ow We Got the
A Time Line of Key Events in the
History of the Bible
How We Got The Bible
The Canon
• In classical Greek the world "canon" signifies
properly, "a straight rod," or "a carpenter's
rule." In the early ages of the Christian
religion it was used with considerable
indefiniteness of meaning, though generally
denoting a standard of opinion and practice.
Later it came to be used as a testing rule in
art, logic, grammar, and ethics. Still later the
sacred writings received the name of the
"Canon of the Scriptures."
AD 200-300
The Canon
The Canon refers to the authoritative
books that are officially accepted and
approved as Holy Scripture. These
books are based on a standard or “rule
of faith.” Some of these standards
include: divine inspiration, accuracy,
doctrinal truth, consistency, power, and
acceptance by the people of God.
1500 BC
500 BC
AD 2000
The Bible is inspired by God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
2 Peter 1:20-21
The inspiration of Scripture
The term is adopted from the
Vulgate’s translation of 2 Timothy
3:16: “omnis scriptura divinitus
Literally of course, the term
θεοπνευστος means “breathed by a
“God-breathed” is a better term than
“divinely inspired.”
The inspiration of Scripture
• The concern here is
not with an event of
“inspired authorship”
at a specific moment
in the past, but rather
with the fact that the
biblical writings, right
here and now among
us, are “Godbreathed.”
• Let me offer this
theological formulation
then: when we say that
Scripture is “inspired,”
we mean that God
himself breathes out the
message of Scripture.
• John MacArthur
The Inspiration of Scripture
• The message of Scripture comes to us here
and now by the very breath of God. This
has nothing to do with a static concept of
how Scripture originated in the past, but it
has everything to do with how Scripture
functions among us in the present.
Biblicism: A danger to Protestant
• Hans Kung words:
• Biblicism remains a permanent danger to
Protestant theology. The real foundation of
faith is no longer the Christian message, nor
the proclaimed Christ himself, but the
infallible Biblical word. Just as many Catholics
believe less in God than in “their” church and
“their” pope, many Protestants believe in
“their” Bible. The apotheosis of the church
corresponds to the apotheosis of the Bible!
Theopneustia: The Plenary Inspiration of the
Holy Scriptures
• Biblical Basis of the Doctrine
• There are several Scriptures which seem to
indicate the holy character of the individual
words of the Bible:
• … Man shall not live on bread alone, but
on every word that proceeds out of the
mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4, NASB)
The words of the LORD are pure words; As
silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined
seven times. (Psalm 12:6, NASB)
My Theology of Inspiration
• This discussion does NOT call into question the
historical occurrence of different Biblical events
(such as the Creation, the Flood, etc).
• I do not question the divine inspiration of the
Scriptures, which the Scriptures themselves
repeatedly affirm.
• Psalm 138:2 says, "God has exalted the Word to the
very level of His own name." It is impossible to
separate the glory of the Word from God Himself
because this is indeed His own Word.
My Theology of Inspiration
• I only object to the view that divine
inspiration imparts a wholly inerrant
character to each individual letter and pen
stroke of the original manuscripts.
• This view, in my opinion, is a long step
down the road to Bibliolatry, and away
from the worship of God "in spirit and in
Why a Canon of the Bible
• So long as the living voice of prophets and apostles
was to be heard, there was no pressing need of a
canon of Scripture. But as soon as these men were
dead--and with them inspiration ceased--it became
necessary that their writings be gathered together,
and to preserve those writings from corruption.
• Another reason why a canon was necessary was to
preclude the possibility of additions to the number of
inspired works. Already numerous writings were
extant purporting to be inspired. Hence the question
arose, Which of these are really inspired?
• Emperor Diocletian issued in A.D. 302 an edict that
all the sacred books should be destroyed by fire.
hence the question arose as to which books rightly
deserved the name of inspired and sacred.
Key Terms
Many believe that the original autographs of
Holy Scripture are completely free from any
human error or inconsistency?? While the
church no longer possesses these "original
autographs" of Scripture, the many
manuscripts (copies/apographs) of Scripture
or portions of Scripture that we do possess
are remarkable for their consistency
(especially when compared to other ancient
books), which is a testimony to God's
miraculous providence and or process.
Key Term
• Definition: Surviving / still in existence. In the
study of history, 'extant' usually refers to
manuscripts and other documents which
have survived the ages and are still in
existence, and thus available to historians as
• Pronunciation: ex-stant
• Examples: A Greek translation of the Jewish
scriptures was certainly made – indeed, the
Greek is now the earliest complete version of
Jewish lore extant – but the origins were very
Key Terms
• The Witness of History for Scripture
• Deuterocanonical, meaning later canon
(Apocrypha )
• Homologoumena and Antilegomena
• Antilegomena (from Greek ἀντιλεγομένα, meaning
things contradicted or disputed, literally spoken
against) was an epithet used by the Church Fathers
to denote those books of the New Testament which,
although sometimes publicly read in the churches,
were not for a considerable amount of time
considered to be genuine, or received into the canon
of Scripture.
