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What are the biblical arguments that the Bible canon is closed?

Preface: This question is not directed at a specific denomination.

Why haven't we revised the Bible in centuries?

  • Christians believe that God inspired humans to write the Bible.
  • But the fact is that humans have decided which writings should be included in the Bible and which should not.
  • So as society and civilization proceed, why haven't we shed some passages which aren't relevant anymore and why haven't we included some new writings which are particularly relevant to modern day Christianity?
  • For instance, I think many writings from St. Augustine and St. John Bosco should be included in the Bible.
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Personally, I'd add C.S. Lewis to that list :) –  Affable Geek Mar 12 '12 at 0:33
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In all seriousness, however, the canon is only that which is considered to be the direct revelation of God. This is not at all to say that Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and whole lot of others aren't really really important for Christians to read. But, even if you asked Augustine, he would not have claimed direct revelation from God, only deep theological insight guided by God. –  Affable Geek Mar 12 '12 at 0:33
    
@Affable Geek; Thanks - Always enjoy hearing from you. –  Jim G. Mar 12 '12 at 0:35
    
Because we don't fully understand what we have now. :) –  user1054 Mar 12 '12 at 2:15
    
@Dan Andrews: But in all seriousness, do you we even understand what we have in the current Bible? –  Jim G. Mar 12 '12 at 2:35
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marked as duplicate by Affable Geek, warren, Andrew, wax eagle Mar 13 '12 at 1:16

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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Several reasons:

  1. Historically, canonicity in the NT was restricted to the 12 apostles and direct relations of Jesus. (Mark = Peter, Luke=Paul*, Matthew & John were both disciples, Hebrews was errantly ascribed to Paul, James and Jude were brothers of Jesus // Paul was considered to be an apostle, since Jesus appeared directly to him.)

  2. Later Councils (I forget if it was Chalcedon or Ephesus) also declared the canons closed, representing the consensus of the church that indeed, "It is finished"

  3. Theologically, it is understood that Jesus was the last and ultimate sacrifice, and therefore no further revelation of God is necessary (something that would be at direct odds, with say, the Ba'hai)

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It may be that other writers since the closing of the NT are inspired by God, maybe in the same way as the NT writers, maybe not. But we have no authority to establish that.

Personally I am not convinced that the canon is now closed forever. But if new books are added, it will have to be because there is a whole new revelation, a "Third Testament". As Affable Geek notes, the criteria for the NT was the authority of the apostles, books they either wrote themselves or were closely associated with. Suppose Christians today decided to "update" the Bible by adding some new books. Who would decide what new books to add? What criteria would they use?

The fact that a book is not included in the canon doesn't stop Christians from reading it. Feel free to read Augustine or Aquinas, or C.S. Lewis or James Dobson for that matter. How do you read them differently because they're not in the canon? If your answer is, they are not viewed as inspired and infallible ... exactly, that's the point.

Some would add Pat Robertson. Other would add Bishop Spong. Who's going to make the decision?

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FYI, it's Spong, not Sprong, but wow when choose examples on the wacky end of the spectrum, you choose well :) –  Affable Geek Mar 12 '12 at 13:04
    
@Affable Oops. At least you know who I meant. –  Jay Mar 13 '12 at 3:15
    
Hey Jay, see that edit button? Feel free to fix the error. :) –  El'endia Starman Mar 13 '12 at 4:50
    
@El'endia But then Affable's comment would be incomprehensible. –  Jay Mar 14 '12 at 4:07
    
If you like, I can delete these comments for being obsolete. Comments are disposable after all, especially once they've served their purpose. –  El'endia Starman Mar 14 '12 at 4:12
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The real fact is that even though people chose what books to put into the bible, doesn't mean the entire bible was not ordained by God. Constantine was most likely saved, but regardless, God is the potter and people are his clay (Romans 9:21). Does he not have the power to also move those that are not his followers? Of course he does. Everything in the new covenant/testament is just as relevant as it was when Christ was crucified as it is today and will be until Christ returns (as far as the messages are concerned), and it is all we need. Where do you think these great Christian writers got the things they are writing about? It's all biblical! Well, hopefully. I am personally very thankful for what we do have. I think the God of creation was more than generous to give us so much writing.

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