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The Term "Canon" Is Used To Refer To The Collection Of Books Inspired By God.  Because There Have Been Many

"Religious" Documents Written During The Time Covered By The Scriptures, The Faithful Had To Decide Which Ones

Would Be Included As Scripture, That Is, Which Ones Were Inspired By God. 




        A. It Consists Of:  1) The Law, 2) The Prophets,  And 3) The Writings

        B. In A General Way It Seems That The Old Testament Books Were Accepted By the People Of God At The Same

            Time It Was Being Produced.  Note Joshua 1:7 And Nehemiah 8:8 With Regard To The Law.

        C. The Old Testament Canon Was Closed With The Writing Of Malachi As There WereNo More Prophetic Voices

            To Be Heard.


D. During The Time Of Jesus The O.T. Canon Was Complete - Lk. 24:44  (It Is Likely That The O.T. Was Recognized

     As Being Complete Many Years Before Jesus' Arrival.)




        A. The N.T. Books Were Used As Scripture From The Time They Were Written.

B. Nevertheless, The Use Of Other Writings As Scripture In Some Areas (Up Till The End Of The Third Century)

     Showed The Necessity For Clearly Defining The Canon.

        C. Criteria Used For Determining If A Writing Should  Form Part Of The Canon

1. Did it have apostolic character?  It had to be written by a true apostle or someone having a close relationship

    with an apostle.

2. Did it have content that was in agreement with sound doctrine and the teachings of Christ and the apostles?

                3. Was it accepted by all the churches (congregations)?

                4. Did it offer clear and evident proof of being inspired by God?

        D. By 400 A.D. All The Churches In The West Recognized The Canon Of The N.T. As It Is Today.




A. The Original Manuscripts - Scripture Was Written In Two Languages, The O.T. In Hebrew, And The N.T. In Greek. 

        B. The Preservation Of The Scriptures

                1. The Copies - In order to preserve the scriptures copies were made of the originals.

2. The Copiers - They counted the words and letters and pronounced them orally before writing them on papyrus

    or leather.  There are still several copies preserved in some European libraries.

3. The oldest O.T. manuscript is from the second century B.C.  The oldest N.T. manuscript is from the second century A.D.



There have been many translations of the Bible into English, particularly in the last 40 years.  Here we will only note some of the more influential translations (versions), principally Protestant.


A. The Wyclif (Wycliffe) Bible - The First Edition Came Out Between 1380 and 1384.  It Was Based Upon The Latin

     Vulgate Version And Was Very Literal, Even Preserving Latin Word Order.  Probably Several Members Of The Wyclif

     Movement        Contributed To This Translation.

B. The Coverdale Bible - 1535 - The First Complete Printed English Bible.  Based Upon The German And Latin Translations

     And Tyndale's Work.

C. The Authorized (AV) Or King James Version (KJV) - 1611 - Based On Many Former Translations, Particularly Those

     Of Tyndale And Coverdale.  Widely Accepted And Used, Even Up Till The Present Time.

D. The Revised And American Standard Versions - 1881-1901 - A Scholarly Revision By Committee Of The AV Based Upon

     Greek And Hebrew Texts. 

        E. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) - 1952 - A Revision Of The AV By Committee. Widely Accepted Though Not

             Without Its Detractors.

        G. The New English Bible (NEB) - 1970 - A New Translation Not Just A Revision.  Not A Word For Word Translation,

             But Rather An Attempt To Preserve The Meaning Of The Original Text.

        H. The New American Standard Version (NASV) - 1963 - It Tries To Be Faithful To The Original Texts.  Some Feel It To

             Be The Best Revision (Updating) Of The ASV.

        I. Today's English Version (TEV) - 1976 - A Dynamic Equivalence Version That Attempts To Have The Same Impact Upon

            Its Readers As The Original Did Upon Its Audience.  Aimed At Those With Little Christian Background And/Or For Whom

            English Is Not Their First Language.

        J. The New International Version (NIV) - 1978 - Done By Committee, This Version Has Been Warmly Received By The

            Evangelical Community.




1.     T     F      The O.T. canon is composed of:  1) the law, 2) the prophets, and 3) the writings.


2. What did the copier do?


3. The Bible was originally written in what two languages?


4. How was it decided if a writing should form part of the N.T.?


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