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In my life time I have known many who read the Bible "religiously," could quote Scripture perfectly, yet they did not know Christ. They went to church, sang in the choir, did good works, yet did not believe that the Bible is GOD's inspired Word, breathed out by His Holy Spirit. If asked to comment on the source of the Bible, their answer would be that it was a good book, written by well meaning good men to be a moral guide for humanity. How sad. And I still feel a catch in my heart when I hear someone refer to GOD's Word as the "good book." To me that is like calling GOD, the Creator of all things, "the man upstairs." One of my favorite chapters of John's gospel is chapter 21. It tells of the day when Jesus, after His resurrection, showed Himself to seven of His disciples. Like the loving Father, having called the men "children" (Gr. paidion - little one's) He offered them help to catch fish, then offered them food for their empty bellies. One can only imagine how wonderful that meal must have been! That is our Abba Father. He leads us & He fills us. This final chapter of John's gospel is his own testimony as proof of the Savior's resurrection & to the character & history of his own relationship to Jesus Christ. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was the first to recognize that it was Jesus on the beach that day. His testimony of Jesus Christ is like a thread that runs through the entire NT. Just as the first three books of the NT were penned by three men of impeccable integrity by the inspiration of GOD, so John, as the final witness gives us his testimony, not hearsay, but what he saw with his own eyes. And his final words of his gospel tell us that in fact, there were many other things that Jesus did & the world could not contain the books that could be written. Just as John heard by the Holy Spirit what to write, so too did Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, James, Jude & of course Paul. We know that John would finish the NT as he wrote down all that was shown to him, as it says in Rev 1:1-2, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which GOD gave him to show His servants things which must shortly take place. And He sent & signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the Word of GOD, & to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw." The NT is a compilation of first hand witness statements, the same sort of testimony that would free an innocent man at trial, or convict a murderer. The world is indeed filled with books, some old, some new. But the only written witness that will lead us to Jesus Christ are the 66 books of the Bible. And through the eyes & words of men, inspired by GOD's Holy Spirit, we can learn "about" Him, but more importantly, we can come to know Him as Abba Father. His Word is an invitation to find rest for our souls. Matt 11:29 Other written volumes may seem "biblical" but if they were truly inspired, that is breathed out by GOD Himself, could they really be lost? We are not talking about a misplaced library book. We are talking about GOD's complete revelation of Himself, given to His creation, to lead us to Himself. Our Sovereign GOD, omnipotent, omnipresent & omniscient would not have allowed His Word to be "lost." To even consider the possibility is to allow doubt & unbelief to rob you of His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
I believe that the books that the church fathers compiled as canonical are the final records that God has permitted the church to use. However, there does appear in the New Testament that some Pauline letters may have been misplaced. For example there appears to have been a missing letter addressed to the Corinthians prior to 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9). There may have been several other apostolic letters that may have been misplaced or destroyed during the early church period of persecutions. However we need not brood over them because what we have in the 66 canonical books are sufficient for our instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and for the revelation of God's perfect will for man. They have the unity in conveying the salvation plan of God for us and all point to Christ and his redeeming works and his coming reign. The apocryphal books are certainly not inspired though they are held in regard in theological circles. The Roman Catholics have included the Apocrypha in their Scriptures but the Protestants have rejected their canonicity. Some of these books like the Maccabees are certainly of historical value because they reveal to us the geo-political religious life of the Jews during the inter-testamental period of 400 years between Malachi and Matthew. However, these books are definitely not inspired and the canonization of Scriptures is now closed.
Deuterocanonical books is a term used since the 16th century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term is used in contrast to the protocanonical books, which are contained in the Hebrew Bible. This distinction had previously contributed to debate in the early Church about whether they should be classified as canonical texts. The term is used as a matter of convenience by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and other Churches to refer to books of their Old Testament which are not part of the Masoretic Text. The Deuterocanonical books were declared Scripture by the The Council of Carthage in AD 397. These books were dropped by the British and Foreign Bible Society from publication in 1826.
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