The Stepping Stones of History

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The Stepping Stones of History

The Canon

I. The Canon

A. We get term Bible from the Greek word Biblion.

1. defined as “book”.

2. Literal meaning= God’s book of books.

3. The Bible is not just 1 book but is a library of books, 66 books in total.

B. These 66 books are sometime referred to as the Canon.

1. The term Canon = Means cane, or measuring rod

2. The term canon refers to the books that meet a certain standard and are therefore recognized as the authoritative Word of God therefore they become the measure or standard (Canon) for all matters of faith and conduct.

3. How seriously should we take the scripture to be the authoritative word of God? Galatians 1:8
II. The Word before the Bible.

A. In the beginning there was no real need for a written record of the life of Christ because the Apostle were alive to tell the story and to answer questions.

B. In the beginning the good news was spread through the use of:

1. Oral tradition/word of mouth.

2. Cited the Old Testament to show that Jesus was the messiah.

3. On occasion would benefit from the manifestation of the Holy Spirit through prophetic utterances.

C. After 15- 20 years, the apostles were passing away and It was realized that a written record was needed so the Gospel stories were recorded.

D. False teachings arose, the apostles began to write letters to the various churches to encourage them and teach them the teachings of Christ.

III. Collecting the Letters

  1. Not every gospel or letter was well known in every region.

1. The gospels were written for different audiences.

2. The apostles did not travel in the same locations.

B. Some people began writing letters who had no business in writing letters to the churches.

1. The authors pretended to be someone else.

2. They taught inaccurate things about Christ.

C. With all these letters it was necessary to determine what letter’s were authoritative.

D. From the early 2nd century there were individual who began to attempt to compile lists of letters that were already deemed as authoritative by the churches.

1. 2 Peter 3:15-16

2. Marcion developed his list of authoritative works in 140 A.D..

3. Muratorian released his findings in 180 A.D.

4. Athanasisus, in 327 A.D. was the first to voice his belief that there were 27 authoritative works.

IV. Council of Carthage

A. Not until the council of Carthage in 397 A.D. that church leaders finally affirmed the 27 books that we have in our New Testament today as being authoritative. .

B. How did they decide?

1. Was the book the product of an apostle or a close associate ?

a.. Disciples- Matthew, John, Peter

b. Apostles- Paul

  1. Brothers of Jesus- James and Jude

  2. Associates of Apostles- Mark, and Luke

2. Was the book widely accepted and used in churches.

  1. Did the subject matter agree with apostolic teaching?

4. Did the book have a divine effect of the ability to change lives?

C. At the completion of the Council of Carthage, our current list of 27 books was affirmed to be what the church had accepted and used as the authoritative Canon of Scripture.

V. Old Testament Canon

A. The current Old Testament canon was selected soon after the Jews return from Babylon, around the time of Ezra.

B. It was officially Canonized at the Council of Jamnia between 90-100 A.D.

C. Books organized mostly chronologically within 5 categories (39 books):

1. The Law (Torah) - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. 2. History - Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings,

1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. Kings and Chronicles

3. Poetry – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

4. Major Prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel

5. Minor Prophets - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum,

Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

VI. New Testament Canon

A. Books organized thematically within 5 categories (27 books):

1. Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

2. History – Acts

3. Letters of Paul - Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians,

1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon

4. Letters of Others – Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2, John, 3 John, Jude

5. Apocalypse – Revelation

VII. Other Books?

  1. There are really 2 classifications of rejected writings.

    1. Apocrypha writings

    2. Pseudepigripha writings.

B. Apocrypha-means hidden things.

C. Apocrypha writings generally fall into 2 categories.

1. . Intertestament apocrypha

a. Written between the Old and New Testament.

b. Commended for historical and ethical teaching, theological teaching is susperct.

c. Never quoted by the apostles.

2. New Testament Apocrypha

a. Written much later than the Gospels and epistles.

b. Their picture of Christ does not co-relate with the Christ of the gospels.

D. Psuedepigripha- means false authorship. Refers to works that claim to be written by famous people but are not.

VIII. Conclusion
  1. We can produce all the New Testament writings prior to 150 A.D.

  2. The scripture is God breathed, ( 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).

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