How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

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Philip
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How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

Postby Philip » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:35 pm

How do we know what books should be in the Bible? How do we know which ones God inspired, and which ones he did not?

DID Constantine and his churchmen cronies merely DICTATE which books to include in the Bible?


This issue recently was mentioned, and so I thought I'd post on it again.

The non-historical assertion often made about the books of the Bible, is that the pagan Emperor Constantine and his pals at the Council of Nicea (the first general council of the Christian church, in 325 A.D.), merely rubber-stamped the emperor's preferences, and that the 66 books of today's Protestant canon resulted from mere back-room politics and a little horse-trading. The reality is, the canon was not even the focus of Nicea – it was "Arianism" - the belief that Jesus was a created being. Nicea concluded by affirming that Christ was “homoousia,” meaning, of one substance with the Father.

Subsequently, the much later council that finally DID affirm the Protestant canon, took place at Carthage, in 397, a full 60 years after Constantine's death. However, Carthage didn't DICTATE the canon, but AFFIRMED it, based upon very specific criteria (see below) – first affirming 21 books that had already been accepted as Scripture, long before even Constantine, and already widely accepted and used by the churches across Europe. The rest were either under debate or had already been considered heretical by the greater church. Eventually, they tossed all but the 66 books in today's Protestant canon.

So, those at Carthage did not choose, but AFFIRMED, mostly what had already long been widely affirmed by Spirit-filled Christian believers and churches across Europe, and some under consideration, but meeting their criteria (see Geisler, below, on their criteria). Remember, it is God's Spirit is Who will “guide you into all truth.” And so, those with His spirit within, those intensely studying His words, will also recognize them. So, Christians prior to Carthage weren't merely guessing at which books God's Spirit were helping them to recognize as His voice – as they already had God's guidance within each believer! So, the council had the witness and history of churches filled with Believers having already accepted, in use and practice, key books, and they had the counsel of each other in direct discussion as they considered the remaining ones is assessing their affirmation of a canon. But beyond these, very key, they also applied a strict criteria to which books met appropriate criteria, and only those meeting it were affirmed.

Bruce Metzger, one of the most repected evangelical Bible scholars of modern times (his bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_M._Metzger), has the following to say, in his interview with pulitzer prize-winning journalist Lee Strobels' investigation into this matter: “

“You see, the canon is a list of authoritative BOOKS, more than it is an authoritative LIST of books.”

“You have to understand that the Canon was not the result of a series of contests involving church politics. The Canon is rather the separation that came about because of the intuitive insight of Christian believers.”

Metzger says the long period of assessment and late date of affirming the entire canon actually shows it's caution and considerable analysis:

“The church wasn't gung-ho, sweeping in every last document that happened to have anything about Jesus in it. This shows deliberation and careful analysis.”

Renowned theologian and Bible scholar Dr. Norman Geisler asks the following about books of the Bible canon:

“The Bible: Which books belong in it? Why do we have 66 books in the Bible? Why not 67? Aren’t there some lost books of the Bible? What about the so-called Dead Sea scrolls? Didn’t they unveil books we never knew of before that should be in the Bible? What about the Gospel of Thomas that the Jesus Seminar is saying ought to be one of the Gospels? Which books belong in the Bible?”

Geisler says, "There are five tests for whether or not a book should be in the canon (see link, below). They are the fingerprints of God...”

In the following link, Geisler explains the hugely important criteria used at Carthage to affirm the books of the canon, and how that same criteria and analysis was used to exclude some of the books under consideration: https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/the-bible-which-books-belong-in-it-by-dr-john-ankerberg-dr-norman-geisler/

Geisler also wrote the following book: https://www.amazon.com/God-Inspiration-Canonization-Transmission-Translation-ebook/dp/B00K5WTQ9Y/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504315304&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=how+we+got+the+protestant+canon

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Re: How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

Postby Philip » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:08 pm

As this issue of what Bible books are God-inspired is so important to having faith in what is in its 66 books, along with some other important questions, I've provided some other great linked pages to read up on this subject (see below).

