A few preliminary thoughts:
1. Bible remains the world’s best seller.
2. Bible remains most neglected book.
3. Bible remains the piece of literature
to be most trusted.
4. Bible is constantly under attack.
Biblia- “the books”
Marzeah Papyrus
Biblical Languages
1. Hebrew
2. Aramaic
3. Greek
Kanwn- “A measuring stick”
Where does the authority originate?
1. “Authority for the Canon comes from man.”
2. “Authority for the Canon comes from the
3. “Authority for the Canon comes from God.”
OT Canon
Begins with the written words of God (Ex 31:18)
Grew in size throughout the time of Israel’s
history, written by those who fulfilled the office of
prophet (Deut 31:24-26; 1 Sam 10:25; Jer 30:2)
Continued until about 435 BC
Accepted by Jesus and his contemporaries
Confirmed by the church as early as AD 170
OT Canon
God’s 1st communication was oral.
 Exodus 17:14
 Exodus 24:4
 Exodus 34:27-28
 Numbers 33:2
 Deut. 31:9, 24
 Deut. 31:22
Moses wrote the Torah
The History of Ancient Writings
Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions
The History of Ancient Writings
1. Stone
Gezer Calendar
Moabite Stone
The History of Ancient Writings
2. Clay
A Babylonian tablet from 87
B.C. reports the arrival of the
comet now known as Halley.
Fragment of a clay tablet from
the library of Ashurbanipal at
Nineveh, with an Assyrian
account of the Flood
The History of Ancient Writings
3. Wood & Wax
Wooden tablets often had an inlay of wax to
write upon. The Assyrians used these
tablets and bind them together like a
modern day book and call it a “Codex.”
The History of Ancient Writings
4. Metal
“‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord
make his face shine upon you and be gracious
to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and
give you peace.’”
Numbers 6:24-25
The History of Ancient Writings
5. Ostraca
Broken pottery was often used
as scratch paper
Why did Moses write Scripture?
1. God’s method of preservation of canon
2. Delivery to other places
Jeremiah 29:1
Jeremiah 36:1-8
3. Future memorial to Israel
Exodus 17:14
4. A witness
Deuteronomy 31:24-26
OT Canon
T – Torah (The Law)
N – Neviim (The Prophets)
K – Kethubim (The Writings)
OT Canon
Closing of the Torah (Law)
•Canonical by times of Ezra & Nehemiah
•5th Century BC
Closing the Neviim & Kethubim
•3rd Cent. BC: Translated into Greek
OT Canon
(Apocrypha)," And also that he [Judas
Maccabaeus] founded a library and collected
the books about the kings and prophets, and
the writings of David, and letters of kings about
votive offerings. In the same way Judas
[Maccabaeus] also collected all the books that
had been lost on account of the war which had
come upon us, and they are in our possession.
So if you have need of them, send people to
get them for you.”
2 Maccabees 2:13b-15 (RSV)
OT Canon
Difference between Jewish OT and
Canonical OT
Jewish (22 Books)
Former Prophets – Joshua, Judges, Samuel & Kings
Latter Prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, & Ezekiel
The “Twelve”
Note: Ends with 2 Chronicles
OT Canon
“‘And so upon you will come all the righteous blood
that has been shed on earth, from the blood of
righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of
Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple
and the altar.’” Matthew 23:35
“‘From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,
who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible
for it all.’” Luke 11:51
What About Jamnia?
AD 90: Council of Jamnia
•Not a major council
•Limited discussion on Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs
Canon fixed prior to birth of Christ
•Matthew 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the
desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and
forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and
said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become
bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: 'Man does not live on
bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of
God. '’”
Principles & Factors Determining
the OT Canon
1. Prophetic Authorship (Hag 1:3; Zech. 1:1)
2. Testimony of the Holy Spirit
3. Providential Care
4. Validation By Christ (Matt 21:42; 26:54)
4 Categories of Religious Writings
1. Homolegomera
2. Antilegomera
3. Apocryphal
4. Pseudepigrapha
The Apocrypha
The Intertestament Period
•Alexander the Great died in 323 BC
•Palestine under severe pressure
•Constant revolts
•Hellenization of culture
The Apocrypha
Why not canonized?
