Canon and Inspiration

TEXT1 Thess. 2:131 Pet. 3:15

INTRODUCTION:

A.      WE ARE TO BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE.

B.      IT IS ONLY REASONABLE THAT GOD, HAVING CREATED US, REVEAL

          HIMSELF TO US SOMEHOW.

C.      WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE, INSPIRED OF GOD, IS THAT REVELATION.

D.      THIS LESSON GIVES REASONS FOR BELIEVING THAT.

I.      WHERE DID THE BIBLE COME FROM?

A.      THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON.

          1.  The list of Original and Authoritative Books that composed God’s Inspired Word –

               Those which came to be recognized by the churches the Genuine and Authentic.

          2.  In the days of Christ the OT was also referred to as “The Scriptures.”  The people

               regarded the OT as having come from God, therefore it was called THE WORD OF

               GOD.  Jesus recognized it.  It was read and taught publicly and in the Synagogues.

          3.  Churches accepted these as God’s Word, and gave them the same place they had had in

               the synagogues.  As the Writings of the Apostles appeared, they were added to these

               Jewish Scriptures, and were held in the same sacred regard.

B.      THE BEGINNINGS OF NEW TESTAMENT CANON.

          While the Apostles were yet living, and under their own supervision, collections of their

          Writings began to be made for the Churches, and placed with the OT as the Word of God.

          1.  Paul claimed for his Teaching the Inspiration of God (1 Cor. 2:12-13; 14:37).

          2.  So did John for the Book of Revelation (Rev. 1:2).

          3.  Paul intended his Epistles be read in the churches (Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27;

               2 Thess. 2:15).

          4.  Peter wrote that certain things might be remembered after his departure

               (2 Peter 1:15; 3:1-2).

          5.  Paul quoted as “Scripture” (1 Tim. 5:18): “The laborer is worthy of his hire.”

               This sentence is found nowhere in the Bible except Matt. 10:10 and Luke 10:7,

               indicating they were in existence already and regarded as “Inspired Scripture.”

          6.  Peter classes Paul’s Epistles with “Other Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:15-16).

          7.  The Apostles, it seems, wrote many Letters, having in mind the immediate needs of the

               churches. Which Letters were to be preserved?, God watched over the matter, and made

               his own choice.

C.      THE EARLIEST COLLECTIONS WERE INCOMPLETE.

          1.  OT books had originated in one country; but NT books in widely separated countries.

          2.  Travel and communication were slow and dangerous.  Printing was unknown, and

               making copies was slow work. There was also persecution, when writings had to be

               hidden.

          3.  Naturally, the earliest collections of NT books would vary in different regions.

D.      MANY SPURIOUS BOOKS IMPOSED ON THE BRETHREN.

E.      PRIMITIVE WITNESS TO THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE.

          1.  Clement of Rome, in his Epistle to the Corinthians (A.D. 95) quotes from, or refers to,

               Matthew, Luke, Romans, Corinthians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter.

          2.  Polycarp, in his Letter to the Philippians (A.D. 110), quote Philippians, and reproduces

               phrases from nine other of Paul’s Epistles and I Peter.

          3.  Ignatius, in his Seven Letters, written A.D. 110, during his journey from Antioch to

               Rome for his martyrdom, quotes from Matthew, 1 Peter, 1 John, cites nine of Paul’s

               Epistles, and his letters bear the impress of the other three Gospels.

          4.  Papias, (A.D. 70-155), a pupil of John, wrote “An Explanation of the Lord’s

               Discourses,” in which he quotes from John, and records traditions about the origin of

               Matthew and Mark.

          5.  The Didache, written between A.D. 80 and 120, makes 22 quotations from Matthew

               with references to Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Thessalonians, 1 Peter; and speaks of

               “The Gospel” as a written document.

          6.  The Epistle of Barnabas, written between A.D. 90 and 120, quotes from Matthew,

               John, Acts, 2 Peter; and uses the expression, “It is written,” a formula commonly

               applied only to Scripture.

          7.  The Shepherd of Hermas, written about A.D. 100 or 140, made use of James, with

               abundant echoes of other New Testament books.

          8.  Tatian, about A.D. 160, made a “Harmony of the Four Gospels,” called the

               “Diatessaron,” an evidence that Four Gospels, and only Four, were recognized.

          9.  Justin Martyr, born about the year that John died, in his “Apologies,” written about

               A.D. 140, mentions Revelation, and shows knowledge of Acts and eight Epistles. He

               calls the Gospels the “Memoirs of the Apostles,” and says that they were read in

               Christian assemblies alternately with the “Prophets.”

          10.  Basilides, a Gnostic heretic who taught in Alexandria in the reign of Hadrian

               (117-138), and who claimed to have knowledge of secret traditions handed down from

               the Apostles, in his written efforts to distort accepted Christian teachings, quotes from

               Matthew, Luke, John, Romans, I Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, as accepted

               Christian Scriptures.