• They were thus contrasted with the Homologoumena
(from Greek ὁμολογουμένα), or universally
acknowledged writings.
Key Term
Textual Criticism?
Textual criticism is the method Bible scholars use to
discover what the original manuscripts of the Bible
most likely said. Textual criticism is necessary
because the original manuscripts of the Bible are no
longer in existence. There are thousands of copies of
the Bible dating from the 4th century B.C to the 15th
century A.D. In these thousands of copies, there are
some differences. The vast majority of the differences
are minor, i.e. the word order being a little different, a
missing "the," a name spelled differently. Textual
criticism attempts to determine what the original
actually said.
How was the Canon of the Bible
• Moses commanded that the books of
the law be placed in the ark. This--with
the addition of the book of Joshua--was
done, and the sacred books were kept
there during the wilderness journey, and
also were in the ark during its
permanent residence in Jerusalem.
(Deuteronomy 31:9,26, cf. 2 Kings
22:8; Joshua 24:26; 1 Samuel 10:25.)
Four Classifications
• Homologoumena – those books which were
accepted by all
• Antilegomena – those books which were
• Pseudopigrapha – those non-biblical works
rejected by all
• Apocrypha – those non-biblical works
accepted by some
• Protocanonical - considered canonical
• Deuterocanonical books – sometimes
1500-400 BC
Old Testament
Events are written down in Hebrew (with
portions in Aramaic) over many centuries. In
Exodus, the LORD tells Moses to write in a
book. Other writers, inspired by God, include
leaders, kings and prophets. Together, these
writings on leather scrolls and other materials
are called the Hebrew Scriptures or
Old Testament.
1500 BC
500 BC
AD 1
500 AD AD
1000 AD AD
1500 ADAD
AD 2000
How was the Canon of the Bible
• Then were gathered and placed in the temple
the historical and prophetical books from
Joshua to David's time. On the construction
of the temple Solomon deposited in it the
earlier books (2 Kings 22:8, Isaiah 34:16),
and enriched the collection with inspired
writings from his own pen, and also some
prophetic writings. So we find Daniel (9:2,
R.V.) referring to "the books," Isaiah to "the
book of the Lord" (29:18, 34:16).
How was the Canon of the Bible
• After Solomon's day a succession of prophets
arose, Jonah, Amos, Isaiah, Hosea, Joel,
Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah,
Obadiah, and Habakkuk. These all flourished
before the destruction of the temple, and
enlarged the collection of existing sacred
books by valuable additions.
• After the Babylonian capture, when the
temple was rebuilt and worship reestablished, then doubtless were added the
writings of Haggai and Zechariah.
How was the Canon of the Bible
• About fifty years after the temple was rebuilt
Ezra made a collection of the sacred writings
(Neh. 8:2,3,14).
• To this collection were added the writings of
Nehemiah, Malachi, and Ezra.
• It is a fact of history that Nehemiah gathered
the "Acts of the Kings and the Prophets, and
those of David," when founding a library for
the second temple, 432 B.C. (See 2
Maccabees 2:13).
Evidence of a Canon?
• Some manuscript texts date to the early
second and third centuries, with the time
between the original autographs and our
earliest existing fragment being a
remarkably short 40-60 years.
Old Testament:
39 books
Written approximately
1500-400 BC
The Old Testament was
written mainly in Hebrew,
with some Aramaic.
A sample of
Aramaic letters.
The letter “aleph”
in Hebrew script.
450 BC
According to Jewish
tradition, Ezra, a
priest and scribe,
collects and arranges
some of the books of
the Hebrew Bible,
around 450 BC.
500 BC
5001 BC AD 500
AD 2000
The Massoretic Text
• The Massoretic text is named for a group of
Hebrew scholars called the Massoretes.
• They had schools in Babylon and Tiberius by the
Sea of Galilee. They flourished from 500 to 1,000
A.D. The word "Massoretic" comes from the
Hebrew word "massorah" which means
• The idea is that of both preserving something and
passing it down to the next generation.
• The Masoretes both preserved the Hebrew text
and made accurate copies to hand down to
succeeding generations.
Jewish Tradition
• Just when this group of books was completed, and set apart as the
definitely recognized Word of God, is involved in obscurity.
• The Jews' tradition was that it was done by Ezra. We believe that, as
these books were written, beginning with Moses, they were, at the
time, recognized as Inspired of God, and placed in the Tabernacle or
Temple along with the accumulating group of Sacred Writings.
Copies were made as needed. In the Babylonian Captivity they were
scattered, and many copies destroyed. Ezra, after Return from the
Captivity, re-assembled scattered copies, and restored them as a
complete group to their place in the Temple.