Also, it is curious why so many who believe in Christ and how God is the Creator of the universe, the Author of history AND it's conclusion, its timings, the endings prophesied, its precise sequence of events, that He initiated, created, guided, how He has led the church, that they believe Jesus rose from the dead and will come again – and yet they doubt whether God could have inspired and protected His word - which is illogical and absurd – either God has His power and abilities or He doesn't.

As for God's inspiration and guidance of the writing down of Scripture (from Carm.org), Jesus promised this empowering to his disciples (who were called apostles after the resurrection) in John 14.26. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Similarly, Jesus promised further revelation of truth from the Holy Spirit when he told his disciples, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14). In these verses the disciples are promised amazing gifts to enable them to write Scripture: the Holy Spirit would teach them “all things,” would cause them to remember “all” that Jesus had said, and would guide them into “all the truth.”

Assembling the Bible: http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/who-decided-what-went-into-the-bible.html

The Canon of Scripture (Scholar Wayne Grudem): https://www.biblicaltraining.org/librar ... yne-grudem

All about the Canon of Scripture (Bible Gateway): https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/asbury-bible-commentary/Canon-Scripture

What about the rejected books that were not recognized as part of the Canon? https://www.jashow.org/articles/general/the-apocrypha-and-the-biblical-canonpart-3/

What about supposed errors in the Bible texts?

https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/the-bible-has-it-been-translated-correctly-by-dr-john-ankerberg-dr-norman-geisler/

https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/the-bible-has-it-been-translated-correctly-by-dr-john-ankerberg-dr-norman-geisler/

WHEN were the New Testament writings written? VERY key, it was either written by eyewitnesses to events, an apostle, or by a close associate of an apostle. Almost certainly, the last book – Revelation – was written before 70 A.D., the year that Jesus prophecy about the temple's destruction came true: “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 21:6). Why? Because there is no mention in either Revelation or any other NT book of the catastrophic events of the destruction of the Temple and sacrificial system – which would be unthinkable! Not only were the writers either eyewitnesses to the events of Christ, or a close associate of one, but Time itself is marked by Jesus' birth: BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini—“in the year of our Lord.” Scholars argue for two of the most likely dates of the Crucifixion: April 7, AD 30, and April 3, AD 33. This mneans that if all of the NT writings were complete before the temple's destruction of 70 AD – then many eyewitnesses would have still been alive during their first circulations.

Mark
Mark was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus' life.  He was a disciple of Peter and undoubtedly it was Peter who informed Mark of the life of Christ and guided him in writing the Gospel known by his name. 

Luke
Luke was not an eyewitness of the life of Christ.  He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness of Christ's life.  But, both had ample opportunity to meet the disciples who knew Christ and learn the facts not only from them but from others in the area.  Some might consider this damaging to the validity of the gospel but quite the contrary.  Luke was a gentile convert to Christianity who was interested in the facts.  He obviously had interviewed the eyewitnesses and written the Gospel account as well as Acts.

Hebrews
We don't know with certainty who wrote Hebrews, but there is a possibility it was the Apostle Paul – but likely not: https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/who- ... f-hebrews/ - Hebrews is the only New Testament writing to expound on Jesus as the Great High Priest and final sacrifice.

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Re: How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

Postby Philip » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:51 am

Also, concerning the false beliefs about Emperor Constantine's Council of Nicea supposedly deciding which books should be in the Bible's canon - Dan Brown, in his popular book, "The Da Vinci Code" book, widely (and further) perpetuated another myth about Nicea supposedly deciding Jesus' deity:

Per James Garlow, Ph.D. , Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California and by Peter Jones, Ph. D., Executive Director, Christian Witness in a Pagan Planet:

"The Council Of Nicaea - What Really Happened?"

"The Council of Nicaea figures prominently in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Brown's character, Teabing, brings up the subject of the Nicaean Council while teaching Sophie about Jesus":

"Jesus' establishment as the 'Son of God' was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea."

"Hold on. You're saying Jesus' divinity was the result of a vote?" "A relatively close vote at that," Teabing added."

Yes, "The Da Vinci Code" also perpetuates the myth that, nearly four centuries after Jesus death, that though his disciples supposedly believed Jesus was merely mortal, that Nicea pronounced him immortal per a vote - a CLOSE vote.

