How do we know which books of the Bible are from God, and which are not?
It’s a relatively simple question, but a question that too often Christians don’t have a good answer for. That’s not because a good answer doesn’t exist, it does! It’s just that we generally focus our attention on the content of the Bible, not the process by which it became canonised.
Canonisation is the fancy term we use for recognising what books are scripture and what books aren’t. Notice I didn’t say deciding what books are scripture and what aren’t, but recognising. The word canon comes from a greek word that sounds exactly the same, and just means rule or measuring stick. The Biblical Canon is basically collection of books that are recognised as the measuring stick of authoritative scripture.
Why are they recognised as authoritative?
Here are 10 things all Christians should memorise about the New Testament
They are from a series of posts from New Testament Scholar Michael Kruger:
- “The New Testament Books are the Earliest Christian Writings We Possess”
- “Apocryphal Writings Are All Written in the Second Century or Later”
- “The New Testament Books Are Unique Because They Are Apostolic Books”
- “Some NT Writers Quote Other NT Writers as Scripture”
- “The Four Gospels are Well Established by the End of the Second Century”
- “At the End of the Second Century, the Muratorian Fragment lists 22 of Our 27 NT Books”
- “Early Christians Often Used Non-Canonical Writings”
- “The NT Canon Was Not Decided at Nicea—Nor Any Other Church Council”
- “Christians Did Disagree about the Canonicity of Some NT Books”
- “Early Christians Believed that Canonical Books Were Self-Authenticating”
And as a quick bonus, you can hear Dr Kruger give an 8 min answer on “Why You Can Rely On The Canon”, and why Hebrews is included in it!