Canon of Scripture
The Bible, is made up of writings that cover many hundreds of years, and has been brought together under one cover. In this form, the listing is called “the Canon” (from the Grk. Kanon, meaning “measuring rod, or reed”), and that varies between the Denominations. The Bibles we use today have a very varied and sometimes bloody history, and the Protestant, Roman Catholic (RCC), Eastern Orthodox (EOC) and Jewish documents are different, in that they have differing inclusions and exclusions. The listings of the various Denominations mentioned can easily be viewed in Libraries and Internet sites. What follows is the writers opinion as to the reason for the differences, and as to what constitutes Authentic Scripture.
The original documents of the Old Testament (OT), in Hebrew, were partially destroyed in the great fire of Alexandria in BC 48 and completed deliberately by Omar the second Caliph in approx. AD 640.
By Divine providence, copies (Septuagint, or LXX) had been produced in Greek, and were in use by the Alexandrian Jews and others, and these faithful copies are the basis for the many copies of the books now used.
Some of the books are considered non-canonical, and these are, and have been the subject of many “Councils” and meetings, and are still used by the RCC, and EOC.
These books are referred to as “Apocrypha”, (Grk. hidden) which came to have the meaning of “false”. They are also referred to as “Deuterocanonical”.
The full list is: 1&2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Esther, The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, The song of the three holy children, The history of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The prayer of Manasses and 1&2 Maccabees.
There are other “books” which some aberrant groups and individuals refer to, wishing to substantiate, or “authenticate” various aberrant or apostate teachings. Two such are the book of Enoch, and the book of Japheth.
All of the above mentioned, Apocrypha, Enoch and Japheth, were written after the re-establishment of Israel, after the Babylonian exile. That re-establishment entrusted to Ezra and Nehemiah. That dating is circa 426 BC, and as is evidenced in Malachi 1:7, 1:8, and 3:8, (circa 374 BC), the Nation of Israel were once again not honouring their vow to faithfully follow their Jehovah God!
The point being made here, is that they had not learned the lesson of their exile in Babylon, and their leaders were producing writings to suit their own definitions and corrupt ways, to once again excuse their sinful behaviour. The leaders demanded/ demand that these “new writings” be adhered to, and that is still the case today!
These writings are sometimes called “wisdom writings”, and they cloud the true understanding of the truth of the originals.
What then are True Scripture? The writers opinion is based on what Jesus the Christ referred to during His Earthly ministry.
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Christ referred to the OT books at least 91 times. Those books are from Genesis to Malachi. None of the references are to the above mentioned false books!
In fact, Christ railed against these writings whenever the Scribes and Pharisees attempted to confront or trick Him, which was a continuation of John the Baptist's attacks on them. Christ went so far as to call them "a brood of Vipers", (Matt. 12:34 & 23:33).
As the whole true Bible is about Christ, and Jehovah Zebaoth’s dealings with mankind and provision for his sin, we know we can trust any comment that is made by Christ! His reference to, and therefore Authentication of the OT books from Genesis to Malachi, give us assurance, that He has inspired those books, and that they are to be trusted!
It is notable that after Martin Luther challenged the corruptions of the RCC, that the Protestant movement adopted the OT Canon, which had been adopted by the early Church in approx AD 100. These largely conform to the present Hebrew OT, but in different order. In so doing, they are in possession of Christ Authenticated Inspired Scripture, which gives assurance to all who read them, that they are reading the Mind of The Almighty.
However, the RCC at the Council of Trent (AD 1546), and also at the First Vatican Council (AD 1869-70) confirmed the inclusion of Apocrypha. Also, the EOC have retained much the same writings, with small differences. This places their Bibles in the category of error.
Moving to the NT, how are these writings to be confirmed as Authentic? By surely the same proof positive. The Gospels, Letters and Revelation, are written by Christ appointed men. The Acts by Dr. Luke, all Christ appointed. Paul’s writings came after his unique confrontation on the Damascus road with the risen Christ. He in particular, had/has a very important part to play, because of his specific qualifications.
Paul's ability and learning made him at that time probably the most learned of the young rabbis (teachers). In fact in his testimony before King Agrippa, (Acts 25 and 26), he made a point of mentioning that he had been taught by Gamaliel, who was one of the most revered teachers of the Law ever in Israel. His head knowledge was beyond dispute, and together with his even more important quality, (his heartfelt dedication), led him to persecute to death the early Christians. These very qualities, (particularly the Lord's knowledge of his sincere and dedicated heart), led to that most favoured of pronouncements from the Lord; "he is a chosen vessel!" (Acts 9:15). Also, as shown in his testimony before King Agrippa, Paul made it clear that at his encounter with the Risen Christ on the Damascus road, that He (Christ) would be in constant contact with him, and that there would be initial instructions, and that later instructions would be forthcoming from Christ.
Those latter instructions were withheld until the Jews had finally rejected Christ, at the last of the Synagogues in Rome (Acts 28:25-27). It is well known that individual Jews become Christians, then and now. However, for the Jewish Nation to be fully in God's favour and fulfilled as per prophecy, the Ruling Groups (the Elite) must accept "Him whom they pierced" (Zech. 12-10), and when that happens, then "National Israel" will be reborn, and all the promises of Jehovah God relative to them will start to be fulfilled, including the land borders promised!
When National Israel rejected Christ as Messiah at Acts 28:25-27, Paul immediately turned to the Gentiles, in the profound statement in Acts 28:28, which indicated the change in the Administration (Dispensation!) That point also was when Paul could no longer heal on request (2Tim. 4:20), as the Jewish race became "Lo Ammi", (not My people), and the special powers given for the drawing together of that people, declared by Peter at Pentecost, ceased.
The great Apostle Paul has been under attack from the enemies of Truth, see: Apostle Paul's Accusers since his appointment by Christ. This is because he exposes the lack of fidelity to Almighty God of the Jewish Nation in their history, and therefore contradicts the Wisdom and writings that they have produced to excuse themselves. Also, for those that will prayerfully study God’s Word, Paul gives understanding to what can seem conflicting comments in Scripture!
IN SUMMARY, all of the True Scriptures are confirmed by Christ, and one such good translation is the KJV. This version is examined with great rigour, in the Companion Bible, by Dr Bullinger; and in large margin, notes are made re. Manuscripts, errors, etc. which produce one of the most complete studies of the Bible, the Word of Almighty God, for most people.
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