1.Never included in Old Testament canon
2. Never accepted by Jesus/Apostles
3. Never accepted by early Jewish writers
4. No evidence of inspiration
5. Errors
6. Uncertainty
7. Objections not overcome
8. Unorthodox Doctrine
Problem: Doesn’t Jude quote non-canonical
“(v. 9) But even the archangel Michael, when he was
disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did
not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against
him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’… Enoch, the
seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men:
‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon
thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and
to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts
they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the
harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against
Jude 1:9, 14-15
Dead Sea Scrolls
NT Canon
Begins with the writings of the apostles (Jn
14:26; 16:13-14)
Claims authority (2 Pet 3:2; 1 Cor 2:6-10)
Apostles treat the writings of other apostles as
part of Scripture (2 Pet 3:15-16; 1 Tim 5:17-18
with Luke 10:7)
NT Canon
Includes some writings of those very close to
the apostles (Mark, Luke, Acts, Jude)
The author of Hebrews is not known, but the
church accepted this book early on as selfattesting
Completed with the death of the apostles; no
further revelation awaits (Heb 1:1-2; Rev 22:1819)
Confirmed by the church as early as AD 367
NT Canon
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in my name, will teach you all
things and will remind you of everything I have
said to you…But when He, the Spirit of truth,
comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will
not speak on his own; he will speak only what
he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to
John 14:26; 16:13
5 Periods of NT
1. First Century
•Scriptures were written.
•Scriptures were to be publicly read.
1 Thessalonians 5:27
•Paul commends their acceptance
1 Thessalonians 2:13
•Paul insists his writings are from God.
Colossians 4:16
•Paul’s letters included with “other
2 Peter 3:15-16
AD 95
Clement of
5 Periods of NT
2. First half of second century
Ryland Fragment
5 Periods of NT
3. Second half of second century
“The Word
gave us the
Gospel in
shape, but
together by
one Spirit.”
Muratorian Fragment
AD 170
4. Third century
~ Irenaeus
5. Fourth century
The Big 3 Codices
British Library
British Library
Vatican Library
100 AD:
•All 27 books of the New Testament were in
circulation and all but Hebrews, 2 Peter,
James, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation were
universally accepted
100-400 AD:
•6 “disputed” books accepted.
•A number of other books were read in a few
churches at various times: Shepherd of
Hermes, 1 Clement, Didache, Epistle of
Barnabas, Wisdom of Solomon, Apocalypse
of Peter
Principles & Factors
Determining the NT Canon
1. Divine Inspiration
Inspiration is not…
1. Human achievement
2. Human thoughts and ideas
3. Human responses to God’s leading
4. Divine dictation
Principles & Factors Determining the Canon continued…
1. Divine Inspiration
2. Authorship
3. Orthodoxy
4. Obedience
5. Cohesiveness
Principles & Factors Determining the Canon continued…
6. Acceptance
7. Relevance
8. Universality
9. Sacred Objects
Bottom Line
The believers (the church) DID NOT establish the
canon, but simply bore witness of God’s leading
by recognizing their authority!
The Nag Hammadi
The Nag Hammadi
Gospel of Thomas
Supposedly written by
the Apostle Thomas
Unanimously rejected
The Nag Hammadi
Gospel of Philip
“All descriptions of
artwork, architecture,
documents, and
secret rituals in this
novel are accurate.”
~Dan Brown
What People Say About the Bible
1. The Bible is just a bunch of stories.
2. The Bible is filled with contradictions.
3. The Bible is outdated.
4. The Bible is not scientific.
5. The Bible is a man-made book.
Evidence for Reliability of the Bible
1. External Evidence
•Preeminence Among Literature
1) Preeminent in circulation
2) Preeminent in influence
3) Preeminent among religious writings
•Preservation Under Attack
1) Attack of man
2) Attack of time
A. Number of Manuscripts
B. Number of Variants
C. Time gap between originals and earliest
•Proof From Archeology
2. Internal Evidence
•Amazing Agreement
•Total Consistency
1) Supposed contradictions of message
2) Supposed contradictions of numbers
3) Supposed parallel story contradictions
4) Supposed historical contradictions
5) Supposed scientific contradictions
•Fulfilled Prophecy
3. Experiential Evidence
•The Bible is gripping.
•The Bible is comforting.
•The Bible is convicting.
•The Bible is freeing.
“Heaven and earth will pass
away, but my words will never
pass away.”
Mark 13:31
“I came that you might have life, and
have it to the full." John 10:10b
man from
"All have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God."
Romans 3:23
Good Works
“But God demonstrates his own love for
us in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8
Jesus Christ
"To all who received Him, to those who
believed in His name, He gave the right
to become children of God." John 1:12
Jesus Christ
Special Terms
history of redemption

How We Got Our Bible