The Canon of "P"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Jarthur001, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    P = Protestantism

    I have been teaching a theology class and have been troubled by what many non-RCC believers claim on this subject. Its like most have fallen for the RCC story.

    I have read a small handful of Reformed writers that give what I feel is the right view, but they too stop short of supporting their view. Now I do have a view on this, but I want to hear from others.

    What are your views on the canon?

    How did it come about..

    Are we sure the books we have belong in the Bible?

    And...anything else.

    Also...

    If others have some good reading on the subject let me know. That part of my class is pass, but it never hurts to read up for next time.

    Thanks...James
     
  2. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I learned that men did not decide the canon, they discovered it. The early Christians used the books we use now as scripture. I know there were questions about a few books which were not settled until later (2 Peter, James, and I think one or 2 others).

    I'm not reformed so I am not recommending a reformed writer, but A General Introduction to the Bible by Norman Geisler is the best book I know on this subject. It's a large book with tons of info on the manuscripts, canon, history of the Bible, various versions and translations, etc. I've read that this is one of the most complete books on the topic.

    A layman's version is From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible.

    On a subjective level, I am sure the 66 books are all God's word. They are all convicting and have God's power in them for me. And I can say from having read books like those in the apocrypha that they are not God's word. There is a real difference.
     
  3. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Marcia is correct. But what evidence do you have for anything different? The earliest church had the testimony of the Apostles and the OT for referrence specifically Torah. However, I think you and I would disagree with certain aspects. The OT wasn't one work but a library or compilaton of books that were agreed on. The NT writers use of certain greek quotes reflects knowldedge and accepted of the Alexandrian translation that are identified as the LXX. We can see close resemblance from LXX to the Essene community copies of books at qumran. Now we will debate which books of the LXX were included and accepted by the Apostles but primarily the greek translation was in use by the NT writers. As Apostles dealt with issues they wrote letters to specific churches some are no longer extant. Those that are saved are in the NT. And for a time not all the Churches had all the works of all the apostles. So they copied the writings and passed them around. Other Episcopals also wrote works many writings were passed aroundl. The gnostic movement and specifically Marcion showed that there need to be a rule of books that were authoritative reflecting the whole teaching of the Apostles and so they set about to the task of Canonizing the bible. Now show me how you differ and what evidence do you have to support your notion. Are you suggesting that a "Golden Bible" was hand delivered by God to the Apostles? Or do you believe in an "immaculate text" (playing off the RCC consept of Immaculate Conseption) That was dictated to the prophets and the apostles and was immaculately copied to this very day with absolutely no errors that culminated in a bible that was writen on an Island of the Coast of the European mainland?
     
  4. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thinking....

    You need to THINK and stop guessing. You jump to a conclusion before we even get started. If you would care to read the OP you would KNOW I don't hold to the RCC doctrine. So half of what you said is pointless.

    You and Marcia have given a view. How do we know this? Was said....

    "The early Christians used the books we use now as scripture."

    Well this is true. They also used the epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas, didn't they? But these books are not part of the canon, so this is not a full answer.
     
  5. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    They did not use the epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas as scripture - as God's word.
     
  6. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm asking about where you believe that the canon came from. My answer is based on what I know of history which is taught by historians. Christians had many documents they relied on. Canon was in need of being developed because of people like marcion picked the documents he felt supported his position and sent the christian community into confusion. Gnostics did the same thing. The documents were studied. Leaders of the different churches met and discussed which documents they determined to be the word of God. Jerome assisted with his translation from hebrew and aramaic sources that he came accross during his time in the Holy Land into the common latin (latin Vulgate). He also used the commonly held sourse of the LXX but considered books outside the 66 OT to be hidden or apochrypha. He was called into account by the bishop of Rome and there is discussion whether he changed his opinion or not. Yet The bishops were able to establish a rule of documents OT and NT that are inspired by God and now we have our biblios.
     
  7. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    I don't know that the canonization of scripture is particularly mysterious. The O.T. canon was extant in the form of the Greek language Septuagint before the birth of Christ. The Septuagint of course contained the apocrypha, or deuterocanonicals, which have been controversial even down to the present day. The Jewish Council of Jamnia, meeting in the late 1st Century, promulgated an O.T. without the apocrypha. Thus we have always had two versions of the O.T.

