided into these
39 books but the ancient order was these that we have indicated. Then
there were 14 apocryphal books in the Old
Testament which we’ll look at a little later, and these were
the liberal rejects this idea that God has created a
canon of Scripture and given us an authoritative declaration that here
When the liberal
looks at these
three divisions that the Jews have presented, and the Jews claim that
books that have come from God, the liberal says that these were not
authoritative books from God.
that they were not received as true and as divine by the authors or by
He says that the
reception of the Old Testament was canonical was something that evolved
because the Jews loved these books, then they began venerating them,
they made them canonical.
the critics say that what the three divisions indicate
are evolving stages of the canonization of the Old Testament Scripture. They
say that the Law became canon about 400 to
444 B. C., in Nehemiah’s time. They
that the prophet section became a second canon about 200 B. C., and
writings became a canon in 90 A. D. But
the Dead Sea Scrolls that have been found in recent years have shown
Old Testament books were all viewed as canonical much earlier than the
have been claiming.
Josephus, who wrote about 100 A. D., declares that nothing was added to
Testament Scriptures after the death of King Artaxerxes in 424 B. C. No
more prophets appeared on the scene. This
was that inter-testament period of
silent 400 years.
Josephus lived at a time when these things were
understood as to what the Jews thought about their books and the
As a matter of
Josephus, while he was a Jew and an historian, was very very pro-Roman. He
was a personal friend of Titus, the
conqueror of Jerusalem.
While Titus took
for himself much of the furniture of the temple, he gave to his friend
the sacred scrolls out of the temple, so Josephus was in a position to
very reliable historian and informant to us in these matters. The
declaration of Josephus of that with the
close of the writing of Malachi, 400 years passed.
400 B. C., the canon of Scripture was
It was not
evolving as the
liberals declare and theorize.
as a matter of fact show good evidence that some of
the books that the liberals say are in the third section here were
written before some of the books that are in the second section. The
liberal builds his theory on the classification
of these books.
from the Jewish Talmud in 400 A. D., but we have listings that are
In other words,
the liberal comes along and
they find Daniel in the writings. They
say, “Aha, you see, Daniel was a prophet, yet Daniel was not
in the second
section which is the section of the Prophets.
Why is Daniel not
listed with the Prophets?” They
say, “I’ll tell you why. Daniel
was written in 168 B. C. and the canon
of the Prophets was closed in 200 B. C.
Daniel came along
too late to get into that section.” That’s
the kind of thing they make a great
in his day said that Daniel was in the section of
What the Jews did
reshuffle the books from one section to another, often for use in their
services so that the thing was not crystalized, and the liberals really
less and less ground to make any attacks of this nature.
Dead Sea Scrolls have gone a long way in
demonstrating that all the books were equally reverenced and they were
regarded as authoritative.
As a matter
of fact, for a long time the Jews viewed them as being in just two
Law and the Prophets, and they are so referred to in the New Testament.
the real ground to answer the question as to why
certain writers are placed in certain ones of these three divisions was
evolution of a canon as books were accepted at a later date, but simply
fact that there was a status of the writers.
This probably is
the best answer.
Moses was the
unique law giver.
He was the
founder of the Jewish nation.
Therefore he is
in a category by himself in the Law. The
prophets were of two kinds.
wrote a book of the Bible in
the Old Testament had to have the prophetic gift. Everyone
who wrote a canonical book had to
have the gift of prophecy.
He had to be
a communicator from God.
But he did not
have to have the office of a prophet. He
did not have to have the official function of the role of a prophet. We
find that we have the writings of people
like Solomon, David, and Daniel who are in the third section called the
prophets, and they
are called prophets in the Scripture, but they did not have the
Only those who
officially in the office of prophet are the ones who are put in the
section, and that seems to fit pretty well down the line.
is no evidence for the liberal’s theory for a
three-stage canonization as a result of the canon being closed at
what’s our basis for the acceptance of the Old Testament
Some people say
it’s because the
books are so old, but there were many old Hebrew writings that were not
Some claim that
written was the test.
If it was written
in Hebrew it was accepted.
But some of
the apocryphal books were partly in Hebrew and they were not accepted. More
was included in the canonization of
Scripture than just human judgment or choice.
Here again God
the Holy Spirit was superintending. Just
as he superintended the writing of the
books in the first place, then he protected the copying of the books
preservation of them so He guided the people at the time to make the
selections as to which books should be in the Bible. Again
the omnipotence of God came into
here are the steps in canonicity. First
of all, a book was written under divine
what makes it
God used divinely
men as His spokesmen to write these books.
character of inspiration of a book was easily recognized by
the people who read it.
Now if you
wonder about that, I would suggest that you go home and get a copy of
Just sit down and
Apocrypha through and you will readily see what we mean that there was
books themselves, as people read them, the various obvious stamp that
was inspired and another book was not.
between the Apocrypha and the other Old Testament books is
You wonder how on
earth the Roman Catholic Church can keep a straight face and declare
Apocrypha are canonical books.
get to that a little later.
books that were accepted and recognized as being
canonical by the believers were also confirmed later by quotations in
Testament from these Old Testament books—quotations as
Scripture (Matthew 22:29,
John 5:39, John 10:35).
Recognition of Inspiration
second step after you had a canonical book written was
the human recognition of this inspiration and of this
recognized that this book was inspired.
