Tuesday, August 3

How Do We Know the 66 Books in the Bible Are the Right Books?

How can we be sure that each book in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, Old to New Testament, that all sixty-six books are the right books for the Bible? How do we know that there is not more books that should be in the Bible? (Picture credit to Dyna Shonata)

How can we know if some of the events described in the Bible are supported by other scripture? In this entry, I hope to address these things and illuminate areas which you may not have previously ventured to.

Let us first look at what Jesus had to say about the canonocity of The Bible. Jesus mentioned three divisions of the Old Testament: The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and Psalms. The Psalms at that time Jesus said this was not just the name for the book of Psalms, but the group of works like Psalms, such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the like.

Luke 24:44 tells us, "He said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.'" That statement alone proves something mentioned in a Book Overview for Genesis I wrote a while back, about the authorship of Genesis-Deuteronomy.

It was accepted at the time of Jesus and is still generally accepted that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But many remain skeptical. For those who are skeptics and know the Bible as truth, understand that when Jesus mentions the Law of Moses, he is also confirming the Authorship of the Books of the Law: Moses.

The entire Bible tells and foretells of the Messiah, Jesus. The Old Testament told of his coming, which was fulfilled when Jesus came to die for all of the past, present, and future sins of humanity. The Millennial Reign of the Messiah is yet to come, but will come soon.

When Jesus said this, he affirmed that all books of the Old Testament were correct. If there were more books to add, from the Apocrypha, and this text certainly was available at the time, he would have said something, but did not. Jesus avoided the Apocrypha because it was not written by God.

The New Testament also affirms that books cannot be added, since it constantly quotes from the Old Testament books, and, as aforementioned, the Apocrypha was available at the time, since the books in it were written during the 200 years leading up to the birth of Christ.

Many people ask why the Apocrypha is not considered cannon. What is cannon? Cannon is referring to the Church's recognition of divinely inspired writings. Clearly, the Apocrypha is not written by God through Men. Let us take a look a few of the books from the Apocrypha. (*Note: The Apocrypha is a collection of books that the Catholic church and other Groups claim are God-Inspired and are Scripture)

- "Esdras", also known as 3rd Esdras in the Vulgate which entitles Ezra and Nehemiah as 1&2 Esdras, relates the history of Israel from Josiah to Ezra. There is a 4th Esdras, but it was rejected at the Council of Trent.
- "Tobit" [no, not Hobbit.] describes the adventures of a Jewish family that lives in Assyria.
- "Judith" tells the story of Judith's rescuing the Jews from the Assyrian Army.
- Additions to the book of Esther and Daniel, which are unscriptural at best.
- "Wisdom of Solomon" is a collection of proverbs. The latter part of this book shows a contrast between Israel and Egypt.
- "Ecclesiasticus" (Wisdom of Sirach) is a large collection of proverbs.
- "Baruch" is a book that claims to be written by Baruch, servant of Jeremiah. It consists of praises, prayers and promises.
- "Story of Susanna" tell of Susanna, who is accused of immorality but rescued by Daniel.
- "Song of the Three Children" claims to be the song of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo on the day they were thrown into the fiery furnace.
- "Bel and the Dragon" tells of the adventures of Daniel, by refusing to worship the idol of Bel and of  a living dragon which he kills. (The inclusion of a dragon itself leads many to frown upon this.)
- "Prayer of Manasseh" is supposedly the prayer of King Manasseh of Babylon, a prayer of repentance.
- "1st and 2nd Maccabees" are historical narratives of the War for Independence for Jews.

As you can see, these books make bold claims. There are many other books that claim to be divinely inspired, called the "Pseudepigrapha," false writings which claim to be written by Adam and Eve, Moses, Noah, and many others. For one, none of the writings Pre-Flood were saved.

From the Stevenson Bible Study: "Most of the books of the Apocrypha are written anonymously. There are two notable exceptions:
- Ecclesiasticus is written by Jeshua, son of Sirach of Jerusalem (Eccl 50:27). According to a prologue that is affixed to it, the book was discovered in Egypt in 132 B.C. It makes no claim at inspiration.

- Baruch claims to be written by the secretary of Jeremiah. It is filled with internal inconsistencies with the rest of the Bible (Nebuchadnezzar is said to be the king of the Assyrians).

Of the other books, 1&2 Maccabees contain some of the most accurate history, although they make no claim at all to divine authority. In describing the cleansing of the Temple under Judas Maccabeas, we read the orders of Judas in which the stones of the altar should be put aside until a prophet should arise.

The Word of God is Alive
'So they tore down the altar, 46 and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them.' (1 Maccabees 4:45-46). The implication is that there was no prophet in the land in those days and no one who could proclaim the word of the Lord."

As you can see, there are many inconsistencies with each book of the Apocrypha. Jesus' testimony, as well as the testimony of the Septuagint, the Massoretic Text, and the Testimony of Josephus, who was a trusted 1st Century Historian, and is the one who has helped us prove many biblical accounts.

"For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another [as the Greeks have], but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine, and of them, five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death... The prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life." (Contra Apion 1:8). - From Josephus.

Understand that at the time, there were only 22 Books in the Old Testament. This is because books such as 1st Samuel/2nd Samuel, 1st Kings/2nd Kings, were grouped together in one book. The Minor Prophets were also grouped together in a book called "The Twelve." Truly, there are 39 Books in the Old Testament. The Dead Sea Scrolls also confirm that the 66 Books we have in the Bible are correct.

