HOW DID THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE GET CHOSEN?
Question: How do we know that the right books are in the Bible? Ever wonder that? It’s a commonly asked question. Ever since Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, The DaVinci Code (and the subsequent movie), it’s become common knowledge that there were more Gospels than the four in our Bible. So, how do we know that we have correct books in our Bible?
Many Christians are surprised that the early English versions of the Bible contained the Apocrypha. For example, Wycliff (1380), Tyndale (1526), the Coverdale Bible (1525), and the King James Version (1611). But just because these versions did include the Apocrypha does not mean they viewed them as inspired. Sometimes they were included as a courtesy due to their historical significance.
There’s also another whole collection of books called the Gnostic Gospels. The Gnostic Gospels are 52 texts discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt which include secret sayings and teachings attributed to Jesus. The Gnostic Gospels were written in Coptic—a language that is a blend of Egyptian and Greek.
Let me share five reasons why evangelical biblical scholars reject the Gnostic Gospels—such as the Gospels of Judas or Thomas—and the Apocrypha in general.
1) The New Testament writers never quote them as authoritative.
2) Jesus never cites them as authoritative.
3) They never claim to be inspired.
4) The Church Fathers rejected them.
5) They are not in the Jewish-Hebrew canon.
6) They contain faulty theology, i.e. Purgatory etc.
The bottom line is that are good reasons to know that we have the right books in our Bible. If you want to read further along this line, I’d recommend Michael Kruger’s book, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012). This is a scholarly work, but accessible for the layman.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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