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Who decided which books to include in the Bible? On what basis was this decision made?

One thing to keep in mind is that the church did not create the canon, or books included in what we call Scripture. The church recognized the books that were inspired by God when written. [The word canon comes from the root word “reed” (English word, “cane”; Hebrew form ganeh and Greek Kanon). The reed was used as a measuring rod and eventually meant “standard.” As applied to Scripture, canon means “an officially accepted list of books.”]

There were approximately five guiding principles used to determine whether or not a New Testament book is canonical (Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible [Chicago: Moody Press, 1968], 141):

  1. Is it authoritative? Did it come from the hand of God? Does this book come with a divine “thus says the Lord?” Does it agree with earlier revelation?
  2. It is prophetic? Was it written by a man of God?
  3. Is it authentic? The church fathers had the policy, “if in doubt, throw it out.”
  4. Is it dynamic? Did it come with the life-transforming power of love?
  5. Was it received, collected, read and used? Was it acceptable to the people of God?

Publisher: True Jesus Church