The Canon

Systematic Christian Doctrine  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:50
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Good morning, friends, we’re so glad you have tuned in to hear God’s Precepts and Promises this morning brought to you by the Rome Church of Christ.

Hope you can come to our Gospel Meeting today. We meet at 9 and 10, and then 7:30 PM tonight.

We’re examining Christianity systematically--taking all the Bible has to say on a subject and putting it together as best as possible. Letting the Bible speak

In previous weeks we have been discussing that there are no contradictions within it. We would expect a book from God to be free from error. We also have looked at its accuracy when it comes to science, geography, and archaeology. While we could look at more proofs for inspiration, let us move on to discussing the canon of the Bible.


The canon

The list of books we recognize as inspired Scripture.

Canon (kanon): meant a rod, used for measuring, standard (Gal 6:16). Books of the Bible came to be considered part of the canon or standard list of books that were inspired.

The Bible was written by about 40 men over 1500 years, so how did those writings become part of the collection of these inspired writings?

The canonization process

1.Inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16) God revealed and the prophet recorded.

2.Recognition (Dan 9:2)

God determines canonicity.

Man recognizes it (1 Cor 14:37; 2 Pet 3:15-16)

3.Collection and preservation (1 Sam 10:25; 2 Kings 23:24-25)

ID and Q & A

You’re listening to Precept and Promise presented by the Rome Church of Christ. For more info about the Rome church of Christ email us at Text your question or request for Bible study to 615-549-5838. Gospel meeting

Q: Did Constantine decide which books belonged in the Bible? The Da Vinci Code says, “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.” p. 254

A: Remember this novel claimed accuracy regarding. It alleges Constantine decided what books would be in the Bible. He was Emperor of Rome (30-336). He legalized Christianity. In regard to the Bible, he ordered 50 Bibles to be produced by Eusebius, who was an early church historian who had named what books were accepted, which were disputed, and which were rejected.

Bruce: “…which NT books…were included in these copies? We are not told, but the answer is not seriously in doubt. The copies contained all the books which Eusebius lists as universally acknowledged (including Hebrews, of course, but also including Revelation) and the five catholic [general] epistles which he lists as disputed by some—in short, the same twenty-seven books as appear in our copies of the New Testament today.” Canon of Scripture 204

•No, he only commissioned the production of 50 Bibles

•What Eusebius produced had already been recognized as the Bible

•All books had been recognized by the end of the 2nd century

•Recognition was based on inspiration

Criteria for Canonicity

Old Testament

•Collected books

–In the Ark (Dt. 31:26)

–Prophetic books considered authoritative

–“Books the defile the hands”

•Jesus recognized 3 divisions of OT

–Law, Prophets, and Psalms (writings)


New Testament

1.The Rule of Faith—Is it doctrinally sound (2 Thess 3:6)?

2.Apostolicity—Was it associated with an apostle (2 Pet 3:15-16)?

3.Widespread acceptance—Did the early disciples receive it?

Persecution aided recognition

False teachers, heretics aided recognition

Closing of the Canon

•Lists of accepted and disputed books circulating in 2nd-3rd centuries

•All 27 NT books cited or quoted by end of 2nd century

•2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude and Revelation were controversial

•Athanasius lists all 27 books in 360s


Sum: The canon—the list of a inspried, authoritative writings. God determines the canon; man recognizes it.

Next Week: We will discuss the transmission of the Bible next week.

Until then, We encourage you to hear His precepts and trust His promises

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