Canon of Scripture

Topics: New Testament, Bible, Saint Peter Pages: 6 (2054 words) Published: June 10, 2013
CHHI301
Research Paper 1

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the canon of Scripture was established. This paper will include a definition of what is meant by the term “canon”, criterion required for establishing canonicity, as well as taking a look at the key events and persons that led to its establishment such as Marcion and Athanasius and the Councils that decided the canon. Focus will also be given to the New Testament Apocrypha. This paper will conclude with an overall view of how the Scriptures themselves are the final authority on this matter. DEFINITION

The term canon comes from the original Greek word, kanon, which means “a ruler or measuring rod”. Dr. Norman Geisler tells us that canonicity “refers to the normative or authoritative books inspired by God for inclusion in Holy Scripture”. Thus, it can be established that the process of canonization was the process by which God’s people placed the books that were the inspired Word of God into the Bible. Dr. Geisler goes further to stress an important fact—“Canonicity is determined by God…Its authority is established by God and merely discovered by God’s people.” Therefore, it was the task of God’s people to discover which writings were in fact, the inspired Word of God—that is, those writings in which, God divinely inspired the writer in such a way that his writings were truly the Word of God. As will be further demonstrated, this was no simple task! CRITERION FOR CANONIZATION

Dr. Bruce Ware cites six basic criteria that were used in establishing the canon of Scripture (both Old and New Testaments). The first of these was that the writing was done by a recognized prophet or apostle. Such is the case with books like Isaiah in the Old Testament, and John in the New Testament, as well as letters written by Paul, among others. The second refers to books written by those directly affiliated with recognized prophets or apostles. Books written by Luke are a primary example of this criterion. Luke was a physician who traveled with apostles such as Paul. He took great care in writing the books of Luke and Acts. Truthfulness is the third criterion given by Dr. Ware. If anything in the writing was determined to be untrue, the entire writing was dismissed. The inspired Word of God would not contain anything found to be untrue. This coincides with the fourth criterion—newer writings had to maintain faithfulness with writings already accepted in the canon. Obviously Scripture would not contradict itself. It is through this criterion that Hebrews was accepted into Scripture. It faithfully coincided with Scripture in the Old Testament and brought clarity to that which was already written. Fifth, writings were confirmed by either Jesus, himself, or a prophet or apostle. Jesus confirmed the entirety of the Old Testament in Luke 24:44 saying, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” The final criterion related to church usage and recognition. It is well known that while Paul’s writings may have been specific to individual churches, the letters themselves were passed around and shared by the churches. Thus, these letters were eventually recognized as coming from God through the writings of Paul. MARCION

Marcion is noted as the first to attempt to assemble a New Testament around 140 AD. Due to his belief that the God and Father of Jesus was not the same as Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, Marcion set aside the entire Old Testament saying that it should not be taught in churches as Christian instruction. He then compiled his own selection of books that he believed to be the true Christian Scriptures. His selections included the Epistles of Paul and the Gospel of Luke. He rejected anything that seemed to be overtly Jewish in nature, and he even eliminated portions of Luke that he did not choose to...

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