Submitted to Liberty University in partial requirement for

CCHI 510 Survey of Church History by Joyce Gerald November 4th, 2016 

Introduction

The Canon of Scripture is God’s inherent word; it is authoritative, well founded, and unchangeable. The Canon of Scripture [the Bible] refers to the books in the Protestant Old and New Testament (OT and NT) Bible utilized by the church today.  Controversy has erupted over the inspiration of the books of the Bible, the criteria of selection that determined which books to include in the final Canon and the rationale for the exclusion of other ecclesiastical writings.  This discussion presents the history of the church’s involvement in the canonization of the Bible. The argument presented will include the inherency and authority of scripture, the stimuli for the canonization of scripture, the criteria for canonization, the church’s history about the selection of the books and the fact that it has not changed since the councils confirmed the books. The writer believes that God’s word is inherent and that it proceeded from Him to the writers of the OT and NT. God is sovereign and would not allow the infestation of His Holy Word with error – intentional or otherwise. The attacks on Christians about the sanctity of God’s word come from every venue. No research methodology can prove to the world that God is the master writer of Scripture. Belief in the purity of Scripture requires absolute faith in the sovereignty of God. Before proceeding with the argument for the authority, inherency, and unchangeable nature of the canon, see below for some definitions of common words used in this discussion.

Definitions and Origins

Noll purported that the etymology of the word “Canon” is probably borrowed from the Phoenician and roughly means a ” standard.”  Westcott proposed a definition for Canon as “the collection of books that constitute the original written Rule of The Christian Faith.”[1]  According to Noll, Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, receives the credit for using the word “canon” for the first time denoting its meaning as the list of the books of the Bible in Athanasius’ “Easter Letter 39”.[2]   Woo declared that currently, the “Canon” is “the closed collection of documents that constitute authoritative scripture.” [3] On the other hand, Bible history defined Apocrypha as “hidden or secret.”[4] The inherency of Scripture defines the Christian Bible as God’s holy word to His people.  Understanding that the Bible is not merely a set of stories written by men to guide and direct the behavior of people sets the Bible apart as an authoritative and inspired holy book.

Scripture is Authoritative God Breathed, Inerrant, and Inspired

God breathed translated from the Greek word Theopneustos is used once in the Bible to mean “divinely breathed in —given by inspiration of God.” [5] The power of the breath of God in divine inspiration pervades Scripture. God breathed “the breath of life” into Adam Genesis 2:7; as in the creation of Adam; 2 Peter 1:21 Peter notified us that prophecy does not come from man but God. Scripture disseminates from the Holy Spirit given to men of God for our edification (1 Corinthians 2:13).  McDonald purported that the origin of Scripture involved an extended historical period that is not just limited to the Christian Church; it also encompasses the history of Judaism.[6] Furthermore, McDonald posited that the OT collection of the Bible is a compilation of old sacred writings produced by the inspired Judaic writers before “586 BC” indicating that the OT is authoritative under the authorship of the Almighty. [7]

McDonald iterated that the NT books received approval from all members of the Christian community including the Early Fathers who believed that Scripture was God-breathed, authoritative and inspired by Yahweh.[8] Furthermore, Beale purported that any discussion on Scripture presupposes that the Protestant Canon of Scripture is the authoritative, inspired Word of God.[9] Henry cited that the Apostles and Jesus quoted OT and NT scriptures; therefore, Jesus’ use of the OT evidenced its authority and inherency as well as the fact that it the intent of the original remains the same.[10]

Eissfeldt proposed six recurring words that identified the OT canon as divinely inspired and provided credence to the canonicity of the books of the OT.[11]  The words were; 1) mišp or judgment of God as a giver of the law; 2) dābār meaning coming from the divine will of God; 3) tôrâ meaning under the tutelage of a priest; 4) the same word dābār can also mean words of the prophet; 5) šîr, song of a singer; and 6) the māšāl or proverbs of wisdom.[12] Menzies proposed that the apostles affirm the accuracy, reliability, and inspiration of the NT Scripture in their writings.[13]  The denial of the authority, accuracy, reliability, and immutability of Scripture would be denying the immutability of God. What necessitated the canonization the Bible?

Stimuli for the Canonization of Scripture

Many situations stimulated the canonization of Scripture. First the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.[14] Secondly, ongoing persecution from the Roman Empire.[15] Lastly, the continued exhibition of heretical teaching forced the Early Fathers to initiate and declare the books of the Bible that were canonical.[16]

The Fall of Jerusalem and Roman Persecution

As the fall of Jerusalem forced the fledgling church – that was once considered a version of Judaism – to spread throughout the Roman Empire, a need for Scripture became evident in the church.[17] However, the spreading of the faith into the far regions of the Roman empire proffered threats to its stability.[18]  Due to the dispersion of the church throughout the Roman Empire, the need for a uniformed message became critical.[19] Diocletian’s edicts against Christians that led to the burning of Scripture during his attempted to erase the church heightened the awareness that the canonization of Scripture and a finalized Bible was crucial to the stability of the church.[20]  Heresy from within had a more profound impact on the church’s beliefs and theological frame of reference and fostered a need for the canonization of the Bible.