First the book
was written, then step number two was to recognize that
it was inspired or that it was not inspired.
People knew the
knew whether or not they were spokesmen from God. They
read the writings.
that they were of God.
Then they were
accepted in worship and as
authority for the teaching of doctrine.
Books Combined Into a
third step was that these books were collected into one
volume as the canonical writings. These
decisions were necessitated by the times in which these people lived. They
would come into times of national
disaster, as the Jews did in their Babylonian exile, and it was
them to recognize what God had done in the field of communication. After
the Babylonian exile from 586 to 516 B.
C., there was a resurgence of Bible study among the Jews.
Jews realized that the reason they had
come under the fifth stage of their cycle of discipline, which was
not only under a military power, but being dispersed out of their land. They
recognized that the reason this had
happened to them was because of their ignoring of the Word of God more
Babylonian exile there was a resurgence back to the Word of God. That
raised the question as to what
constituted the Word of God.
immediately, leaders, particularly Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah,
Malachi, proceeded to crystalize the canon.
By 424 B. C.,
with the writing of the book of Malachi, everyone
understood what constituted the Old Testament canon of Scriptures. The
Jews understood that with Malachi the line
of prophets had ceased.
have prophets, if you didn’t have people with the gift of
prophecy, you could
not have any more Scripture.
recognized that with Malachi the book was closed and the Old Testament
Then for 400
years, as Josephus
pointed out in his histories, the Jews realized that there was no
prophet to be
heard among the Israelites in that period before the New Testament.
Josephus wrote a book called Contra
Apion) defending the Hebrew
Scriptures, and he pointed out very strongly
that after Artaxerxes I in 424 B. C. there was no more Scripture
Nothing has been
added since, to his day, to
Septuagint was the translation of the Hebrew into Greek
in Alexandria in about 280 B. C. This
also confirms to us that the canon of the Old Testament as set. What
did they have in it?
Our 39 books.
Now it did
include the Apocrypha, but not as part of the
It was actually a
Greek from the classical Attic Greek to the New Testament Koine Greek. Again,
when they were going to translate this
for the Jews who no longer could understand Hebrew very well, it was
that they clarify what were the books of Scripture.
Christ approved the whole range of the
Old Testament canon as you and I have it today in the Jewish order when
11:51 and in Matthew 23:35, He referred to “from the blood of
Abel to the blood
blood of Abel” was referred
to in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
blood of Zechariah” was referred to in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21,
is the last book of the Old Testament in the Jewish arrangement of the
Talmud is another evidence of the closing of the canon
This was made up
comments written by rabbis from 400 B. C. to 500 A. D.
the Talmud there is common
agreement on the 39 books as we have them today. In
900 years of the writing of the Talmud by
hundreds of rabbis, not one ever recorded a question or a doubt or a
to the books which we have in our Old Testament. Also,
not one of them ever approved the
was a famed historian in the period of the early
church fathers following the Apostles.
He said that all
of the Old Testament canon was accepted in his
after the canon was closed, there were four categories
of books that developed, and we’re just going to introduce
these to you this
This was after
the time of the
founding of the church.
This was in the
centuries, A. D.
Some of the Jews
began to have some question
about some of the books of the canon.
The books were
divided, first of all, into what was called the
are the books which everybody said the
same thing about.
confession, they all agreed that these books were canonical. There
was no question.
This included 34
of our 39 books.
there was another category of books called the
and these are five books that were spoken against.
of the Jews questioned these in the 3rd
centuries, A. D. that they belonged in the canon. These
were Esther, Song of Solomon,
Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel, and Proverbs. The
reason they questioned them was not because they failed to meet any of
tests of canonicity, but because they weren’t sure about the
They read the
book of Song of Solomon and
they thought that it was a pretty sexy book and it shouldn’t
be in the
Some people think
The same for
these other books—it
was the content.
For some reason
other they were questioning that this ought to be in the Bible, but it
because they were not canonical books.
there was another one called “pseudepigrapha.”
simply means “written by unknown
This was done 200
B. C. to 200
They were written
under the name
of some other famed well-known prophet.
were written in order to support some heretical viewpoint.
there was a fourth category.
That was the one
that we have been referring
The Apocrypha are
books which the Roman Catholic Church today declares are equal in
in inspiration with the 39 books that are in the Bible that you and I
Catholic, when he
speaks to you, will often say to you, “Well, don’t
talk to me.
You have a
different Bible than I do.” That
kind of scares people off.
Well, the truth
of the matter is that he
doesn’t have a different Bible when it comes to the issues of
we want to talk about because his New Testament is the same as ours. A
Roman Catholic Bible varies in these Old
Testament books, and we’re going to look a little bit into
what these books
you’ll see why at the
Council of Trent in 1545 the Roman Catholic Church felt compelled to
declaration that the Apocryphal books were canonical Scripture. Nobody
had done it up to then.
It was in 1545 A.
D. that the Roman Catholic
Church said, “This is the Word of God.”
As we look into
the content of a few of these books, you’ll see why they
had to do this because the church was up against the wall.
were being shot to pieces by Calvin and Zwingli
and Luther, and they had to save face, and it was necessary for the
Catholic Church to sustain itself that they include these false
call them “Scripture.” We’ll
up next week.
John E. Danish, 1971
to the Basic Bible Doctrine index
the Bible Questions index