I.                   The Canon of the Scriptures.


A.                “Canon” goes to Greek kanon and then to Hebrew qaneh.

1.                  Basic meaning is “reed” (English “cane” derived from it).

2.                  Reed was sometimes used as a measuring rod.

3.                  Kanon came to mean a standard or rule, also to a list or index.

B.                 Difference between canoncity of a book and its authority.

1.                  Canoncity depends upon authority.

2.                  e.g. Paul’s letter to Corinthians acknowledged as having authority (1Co 14:37) from moment he wrote it, but not canonical until received in list of accepted writings formed sometime later.

3.                  Books possess their own authority without any church council.

C.                 Canon of Old Testament.

1.                  By time of Jesus, canon of Old Testament fixed.

2.                  Lk 24:44 (see Lesson One).

3.                  Josephus provides additional evidence.

4.                  Origen, in 3d century A.D., confirms testimony of Josephus.

5.                  Jerome also.

D.                Canon of New Testament.

1.                  Justin Martyr (mid 2d century) gives evidence that not long after close of apostolic age the New Testament writings were being read generally among the churches

2.                  Gradually, each book of New Testament took its place in accepted canon.

3.                  No later than last half of 2d century saw substantial lists of New Testament books appear.

a.                   e.g. the Muratorian Fragment.

b.                  Discovered in 18th century.

4.                  3d century, Origen names all New Testament books.

a.                   Says Hebrew, James, 2 and 3 John, and Jude were questioned by some.

b.                  Eusebius (4th century) also names but names Jas., 2Pet., 2 and 3 Jn. and Jude as suspected.

5.                  In A.D. 367, Athanasius of Alexandria published a list of 27 New Testament books which were accepted in his time.


II.                The Apocryphal Books.


A.                Catholics and Protestants differ re: books of Old Testament.

B.                 The “extra” books of Catholic Bible called “apocrypha” (from Greek word meaning “hidden”).

1.                  Used early in sense of “secretive” or “concealed”.

2.                  But also used re: book whose origin was doubtful or unknown.

3.                  Word took on meaning of “non-canonical”.

C.                 Old Testament Apocrypha.

1.                  Include 14 or 15 books.

2.                  Written in period of 200 B.C. to A.D. 200.

3.                  Classified:

a.                   Historical: 1 Esdras, 1 and 2 Maccabees.

b.                  Legendary: Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Additions to Daniel (Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon).

c.                   Prophetic: Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, 2 Esdras.

d.                  Ethical: Esslesiasticus, Wisdom of Solomon.

4.                  Catholics do not consider 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh canonical.

D.                Why these books are rejected as canonical.

1.                  They were never included in the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament.

2.                  As far as the evidence goes, they were never accepted as canonical by Jesus and His apostles.

3.                  They were not accepted as such by such Jewish writers of 1st century as Philo and Josephus; the Jewish council at Jamnia (c. A.D. 90:some scholars today dispute whether this council ever really occurred); and by such Christian writers as Origen and Jerome.

4.                  They do not evidence intrinsic qualities of inspiration.

a.         Portions obviously legendary and fictitious.

b.         Contain errors of history, chronology and geography

c.                   Some contradict themselves and canonical Scriptures.

5.                  They have been shrouded with continual uncertainty.

6.                  They cannot be maintained on a compromise basis.

7.                  Objections to these books cannot be overruled by dictatorial authority.

E.                 The Apocryphal Books of New Testament.

1.                  Variety of literary types: Gospels, Acts, Epistles and Apocalypses.

2.                  Written under assumed names of apostles and others during 2d century and later.

3.                  Contain fanciful stories re: Jesus and the apostles.

4.                  We do not include the writings of the Apostolic Fathers (A.D. 80-180)

a.                   They are simply letters of edification and encouragement.

b.                  They do not profess apostolic wisdom and authority.

c.                   Were never a part of the Bible (nor were New Testament Apocrypha).


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