Heresy from Within

Lane posited a title for Irenaeus that clearly depicted the era of the church ”Irenaeus: Against the Heretics.”[21] Irenaeus eloquently and precisely addressed the heresies of the Gnostic teachers in his major work Against Heresies.[22] Irenaeus was a contemporary of Polycarp and his argument was against the establishment of a pluralistic religious system that identified itself as Christian but “generally rejected the OT.”[23] The text of Against Heresies highlighted the urgency of the need for the canonization.[24] Book 3 adjudicated the heresy of Valentinus and his accusations against the erroneous interpretation of the Bible.[25] In addition to Gnostic writers of the period, other heretics developed books that proffered the dispersed church a version of Scripture that was not in keeping with the OT or the writings of the Apostles.[26] The heretical threats from within the church threatened not only the Body of Christ, but the authority, inherency, and immutability of Scripture.

Tertullian documented Marcion’ “mutilation” of the Gospels through the exclusion of the books of Matthew, Mark, and John and excluded all references to The Lord’s ancestry, birth, or his lineage in the Marcion Canon.[27] This alteration of the gospels threatened the plan of God and the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham.[28]Barton iterated Tertullian’s denunciation of Marcion’s canon by detailing the changes encapsulated in each Epistle.[29] Marcion’s canon and the ongoing challenges from heretics required an immediate response from the Apostolic Fathers and fostered the need for the canonization of Scripture.[30]

Köstenberger, Quarles, and Kellum proposed that the heretical Marcion Bible may have escalated the need for a universally recognized canon.[31]McDonald posited that the theological disputes between Alexander and Arius, the Arian controversy, the emergence of Donatism, Montanism, and other heretical concerns led Constantine to convene a council to not only address the nature of Christ but to begin the process of codifying the Scripture.[32] Heresy occurred before the post-apostolic period. During their ministry, John and Paul both identified heretical and false teachers.[33] Köstenberger, Quarles, and Kellum stated that Paul was still alive and his letters to the churches demonstrated the influx of heretical teachings imposed on the early church by heretics.[34] Heresy posed a significant threat to the stability of the church and resulted in an immediate need for the canonization of Scripture. Defining what the Christian Bible would entail required specific criteria for the inclusion into the final Canon of Scripture; therefore, the criteria of canonization became the method used to finalize the books included in the canon.

Criteria of Canonization

How did the church establish the criteria of canonization? What were the criteria of canonization for the OT? How were the criteria of canonization for the NT defined?

Old Testament Criteria of Canonization

Geisler and Nix affirmed that the early church developed and applied certain standards to determine the worthiness of a book for inclusion into the Canon of Scripture. 1) Is the book authoritative? i.e., “This said the Lord.”[35] 2) Is the book prophetic in nature – written by “a man of God” or a designated OT prophet, a ruling entity such as a king, judge or even a scribe as in the scribe of Jeremiah.[36] Additionally, Merrill proposed that the early church never questioned the veracity of the Masoretic Canon or Hebrew Scripture, neither did they question the validity of the Scripture as being the authoritative, inspired Word of God and cited inspiration as the most vital “canonical criterion” for the canonization of the OT books.[37] Merrill continued by positing that Jewish scholars cited a date of 400 BC as the latest dated for a book to be considered valid for inclusion into the OT canon as well as the requirement for the writer to be a prophet or an individual who demonstrated prophetic gifts.[38]

Merrill iterated the position that Malachi was the last OT prophetic writing thus its inclusion in the OT books and lack of discovery of “extant” books before the closure of the canon solidified Malachi as the last book of the OT; therefore, the closure of the OT canon with the writing of the Book of Malachi.[39]  McDonald cited the covenantal relationship between God and His people and proffered that covenantal relationship as part of the ancient Near Eastern’ culture; therefore solidifying the construct of the OT being a covenantal document between a God who cannot lie and His covenantal people.[40] McDonald also noted that the early church had access to the OT as its official source of Scripture while the Apostles developed the Gospels and letters encapsulated in the NT.[41] What criteria was used to ascertain the canonization of the NT?

