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Don Stewart :: If God Divinely Inspired Certain Books, Then Should We Expect Them to Be Preserved?

Don Stewart

If God has given the world a number of books through divine inspiration, then should we expect the providential preservation of these books? Is the idea of a canon of Scripture something reasonable?

A Divine Standard Is Absolutely Necessary

Not only is the idea of a "canon" or a fixed number of sacred books reasonable, it is an absolute necessity for humanity. Without a fixed number of books as a divine standard, we would be left to our own devices to determine what is God's truth and what is not. In that case, everyone would make his or her own personal decision. This would result in chaos.

With respect, to the idea of a canon, there are a number of important things that must be kept in mind.

1. God Has Revealed Himself To Humanity

First, we must recognize the testimony of Scripture is that it is God's revelation to humanity. The Bible says.

All Scripture is God breathed and profitable (2 Timothy 3:16).

Peter wrote.

No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Peter 1:20-21).

From the first page of the Bible until the last, we have the record of God revealing Himself to humanity. This revelation was recorded in a number of sacred books.

2. God Is Able To Preserve His Revealed Word

Furthermore, we know that God is able to preserve the books that He has divinely inspired. It has been estimated there are a quintillion stars in the universe. The Bible says God calls them by their names. If God is able to do this, He certainly is able to preserve intact His Word for the benefit of humankind. As Jeremiah the prophet recorded the Lord saying.

I am the LORD, the God of all humankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27).

Certainly God is able to accurately preserve the books that He has divinely inspired.

3. God Has Preserved Some Scripture - The Old Testament

We know that God has preserved some Scripture - the Old Testament. Jesus said.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf (John 5:39).

On the day of His resurrection Jesus proclaimed.

These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you - that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled (Luke 24:44).

Jesus, who speaks with ultimate authority, confirmed a fixed group of writings as "Scripture" - the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Therefore we know that God has preserved some sacred writings.

4. The New Testament Scripture Is A Logical Necessity

The formation of the New Testament Scripture would have been a logical step for the early Christians. These first believers in Jesus were Jews. They already had a written Scripture - the Old Testament. It would be necessary for another group of sacred writings to complete the Old Testament. Therefore, the idea of a New Testament is both logical and necessary.

If God gave humanity a New Testament, like He had given the Old Testament, then we should expect His providential care in preserving it as He did with the Old Testament.

Summary

The idea of a canon of Scripture is a logical necessity. The Bible emphasizes that God has revealed Himself to humanity with eternal, unchanging, truths. Since these eternal truths have been committed to writing, it is only reasonable to assume that God would preserve these writings for the benefit of humanity. Otherwise no one would know which truths were from God and which were not.

In addition, we know that God is certainly able to accurately preserve His words once they had been committed to writing.

Furthermore we know that God has revealed and preserved some Scripture - the Old Testament. At the time of Jesus the Old Testament was a well-known fixed group of divinely authoritative writings. Jesus confirmed their existence. This set the stage for a new group of authoritative writings - the New Testament.

Since God had already set a precedent by giving a clearly defined limit to the sacred books written during the Old Testament period, it is reasonable to assume that He would do so for the New Testament. Hence the idea of having a completed canon of Scripture with known limits is not something that is unreasonable.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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