Presently there are no strong objections to any of the books that are currently in the Bible. In addition there exists no strong candidates which people feel should be added to it. As Christians we believe that the Bible is complete, without any need for revision, removal, or reconsideration of its contents.

How The Bible Was Communicated

We see in Hebrews 1:1-2 that during the time period of the Old Testament God spoke to the people through prophets, but then it changes up the system by saying that “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”. What this appears to mean is that the New Testament was given to man under somewhat different circumstances than the Old Testament, though both are inspired by God.

A quick example of how to understand this is to imagine yourself as the manager of a company and you need two letters written. So you call one employee on the phone and tell him to write the first letter but then personally go to another employee to tell him to write the second. While the method of communication is different in both cases (Phone call and personal visit), the originator of the message is the same. Likewise in the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets, but in the New Testament he spoke to people in person through Jesus Christ.

Finishing Off The Canon

It is believed that the entire New Testament was written by either Jesus’ disciples, or their close ministerial partners whose writings they could authenticate. Since all those individuals have passed on, it is safe to say in light of Hebrews 1:1-2, that we should not expect to receive any additional personal revelations from God which should be regarded as scripture.

Moving on, we also see the following statement in Revelations 22:18-19:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Before we dive into these verses it is important to note that most theologians agree that this promise is referring to the contents of the book of Revelation. But at the same time we should not consider it purely accidental that this statement is the very last thing said in the entire New Testament (and thus the whole Bible) before closing off the book.

While Revelation is not believed to be the last book of the Bible written, its placement in the canon must be at the end. The reason being, while the placement, order, and grouping of most of the books of the Bible are mostly unimportant, two books differ from that pattern. The book of Genesis needs to be first because it tells the story of creation and our beginning. Likewise and for similar reason, Revelation must be placed last since it tells us how everything will end and the coming of God’s new creation.

With all this in mind, it should not be considered improper to apply the warning in Revelations 22, which gives us an appropriate ending to the whole canon of scripture. This understanding gives us additional good reasons to believe that later writings which claim to be scripture, indeed are nothing more than the conjurings of man which are at best inspired by Satan. This includes the Quran, the Hadith, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine & Covenants, and any other writings that make the claim that the Bible is incomplete.

resources:
  • Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 64-66

categories: christianity, bible

books of the bible: Genesis, Hebrews, Revelation