Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be studying the canonicity of the Bible. Several nights ago I started reading the book of Wisdom, which is an Apocryphal text, and have been wondering why it wasn’t regarded as canonical. I’ve written about this before, I so know what John Calvin has to say about it. And even though, back then, I followed an argument that simply turned Calvin’s words back on his conclusion, I want to know what Calvin’s contemporaries thought. I want to know why they might have stuck with the Catholic canon or perhaps even created their own.
Now, as then, I believe canons ought to be much more fluid than they appear to be today. Most Protestant churches I know would say that it’s the 66 books and no other text, but what about Romans and how Paul practically quotes Wisdom (compare Romans 1 to Wisdom 13)? Or what about the apparent allusion to Christ’s crucifixion in Wisdom 2? If our ancient forefathers of the faith regarded these Apocryphal texts as canonical (or at least treated them as such), why shouldn’t we? Is it because we think ourselves smarter than they were? If so, I think we have another problem going on.
But I’m hoping for some discussion. I would appreciate your thoughts, questions, and comments as I post about canonicity and what it means to have a standard set of Scripture for a genuine, thriving faith in Christ. And notice that I use the word “discussion” and not “quarrel.” It won’t be enough to say that I should believe the 66 are the lone books of the Bible because God says so. If God said so, then I would already believe that and therefore wouldn’t be writing a post about it.
Those who have regularly read my blog know that I like to think about my faith and what it all means. I’m simply encouraging them and any others who happen across this blog to do a little research yourself and share your thoughts. Maybe you find something I miss or vice versa. No matter what, I think this is a very important topic that doesn’t get too much attention. And I think it would benefit everyone’s walk with God (those who genuinely would like to partake in the dialogue) to study this issue.
At some point somewhere along the road, we’ll be asked why we believe in the canon we have. Even if after all is said and done and everyone is still in the same spot as they were before – theologically speaking – then we’ll have a deeper understanding of why we believe what we believe. And, most likely, we’ll be able to explain it a little clearer.
With the upcoming football season, my work schedule might get kind of crazy, so these posts may not be so frequent. But I hope to write at least one post a week on canonicity because it’s a discussion that’s been going on for centuries before us. There is going to be something to talk about. In the meantime, however, think about why you read either the 66 or the 73-book Bible (or maybe a 62-book or even 80-book Bible)? Have you ever read any of the other books? If so, does your canon speak to you in a way that the other doesn’t (or others don’t)? If not, why not?
I’m really looking forward to what you might share.