Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Doctrine Of Scripture Series: What We Have Explored In The Last Several Posts And Looking Ahead

Where we have journeyed thus far

    In our last post we looked carefully at how the New Testament canon was motivated by missions (in terms of the Spirit's inspiration of it, its writing, it recognition, and its distribution). Readers who want to review the last post may do so here

    The many attacks upon the Bible today warrant us knowing the history of how we got our Bibles. As for the New Testament, we explored the beginnings, receiving, recognition, and message of the New Testament canon here

    Over the course of the last several posts, we have discussed the New Testament canon. We discovered that almost all the New Testament books were immediately recognized and used as inspired books by the end of the first century – or the days of the Apostles. In this blog series, I have had us explore issues surrounding the canonization of the Old and New Testament canons, as well as the doctrine of Divine inspiration and its correlary truths of inerrancy and infallibility. Readers are more than welcome to look back through the archives of this blog to see how this series began back in September of 2022. 

Making sure we are clear on what canonization is and is not.

    By the first two-thirds of the second century, every book of the New Testament was universally recognized as inspired, with the first canonical list (The Muratorian canon list) establishing that the 27 books we have today were well in use by the end of the 100’s A.D. (or second century). Contrary to popular skeptics, who claim the early church had hundreds of books to choose from, and only selected the 27 some 400 years into church history, we find history paints a different picture. Canonization was not about kicking out books that were not liked, but rather recognizing inspired books that were qualified to be in the canon.

The Triple Foundation Of Christianity

    Then finally, we noted how the message of the New Testament canon, namely in portraying, preaching, explaining, and prominently exalting Jesus Christ, shaped the New Testament church. It was Christ’s resurrection and the writing and then preaching of the New Testament books that came to define the first century church. Coupled with the already established Old Testament Canon which we’ve discussed in previous posts, we find an important point emerge. Christianity was built on a triple foundation of the Old Testament canon, Christ’s resurrection, and New Testament canon. It is this same foundation that the Holy Spirit is using today to call and regenerate sinners from every nation – until He comes.

Looking ahead

    As we aim to continue in this series, we will explore what criteria were used in the recognition and use of the New Testament books. Also, we will explore other sorts of literature that, though influential in the early church, yet were not regarded as canonical by Christians in every place, everywhere. Some interesting topics, such as the so-called "lost Gospels" or "lost books of the Bible" will be briefly explored. At least for such books as those, we will see that they were not really "lost", but instead were well-known, and immediately rejected books regarded as fraudulant by the early Christians. We will then want to consider contemporary attacks on the Bible. Amazingly, attacks on the Bible, especially in the last three centuries, do not differ in principle from attacks that went on in the first three centuries of the church. As God gives strength, I hope this series will prove useful to whomever reads these posts.

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