A concise survey of scriptural teaching on the canon and its completion.

 

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Heb.2.1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4  God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

 

All God’s spokesmen were specifically authenticated and appointed – one predominant purpose of the sign gifts was to authenticate the revelatory gift bearers.

 

The absence of these supernatural signs should make us question the authority of the claimant to Divine revelation.

 

2 Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

 

These signs reached a climax in the Messiah, who repeatedly uses them to illustrate the character of His person and work.

 

Jn. 5.36  But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

(His own explanation)

 

Mk. 8.27  But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

(His person)

 

Mt. 9.6  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

(His work)

 

The apostles’ recognized the command of the Lord Jesus Christ as Divine utterance, as Divine Law.

 

1 Cor.7.10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

 

Acts. 20.35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.


The written Gospel records were regarded as inspired scripture.


1 Tim.5.18  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. [citing Lk 10.7]

 

The apostles recognized their own authority as God-given and inspired, even though they were plainly capable of sin and themselves sometimes needed reproof.

 

Phlm. 8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient…

 

1 Cor.7.10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

 

Paul doesn’t merely repeat the Lord’s command he also issues it directly. It is a most solemn authority, though exercised in the Lord’s name, it is exercised personally. It even extended to the ultimate penalty the church may apply.

 

1 Cor. 5.3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

 

Full Divine authority particularly rested in the Apostles’ writings.

 

1 Cor.14.37  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

 

This accorded with the Saviour’s promise of the inspiring and revealing Spirit.

 

Jn. 14.26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

So the epistles (nor merely letters) of the apostles carried their weight. No wonder then that Satan attempted to disturb the churches by counterfeiting them.

 

2 Thess. 2.2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

 

These epistles were recognized in their own days by other apostles and their readers as scripture.

 

2 Pet.3.16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures (grafai), unto their own destruction.

 

Of the 50 other times the noun is used in the NT, it is always used of inspired  scripture, as it is here.

 

Yet the revelatory period of the NT was not open ended.

 

Jud.3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [apax – once for all] delivered unto the saints.

 

Again this accorded with the fullness of Messiah’s promise to His chosen apostles.

 

Jn. 16.13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

 

It also concurs with the Christo-centric nature of all revelation.

 

Jn. 16.14  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

 

With His ascension the revelation of His eye witnesses must be complete within their own life spans. No wonder then that new revelations now lead to perversions of the true Christ.

 

Peter indicates the transition between prophets (revealers) and teachers (expounders of that which has been revealed).

 

2 Pet.2.1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

 

That which God has chosen to preserve and present to us is sufficient to equip and perfect His servants.

 

2 Tim. 3.16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

Eph. 6.13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

This revelation is sealed with a sacred and inviolable capstone.

 

Rev. 22.18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 

For as Revelation contains allusions and references to all the tapestry of scripture to a degree unknown by any other book, so it is a fit place for the tapestry to be sealed and bound. Just as there are plagues and punishments drawn from throughout the Bible, so those who add to its warnings draw cursing and wrath upon themselves. Just as its descriptions of paradise echo and underscore scenes from the first book to the last of the Old Testament and from the New, so those who tamper with its passages will tamper with their own eternal life, and those who excise them, also excise from themselves grace and discernment.

 


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