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Posted: 03/21/07

How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
By Frank Harber

The question which invariably arises when speaking of the Scriptures is, "How does one know which books in today's Bible are the right ones?" It is important to note at this point that a group of men did not just arbitrarily select a group of books to be used in compiling the Bible. They only officially "recognized" which books had always been upheld as being scriptural.

The processes of formation for the Old Testament and New Testament differed. The Old Testament developed over a period of 1,100 years. When Moses produced the Torah, it was immediately identified as inspired and authoritative. In time, other works were added which were deemed to be authenticated by God. A threefold division arose of Law, Prophets, and Writings. These writings eventually became a completed collection and came to be referred to as "the Scripture(s)." The Christian Church accepted these completed works in their entirety as found in the Hebrew Bible (Matt. 22:29; John 10:35, 19:36; Acts 18:24; Rom. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:20).

The New Testament developed in a much shorter time span. Because Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, His words were considered as divine and authoritative. The early Christians produced works which recorded the words of Jesus called "the gospels." The letters of the apostles and Paul were reproduced and circulated along with gospels throughout all the churches (Col. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:16). These writings begin with the Book of James (c. A.D. 45) and conclude with the Revelation. The collection of these works became known as the "Canon." The word canon is a Greek term which meant a "list" or "index."

The process of canonization was not a formal process by which Church leaders all met to decide which books could be included in the canon. Books which were deemed to be inspired by God were immediately treated as authoritative. These works began to be assimilated into a collection of sacred writings.

A crisis in the fourth century caused the Church to give a formal statement on which books were canonical. In A.D. 397, a Church Council was held in Carthage which endorsed the exact 27 books of the New Testament we now regard as canonical. These 27 books were all apostolic in origin, authoritative in spiritual content, and accepted universally among the orthodox churches. These tests were used at the council to eliminate the spurious gospels and epistles written by heretical groups. This process of canonization has ensured that today's Bible contains only the books which were attested as being inspired by God.
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By Frank Harber

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The bible
Posted On: 06/04/10 01:01:31 AM Age 18, NIGERIA
Thank you

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 04/16/07 03:49:01 PM Age 67, LA
Rev. Frank, I can not find the Council of Carthage of 397. The only Coucils I find in that era is Constantinople 381, and Ephesus 431. Where do you find the Coucil of Carthage? I also find that the Letter of James was writen about 90ad. Again, where do you find the 47ad date? Other than that, the Church did put the Bible together. And there are a lot of books that were written and were not put in the Bible, does that mean their were not inspired? I don't think so. I have a book on my shelf the title of which is "The Lost Books of the Bible" The books that the Church did not put in the Bible. Why only these 27 books? God Bless

Re: Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 04/16/07 03:33:44 PM Age 67, LA
Your need to read Marin Luther, He removed the books for the Bible. He said they were not inspired by God, they were only good reading. Well, you read Sirach 3, and tell me if that's not inspired, if it's not inspired, nothing in the Bible is inspired. God Bless

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 03/23/07 03:45:24 PM Age 58, CO
What Comprises the Canon of Scripture? Canon comes from a Greek word that means measuring stick which over time meant that books were measured or recognized as being Gods Word. Roman Catholic Apocrypha consists of: Tobit; Judith, the Additions to Esther, the Additions to Daniel (Prayer of Azariah and the Three Young Men, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon); the Wisdom of Solomon; Ecclesiasticus (also called Sirach), Baruch; the Letter of Jeremiah, 1 Maccabees; and 2 Maccabees. Some church leaders and later, Roman Catholic popes believed the apocryphal books were part of the canon of Scripture. Some did not believe the apocryphal books were part of the canon of Scripture, but used such books for prayer. The Apocrypha Tests Failed 1) The books do not claim to be inspired. 2) New Testament writers do not quote the Apocrypha. 3) Many church fathers denied the Apocrypha. 4) Early Christian evidence argues against the Apocrypha. 5) The early Jews of Palestine rejected the Apocrypha. 6) There are historical errors in the Apocrypha. 7) The Apocrypha contains unbiblical doctrines. 8) The Septuagint argument is flawed. 9) The catacombs argument is not convincing. 10) The church council argument is not convincing. 11) The Qumran argument is not convincing. TRUE TESTS OF CANONICITY 1) Was the book written or backed by a prophet or apostle of God? 2) Is the book authoritative? 3) Does the book tell the truth about God and doctrine as it is already known by previous revelation? 4) Does the book give evidence of having the power of God? 5) Was the book accepted by the people of God? Some church leaders never recognized the apocryphal books as being part of the canon of Scripture because of the reasons above including the fact that there were historical errors.

