Summary of the Canon of Scripture p. 115-169

             F.F. Bruce writes in the third part of his book, The Canon of Scripture, on the subject of the New Testament canon. It has already been established that what we have today is a closed canon. In other words, there are no new books of the Bible to be written or discovered. We have the complete Word of God and there is no possibility of adding to what we already have in the inspired scriptures. The question that arises then has to do with how we got the canon of the New Testament that we have today. This is the very subject that F.F. Bruce deals with in this section.

                It must be understood that the words of Jesus are authoritative. Jesus Himself acknowledges Moses and the Prophets as authoritative (which is further proof supporting the O.T. canon). However, since Jesus is who He is, then it is obvious that the assumption must be made that every word that Jesus spoke has Divine authority. Not all the words of Jesus were recorded in scripture. Only those words that God desired to inspire men to write are placed in scripture. However, it is presupposed that the words Jesus spoke are authoritative. Based on the fact that Jesus’ words are indeed authoritative, then the obvious conclusion is made that the four gospels do, in fact, belong in the canon due to the fact that they record and preserve the very words of Jesus. Not all documents that contain words of Jesus is inspired, however, there are also several other reasons to believe the four gospels that we have today are inspired scripture.

                Not only do the words of Jesus give credence to the canon of the New Testament, but also the words or writings of the apostles. The apostles were given authority by Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit to speak words of truth. The message that they brought from God was very much inspired by God. Writings that come from the apostles must be taken into serious consideration when examining the canon of the New Testament.

                F.F. Bruce also points out those who first attempted to put together the New Testament canon. Some of these individuals failed in their human efforts. One of those was, Marcion. He was the first person known to us who published a fixed collection of what we call New Testament books. However, he changed many of the words of scripture and would not include those books that did not fit into his way of thinking.

                One of the greatest criteria in determining the New Testament canon comes from the testimony of the early church. There are only certain writings that the early church would accept. These are those that would be read aloud in times of worship. Some of these writings were very current to their time, such as the letters of Paul. The churches, obviously held them in high regard do to their acceptance and use in their worship services.

                Though one could go deeper into exploring the validity of the New Testament canon, one thing is for sure. The message of the Gospel rings loud and clear. God has supernaturally preserved His Word down through the years. We can be 100% positive that the Bible we hold in our hand today is, in fact, the complete inspired Word of the living God!

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