• From Temple copies, other copies were made for Synagogues.
• Question? Autographs – Copies – Inspiration?
Formation of the Book
Early in history God began the formation of the Book which was to be the
medium of His revelation of Himself to man:
Ten Commandments, written on stone (Deuteronomy 10:4, 5).
Moses' Laws, written in a book (Deuteronomy 31:24-26).
Copies of this book were made (Deuteronomy 17:18).
Joshua added to the book (Joshua 24:26) .
Samuel wrote in a book, and laid it up before God (I Samuel 10:25) . This book
was well known 400 years later (II Kings 22:8-20) .
Prophets wrote in a book (Jeremiah 36:32; Zechariah 1:4; 7:7-12) . Ezra read
this book of God publicly (Ezra 7 :6; Nehemiah 8: 5) .
In Jesus' day this book was called "The Scriptures," and was taught regularly
and read publicly in synagogues. It was commonly regarded among the people
as the "Word of God." Jesus himself repeatedly called it the "Word of God."
Formation of the Book
These "Scriptures" were composed of the 39 books which constitute
our Old Testament, though under a different arrangement. They were
spoken of as the "Law," 5 books; the "Prophets," 8 books; and the ";
thus: Writings," 11 books
Law: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
The Twelve.
Writings: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song, Ruth, Lamentations,
Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles.
Thus combining the 2 books each of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles into
Ezra and Nehemiah into 1
12 Minor Prophets (which were written on one roll) into 1
These 24 books are exactly the same as the 39 books of our Old
Old Testament Canon
Josephus was a historian who lived from 37 A.D. to about 100 A.D.
• Josephus considered the Old Testament
Canon as fixed from the days of Artaxerxes,
time of Ezra. Here are his words:
"We have but 22 books, containing the history
of all time, books that are believed to be
divine. Of these, 5 belong to Moses,
containing his laws and the traditions of the
origin of mankind down to the time of his
death. From the death of Moses to the reign
of Artaxerxes the prophets who succeeded
Moses wrote the history of the events that
occurred in their own time, in 13 books.
Old Testament Canon
The remaining 4 books comprise hymns to God
and precepts for the conduct of human life.
From the days of Artaxerxes to our own times
every event has indeed been recorded; but
these recent records have not been deemed
worthy of equal credit with those which
preceded them, on account of the failure of the
exact succession of prophets.
Old Testament Canon
• There is practical proof of the spirit in which we treat
our Scriptures; although so great an interval of time
has now passed, not a soul has ventured to add or to
remove or to alter a syllable; and it is the instinct of
every Jew, from the day of his birth, to consider these
Scriptures as the teaching of God, and to abide by
them, and, if need be, cheerfully to lay down his life in
their behalf."
Who Was Josephus?
• Josephus was born A.D. 37 in Jerusalem, of priestly
aristocracy. He received an extensive education in
Jewish and Greek culture. He was governor of
Galilee and military commander in the wars with
Rome, and was present at the destruction of
• These words of Josephus are unquestionable
testimony to the belief of the Jewish nation of Jesus'
day as to what books comprised the Hebrew
Scriptures, and that that collection of books had been
completed and fixed for 400 years preceding his time.
The Apocrypha
• The word Apocrypha comes from the Greek
word, meaning “hidden” or “concealed”. The
term generally refers to religious writings
found in the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, but
not in the Hebrew Bible.
• The names for these writings can differ
between Protestants and Catholics.
• The Catholics consider these writings as
canonical, while Protestants do not, and
Orthodox churches consider some as canon
to a lesser extent then Catholics.
Apocrypha: King James
Authorized 1611
Additions to Daniel
Additions to Esther
2 Maccabees
4 Ezra
•Prayer of Manassheh
•Wisdom of Solomon
•Baruch (incl Epistle of
•1 Maccabees
The Apocrypha
• Since Catholics consider these books canon, therefore they do
not call them Apocrypha but deuterocanonical, meaning later
• The Apocrypha was officially removed by the Archbishop of
Canterbury in 1885 leaving only 66 books.
• Judaism treats these books as we would treat a commentary on
the Bible. They are viewed as useful but not inspired, or simply
as a book that records history. For example the story of
Hanukkah comes from the apocrypha and is accepted as a
historical document but nothing else. 1 Mac.4:56-59
The Apocrypha
Protestant Names
Roman Catholic Names
Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus / Sirach
I Maccabees
I Maccabees
II Maccabees
II Maccabees
Baruch 1-5
Epistle of Jeremiah
Baruch 6
Additions to Esther
Esther 10:4-16:24
Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young
Daniel 3:24-90
Daniel 13
Bel and the Dragon
Daniel 14
I Esdras
3 Esdras (sometimes called I Esdras)
2 Esdras
4 Esdras (sometimes called 2 Esdras)
Prayer of Manasseh
Prayer of Manasseh

How We Got The Bible The Canon