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View Full Version : Discussion How did we come to the 66 books of the Bible?



JesusMySavior
Apr 27th 2009, 02:20 PM
Just curious. I've always believed it was there, all 66 books, that's it... but later on I realized some were books, some were letters, some were poems...

so how did they come to the conclusion of what we have today? And why did they throw some of the books/epistles out?

I'm still trying to figure out Romans 4:3 versus James 2:24...that justified word is pretty powerful...you can't be justified by works (as James says), but say you are justified by faith and not by works (as Paul says). I heard Luther wanted to throw out James because he thought it contradicted Romans 4.


Thanks fellas

OldChurchGuy
Apr 27th 2009, 03:02 PM
Just curious. I've always believed it was there, all 66 books, that's it... but later on I realized some were books, some were letters, some were poems...

so how did they come to the conclusion of what we have today? And why did they throw some of the books/epistles out?

I'm still trying to figure out Romans 4:3 versus James 2:24...that justified word is pretty powerful...you can't be justified by works (as James says), but say you are justified by faith and not by works (as Paul says). I heard Luther wanted to throw out James because he thought it contradicted Romans 4.


Thanks fellas

It is a surprisingly long and complex story. The New Testament seems to have been canonized after Constantine became emporer of the Eastern Roman Empire and allowed Christianity to become an official religion.

The question immediately arose about just what do Christians believe in as there are a number of manuscripts all professing to explain Christianity or some aspect of it.

Rather than bore you with a lot of information, here are a couple of sites to check out on the Hebrew Bible (aka The Old Testament):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Testament

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/canon.htm

http://www.bible.ca/b-canon-council-of-jamnia.htm

For the New Testament canon, try these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament

http://www.ntcanon.org/

http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/ffbruce/ntdocrli/ntdocc03.htm

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

-SEEKING-
Apr 27th 2009, 04:15 PM
I heard Luther wanted to throw out James because he thought it contradicted Romans 4.


Thanks fellas

You know until I recently read James with an open mind, and not any preconceived notions or beliefs did I really understand what he was trying to get at. It's not that we are saved BY works, but rather we are saved FOR works. Read it all the way through and don't get stuck on one verse and pray and you'll see the big picture.

Hope this helps.

grit
Apr 27th 2009, 04:36 PM
Just curious. I've always believed it was there, all 66 books, that's it... but later on I realized some were books, some were letters, some were poems...

so how did they come to the conclusion of what we have today? And why did they throw some of the books/epistles out?

I'm still trying to figure out Romans 4:3 versus James 2:24...that justified word is pretty powerful...you can't be justified by works (as James says), but say you are justified by faith and not by works (as Paul says). I heard Luther wanted to throw out James because he thought it contradicted Romans 4.


Thanks fellas
In one sense you're absolutely correct - it's there, the Bible, the canon of God in its glory, written by God and preserved for us as a rule of faith and practice, a record of God's written revelation to man. The seeming problem for us is that it's an infallible cannon fallibly recognized. In other words, God has indeed preserved for us a written revelation for us to follow, but He has somewhat left it to us to recognize just what books and letters and poems, etc., comprise this written revelation; and we have never all agreed in our recognition of this written revelation - on just what books make up God's canon of Scripture.

Neither the Jews nor the Christians, the East nor the West, the Roman Catholics nor the Protestants have ever unanimously agreed on what comprises the canon of Scripture. We have made some very well-reasoned guesses, and by and large all Christians are in agreement that at least the 66 books of the Protestant canon are acceptable as God's Holy Word.

JesusMySavior
Apr 27th 2009, 05:05 PM
You know until I recently read James with an open mind, and not any preconceived notions or beliefs did I really understand what he was trying to get at. It's not that we are saved BY works, but rather we are saved FOR works. Read it all the way through and don't get stuck on one verse and pray and you'll see the big picture.

Hope this helps.


I know EXACTLY what he's trying to get at - the main thesis... but there's one word that hangs there like a nail - "justified", and that's to be made right, to be reconciled, to be reckoned righteous in the eyes of God.

Romans 4 makes more sense to me as it echoes the Gospels and the rest of Paul's epistles.

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. ... Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:2,4-5)

James, on the other hand...

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?... Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:22,24)


Seems to flat out contradict. I know the thesis of James' statement, talking to a bunch of wishy-washy Christians saying "I believe", he says "good for you, so do the demons".

But "justified"... when I read that in James 2:24, I automatically wonder... how many works actually "justifies"? Or do I just revert back to what Paul is saying, which makes more sense to me? By grace are ye saved? (Ephesians 2:8)

grit
Apr 27th 2009, 05:47 PM
Well, certainly you’re among good company, since Luther had great difficulty aligning James with Paul; however, it may be helpful to reference the different Genesis passages regarding Abraham referenced by each (Paul, Gen. 15:6; James, Gen. 22:9-10). James apparently has in mind a different sense of the word “justify”. Paul emphasizes a sense of being declared righteous by God through faith in Christ’s saving work, whereas James seems to emphasize the way in which works demonstrate that one has been justified (compare Matthew 12:33-37, Galatians 2:16) – i.e. counted as righteous.

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