The books of the New Testament were all firsthand accounts of Jesus. The Four Gospels were accounts, the letters to churches and individuals were built on the same account of Christ, as is Revelation. Every book of the New Testament was either written by an apostle or were close with an Apostle.

Paul had seen The Third Heaven, (2nd Corinthians 12:1-4) and had seen Jesus. He had been with John, Peter, and other apostles, who agreed with all that he said. The Gospel of Mark was written by Mark, who was given his information by Peter, and had seen some of what he wrote firsthand.

Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the sequel, Acts, was a disciple of Paul and friends with Peter. So, we understand that several testimonies and verses authenticate that the 66 books we currently have in the Bible are the correct books, and that none should be added or taken out.

What about questions that skeptics raise about the Old Testament? Jesus answers. Jesus personally confirmed that 1) Adam and Eve were created by God in the beginning (Matthew 19:4), 2) that Cain killed his brother Abel (Matthew 23:25), 3) that a wordwide flood destroyed the world of Noah's time (Luke 17:27), 4) that God spoke to Moses through a burning bush (Luke 20:37), 5) that Elijah performed many miracles (Luke 4:25), 6) that Jonah was in a large fish for three days, and that Jesus would be in the heart of the earth three days (Matthew 12:40, See entry: Harrowing of Hell), 7) that Daniel's prophecies were true, (Matthew 24:15) and 8) that Moses wrote the Books of the Law. (Luke 24:44)

As I said, Jesus mentioned that the Books of Moses and the Prophetic Messages were all truth, and that they were the Word of God. Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; and Luke 16:16; 16:29; 16:31; 24:27 all prove this to be fact. Even the Apocrypha, though false writing, affirms the cannon of the scriptures:

"Many great teachings have been given to us through the LAW and the PROPHETS and the others that followed them, and for these we should praise Israel for instruction and wisdom. Now, those who read the scriptures must not only themselves understand them, but must also as lovers of learning be able through the spoken and written word to help the outsiders." (Sirach 1:1). "Encouraging them from the LAW and the PROPHETS, and reminding them also of the struggles they had won, he made them the more eager." (2 Maccabees 15:9). "While he was still with you, he taught you the LAW and the PROPHETS." (4 Maccabees 18:10).

Many things point to the divine inspiration and truth of the scriptures, as well as the books that are included in the Bible. So, which books are the books that are recognized as scripture and recognized as the Word of God, then canonized by the Church?

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st/2nd Samuel, 1st/2nd Kings, 1st/2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1st/2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st/2nd Thessalonians, 1st/2nd Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1st/2nd Peter, 1st/2nd/3rd John, Jude, and Revelation.

The fact of the matter is, these 66 Books are the Word of God. They are divinely inspired, proven true, backed up by science, archaeology, apologetics, in answered prayers and odd "coincidences," and many other such events. Jesus himself verifies scripture, as do many others, and that, dear friends, is how we know that the 66 Books found in the true Bible are correct, and that none should be added to it or removed. If books were banned from the Bible, they were banned for a very good reason. Let it stay that way.

Jesus is the only way, truth, and life, and the only way to be saved is through him. In the last few months, several entries have talked about apologetics, things which verify the accuracy of biblical events and mysteries, archaeology, and science, as well as signs of the end times, which are quite evident in our lives today. How can one become saved from the fire?

To be sure, condemnation is foretold for those who reject, do not accept, Christ as their personal savior. Even Revelation itself promises this in Revelation 21:8. Those who turn to Jesus, ask for forgiveness of their sins, repent, and confess with their mouth that "Jesus is Lord," (Romans 10:9) and believe that he died and rose from the dead, are saved.

The saved are promised many things: to return with Christ for his Millennial Reign, a place in Heaven ( a Mansion), and many other promises, including peace, and eternal life that has no more death or suffering. Sound like a picture of fantasy? It is not, it will come to pass. If you have not read this blog before, I would recommend reading entries that touch on proof of the Bible, and the Mysteries and that wherein lies The Truth.

I hope this entry has been both insightful and educational, that it is helpful in some sense. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment this entry, email vexx801@yahoo.com, or visit facebook. Take Care, and God Bless You, reader. Troy Hillman

2 comments:

  1. Why does the Catholic Church have some of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books in their Bible and we(Iam a protestant)don't? Why did the highly respected King James translation of the Bible contain Apocryphal books in it's early years? Why did Jesus mention books that are not in the Bible and do so in a way that implies their credibility and value? You indicated that the Dead Sea Scrolls affirm that the 66 books that we have in our Bible is correct. But it is my understanding that those Scrolls are in effect alternate versions of what we have in the Old Testament and that they don't speak to the New Testament at all. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mr. Kilpatrick,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Starting at the beginning of 2011, this blog became part of The Truth Ministries, of which several team members are now a part. As a result, a different set of standards regarding the material, its quality, and quantity was discussed. The November 2010 article, "Is The Bible Reliable? Has It Been Altered," which can be found here: http://thetruth-blog.blogspot.com/2010/11/is-bible-reliable-has-it-been-altered.html briefly examined the Apocryphal books, whereas the more recent August 2011 article, "Should The Apocrypha And 'Lost' Gospels Be In The Bible?" examines this more in-depth: http://thetruth-blog.blogspot.com/2011/08/should-apocrypha-and-lost-gospels-be-in.html

    As an aside, however, the reason the Dead Sea Scrolls were mentioned is that much of the Old Testament is included therein, demonstrating that books such as Isaiah were part of Old Testament cannon long before Christ. If you seek more information, feel free to email us at thetruth-ministryweb@gmail.com
    God bless you.

    ReplyDelete

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