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The Word: The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever. Questions to consider: Do I trust the Bible? Why do I trust it? What’s at stake?

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Presentation on theme: "The Word: The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever. Questions to consider: Do I trust the Bible? Why do I trust it? What’s at stake?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Word: The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever

2 Questions to consider: Do I trust the Bible? Why do I trust it? What’s at stake?

3 1.Is it a true account of origins? 2.Is it a true account of purpose? 3.Is it a true account of destiny? 4.Did God reveal Himself, His plans and purposes to man? 5.Is Jesus Christ who He said He was? 6.Is sin real? 7.Do I really sin? 8.Am I saved from a perfect, holy and righteous God? 9.Do I have an eternal future in His presence?

4 How do we know which books should be included in the New Testament? How did the early church decide what was Scripture and what was not? What were their criteria? How do we know that our four Gospels should be there rather than, say, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Barnabas or some other work?

5 Canonicity The New Testament

6 Canon, from the Greek word kanon, means “rule” or “standard”

7 Question: Is the New Testament a collection of authoritative books or an authoritative collection of books? In other words, were the 27 books of the New Testament discovered to be authoritative because of their intrinsic worth, or were they determined to be authoritative by some other authority?

8 Quote from our culture “Eventually, four Gospels and twenty-three other texts were canonized (declared to be Holy Scriptures) into a Bible. This did not occur, however, until the sixth century.” -- Dan Burnstein, Secrets of the Code, 116

9 Quote from our culture “It is a remarkable fact that although nearly all modern forms of Christianity do not question the texts included in the New Testament, in the first four centuries every single document was at some time or other branded as either heretical or forged!” --Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries, 224

10 Quotes from our culture “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, an yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion--- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John among them.” --- Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, 231 “The early church needed to convince the world that the mortal prophet Jesus was a divine being. Therefore, any gospels that described earthly aspects of Jesus’ life had to be omitted from the Bible.” --- Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, 244

11 Criteria Used 1.Apostolicity – Was a book written by an apostle or an apostle’s associate? 2.Orthodoxy – Did it conform to the teachings of other books known to be written by apostles? 3.Catholicity – Was it accepted early and by a majority of churches?

12 Criteria Used IMPORTANT!! Age was of importance. If a book was perceived to have been written after the time of the apostles, it was categorically rejected. The emphasis was not in bringing books into the canon, but keeping them out.

13 Question: When was the first canon list assembled? A.D. 140 by Marcion

14 Marcion (the heretic) Marcion was a Docetist (i.e. – one that believed Christ only “appeared” to be human, which was compatible with a Gnostic belief system)Marcion was a Docetist (i.e. – one that believed Christ only “appeared” to be human, which was compatible with a Gnostic belief system) Anti-SemiticAnti-Semitic Denied that the OT was ScriptureDenied that the OT was Scripture Denied Jesus was the Son of the OT God, but rather the Son of the good God of the NTDenied Jesus was the Son of the OT God, but rather the Son of the good God of the NT Only used Gospel of Luke, which he heavily editedOnly used Gospel of Luke, which he heavily edited Only used 10 of Paul’s letters (also, edited)Only used 10 of Paul’s letters (also, edited)

15 Related considerations of the heresy 1.Prompted the church to formalize a list (collections were in circulation – Paul’s letters, the Gospels) 2.Why weren’t works such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary or the Acts of Peter included in Marcion’s canon?

16 Think about this question! Why weren’t works such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary or the Acts of Peter included in Marcion’s canon? In other words, if Marcion wanted to insert early Gnostic teaching into the genuine gospels/letters being circulated among the churches, then why not use the Gnostic writings themselves instead of editing what was circulating at the time? COULD IT BE THAT THESE WRITINGS WEREN’T EVEN AROUND YET?!

17 Before the end of the second century, a canon of Scripture had been decided upon which included: The four Gospels (Matt., Mark, Luke and John) Paul’s thirteen letters The book of Acts 1Peter 1John Hebrews (East) Revelation (many circles)

18 Eusebius of Caesarea (c ) discussed at length the attitudes of still earlier church fathers, Clement and Origen concerning the canon of Scripture and the then disputed books, which were: 1.James 2.Jude 3.2Peter 4.2John 5.3John

19 Forgeries 3Corinthians – forgery Gospel of Peter – forgery Letter to the Laodiceans -forgery Letter to the Alexandrians - forgery

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21 Death Blow to the Gnostic Gospels

22 5 Points of the Death Blow 1.Recent productions; no stamp of antiquity 2.Gnostic tendencies or full-blown Gnostic 3.Non-narrative; JC’s teaching w/out context 4.Severe embellishments 5.Self-consciously promoted their claim to apostolic authorship “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:8, 9

23 5 Points of the Death Blow 1.Recent productions; no stamp of antiquity 2.Gnostic tendencies or full-blown Gnostic 3.Non-narrative; JC’s teaching w/out context 4.Severe embellishments 5.Self-consciously promoted their claim to apostolic authorship “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:8, 9

24 It was from this book that material in this presentation was excerpted. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in this subject (and we all should be)…

25 …especially since things like this keep showing up on the racks!

26 Canonicity The Old Testament

27 “The only true test of canonicity is the testimony of God the Holy Spirit to the authority of His own Word.” Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 85

28 If God exists, how could we know anything about Him?

29 He would have to reveal Himself

30 The writers of the Scriptures say that He has done that very thing. “The Lord commanded…” “God said…” “The Lord spoke…” “The Lord said…” 500 times

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34 “Your word (s)” – 42 times

35 The Historical Fact of the Jewish Nation “Here before us we see the great outstanding objective fact of the Jewish nation. The Old Testament, as we have it, is at once the means and the record of their national life. It rose with them, grew with them, formed them, and at the same time witnessed against them, and it is to the Jews alone we look for the earliest testimony to the Old Testament canon. In the face of these historic facts, it is not too much to say that the trustworthiness of the Old Testament is wholly in accord with the historic growth and position of the Jewish people. And so we can test the Old Testament by the history of the Jews and find it in entire agreeement with all that we know of Hebrew national life.” -- W. H. Griffith Thomas How We Got Our Bible, 29, 30

36 The Tripartite Division of the Hebrew Canon 1.Law – Torah (or, Pentateuch) 2.Prophets – Former Prophets (Josh., Judges, 1&2Sam., 1&2Kings) Latter-Major Prophets (Is., Jer., Ezek., 12 Minor Prophs) 3.Writings – Poetry & Wisdom (Ps., Prov., Job) Rolls (Song, Ruth, Lam., Esth.) Historical (Dan., Ez., Neh., 1&2Chron.)

37 Jesus’ Use of the Scriptures “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law.” John 7:19 “Do not think I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets;” Matt. 5:17 “that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Luke 24:44

38 “that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, “ Matt. 23:35


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