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The Bible

The Canon of the Bible

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
NKJV

The list of books included in the Bible is referred to as the "canon." Canon is a transliteration of a Greek word which means rule, rod, or straight line. In other words, the books of the Bible are the "straight line of God." Other works which might claim some divine origin are not part of this straight line. Being crooked, they do not represent God's truth.

The Canon, then, is the collection of 66 books properly recognized by the early church as the complete authoritative scriptures not to be added to or subtracted from. In general, certain semi-specific tests could be used to determine the Canon.

How was the Canon actually formed? God the Holy Spirit formed the Canon (2 Peter 1:20-21). But, man being man, had to go through the motions of "forming" the Canon so as to ultimately accept which books God meant to have in Scripture. Here are but a a few of the highlights:

In 1546 the Roman Catholic Church accepted certain books generally referred to as the apocrypha as being part of the Bible. Protestants do not accept these books as part of the Canon. Among the major reasons for not accepting these books is that they frequently contradict parts of the Old Testament. Further, there are other "gospels" and letters written after Christ. They claim to contain other knowledge about Jesus. They, too, are not part of the Canon, for they have no apostolic origin, nor are they consistent with the other books of Scripture, Old or New.

It should be noted that the apocrypha is never quoted as authoritative in scriptures. Further in Matthew 23:35, Jesus says that the close of Old Testament historical scripture was the death of Zechariah (400 B.C.). This excludes any books written after Malachi and before the New Testament.

The books of the apocrypha are as follows:

 

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