Understanding The Bible
Part IV - Introduction to the Canon of Scripture


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible


         A.   The two groups of NT books
              It will have been noted that the Gospels, Acts, and Pauline episries, with 1 Peter
              and 1 John, were never subjected to the fire of testing that the remaining Catholic
              epistles, the Revelation, and (sometimes) Hebrews were subjected. The reason for
              this has been indicated in NT, B, 3 and 4. Internal and external evidence for
              genuineness was plentiful for the Gospels, etc., whereas it was scarce for the
              disputed books. It was their APQSTOLICITY which was in question.
              In the end there was universal conviction, and the very doubts which deferred the
              rejection of a small portion of NT Scripture in certain parts of the early Church
              now served to confirm our faith in the rest, for this shows that books were
              received only after the most careful and prayerful scrutiny of both internal and
              external evidence. They were not chosen in the heat and hurry of enthusiasm.
              The books which were delayed in acceptance were sometimes called a
              Deutero-canon (i.e., second canon), because of having been added somewhat later
              than the Gospels, etc.
         B.   Parting word
              Dr. Griffith Thomas once remarked that when all the smoke of the battle of critics
              and friends of the Scriptures has cleared away, if the Scriptures could speak for
              themselves, they would say like Paul to the Philippian jailor, "Do thyself no harm,
              for we are ALL here!" Truly, as the Word does witness to itself, "the Word of the
              Lord endureth forever." Amen.


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