2/27/2014 3:40:36 PM
How Did We Get the Canon?
The canon was determined by God and discovered by man. The church did not create the canon, it simply recognized the letters that were already accepted as Scripture by the first century church. Long before church councils were ever convened, church elders were constantly evaluating and deciding which of the many writings of their day carried apostolic authority. Paul cites Luke's Gospel as Scripture (1 Tim. 5:18). Peter referred to Paul's writings as Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Paul commanded the Thessalonians to have his letter read to all the brethren (1 Thes. 5:27). John promised a blessing to all those who read the Revelation (Rev. 1:3). To the Colossians Paul wrote "have this letter read in the church of the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16). As long as the apostles were alive everything could be verified. They were eye witnesses to all that Christ said and did.
We know the Bible was complete and "once for all delivered to the Saints" in the first century (Jude 3). The Old Testament Canon was closed about 425 years before Christ. The writers were well known as a spokesmen for God and claimed to be speaking and writing the inspired Word of God.
To collect various letters and books of Scripture into one volume was the task given to Christians already converted to Christ by the Word of God. These early Christians did not give us the Word of God. The Word of God gave us these early Christians as the seed fell on the fertile soil of their hearts. Hence, the Word of God established the Church. Early Christians were convinced and persuaded which writings were divinely inspired in God's providence, under the supervision, persuasion, and conviction of the Holy Spirit. Christians labored together to separate the actual Word of God from false writings. The early Christians pooled their cognitive convictions and brought together a Canon to end speculations and dismiss false writings which contained errors about history, geography or theology.