    The N.T. was not settled quite as soon. By the end of the 1st Century, all the books of the N.T. had been written. There were also a few other books, like Shepard of Hermas or the Didache, that enjoyed wide usage as scripture. However, these books were also widely questioned as were 2 Peter, Revelation and Hebrews. Finally, the complete canon of the New and Old Testaments was articulated at the Council of Hippo in 393 and again at the Council of Carthage in 397. This canon contained a 46-book O.T. and a 27-book N.T. Jerome published this 73-book bible as the Vulgate early in the 5th Century. For about 1,000 years the Latin Vulgate subsisted as THE Christian Bible. Except for the continuing controversy over the apocrypha, the canon has not changed since the time of these two councils.

    It is true that some of the reformers disliked certain books and all of them disliked the apocrypha. However, the only change made in the Protestant canon was the removal of the apocrypha. Even though these books were removed from the canon, they did not disappear from most printed bibles until the 20th century.

    Or at least that is how I always understood it. I will be looking forward to reading Jarthur's views when he weighs in.
     
    #7 Zenas, Apr 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2009
  8. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes know. As I am asking you. Your answer so far...."well...we always had it....so that's the way it stands". Its like..."It was good for my mother..so its good for me."

    Can't we do better then this?

    I agree. But its not the best way to set doctrine now is it?

    again...I agree.

    .
    There is a element of truth hear, but now we are back to the church picking the canon.


    See what I mean? :) The smart guys of the Church picked them?

    All true, but why do we believe Jerome? Because he is the church?

    And there you have it. The RCC doctrine.
     
  9. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me say this. The OT is another story all together. The OT can be made sure in short order. We can talk about that if you wish, but the NT is the Testament I would like to address.

    The church?

    Much of what has been said on this thread, I agree with. This is what you find in the "books". However, I feel we have better arguments then this.

    When Luther rejected the "church" as an authority, and said the only true Authority is Scripture, the RCC came back and asked Luther...what is the Scripture? Meaning...what is the canon? Where did it come from? They felt the only answer was the church. Now we say we reject that RCC idea, but many of us share the same story as the RCC.

    So getting back to what Marcia has already said,... the canon was not decide but discovered. I agree. But how was it discovered? Why these books and why are some rejected? Why were some always the canon, even before the church knew they were?

    I think that is a good question.

    Now when Luther was asked this, I feel Luther answered poorly, which lead to him rejecting the book of James. But there needs to be an answer given.
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe scriptures were "discovered" but how and why? There was a need for a rule of faith and the church at the time used their litmus test to determine which scriptures were eligible for canonization. And we believe these men were led by the Holy Spirit. So God was an active particpant. How do you say the NT, since that is what you want to discuss, was "discovered" by the early church? How do you believe canon was established?
     
  11. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with the reformers. Scripture is self-attesting. It needed no man to say it was Gods Word.
     
  12. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    If that be true, why were there early disputes about which books belong in the canon? Or why did Martin Luther want to discard the book of James? The LDS say the Book of Mormon and other writings of Joseph Smith are self attesting. Sorry, Jarther, I can't go there. I believe the canon was established by men led by the Holy Spirit through church councils. There was not unanimity in these councils. But if scripture were self attesting, there would have been.
     
  13. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,164
    Likes Received:
    322
    Since we already have had several excellent history lessons as to the "how" it became officially recognized as such - I'll simply say that I believe it by faith.

    Our same God who moved holy men of God to speak, refresh their memories when appropriate, protect from error, etc... "intervened" in history to insure that those 66 books of the Bible would be available to and recognized as the Word of God by His own.

    I also have the witness of the Spirit, I recognize His voice in the Scripture as I read the Scripture.

    1 Corinthians 2
    10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
    11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
    16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

    1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.



    Now I realize that this explanation approaches circular reasoning, but it is my answer to the O/P.

    I believe we have the inspired Word of God in the 66 books of the Bible by faith through the witness of the Spirit.

    HankD
     
  14. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    You act as if there were EARLY disputes. Were there disputes during the first century? Please show us if you have such info.

    Luther held that the canon was anything that preached the cross of Christ. James says nothing about this, so he rejected it. His death, His resurrection, His atonement or Justification by faith. Basically Luther was Christocentric.

    But not from the 1st century which was another must. I'm not sure the Book of Mormon is self-attesting. I have never read it fully.

    No one is forcing you.

    Humm Which is the RCC doctrine.
    However...The canon was the canon before the councils said it was.

    Why would you claim this? Because man does not know the truth from the start does not cause man to approve the truth.

    When did the doctrine of the Trinity become truth? Was it only after Theophilus of Antioch used the word the 1st time? That was the year 170. I think not.