          11.  Marcion, another heretic (about A.D. 140), in the interest of his heresy, made a canon

               of his own, consisting of Luke, Romans, 1 & 2 Cor., Gal, Eph, Phil., Col., 1&2 Thess.

               and Philemon.

          12.  Iranaeus (130-200) and Tertullian (160-220) both quote extensively from most of the

               books and refers to them as “Scripture.” Iranaeus refers to them as “New Testament.”

F.      OTHER ANCIENT CANONS.

          1.  The Muratorian Canon (170 AD) – Omits Heb., 1 & 2 Pet., and James, but includes

               the Book of Wisdom and the Apocalypse of Peter.

          2.  The Syriac Version (130-180 AD) – Omits the same plus 1, 2, 3 John Jude and Rev.

          3.  The Old Latin Version (130-180 AD) – Omits Heb. Jas. 2 Pet.

          3.  Origen (185-254) 2/3  of the entire NT are quoted in his writings.  His canon is

               virtually the same as what we have today, 40 years before the council of Carthage,

               while the church was under severe persecution..

G.      EUSEBIUS AND THE PRESENT CANON.

          1.  Eusebius (264-340), bishop of Ceasarea survived Diocletian’s persecution and lived

               into the reign of Constantine.  He became Constantine’s religious advisor.

          2.  Constantine ordered 50 Bibles for the churches on Constantinople to be prepared by

               Eusebius.

          3.  What books were included?  The same ones we have now.  Eusebius had researched.

          4.  The Council of Carthage (397 AD) gave formal ratification to the 27 books, which had

               for years been unanimously accepted by the churches as being the canonical set.

H.      MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE

          1.  The oldest and best:  Sinaitic (early 3rd or 4th century), the Vatican Manuscript (early

               4thcentury ), and Alexandrian (early 5th century)

          2.  Fragments: 

               a.  The Rylands Papyrus – John 18:34-39(cf. 120 AD); 

               b.  The Lukan papyrus,  situated in a library in Paris has been dated to the late 1st

                    century or early 2nd century,so it predates the John papyrus by 20-30 years (Time

                   April 26, 1996, pg.8).

               c.  A manuscript fragment of Matthew (chapt.26), Magdalene Manuscript (60’s AD).

                    Dr. Carsten Thiede

               d.  The Markan Manuscript (68 or before?)

I.       OTHER SOURCES FOR THE SERIOUS STUDENT:

          1.  Halley’s Bible Handbook, pg. 741-756.

          2.  Introduction to the New Testament, Everett F. Harrison, pg. 91-127.

          3.  Evidence that Demands A Verdict, Josh McDowell, pg. 13-78.

          4.  Hyde Park Christian Fellowship: http://debate.org.uk/topics/history/bib-qur/bibmanu.htm

II.     THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED OF GODTHE WORD OF GOD.

A.      UNITY.

A1.  66 books written by about 40 men over 1500 years.  Different backgrounds,

several languages, from different areas, yet their writings made a complete and harmonious whole. 

There are links or threads of evidence that tie all of these books together and prove that they

all stemmed from one mind, the mind of God.  There is one underlying theme of the Bible. 

That theme is of man’s reconciliation to God through Christ.

A2.  TYPOLOGY DEMONSTRATES UNITY.

     1.  Defining the word "type."  Greek: tupos, from tupto, to strike.

          a.  A stroke, or a blow. … e.  In printing it means that which makes the impress or mark. 

          f.  In a theological sense it is simply a shadow of things to come and generally of good

          things to come  ( see Col. 2:16-17Heb. 10:1;  Heb. 8:5).

     2.  Most of the religious rites of the O T were mere shadows relating to Christianity as their substance. 

     3.  The work "antitype" denotes the substance, or that which is prefigured by the type.  e. g.,

          The Passover lamb is the type of which Christ is the antitype.

    4.  Some implications of these definitions:

                   a.  There is always some resemblance or analogy existing between type and antitype.

                   b.  The likeness is but partial - Adam was a type of Christ.

                   c.  The points of resemblance were designed and preordained.  e. g., The Passover lamb

                        was to be without blemish, no bones were to be broken, offered on the Passover, etc.

                   d.  Every type is a sort of prophecy - the sacrifices all pointed to Christ, but when Jesus

                        was offered, they were abolished.

     5.  From all this it is obvious that the design of types is two-fold:

                   a.       To give a pictorial and outline representation of something in the future,

                             and especially of the Scheme of Redemption.

                   b.  The second object of God in giving to his ancient people such typical a system was in

                        order that the type might serve as a proof and demonstration of the Divine origin of

                        the antitype( see Heb. 3:5-6 ).

                             -  the types must have been designed by one who perfectly understood

                             the antitype.  Only God could have this knowledge.

                             -  We see that the Jews were all their lives engaged in setting up types 

                             and printing documents that they themselves could neither read nor understand,

                             hence they could never have invented their own religion;  and hence, moreover, the

                             Bible is all of God.

          A3.  THE DAY OF ATONEMENT AS AN ILLUSTRATION (Lev. 16).

B.  ARCHAEOLOGY.

          B1.  GENERAL EVIDENCE.

