Biblical Theological Seminary                                                                         Robert C. Newman

12th Theological Institute                                                                                            June 8, 1983

The Christian & the Bible                           

 

CANONICITY

 

I. How Do We Know We Have the Right Books in the Bible?

 

            A. How do we know anything?

                        Experience ‑ using own resources

                        Authority ‑ dependence on others

 

            B. How do we know God has revealed Himself in the Bible?

                        (Christian evidences)

                        Evidence from General Revelation

                                    External, Internal

                        Evidence from Special Revelation

                                    Preknowledge, Prophecy, Jesus

                        Evidence from Redemption

                                    Changed lives, Changed societies

 

            C. What does God tell us about Himself?

                        Intention to communicate with man (Gen 12; Ex 3; John 1)

                        Power to carry out His intentions (Ex 4:11; Ps 19:7ff)

 

            D. What does God tell us about the Old Testament?

                        Given by revelation and/or inspiration thru prophet

                                    (Ex 4:10‑12; Deut 18:18; Ps 119:97‑100)

                        Tests for recognition of prophet (Deut 13:1ff; 18:20ff)

                        Warnings about tampering (Deut 4:1‑2; Prov 30:5‑6)

                        Christ's acceptance of (O.T.) Scripture

                                    (Matt 4:4,7,10; 5:17‑19; 7:23; 12:38‑42; 26:64; Lk 24:25; see Wenham)

 

            E. What does God tell us about the New Testament?

                        Christ's appointment of apostles (Mk 3:14ff; Jn 14:25‑26; 16:12‑13)

                        Implications of O.T. example

 

II. How Did these Books Come to Be Our Standard of Faith & Obedience?

 

            A. Process of O.T. Recognition

                        Pentateuch canonical when written (Deut 31:24‑26; see Kline)

                        Prophets recognized at or soon after ministry (1 Kings 22:25,28; Jer 28:915‑17; Ezk 2:5)

                        Don't know details for all books

                        Consensus reached before time of Christ (see Newman)

 

            B. Process of N.T. Recognition

                        N.T. itself recognizes N.T. Scripture (2 P 3:15‑16; 1 Tim 5:18; Jude 17‑18)

                        Apostolic Fathers recognize N.T. Scripture (1 Clem 47 re/ 1 Cor; Poly 12 re/ Eph 4:26; Barn 4 re/ Mt 22:14)

                        Consensus reached in 4th cen (w/in century of end of persecution)

 

 

Bibliography

 

Geisler, Norman L. and Nix, William E.  A General Introduction to the Bible.  Chicago: Moody, 1968.

Kline, Meredith L.  The Structure of Biblical Authority.  Rev. ed. Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1975.

Newman, Robert C. "The Council of Jamnia and the Old Testament Canon." Westminster Theological Journal 38 (1976): 319‑49.  Reprinted as IBRI Research Report #13.

Wenham, John W.  Christ and the Bible.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1972.