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

Most people are familiar with the warning in the Book of Revelation:

"And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:19

Many people assume this scripture refers to the Bible canon as a whole, and therefore claim that the Bible is the fullness of God's Word and that direct revelation from God is closed. The Catholics also believe that there is no more direct revelation, they believe that the Bible is the fulness of God's written Word, but they rely on Tradition, which is passed down through apostolic succession, for the interpretation of scripture, and believe scripture and Tradition combined provide them with a fullness of truth. Then there are other denominations that claim the heavens are not closed and that God continues to provide new revelations to prophets on earth, and that the Bible is not the complete word of God, and therefore rely on other books in addition to the Bible as well as new revelations—as they are revealed—for a fullness of truth.

What are the biblical arguments that the Bible canon is not closed?


Note: When I say "Bible canon" I mean to communicate canonical books or scriptural canon, not changing the books within the Bible, but receiving new books and revelations as scripture that compliment the Bible.

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    You'd really need to go to a Barthian argument moreso than a biblical one for this. Jan 21, 2015 at 16:37
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    Catholic believe bible is the fullness of written word of God. Catholics rely on tradition to interpret it. Also Catholics don't rely on tradition because bible is incomplete, but rather because bible says so (2 Thessalonians 2:15). For Catholics, Jesus is the fullness of Truth (John 14:6) and Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Also every Dogma of the Catholic faith is derived from the bible and any extra biblical Revelations (Like apparitions) are not needed to be believed to be a Catholic. Jan 21, 2015 at 16:45
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    This strikes me as a question that is literally impossible to answer. The Bible can no better argue that it is complete than an alert person can argue that they are sleeping, or a living person can argue that they are dead. The existence argument itself would be the proof that the argument is false.
    – Flimzy
    Jan 22, 2015 at 4:14
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    I think there is a discrepancy between the title and the question. Are you asking specifically whether the Bible canon is open--i.e., additional books could be added to the Bible? Or are you asking more generally about whether God continues to give new revelations--i.e., the Bible is not the only source of truth? Jan 22, 2015 at 20:51
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    @BruceAlderman - I see where you're coming from. When I say canon, I mean scripture canon, not necessarily changing or adding to the books of the Bible, but receiving and accepting new revelations as scripture to compliment the Bible. I'll edit my question to better communicate this.
    – ShemSeger
    Jan 23, 2015 at 16:16

1 Answer 1

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The main argument is an argument from silence. This can take two forms:

  1. There is no list of books of the Bible anywhere in Scripture.

  2. Scripture nowhere prohibits people from adding books to the canon.

Another argument says that a closed canon can lead to bibliolatry (elevating Scripture above God).

You can see such arguments made here and here.

Proponents of an open canon could also argue that the very idea of a "canon" is foreign to Scripture.

In theory, they could use the same arguments that continuationists use. But there is generally little overlap between the two groups.

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