               1.  Common origin of civilization - The Fertile Crescent.

               2.  Jewish history as recorded in the Bible as compared with other contemporary histories.

          B2.  SPECIAL EVIDENCE.

               1.  Early writing.  Until fairly recently it was thought that writing was not known until after

                   the time of Moses.  The Code of Hammurabi, the Weld Prism, and the Pre-flood Tablets

                   have now proven the use of writing in Abraham’s day, and in some cases, much earlier.

               2.  Early use of metals.  Until recently the "Iron Age" was supposed to be from 1200 BC

                   onward.  Now the "Iron Age" has been pushed back another 1500 years to 2700 BC.

               3.  The building of the great Egyptian cities of Pithon and Ramses was by slave labor about

                   the time of the Exodus.  At Pithon the bricks which are in the lower walls are full of

                   straw; the higher you go, the less straw you find until there is none in the top (Ex. 5). 

               4.  King Belshazzar of Babylon (Dan. 5).  For many years all Babylonian records give no

                   such name, listing Nabonidus as the last king before the Persian invasion.  However, the

                   British Museum discovered a number of clay tablets that listed Nabonidus as having a

                   son, Belshazzar, who ruled jointly with him and was killed in the Persian conquest.  (See

                   Archaeology and the Bible, J.A. Thompson for more.)

C.  SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY.

          C1.    ALTHOUGH OVER 1900 YEARS OLD, THE BIBLE CONTAINS NONE OF THE

                   GEOGRAPHIC, HISTORIC, AND SCIENTIFIC MISTAKES THAT CHARACTERIZE

                   THEWRITINGS OF ITS TIMES.

          C2.    THOUGH NOT A SCIENCE TEXT-BOOK, THE BIBLE CONTAINS AN

                    INTRIGUING AMOUNT OF “SCIENTIFIC FORE-KNOWLEDGE.”

          1.       The rotundity of the earth (Prov. 8:27;  Isa. 40:22).

          2.       The suspension of the earth (Job 26:7).

          3.       The paths of the sea...Matthew Fontaine Maury charted the currents of

                   the sea after reading Psa. 8:8.

D.  STYLE.

          The writers of the Bible were completely impartial, unlike others.  The worst moments of the

          greatest heroes of the Bible are presented in glaring candidness.  Such as Noah’s drunkenness,

          Abraham’s lie, Jacob’s deceit, David’s adultery, Peter’s cowardice, Paul’s blasphemy, etc.

E.      THE BIBLE’S MORAL STANDARD.

The Old Testament writers lived in a country surrounded and influenced by heathens whose

religions and immoralities are shocking to think about.  The New Testament writers were

surrounded by the immoralities and vices of pagan Rome and Greece.  Yet the moral standard

they set forth is far above anything known to their generations.  How can the skeptic account

for the fact that the world’s  greatest literature and highest moral standard comes not from the

 geniuses of Rome, the philosophers or of Greece, or the scholars and moralists of today,

but from a handful of Jewish fishermen who never went to college and never had

another book published?

What is the basis for the Bible’s moral standard?( Mat. 22:37-40;  Rom. 13:8ff. ).

F.      FULFILLED PROPHECY.

          F1.    CONCERNING ISHMAEL( Gen. 16:10-12;  17:20 ).

          F2.    CONCERNING ISRAEL.

                    1.       Balaam’s prophecy( Numbers 23:9-10;  24:17-18 ).

                    2.       Concerning Israel’s downfall( Deut. 28:14-64 ).

                             a.       400 years before their king( vs. 36 ).

                             b.       "Hiss & byword"( vs. 37;  Jer. 29:18 ).

                             c.       Captors speak a strange tongue( vs. 49-50 ).

                             d.      Siege, cannibalism, death( vs. 49-57 ).  Literally fulfilled in the Syrian siege

                                      ( 2 Kings 6:24-31 )and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

                             e.       Many Jews would perish( vs. 62 ). 1,200,000 died in the

                                       destruction of Jerusalem.

                             f.        Slavery( vs. 68 ).  99,000 Jews were sold by Rome.

          F3.    CONCERNING THE NATIONS.

                    1.       Babylon( Isa. 13:17-22 ).

                    2.       Cyrus and the Medo-Persian Empire( Isa. 41:21-27;  44:6-21;  44:22-5:7 ).

G.      SURVIVAL.

No book has been so loved and so cherished as the Bible.  Yet no

          book has come under greater attack than this book. 

          Voltaire boasted that by the end of his life or shortly thereafter,

          the philosophers of his day would cause men

          to forget the Bible.  Today who remembers Voltaire?

CONCLUSION:

Jesus said,   "Heaven  and  earth  shall  pass away,  but  my  word shall never pass away"( Mark 13:31 ).  We believe the word of God is in our possession right now.  We believe it is complete( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ).  We believe it is indeed what it claims to be( 1 Thes. 2:13 ).  We believe it to be verbally inspired( 1 Cor. 2:13, 16 ). 

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S COMMUNICATION, HIS REVELATION TO MAN.