New Testament Criteria of Canonization

The writings of the Apostles set the precedence, or the benchmark, for the authoritative, inspired, and unchangeable NT Word of God.  The requirement that the books considered for the final NT canon must meet the same level of authorship was not unprecedented because those books would be teaching God’s people about His requirements for Christian living. The criteria of canonization did not address the contents of the book because the contents were considered authored by men inspired under the authorship of The Almighty. The four criteria of canonization for the NT are apostolicity, orthodoxy, antiquity, and universality/ecclesiastical usage.[42]

The first criterion of apostolicity asked if the book in question entailed “direct or indirect testimony of an Apostle of Jesus Christ?”[43]  Consequently, any book that failed to meet this criterion resulted in its exclusion from the canon.  The second criterion, “orthodoxy,” questioned whether the book met the test of the “rule of faith” or does the teaching of the book adhere to the teachings of the Apostles?[44]  Criterion three, “antiquity,” ascertained if the writer produced the writings during the apostolic age.[45] This criterion eliminated books such as apocryphal and pseudepigraphical books from the second and third century as well as the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas because they did not meet the antiquity as well as the apostolicity criteria.

According to Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles as well as Carson, Moo, and Morris, universality or ecclesiastical usage indicated that a large segment of the church received, read, utilized, and determined the canonical nature of the book.[46] Lea and Black reported that universality meant the acceptance of a book by a culturally diverse portion of the early church.[47] As to the universal acceptance of a book, Carson, Moo, and Morris proffered that a move of the “Holy Spirit signified divine inspiration” behind the of universal acceptance of the canon due to the cultural diversity of the early church and the possibility for disagreement along cultural lines. [48] The establishment of apostolicity, orthodoxy, antiquity and universality/ecclesiastical usage as the criteria for canonization led to the exclusion of other writings, such as the lost books (see discussion on the Lost Books). Before the need for the formal canonization of Scripture, the church demonstrated a history of sharing the authoritative, inspired, and unchanged Scripture using the methods of oral tradition and written records.

Early Oral Tradition and Written Records

Metzger, when referring to the OT, confirmed that from the “first day of its existence” the Christian Church possessed a “canon of sacred writings.”[49]  Papias mentioned and witnessed the methodology of orally transmitting the writings of the Apostles of the Lord and cited oral transmission as his preference of receipt of their writings.[50] Polycarp declared his preference for oral tradition as cited by Irenaeus and also provided samples of sayings from the Gospels indicating that they were indeed from the oral tradition.[51] Hollander proffered evidence that Paul went to see Peter for oral information about the life of Jesus Christ. [52] Scripture supports the use of the written Word of God. The Berean believers checked the veracity of Paul’s words to ensure that he adhered to the God-breathed written Word of God to (Acts 17:11). Acts 17:11 shows that Paul and the Bereans read scripture from a written source. All of the Pauline epistles provide proof of the early church receiving written as well as oral access to Scripture. Irenaeus, in his treatise Against Heresies, identified that the dispersed church already had access to the writings of the Apostles and the Gnostic gospels the were spreading heresy.[53]

For comparative purposes, the validation of the contention of heresy required prior written records of Scripture. Cyril, at the Council of Ephesus, in his reply to Nestorius, provided proof that the Scripture was handed down to the Church by the Apostles in their writings, and deemed them authentic and inherent.[54] As to written copies of the Bible, Trobisch posited that written copies of the Bible were available around the middle of the second century.[55] Therefore, the Early Fathers provided the church with evidence that the Bible was transmitted both orally and in writing as the authoritative and unchangeable Word of God. Yahweh spoke to His people, through His prophets, teachers, apostles, and or servants, both orally and in their writings. In turn, His people believed that Scripture was Yahweh speaking to them with authority, immutability, and classified God and His Word as unchangeable and He selection the books of the Bible.[56]

 

Church History and the Selection of the Books of the OT and NT Canon

The Early Fathers affirmed selection of books inclusion into the OT and NT canon.  Church history indicated how the affirmation took place.  The selection process for the integration of books into the final canon occurred throughout a period of history.  Christians believe that God affirmed the books of the Bible. Early Fathers concur that God made that determination.[57]

Selection Process for the Old Testament

No particular church council met and decided the qualifications of the writings that would produce a series of books that were suitable and that met the criterion of canonization. Newman posited that the determination of the OT canon was discussed by “Jewish Rabbis” in attendance at the Council of Jamina.[58] However, Lewis contended that research indicated the idea that the Council of Jamina finalized the OT canon is no longer a credible argument. [59] Documented evidence of the listing of the books of the Bible remains today and scholars note that evidence. Today, how do we decide if the OT canon is viable? Church history scholars such as Bruce, Packer and Comfort identified the three sections of the Masoretic canon as “the law,” “the prophets” and “the writings.”[60] Josephus confirmed the same three divisions of the OT and cited the names and the number of the books contained in the OT.[61] Ryle also noted three separate sections in the OT canon and declared the specific dates of recognition for each division.[62] The first is the “Law” completed around 432 BC.[63] Ryle continued with the “Prophets” and established the authentication date as 200 B.C., and finally the “Writings” as completed before 100 BC but iterated that recognition did not occur until about AD 100.[64]

Early church fathers such as Athanasius also recognized the books of the OT canon and the divisions within the canon.[65] Again researchers have provided church historians with evidence supporting the existence of the OT books and the fact that no human being determined its contents. The criteria for canonization for the NT books not only included specificity of  God’s authorship it also included specifics about the writers and the churches acceptance of their writings.

