The Bible – Part Three

The Bible consists of 66 books, 1,100 chapters, and 31,0000 verses, and 733,746 words. The story of the compilation of the books shows the spiritual effort involved in finding the mind of God. The compilation was known as the kanon, which is from a Hebrew word “qaneh” meaning reed or measuring rod. It was the standard by which the books were judged. 

The Jewish historian Josephus (37 – 100 AD) was the first to explicitly distinguish books that were canonical. He determined them to be based on the proximity to the happening, and inherent authority. Regarding the New Testament added to these requirements was that the author had to have known or seen the resurrected Jesus. 

Of the authors of the New Testament four were apostles, two were half-brothers of Jesus and one was a Gentile and second largest writer of the New Testament, Luke. One was Mark, a companion of Peter, and at times an assistant of Peter.

The earliest known recognition of the 27 books of the New Testament to which nothing could be added or deleted is the list preserved by Athanasius in 367 AD. The Synod of Hippos (393 A. D.) and the Third Synod of Carthage in 397 A. D. concurred.

A council of rabbis, called the Synod of Jamnia, met in 90A. D. and put together the Old Testament.

The first official New Testament appeared in the fifth century. 

Political events hastened the canonization. Emperor Diocletian bitterly persecuted the Christians between 302 A.D. and 305 A.D. One of his edicts called for the burning of all Scripture. Christians had to decide what books were worth dying for. There criteria for inclusion:

Is the book authoritative — does it claim to be of God.

Is it prophetic – was it written by a prophet or apostle.

Its antiquity, how close was text written  to the events.