4. Define the "canon" and describe the basic criteria and chronology behind the formation of the New Testament canon. What evidence exists in this area? Why did early Christians feel a need to establish an authoritative list? Which elements in the criteria are the most and least important? State your reasons for choosing these elements. How would you respond if someone claimed that the canon of the Bible should still be open? a. Define the "canon" and describe the basic criteria and chronology behind the formation of the New Testament canon.
What evidence exists in this area? The word “canon” is a Semitic loanword that initially meant “reed” but came to mean “measuring reed and hence rule or standard or norm” (Carson, 726). In the history of Christianity the word canon was first used to designate doctrines which established the basic beliefs and practices of the church (Lea, 70). In our reading in Carson/Moo and Lea/Black, three elements of criteria’s are used to show that certain books belonged in the canon known as “orthodoxy, apostolicity, and universality” (Lea, 72).
Lea/Black states, that the gages for defining canonicity are difficult to determine, but the most vital criterion for determining canonicity is inspiration (Lea, 71). The first basic criteria involved “the rule of faith” (Carson, 736, Lea 71), which meant that the teaching of the book followed the beliefs the church honors as acceptable and correct, (Lea 71). The second basic criteria entail of the demonstration of apostolicity, which “required authorship by an apostle or by the companion of an apostle” ( Lea, 71), the final basic criteria is universal acceptance meaning used and accepted by churches everywhere (Carson, 737). . What evidence exists in this area? The foundations that the Church uses to base canonicity upon are the use of the works by early Christian writers (Lea and Black, 73). The regularity of references from various books informs modern students of how the books were viewed in ancient times (Carson and Moo, 733). Another basis affecting the results of the canonical question are the early lists put forth of books deemed inspired (Lea and Black, 73).
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Lastly, the addition of manuscripts in early codices indicates the opinion of the book by the binder (Lea and Black, 73). c. Why did early Christians feel a need to establish an authoritative list? There is not a definite cause why early Christians felt a need to institute an authoritative list, some of the reasons for the list could have included persecution, distance from the historical Jesus, the pressure of Montanism, the rise of Gnosticism and other movements with scriptures to be rejected (Carson, 736).
With this being the case I feel that the formation of an authoritative list by early Christians was deemed necessary to contest the teachings of heretics that were appearing in the Church. Through the insertion of books that possessed non-Christian ideals or the rejection of books accepted as inspired, false and incomplete teaching ran the risk of corrupting orthodox doctrine d. Which elements in the criteria are the most and least important? I believe the most important element of canonicity is inspiration and that God chooses to work in a person’s lives in other ways.
Someone may say inspiration, I cannot see why man would try to limit God’s ability to move and I believe that our minds cannot even begin to grasp the depth, width or even an ounce of God’s wisdom or knowledge or even half of what he is able to do, when looking at creation and the vastness of the universe it is mind blowing to me. I also believe that “Apostolicity” is also an important criterion, being that Matthew, John and Peter, were members of the twelve along with Paul, commissioned by Christ, along with their associates such as Mark who with Paul .
The least important criteria to me is universality based on Carson’s assessment of it being “scarcely less important” (Carson, 737). e. How would you respond if someone claimed that the canon of the Bible should still be open? In most modern churches today, the Canons are considered to be "closed", meaning that God does not add to or take away from the writings of the bible, and instead chooses to work in a person’s lives in other ways. We all recognize that the New Testament canon contains the authorative record of Jesus life and the interpretation of its significance (Lea, 74-75), with that reason the canon should not still be open.
But we also must keep in mind that God who is sovereign and can choose to move however he desires and many times I feel that we try to put human reasoning in areas that our mind cannot even perceive, for as stated in Isaiah 55:8 God says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. ” 4. Explain how we have approximated the dates of Jesus' birth and death as well as the length of his ministry. List primary and secondary sources describing his life. Which of these sources is the most important?
How important is accurate historical information in providing a foundation for accepting and believing the gospel message? a. Explain how we have approximated the dates of Jesus' birth and death as well as the length of his ministry. We have an awareness of the date of Jesus birth because of three main events. A period before the death of Herod the Great, during the time of a census ordered by Augusts, and when there was a bright start in the sky leading men from the east (Lea, 95). Ancient records designate that Herod possibly died around March 4B.
C. this means that Christ was born before that (Lea, 95). Quirinius was governor of Syria during the officiating of the census under Augustus. (Lea, 95). The registration for the census could have happened possibly in 8 B. B. and could have taken years to execute. This places the birth of Jesus anywhere from 6 to 5 B. C. (Lea, 96) Jesus’ death is very reliant on the Gospel of John. John associates Jesus’ death to a system of time based on the ministry of John the Baptist, who preceded Christ, which took place on the 15th year of Tiberius reign. Lea, 96) John mentions that the construction of the temple had taken 46 years in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. (Lea, 97). If you evaluate both of these statements and add the approximate three years of Jesus’ ministry they both arrive at a death for Jesus in A. D. 29 or 30 (Lea, 97). The approximate length for the ministry of Jesus is arrived at using the number of Passovers that Jesus attended. (Lea, 96) b. List primary and secondary sources describing his life. Which of these sources is the most important? The gospel of Matthew and Luke are the prime sources of the life of Jesus.
The birth of Christ is most fully covered by Matthew and Luke, (Lea, 97). Matthew and Luke also present the most information about the life of Jesus before his ministry, or the “Period of “Preparation. ” (Lea, 98) John is the only Gospel that relates Jesus Judean ministry. The rest of Jesus ministry is recorded in the entire Gospel, which makes Mark and John the secondary complete record of the life of Jesus. c. How important is accurate historical information in providing a foundation for accepting and believing the gospel message? The Gospel message comprises substantial facts about the life of Jesus.
Important academic attention has been devoted to the historical examination of the New Testament, explicitly with respect to establishing it as a reliable historical document. The vast amount of material, in the form of manuscripts, archaeology, and authorial phenomenon delivers an priceless glance into the depths of events surrounding the historicity as well as the development of the New Testament. For many people without establishing historical believability for the New Testament, there would be no grounds to suggest any sort of belief in it as a reliable source.
But for me even if the dates cannot be exactly known for the Christian, it should not affect the belief in the life of Christ. The great men of the Bible prophesied accurately that highly educated men and women who scoff at God and His revealed Word would dominate our world. Although men have sneered at God in every generation beginning with Adam, ours was to be the worst. The Apostle Paul wrote: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:21-22, 28). Although Paul is speaking specifically about the earliest men, we have not changed for the better; we have grown worse. Since the 17th and 18th centuries, men have produced an amazing fund of knowledge in the industrial and scientific areas. Yet pursuing knowledge about God has been left out. We have several sources that provides foundations for accepting and believing the gospel message.
Carson, D. A. and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2ded. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. Lea, Thomas D. and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. 2ded. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003 Carson, D. A. and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2ded. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. Lea, Thomas D. and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. 2ded. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003
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