Selection Process for the New Testament

Unlike the books of the OT canon the books of the NT canon experienced much scrutiny and contention; however, numerous historical sources exist that chronicle the history of the development of the NT.  Walton noted that the period of the “Apostolic Fathers” (AD 100-140) show no debate about the status of the contents of NT canon occurred.[66] However, the Gospels and the writings of the Apostle Paul were received and used by the early church indicating the utilization, acceptance of the authority, inerrancy, and unchangeability of the Scripture.[67] Furthermore, Walton posited that the church responded to the Marcion Gnostic gospel in AD 120-220 by citing the specific parameters addressed during the discussion about the “Muratorian Canon (c. 180)”; this canon affirmed and listed the specific books included in the NT canon.[68]

Walton proposed that Origen’s contributions during the deliberations about the books for the NT canon fostered the authentication process as well as citing AD 200-400 as the acceptance period.[69] Eusebius, another early church father, iterated the books mentioned by Origen but Origen included Revelation in the questioned books and did not reference the book of Hebrews.[70] Athanasius’ Paschal Letter of AD 367 attested to all of the OT and NT books contained in the present canon.[71] Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles argued that as the Roman Empire split into its eastern and western divisions doubts arose about the inclusion of Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 3 John, and Jude, but these doubts were not at all universal.[72] They also posited that around AD 500 the Syrian church finally accepted the rest of the NT books to its canon.[73]

Walton also cited the decision of the synods of Rome and Carthage relating to the listing of the same books in our  “present canon.”[74]  Having ascertained that the books encapsulated in the current Canon of Scripture met the criteria of canonization, where do the lost books stand. Christians contend that the authentication of the canon and the confirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture leave the lost books of out the debate about the inerrancy of the Canon.

The Lost Books

Much discussion has ensued about the purportedly lost books of Scripture. According to the previously mentioned discussion about the acceptance of books entered into the OT and NT and the confirmation of the acceptance by Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, the status of the lost books needs no further proof as the theological legality behind the exclusion of the books. The procedural guidelines of canonization of scripture the rendered the lost books non-canonical.[75]  Athanasius considered some of the lost filled with falsehood and labeled them as heretical.[76] Ehrman contended that the lost books were not lost at all but were found to be heretical during the heretical period of church history.[77] Also, Ehrman purported that the biased final decision of the canonical debate determined that heretical books, such as The Gospel of Mary and The Gospel of Thomas, would be excluded from the final Canon of Scripture.[78]  Divine inspiration and the lead of the Holy Spirit guided the Early Father’s decision regarding the books included in the corpus of Scripture. Another area of contention was the closure of the OT canon.

Scholars such as McDonald, contend with the date of the closure of the OT canon and disagreed with Josephus who stated that the OT scriptures ended with Artaxerxes; thus, implying that the inclusion of additional books into the OT cannon was still permissible.[79] Additionally, McDonald posited that Philo read other writings that were not deemed heretical by the Early Fathers.[80] God’s Word determined what is inspired and contained in Scripture. Scripture reminds Christians that all authority over Scripture belongs to God, not man.[81]  Athanasius addressed the other writings of lost books,

But for the sake of greater exactness, I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded.[82]

 

On the one hand, early church fathers iterated the inerrancy of the Bible and authenticated the books of the Bible while providing leverage for congregants to read the purportedly lost books that did not meet the authentication process.[83] Therefore, they had access to the lost books should they chose to read them, and with the blessings of early church fathers.  The decision regarding the lost books does not negate the authentic nature of Scripture, the sovereignty of God over His word, the inherency of Scripture or the preservation of the canon.

