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Canonicity

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Canonicity of Scripture

Canon - Rule, standard.
If doctrine of Inspiration is true then there is a line that in drawn between writings that are inspired and writings that are not inspired.
So the issue of Canonicity is the issue of deciding which writings belong to that body of inspired writings which we call the Word of God.

Canon of the Old Testament

The Ot is rather easy.
Both Jesus and the Apostles accepted the Jewish bible as cannon.
24 Mazoretic Books which formed the herbed bible.
LXX which was the greek translations.
Note: The greek translation the LXX includes the OT Apocryphal books.
Tobit, Judith, Extra chapters in Easter., Extra Chapters in Daniel and 1,2 Maccabees to name a few - 14 in total.
Judith
Extra chapters in Easter.

A note on the apocryphal books.

Now OT Apocryphal books BOT same as NT apocryphal books.
The NT Apocryphal were gnostic books written hundreds of years after the actual events - no one regards them as authority art even genuine.
OT apocryphal books are jewish wisdom and history books, and are for the most part completely trustworthy.
However they are not regarded as inspired.
Early reformer highly regarded them and we have sermons from john Calvin, john known and Luther who cited the books often, but made it clear that while they were useful, were not inspired and therefore not authoritative.
Now OT Apocryphal books BOT same as NT apocryphal books.
OT apocryphal books are jewish wisdom and history books, and are for the most part completely trustworthy.
However they are not regarded as inspired.
Early reformer highly regarded them and we have sermons from john Calvin, john known and Luther who cited the books often, but made it clear that while they were useful, were not inspired and therefore not authoritative.
Now OT Apocryphal books BOT same as NT apocryphal books.
Extra Chapters in Daniel
The NT Apocryphal were gnostic books written hundreds of years after the actual events - no one regards them as authority art even genuine.
OT apocryphal books are jewish wisdom and history books, and are for the most part completely trustworthy.
and 1,2 Maccabees to name a few - 14 in total.
However they are not regarded as inspired.
Early reformer highly regarded them and we have sermons from john Calvin, john known and Luther who cited the books often, but made it clear that while they were useful, were not inspired and therefore not authoritative.
The earliest list of OT books found in the age of church fathers is from 175AD.
Melino of Sardis - Hellenised jew who noted all the books of the OT except Ester.
Ester was added soon after.

Canon of the New Testament

The Canon of the NT was more challenging.
Big obstacle was that it would mean breaking the 400 years of no new revelation since the last prophetic utterance.
John 14:26 KJV 1900
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 15:26–27 KJV 1900
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:13 KJV 1900
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
These verse promise us that God would give his witness an accurate reconnection of the life of Jesus and the teachings.
Now one of the first and most striking things to note is that the Apostles fully concerned the gospel message to be the very Word of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:9–13 KJV 1900
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Galatians 1:11–12 KJV 1900
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 14:36–37 KJV 1900
What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
As you can see the apostles had a very strong conviction that the message they were proclaiming was the word of God.
Now this is striking from a jewish perspective because it was widely and commonly agreed with judaism that prophets had ceased. no more revelation.
1 Maccabees 9:27 NRSV
So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them.
Josephus contends that there has been no exact succession of prophets since the time of Artaxerxes, which is why no books had been accorded canonical authority since that time… Moreover, although prophecy continued, the title “prophet” belongs only to the past and to the future. Craig Keener
Josephus used the term “prophets” for his time only when he spoke of false “prophets”… No one denied that revelatory experiences continued to be possible. But biblical prophecy was seen as different from post biblical; prophecy; thus, in Josephus and Philo ‘pneuma’ is confined to prophecy in the biblical period, going special role to the canon… Craig Keener
Even where prophecy continued, it was really seen in the same terms as OT prophecy. Josephus and Philo do not associate current inspiration with the Spirit. Qumran documents associate prophecy and the Spirit with the past… The early Christians seem to be noteworthy in overcoming this reluctance to apply the designation to contemporary figures. Craig Keener
This makes the apostles claim astounding. They fully believed that by the power of the holy spirit they were seeking the word of God and put their proclamation on the same level as OT authority.

So when and how did these proclamations end up in the cannon?

Answer: VERY early.
The letter left by the Apostles were very quickly recognised and accepted to be on the same level at OT.
2 Peter 3:15–16 KJV 1900
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Less than 5 years and Pauls Epistles were already considered as canonical.
The Sub-apostolic father made a clear distinction between their own writings and the original apostles.
Eg: Ignathis - Mentions in respect to canon - “The Gospels and the Apostles”.
The 4 gospel and acts - universally accepted from the contemporaries and church fathers to be authoritative inspiration.
There were not dozens of gospels and the church picked the 4.
There were, and have only ever been 4.
The Gnostic gospel, were written 100’s of years after the events and have no credibility at all.
And so by 50Ad a cannon of Scripture is firmly established. Ignashious lists
4 gospels, acts, 13 letters of Paul, 1 john, 1 Peter.
acts
13 letters of Paul
1 john
1 Peter.
The next canonical list with changes is dated 175AD
Ludovic Miratoni - Miratonian cannon
4 Gospels, acts
acts
13 letter, jude, 1 john, 2 john, 1 peter, Revelation
jude
1 john
2 john
1 peter
Revelation
Then in 200 AD Cia’s lists all the books we have today.
Note: No Council of Nicea, no Constantine, no voting.
These books were not selected, they were imposed upon the church by the HS.
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