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 03/22/07 08:32:19 PM Age 37, PA
I would have liked for you to explore more in-depth the apocryphal books. I've been told that these books used to be considered canon.

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 03/22/07 05:15:50 PM Age 41, MN
I understand your concerns. But they are not really relevant in this case. Because even if we had no copies of the New Testament, we could create it from the many citations of the Bible by the early Christians from every century all the way back citing it as Scripture. Christians knew from the first time it was circulated whether it was Scripture or not. All the books of the New Testament were written by eyewitnesses of Jesus. They were written while many eyewitnesses were still alive to vouch for that which was written. The many gospels and other books not in the New Testament were written much later and were therefore not eyewitnesses, not quoted by the church fathers as Scripture, and not regarded as such.

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 03/22/07 08:58:52 AM Age 51, TX
If we go by your assessment, then because all of the churches, or even some of the churches says it is so, then it must be. Constantine was raised a pagan and the church was largely bourne out of the paganism that still exists today. I don't think in any way we can say the church is right. Look at how many falacies that the Roman Catholic church proclaims is of God. The modern Christian Church, all the denominations are step children of the Catholic church. I have worked in many churches and they all basically do what the Catholics do. Because they all do and all basically agree with each other, does not in itself make it right. To say that only 27 books are canonical is assuming too much. Both Jesus spoke of Enoch, but that book is not Canonical. Perhaps a different barometer of measuring what is right should be used. I do not put my hope in the Church but in God alone. A spirit of dissernment is needed to ascertain what is the truth and what is not. By the way, the church under James, the brother of Jesus did not trust Paul. According to this, all of Paul's writings were canonical.

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 03/22/07 08:16:58 AM Age 41, NY
Frank, thanks for addressing this important topic. i have a question... where does the 'apocrypha' fit in? i have been witnessing to catholic friends who insist that the apocrypha was universally accepted by the christian church until the reformation. they say that the reformers 'removed' those books to accomplish 'their agenda'. you have not mentioned this in your article, and i am searching for more of an answer for my catholic friends. if anyone other than Frank has some insight please reply also. thank you and God bless!

Re: How Do We Know The Bible Contains The Correct Books?
Posted On: 03/22/07 07:50:24 AM Age 43, KS
When I saw the article I was hoping that you would comment on why the books included in the catholic Bible are not in the evangelical Bible (i.e. Macabees (sp?))

You Forgot Something -
Posted On: 03/22/07 07:46:15 AM Age 51, OH
In your otherwise very good article, you neglected to mention the Apocrypha. I believe it is extremely important for people to know and understand that the books of the Apocrypha were NOT included in the ancient group of Hebrew texts accepted by them (the Israelites) as the inspired Words of God. For anyone else to arbitrarily include them, centuries later, is extremely dangerous and can only be a work of Satan himself. It is a punishable offense (Rev.22:18-19) Also - a distinction between the Antioch texts and the Alexandrian texts should be explained. There are differences, and each claims to be the Words of God - both surely cannot. This lack of information is contributing to the confusion as to exactly WHICH Bible has been translated from the true texts. Claims that only the "original texts" were perfect is spurious, as there are many instances in the Old Testament where "original texts" were destroyed! Yet God has preserved His Words for us today. Tampering with His actual Words is a punishable offense by the Holy One (Rev. 22:18-19). For this reason alone, all paraphrase 'versions' are an abomination. It behooves each of us to investigate the matter thoroughly ourselves. Understand the requirements of what allows a book - any book - to be copyrighted. Prayerfully study the differences in the Antioch texts and the Alexandrian texts, among others,and allow the Lord Himself to show you which ancient texts are truly the preserved Words of God. Read the other writings of the Engligh translators from long ago right up through today, to see where their heart was as they worked. As an American diplomat, would you trust a Muslim terrorist to honestly translate documents for you? As a Christian, would you trust a Spiritualist and friend of Aleister Crowley to translate Holy Writ? Do your homework, people! God's very Words are at stake, as is sound doctrine!

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