[3]    Bible: Canon, Origin and Divisions


9.    How was the canon of the Bible formed?

          a. Principles for determining which books are in the canon:

b. OT (39 books): widely accepted by the Jews who followed Ezra in exposition of the Law (Neh 9-10) and formed an assembly responsible for recognition and preservation of OT canon, Great Synagogue in 5th to 3rd century BC.   c. NT (27 books): accepted by Church Fathers (whole NT quoted except 11 verses), confirmed by church councils at Laodicea (AD 363), and at Carthage (AD 397).   d. Apocrypha (15 books):


10.    Why is it not possible to add more books to the Bible?

b. Decision by the universal Church:


11.    Not even a single original manuscript is available; what then is the origin of our present Bible?

a. Old Testament b. New Testament c. Chapters and verses were not in the original Bible. They were added in 1551 & 1555. The first complete Bible using them was the Geneva Bible in 1560.   d. Why didnít God preserve the original autographs?


12.    What are the main divisions of the Bible?

b. Traditional Christian divisions:   (1) OT: theme: the Hebrew nation through whom God was to bless all nations (Gen 12:1-3) (2) NT: theme: salvation available for all nations through the church c. Based on the central theme of the Bible: Jesus Christ (Lk 24:44):   (1) OT: 4 divisions:
Law Foundation for Christ Downward look (5 books)
History Preparation for Christ Outward look (12 books)
Poetry Aspiration for Christ Upward look (5 books)
Prophecy Expectation of Christ Forward look (5+12 books)
(2) NT: 4 divisions:
Gospels  Manifestation of Christ  Downward look (4 books)
Acts Propagation of Christ Outward look (1 book)
Epistles Interpretation and Application of Christ Upward look (21 books)
Revelation  Consummation in Christ Forward look (1 book)
d. Complementarity of the two parts:  
  • The New is in the Old contained and the Old is in the New explained.
  • OT revealed in NT; NT veiled in OT.