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The Canon of Scripture Essay

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Most Christians do not think about the canon of scripture or know what it is or means in theology. Most take for granted the Bible they have and never question how it came into being. Today, we have 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. There was a time, however, that we did not have a canon. Bruce defines canon as books of the Bible that were recognized to be considered scripture (p. 17). The importance of the canon and how it was developed was intriguing to professor and author F.F. Bruce. He dedicated his book The Canon of Scripture to explore and explain the formulation of the canon we have today. Bruce taught in universities, including the University of Manchester, where he began to lecture students on the…show more content…
The third section dissects the formation of the New Testament with more historical context and views of other writings defined as Gnostic writing. Bruce explains the spoken words of the apostles carried as much authority as their written words and gives an in depth explanation how the Gospels and Pauline writings were viewed by the Church Fathers. The rest of the section demonstrates the Church Fathers and their views of what was to be considered scripture and the councils that affirmed the inspired scripture. Bruce concludes by explaining the criteria used for writings to be considered canon. He goes into more depth on the inspiration of the scriptures — an integral part of how the canon came together. The close of the book is appended by two lectures that explore the “secret” gospel of Mark and the Primary Sense and Plenary Sense of scripture. Bruce offers a solid explanation of the formation of the canon chronologically starting with the Hebrew scriptures (p. 21) until the 4th century where church councils started to present the first spoken finished canon (p. 97). Bruce shows the importance of the Old Testament scriptures, but writes most about the New Testament. He not only shows how the New Testament came to be a canon but offers a deep analysis of non-canonical scripture called the Apocrypha (pp. 48, 90-93). Bruce offers impressive observation into the Gnostic writers as it regards the
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