The Canon of the Bible
The word canon stands for the divinely inspired books of the Bible. The books of the Old Testament were selected by Jewish scholars by 250 AD without much debate except for the books of the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha were written during the era between the Old and New Testaments, as well as additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.
These books were excluded because they contained information that contradicts the rest of Scriptures and are not historically based. But the Roman Catholic Church officially added the Apocrypha to their Bible at the Council of Trent in the mid 1500’s because books support its unbiblical beliefs.
At the Council of Laodicea, a regional synod of approximately thirty clerics from Asia Minor assembled in Laodicea, Phrygia Pacatiana, in 363–364 AD. The council decreed that only the Old Testament and 26 books of the New Testament (not Revelation) were canonical and to be read in the churches. Later on, the Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Council of Carthage (AD 397) confirmed that all of the 27 books of the New Testament (including Revelation) are inspired by God.
The godly criteria that these councils used to determine which books were inspired included the following principles:
- Was the author an apostle or did he have a close relationship with an apostle?
- Was the book consistent in doctrine and in harmony with the rest of the books in the Canon?
- Did the book have high moral and spiritual standards that represent the character of God?
- Is the book accepted by the Christian body?
The truth is that it was God Himself that led His Holy people to select the books that were inspired, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Therefore, we can be very sure that God Himself was the guiding force that all of His saving truths be included in His holy book, the Bible.
In His service,