Preservation of the Canon

The preservation of the canon provides credence to the accuracy and authentication of Scripture.  Scholars noted the transmission of the Bible throughout the ages and cited instances of its transmission. McDonald posited that papyrus contained the original manuscripts/autographs of Scripture handed down to the early church but eventually the transference of the books to the codex fostered easier transportation as well as preserved the contents of the codex.[84] Sundberg discussed the historical significance of the first known preserved book of the NT “Canon Muratori,’ that was found in the Monastery at Bobbio and concluded by stating that the book of Hebrews was left out due to the disagreements between the eastern and western churches.[85] Tregelles addressed the accuracy of the Canon Muratori by citing early church father Justin Martyr’s acceptance of its contents signifying its usage and preservation after the age of the Apostles.[86]

Of Jerome, Lane proposed that Jerome, “. . . had grasped the important principle that the Old Testament Scriptures are entrusted to the Jews (Romans 3.2; 9.4)” and did not intend to change the preservation process; therefore, Jerome wrote the Latin Vulgate directly from the Hebrew, once again indicating the copious manner of the conservation of the canon.[87] Wegner identified the comprehensive care that trained Jewish scribes utilized to preserve Scripture and discussed the reach of the transcribed books to the Jews and churches in Egypt.[88] Dunn proposed that church history documents the distribution of the preserved Pauline letters to the early church.[89] With the broad distribution of Scripture, the initiation of a church council would have documented any deliberate errors contained in the books of the canon; however, to date, no such council has been called to discuss the accuracy of preserved Scripture.[90]  The Synod of Laodicea authenticated the books of the NT canon; however, the authentication of this list is questionable.[91]

Although church historians do not have access to the lost record of the Synod of Hippo in AD 393, historical documents from another council document that the final list of canonical books occurred at the Synod of Hippo.[92]  The bishops of the faith that attended the Council of Carthage AD 397 included Augustine and confirmed the established unaltered list of the NT canon and posited an accurate preservation of the canon statement.[93] The Synod of Rome AD 382 ratified the listing of the canon; this ratification confirmed the authentication and maintenance of the canon in both the eastern and western churches.[94] The church’s use of Scripture and the various translations from the LXX/Septuagint 250-100 BC through to The Complete Bible an American Translation painstakingly transmitted Scripture without deliberate errors to preserve the authenticity of Scripture.[95]

 Conclusion

The Canon of Scripture is God’s inherent word; it is authoritative, well founded, and unchangeable. The examination of Christian literature about the Canon of Scripture cannot provide scientifically determined evidence that the Bible is inherent, authoritative, well founded and unchangeable. The stimuli for the canonization of Scripture included persecution by the Romans and the infusion of heretical teachings into the church. The criteria of canonization substantiated the rationale for the inclusion of books written with apostolic authority and the exclusion of writings, or books, that were considered heretical. As in the current theological circles, books examined by the Early Fathers that were in keeping with the doctrines of the church were permissible for congregants to read. However, exclusion was the only alternative for the writings’ inability to meet the criteria of apostolicity, orthodoxy, antiquity, and universality/ecclesiastical usage resulted in their elimination from the canon.

The purported lost books fell into this category. Historical Documents of Early Fathers such a Eusebius, Athanasius, Origen, Poly carp, Papias, and church historian Josephus provided evidence that the writings of Jesus and the Apostles were transmitted with fidelity to congregations of the early church both orally and in writing. No evidence exists that supports the claim of intentional errors in the canon. The contents of the Protestant canon did not receive sanctification from men because that lies in the purview of the Almighty. However, this papers proffered evidence that the acceptance of  Scripture as God’s holy word utilized by the Apostles who walked and talked with Jesus, and Early Church Fathers is the definitive well-founded and unchangeable guidebook for Christians.

The OT was cited by Jesus on numerous occasions thus providing evidence of its authority and unchangeability. One cannot find a more qualified person to proffer evidence of the immutability of OT Scripture than Jesus.  Scripture informs Christians that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Bible.  In the final analysis, the presentations of scholars of church history cannot convince a reader about the authority, the foundation of God’s word or sovereignty of God over His word. The Holy Spirit within a Christian determines a Christian’s belief in Scripture as God’s direct, authoritative, well founded and unchangeable message to humanity.

 


 

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Merrick, J. R. A. “Sola Scriptura and the Regula Fidei: The Reformation Scripture Principle and Early Oral Tradition in Martin Chemnitz’ Examination of the Council of Trent.” Scottish Journal of Theology 63, no. 3 (2010): 253-71. Accessed October 16, 2016. ProQuest Ebrary.

Merrill, Eugene H., Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti. The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2011, Google Books.

Merrill, Eugene. A Historical Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1991.

Metzger, Bruce M., and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: It’s Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. 4th ed. NY: Oxford University Press, 2005, Google Books. Accessed September 15, 2016.

Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987, Google Books. Accessed October 14, 2016.

Newman, Robert C. “The Council of Jamina and the Old Testament Canon.” Westminster Theological Journal 38.4 (Spring 1976): 319-48. Accessed October 14, 2016. https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/00-introduction/text/articles/newman-canonjamnia-wtj.pdf.

Noll, Mark A. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012, Kindle.

Origen. Texts from the History of the Relationship Book 4. Origen, “On Principles” (ca. 125). 2014. Accessed October 14, 2016. http://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/primary-texts-from-the-history-of-the-relationship/243-origen-de-principiis.

