The Holy Scriptures of the Bible are not a compilation of fictitious accounts or dubious writings that were decided upon by a committee for the sake of creating a new spiritual philosophy and political ideology. There is so much evidence of their veracity, one wonders why people hate the truth in preference for their deceptions.
I am not a Christian because of something I read. Neither am I a Christian because of what my parents expected me to believe. Nor am I a Christian because I read the Bible and did the research of an archaeologist to verify the truth that the historical facts of Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus, and many other finds that validate the biblical account. (Explore the lead from this link, if you really want to know more.) The reason I am a Christian is because of what I have experienced; therefore, it does not matter to me what others think in regards to the Bible.
As to the canonization of the Bible, my understanding is the twenty-seven books of the New Testament (4 Gospels, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonian, 1 & 2 Timothy, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1& 2 Peter, 1,2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation) were the most widely used and accepted as being genuine by the people during the second, third and fourth centuries. Consequently, these became the accepted canon of Scripture.
The Cambridge History of the Bible states that the twenty-seven books of the canon was established by usage in the second century.
The Old Testament canon known as the Tanakh, which consists of the Torah (Pentateuch), the Nevi’im (Prophets) and the Ketuvim (Writings) make up twenty-four books. This is because the twelve minor prophets are considered one book and Ezra/Nehemiah, the divided books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are considered one book each. When the twelve minor prophets are divided into another eleven books and the other four books are split into an extra four books, we have fifteen books more. This gives us thirty-nine books for the Christian Old Testament rather than twenty-four books for the Tanakh.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) lists thirty-nine books for the Old Testament and twenty-seven for the New Testament.
The Roman Catholics (some Anglicans, too) include another seven books to make their Old Testament forty-six books and Orthodox Christians add another seven books to the mix again.
Around 170 CE, Melito, Bishop of Sardis, traveled to discover more about matters for a friend and so that they he could provide accurate details concerning the Law and the Prophets, which was reference to the Old Testament known as the Moses and the rest of the writings that consist of the Tanakh. Melito confirmed that the Law and the Prophets were the Tanakh, which consists of 24 books.
Tertullian of Carthage (died 230 CE) puts the number of Old Testament books that consist of the Law and the Prophets at 24, in line with the Jewish Tanakh. Jerome (died 420 CE) and Augustine (died 430 CE) also distinguished between the Tanakh and the Apocrypha. But it was Athanasius of Alexandria (died 373 CE) who clearly stated that 27 books were recognized by the church as authoritative for the New Testament.
The acceptance of the 66 books of the Christian Bible came about through the dividing the Twelve Minor Prophets and four of the historical books, which added another 15 books to the 24 books to create 39 books for the Old Testament and 27 books for the New Testament. This was something that grew over time and not a matter of a council determining that they would select certain books according to various criteria. Not everyone was accepting of all the books, and some wanted to include additional books.
What is significant though is there are 66 ornaments on the candelabra that was placed in the Holy Place and the stem and one side of the three arms make up the 39 books of the Old Testament and the other three arms make up the books of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Many will reject this typology, but when a person enters into an abiding relationship with Lord Jesus Christ through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as I have, and possesses the assurance of eternal life within, learning about the prophetic aspects of the tabernacle of Moses takes on a more meaningful dimension, as the jigsaw puzzle is pieced together. The fact that the seven-fold candelabra represents the seven churches and the ornamental pieces number 66 is more than coincidence, especially when the church is founded upon the writings of Son of God Himself (the Ten Commandments) the prophets and the apostles.
We have witness to this in the New Testament:
- So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:19–21).
The sixty-six books of the Bible are written for our instruction so that we may learn the truth of what is going to happen to this world, and why things are happening in this world, as they are, at the current time. The canon of Scripture conforms to the prophetic typology given to Moses, not because a committee decided that their should be 66 books in the Bible, but because men moved by the Holy Spirit brought this about as a matter of history.
Understanding The Written Word Of God Requires Comprehending The Decalogue