The Canon of Scripture

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Most Christians do not think about the canon of scripture or know what it is or means in theology. Most take for granted the Bible they have and never question how it came into being. Today, we have 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. There was a time, however, that we did not have a canon. Bruce defines canon as books of the Bible that were recognized to be considered scripture (p. 17). The importance of the canon and how it was developed was intriguing to professor and author F.F. Bruce. He dedicated his book The Canon of Scripture to explore and explain the formulation of the canon we have today. Bruce taught in universities, including the University of Manchester, where he began to lecture students on the entire canon of scripture. Bruce wrote many books and commentaries and was general editor to The New International Commentary on the New Testament. He spent a vast amount of his time researching the formation of the canon with emphasis on the New Testament. The contents of this review will highlight how F.F. Bruce offers his interpretative definition, review, and criticisms of the full canon of Scripture.

The Canon of Scripture is divided into four sections: the introduction, followed by the Old and New Testaments, and ending with the conclusion and appendix. The introduction defines the word canon. The second section provides Bruce’s explanation of the canon of the Old Testament, starting with the Hebrew Bible. The author writes about the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have given us a greater understanding of the Hebrew Bible. Bruce then explains the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek named the Septuagint. He closes with how the canon was viewed by the early Church Fath...

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...not fit in with the overall objective of the book which is defining the canon of scripture. These lectures do not agree with the flow of the book as they involve other areas including textual criticism that pull the reader away from how the canon was formed.

The Canon of Scripture is a scholarly writing that explains how the formation of the canon was completed. Bruce starts with how the Old Testament was formed and then moves to the New Testament and gives an historical account of how it was pieced together. He explores the Gnostic writers and how they prompted the church to start forming the New Testament canon because the Gnostic teachings opposed that of the church. This book provides adequate and historical research to prove what the author wants to accomplish, which is to provide answers to any question that would be asked as to how the canon was formed.
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