Polycarp. The Epistle Of Polycarp To The Philippians. Accessed October 19, 2016. http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/the-epistle-of-polycarp-to-the-philippians.

Porter, Stanley E. How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. Accessed October 18, 2016. ProQuest Ebrary.

Ryle, Herbert Edward. The Canon of the Old Testament: An Essay on the Gradual Growth and Formation of the Hebrew Canon of Scripture. Reprint. London: Macmillan and, 1909.

Scheetz, J. “The Books of the Bibles in Early Christianity.“Hervormde Teologiese Studies 68, no. 1 (2012): 1-8. Accessed October 14, 2016. ProQuest Ebrary.

Sundberg, Albert C. “Canon Muratori: A Fourth-Century List.” The Harvard Theological Review 66, no. 1 (January 01, 1973): 1-41. Accessed October 20, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1509348.

Synod of Carthage, AD 397, Canon 24. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed October 18, 2016. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.iv.xxv.html.

Synod of Hippo, 393, Canon 34. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed October 18, 2016. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.iv.xxxv.html.

Synod of Laodicea, 363, Canon 60. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed October 19, 2016. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.viii.vii.iii.lxv.html.

Tertullian. Against Marcion Chapter 19. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Grand Rapids: Accessed September 29, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016. https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.iv.vi.xxi.html?highlight=against,marcion#highlight.

Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux, ed. Canon Muratorianus: The Earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1867. Accessed October 20, 2016. Google Books.

Trobisch, David. The First Edition of the New Testament. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Von Hefele, Karl, and Henry Nutcombe, Trans. “Canon Six.” In A History of the Councils of the Church, 393-400. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1896. Accessed October 15, 2016. https://archive.org/stream/cu31924092369614#page/n407/mode/2up/search/393.

Walton, Robert C. Chronological and Background Charts of Church History. Revised and Expanded. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.

Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999.

Westcott, Brooke Foss. A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament. London: Macmillan, 1896, Google Books.

[1] Mark A. Noll, Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012, Google Books), 33; Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan, 1896, Google Books), 1, accessed September 25, 2016.

[2] Ibid., 34; Athanasius Easter Letter 357 39.3, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204/Page_552.html, accessed September 29, 2016.

[3] D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris,  An Introduction to the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991, Kindle), 726.

[4] “Apocrypha – Old Testament Bible History,” Bible Study Tools, 2016http://www.biblestudytools.com/apocrypha/, accessed October 14, 2016.

[5] Blue Letter Bible, s.v. “Theopneustos,” definition G4154, 2016, accessed October 20, 2016, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G2315&t=KJV.

[6] Lee Martin McDonald, Formation of the Bible: The Story of the Church’s Canon (2012; repr., Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, 2012), 16-18.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., 18.

[9] G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), Introduction, accessed September 12, 2016, ProQuest Ebrary.

[10] Carl F. H. Henry, “The Authority of the Bible,” in The Origin of the Bible, by F. F. Bruce, J. L. Packer, and Phillip Comfort, Newly Updated ed. (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013, Kindle), 20; Early church father Origen concurred by explaining the “divinity” of scripture in 4.6 and detailed the inerrancy of scripture in 4.7. Origen, Texts from the History of the Relationship Book 4, Origen, “On Principles” (ca. 125), 2014, 4.6, accessed October 14, 2016, http://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/primary-texts-from-the-history-of-the-relationship/243-origen-de-principiis.

[11] Otto Eissfeldt, Peter Ackroyd, and Samuel Davidson, The Old Testament. An Introduction, trans. Peter R. Ackroyd (Reissued.) (NY: Harper Row, 1978), 560.

[12] Ibid.; Eugene H. Merrill, Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti, The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2011, Google Books), 114.

[13] 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:21; Paul (1 Thessalonians 4:1,2 – “commandments…by the authority of the Lord Jesus”: John (Revelation 1:1 – “The revelation of Jesus Christ…to his bondservant John”; Jesus claimed that the scriptures were inspired (Matthew 5:18; Luke 24:44 – “all fulfilled”; Acts 4:24, 2: Michael J. Kruger, The Question of Canon : Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (Downer’s Grove: IVP Academic, 2013), 56, accessed September 12, 2016, Ezproxy Ebrary. Kruger cited the terms “the word of the Lord” or “word of God” as a recurring theme in both the OT and NT indicating that the writing was inspired by God; Menzies documents that specific words are held as “Holy Words’ to indicate inspiration of the written words in the religious culture of the specific nation. Allan Menzies, “The Natural History of Sacred Books. Some Suggestions for a Preface to the History of the Canon of Scripture,” The American Journal of Theology 1 (January 1, 1897): 74, accessed September 12, 2016, https://archive.org/metadata/jstor-3153576; “. . . . the apostolic faith is contained accurately, reliably and wholly in scripture.”