    *******

    As I said before, much of what has been said I agree with, I want to make the case better. We must not forget the councils. They played apart. But if that is all we have we have nothing but RCC doctrine.

    Let me give you a passage....

    2 peter 3:15-16

    See what you think of that.
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok. But there are several questions there. As we know the reformers went in many directions with regard to faith. Luther tried to get rid of the book of James. Some reformers kept the Apocrypha, others did not. So then my question is with all the differences in faith and since God's word is self attesting why all the differences? Why just the 66 books of the OT. How if someone said "it's clear that the gospel of Thomas" is the word of God? I think there needs to be a litmus test of some sort. otherwise we get all sorts of nonsence like the Mormons including books outside the realm of christianity.
     
  16. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry I didn't read the entire thread and these questions were already asked. However, I'm not sure they were sufficiently answered especially with regard to the book of James and Luther.
     
  17. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    We see use of Apocrypha literature such as Judith and Ezra by Clement and Ignatius. Why aren't they included now?

    Fine but not a good reason to leave a book out of canon that is obviously "God breathed"


    And the end of the book of Mormon they claim it is self attesting due to the burning of your bussom

    history. Difference

    The trinity is a truth discovered not explicitly spelled out in scripture. It is certainly derived from scripture but not spelled out in those terms. I would say the early Christians had a vague consept of Trinity which gradually became better spelled out as they discussed this issue. Even Theophilus didn't have the term for persons as related to the Trinity and where did he stand on the issue of substance?
     
  18. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    And a few other books could be added to that short list. That is easy to address. They never claimed to be Gods word. They did come from the 1st cen. which is another rule we must follow, but these other books are not self-attesting.

    In fact Ignatius was the 1st to call the "NT" the New Testament. Which tells us he believed it was finished back when he was around. Barnabas and Justin both used the phrase "It is written" when speaking of the NT, as if it was understood to be Gods Word. Clement says of the Matt...that it is "scripture".

    I agree, but many Lutherans today still hold to this reasoning. The best view is that the Bible is theocentric.


    It does not matter, being that it came from the 1800s.


    I agree and this was my point to Zenas. Who said....

    The church didn't make the canon, the canon made the church. The church just discovered it late.

    As to the Trinity...

    Anyone that reads the early Fathers would KNOW they held to the trinity before it was given its name. I recall how Tertullian went on and on trying his best to tell of the Trinity, but he seem to lack the right words. Yet there is no doubt he is talking about the Trinity. I will look for his statement and post it if I find it.
     
  19. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thus far, as I understand it, you have submitted two rules for "finding" the N.T. canon.

    1. The writing must have come from the first century.
    2. It must be self-attesting.

    I agree with No. 1, although I do so only because of tradition (and common sense).

    As for No. 2, I have found fault and expressed it earlier. But I am going to take a step back here and ask that you explain what you mean by self-attesting. I have taken this to mean that when you read it you intrinsically know it is God's word. I don't believe that, but perhaps you have another meaning that you attach to "self-attesting."

    I'm curious here, are you going to give us a third and fourth rule for determining the canon, or is that all there is?

    As for the church not making the canon, this is a lot like saying the scrivners of the Declaration of Independence did not establish the principles contained therein. They just discovered them. That is true, but until these principles were articulated they were of no benefit to anyone. It's like saying there is sound when a tree falls in the forest. But unless someone hears it, it might as well have not happened. To that extent, you are right, but it was the church that collected these books and recommended them for others to read. And it was the church that ultimately decided the 27 books that make up the N.T. canon.
     
  20. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Think of the time period. For many years not all of the churches had all of the NT works. They traded writings copied them down and passed them around. So during this time what did the Churches rely on? What was passed down from the apostles to the episcopate. I disagree with your statement here. Jesus made the Church. The apostles propigated the Church and out of that Canon was established to guide the Church. Discovering what books were canon took. Christianity dosen't seem to have started as a faith of the book but a faith in belief of Jesus Christ and what the apostles taught about him. Which is why the NT is as it is. The NT is the Apostolic testimony of Jesus Christ and the faith he gave them. Before the first NT book was writen Christianity had been around for 20 years. When the Last book of the NT was writen Christianity had been around for 60 - 70 years. Not to mention there were other apostolic writings that were around no longer extant. Other books were used as guides such as Hermas. So there was a plethora of books and not all churches had the same library of books. The Church came first then the bible. Not the other way round.
     

Share This Page

Loading...