Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Who Decided Which Books Go in the Bible?

In 90-95 AD there was a Jewish council called the Council of Jamnia which met to revise the Books of the Canon, i.e., the Old Testament. The word “canon” comes from the root word “reed”. The reed was used as a measuring rod and came to have the added meaning of “standard”. Hence the word “canon” implies that for a book to be added to Scripture it had to meet the standard.

The next question would be: what are the standards for a book, say Lamentations, Job, Malachi, etc., to be included in the Old Testament?

1. The books had to conform to the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch means the first five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. 
2. The books had to be written in Hebrew. 
3. The books had to be written in Palestine.
4. The books had to be written before 400 B.C.

Wouldn’t you like to know how many and which books didn’t make it? I’ll tell you: fourteen books, known as the Apocrypha were removed. The books in the Apocrypha were never quoted by Jesus, or any of the New Testament authors.

Jesus gave divine endorsement to the Old Testament Canon in Luke 24: 44:

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.”