[14] F. F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame: The Rise and Progress of Christianity from Its First Beginnings to the Conversion of the English (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958), 156.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (Nashville: B & H Pub. Group, 2009, Google Books), 8.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] “Diocletian: Edicts Against the Christians,” Internet History Sourcebooks Project, 1996, accessed September 15, 2016, http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/halsall/source/persec1.asp;

[21] A. N. S. Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 12.

[22] Irenaeus Against Heresies Book 3, Preface, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.i.html, accessed October 15, 2016; Ignatius addressed heretics in Ephesus: Ignatius. Epistle to the Ephesians 9 https://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.vi.ii.iii.i.html, accessed September 29, 2016.

[23] Robert C. Walton, Chronological and Background Charts of Church History, Revised and Expanded (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), Chart 19.

[24] Ibid.; Kyrtatas referenced nature of heresy and its impact on the church during the second century Dimitris J. Kyrtatas, “Christians Against Christians: The Anti-Heretical Activities of the Roman Church in the Second Century,” Historein 6 (2007), accessed October 20, 2016, http://ejournals.epublishing.ekt.gr/index.php/historein/article/view/2147/1987.

[25] Irenaeus Against Heresies

[26] Ibid.

[27] Tertullian Against Marcion Chapter 19, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.iv.vi.xxi.html?highlight=against,marcion#highlight, accessed September 29, 2016; Jorgensen addressed the “Valentians” and the heresy about the Gospel of Matthew, David William. Jorgensen, “Wicker Interpreters of Well Said Words,” Introduction to Treasure Hidden in a Field. Early Christian Reception of the Gospel of Matthew (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter &, 2016, Kindle), 1-2.

[28] God promised Abraham that all nation would be blessed through him (Genesis ( 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). Jesus’ lineage documented the fulfillment of that promise to Abraham (Gal 3:8 and Gal 3:13–14).

[29] Tertullian Against Marcion; Barton, John. “Marcion Revisited.” In The Old Testament: Canon, Literature and Theology: Collected Essays of John Barton, 342-43. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

[30] Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, The Cradle, 8.

[31] Ibid., 8.

[32] McDonald, Formation of, 99: Also, see Walton, Chronological, 19: 24, and 25.

[33] 1 John 4: II; Thessalonians 2; Gal 5 in his discourse against the Judaizers; Acts 17:5 asserted that Paul’s opponents were Jews; however, they incited the people of poor character to escalate the dissension when they started a riot in the city

[34] Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, 419.

[35] N. L. Geisler and W. E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, (Chicago: Moody, 1986), 277-78.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Eugene Merrill, A Historical Survey of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1991), 17.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid., 18; Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti stated that “Theologically inspiration serves as the foundation for the canonicity of a biblical book. In other words, God’s activity determines canonicity.” Eugene H. Merrill, Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti, The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011, Google Books), 81.

[40] McDonald, Formation of, 30-31.

[41] Ibid.; “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14). This yet to be fulfilled statement comes from the covenant that God made with Abraham. As such He would not allow His word to be diminished by men because reducing God’s word would reduce Him.

[42] Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, The Cradle, 10; Carson, Moo, and Morris, An Introduction, 736.

[43] Geisler and Nix A General, Ibid.; Apostolicity as demonstrated in writings of scribes who wrote the dictated words of the Apostles: For the Apostle Matthew in (Matt 10:2-3); for Paul and the Pauline letters. Paul was called on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-9); For James and Jude see (Mark 6:3; Jas 1:1; Jude 1); For Mark, an individual who worked with Peter, see (1 Pet 5:13) and Luke Paul’s traveling companion.

[44] Pope, H. “The Rule of Faith.” Catholic Encyclopedia. 1909. Accessed October 15, 2016. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05766b.htm

[45] Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, The Cradle, 10.

[46] Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), 22.

[47] Thomas D. Lea and David Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996), 71.

[48] Carson, Moo, and Morris, An Introduction, 736.

[49] Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 2, accessed October 14, 2016, http://ixoyc.net/data/Fathers/134.pdf.

[50] Eusebius Chapter 39 The Writings of Papias, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxxix.html, accessed October 19, 2016. In this account, Eusebius quoted Papias’ exact words, “For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.”; Michael W. Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers in English (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012, Kindle), 302.

[51] Polycarp, The Epistle of Polycarp To the Philippians 8:1, accessed October 19, 2016, http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/the-epistle-of-polycarp-to-the-philippians. Polycarp cited the words of the Lord, “. . . . as the Lord said, ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’” Matthew 26:41

[52] Harm Hollander, “The Words of Jesus: From Oral Traditions to Written Record in Paul and Q,” Novum Testamentum 42, no. 4 (2000): 342, accessed October 19, 2016, http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1301812696?accountid=12085; Gal 1:16;

[53]  Irenaeus Against Heresies Chapter 10.1, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html, accessed October 19, 2016.