Read all about it here, from Christianity Today magazine: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/june/7.26.html

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Re: How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:23 am

My view on the inspiration of scripture is a bit complex ( of course it is a complex subject so I don't think you can have a simple answer/view on this to be honest).
There are parts that are OBVIOUSLY inspired ( when the writer actual says " And God said..."and The Lord said...").
There are some that imply inspiration ( Genesis)
There are others that don't have any NEED to be inspired ( historical accounts, bookkeeping, poetry).
BUT the crux is WHAT IS inspiration?

And that, again, is a complex issue.

I do NOT think that it is an either/or thing of the HS either guiding people or "taking over them" to write the words.

I think that the HS guided the writers, He spoke to them and helped them to see and understand IN A WAY that they COULD understand AND CONVEY that understanding to others of THEIR TIME.
There was no time in which the individual STOPPED being the individual when he wrote BUT he did write things that he have no knowledge of, things that were revealed in a divine way.

I don't think that ALL the bible was inspired or needed to be TO THE DEGREE that all parts were EQUALLY inspired.

To be inspired by the HS to write a poem about God is not the same degree of inspiration as to be able to write about a vision of GOD and the future, for example.

Paul was inspired to write his letters BUT not all parts of his letters were divinely inspired.
Luke openly admits that his gospel is a collection of the writings he had and that he was putting together for Theophilus, BUT he was most certainly inspired by the HS to do so.

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Re: How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

Postby Philip » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:59 am

To be inspired by the HS to write a poem about God is not the same degree of inspiration as to be able to write about a vision of GOD and the future, for example.

Paul was inspired to write his letters BUT not all parts of his letters were divinely inspired.
Luke openly admits that his gospel is a collection of the writings he had and that he was putting together for Theophilus, BUT he was most certainly inspired by the HS to do so.


Of course. But as to what WAS included, whether merely historical narrative, observations, or specifically inspired, there is no doubt that God oversaw the inclusion of the parts that were inherently important in each. As the very same issues would apply to Moses and the Prophets (the entire NT), which Jesus confirms. Also, it's not as if everything written down by a prophet or apostle was inspired and meant to be Scripture - obviously, Paul and the other apostles wrote many other letters that did not become part of Scripture. Not only did God guide the parameters of what He wanted included, but also as to what He did not. So, many letters were excluded. But we must realize that God also guided the preservation of the books / writings that we have today, and the dissemination of such an incredible number of copies of each - allowing comparisons that help determine the contents of the originals, per where they agree, and the dates assigned to the various manuscripts. That we have ANYTHING from the early days of the Church is a miracle. Of course, the original autographs are all gone - least that we know of.

And if you think about it, as to ALL of the books of the NT, it's not as if there is a lot of pointless "filler," talking about the weather or irrelevant things in them. The contents speak for themselves - on target and on message.

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Re: How do we know which Bible books are inspired by God?

Postby Philip » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:49 am

Fact is, either God inspired Scripture or not. And if He inspired it, we should also have confidence that:

A) He had the ability and the desire to protect His inspired words to man; B) That He has guided HIS Church to His words, as God's Spirit within us and guidance has brought recognition to which writings actually were inspired, as well as brings understandings to His inspired words - so they can be applied (As do not His words have PURPOSE???).

Either we believe God has total control over what He wants for His people, and as to the things He wants to communicate to them, or not. If NOT - if just happenstance and luck worked together to give us just some of His words, while the rest was lost to history or ended up blended with all manner or myth and lies - really, what does that say about Gods' power, or the importance of His words, or their intent - as well as who He wanted receive, understand and apply them? If God did not inspire and guide the process of giving His people the ability to possess and recognize His words, we might as well quit studying the Bible, as we would have no idea which portions were inspired, and what was merely opinion or outright lies. So, the entire process had to be God-guided, or else we could have no confidence in it. Or, in Him, to guide us to His truths. He's either the Author of all history, including he future and end events, or not. Only from Scripture do we know that Jesus died and was resurrected for us, what He wants of us, that He shall come again, that we shall be with Him for all eternity. Either we believe in God's capabilities and desires for us, or not. Either we believe His words are so important to Him that He came to DIE for their fulfillment, or not.


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