[54] Council of Ephesus AD 431Canon 77, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214/Page_201.html, accessed October 19, 2016; Matthew 10:34 and 37; Hebrews 11:35.; Porter confirmed the transmission of Scripture by Paul’s scribes and the existence of a “scriptorium”; Stanley E. Porter, How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 77-79, accessed October 18, 2016, ProQuest Ebrary.

[55] David Trobisch, The First Edition of the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 7.

[56] (Numbers  23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17)

[57] Metzger, The Canons, 286.

[58] Robert C. Newman, “The Council of Jamina and the Old Testament Canon,” Westminster Theological Journal 38.4 (Spring 1976): 340-348, accessed October 14, 2016, https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/00-introduction/text/articles/newman-canonjamnia-wtj.pdf.

[59] Ibid., 177-178; 172.

[60] F. F. Bruce et al., The Origin of the Bible (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008, Kindle), 59.

[61] Flavius Josephus Against Apion 1, accessed October 14, 2016, http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/josephus/apion-1.html; Anthony Frost, “Tracing the Emergence of a Canon of Holy Scripture in Churches,” Anglican Historical Society Journal 57 (April 2014): 28-29, accessed September 12, 2016, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[62] Herbert Edward Ryle, The Canon of the Old Testament: An Essay on the Gradual Growth and Formation of the Hebrew Canon of Scripture, Reprint (London: Macmillan and, 1909), 93.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Jack P. Lewis, “What Do We Mean by Jabneh?” Journal of Bible and Religion 32, no. 2 (April 01, 1964): 132, accessed October 17, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1460205.

[65] Athanasius Easter 39.4

[66] Walton, Chronological, Chart 17.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid., Matt, Mk, Luke, John, 13 Pauline Epistles, 1 Peter, 1 John, Jude, and Revelation: The following books were questioned due to authorship, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Jude, Shepherd, Didache, and Apocalypse of Peter.

[69] Walton, Chronological, Chart 17.

[70] Eusebius Ecclesiastical History Chapter 25, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxv.html, accessed October 19, 2016.

[71] Athanasius Easter 39.1.

[72] Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, The Cradle, 11.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Walton, Chronological, Chart 17.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Athanasius Easter 39.1.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, Google Books), 3.

[79] McDonald, Formation of, 63.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Isaiah 45:18 NJK “For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

[82] Athanasius Easter 39.5.

[83] J. Scheetz, “The Books of the Bibles in Early Christianity,” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 68, no. 1 (2012): 6-8, accessed October 14, 2016, ProQuest Ebrary.

[84] McDonald, Formation of, 118.

[85] Albert C. Sundberg, “Canon Muratori: A Fourth-Century List,” The Harvard Theological Review 66, no. 1 (January 01, 1973): 38-39, accessed October 20, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1509348.

[86] Prideaux Tregelles, Canon Muratorianus: The Earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1867), 78, https://books.google.com/books?id=dmUVAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover., accessed October 20, 2016; See Justin Martyr, “Chapter 14,” in First Apology, accessed October 19, 2016, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm.

[87] Lane, A Concise, 47-48.

[88] Paul D. Wegner, The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 192-194.

[89] J. D. G Dunn, “How the New Testament Began,” in From Biblical Criticism to Biblical Faith: Essays in Honor of Lee Martin McDonald, William Brackney and C. Evans eds., (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2007), 133.

[90]

[91] Synod of Laodicea AD 363 Canon 60, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.viii.vii.iii.lxv.html, accessed October 19, 2016.

[92] Synod of Hippo AD 393 Canon 64, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.iv.xxxv.html, accessed October 19, 2016.

[93] Synod of Carthage AD 397 Canon 24, accessed October 18, 2016. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.iv.xxv.html, accessed October 18, 2016; Statement, “Let nothing besides the canonical Scriptures be read in church”; Von Hefele, Karl, and Henry Nutcombe, Trans. “Canon 6.” In A History of the Councils of the Church, 393-400. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1896, https://archive.org/stream/cu31924092369614#page/n407/mode/2up/search/393, accessed October 15, 2016.

[94] “Canon of the New Testament.” New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.html, accessed October 18, 2016.; See Schihl for other councils that met to discuss the canon. Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl, “Major Church Pronouncements on the Bible,” Catholic Apologetics, accessed October 21, 2016, http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap031100.htm, accessed October16, 2016.

[95] Lane, Christian, 48; Walton, Chart 92; Wegner, The Journey From, 194; Brenton, Lancelot C.L. The Septuagint LXX: Greek and English. London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1851, http://www.ccel.org/bible/brenton/, accessed October 16, 2016.

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