It is not essential to know how Jude obtained this information. Jesus had promised that His disciples would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who would guide them into all truth. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak John Because of Jesus' promise, the words of the New Testament writers were safeguarded from error.
We conclude that Jude did not quote from the Book of Enoch, but received the information in some other way. Throughout the history of the church many documents surfaced that claimed to have been written by the apostles or those intimately familiar with the life of Christ. However these works were written by someone other than the named author. These fraudulent works are known as the pseudepigrapha forgeries. They are also known as apocryphal works, and were rejected by all. The early church father, Eusebius, called these books "totally absurd and impious. Other Gospels Among the forgeries were a large number of apocryphal or false gospels.
Origen, a third century writer, testified to the existence of other gospels when he wrote,"There are many who have tried to write gospels, but not all have been accepted. The apocryphal gospels are non-canonical writings of a motley variety about the purported deeds and revelations of Jesus Christ. Though the Greek word apocrypha originally meant "hidden," the church fathers used it to describe spurious writings foisted as gospels. Irenaeus refers to 'an unspeakable number of apocryphal and spurious writings, which they themselves i.
Gnostic Influence Many of these works were influenced by gnosticism. The word gnostic means "one who has knowledge. The gnostic view of God is contrary to the Bible. In addition, the gnostics considered that all matter is evil. An example of gnostic writing can be found in the Gospel of Philip. The original Gospel of Philip was probably written sometime during the second century A. The influence of gnosticism and its emphasis on secret knowledge can be clearly seen in this work. The Gospel of Philip reads,. The Logos said: If you know the truth the truth will make you free.
Ignorance is a slave, knowledge is freedom. When we recognize the truth we shall find the fruits of truth in our hearts. If we unite with it, we will bring our fulfillment. Different Level Other statements show that they are on a different level than Scripture. A Gentile man does not die, for he has never lived that he should die. Adam came into being from two virgins, from the Spirit and from the virgin earth. Because of this Christ was born of a virgin, in order that he might set in order the stumbling which came to pass at the beginning.
Second-Hand Sources The pseudepigrapha, apart from being forgeries, were also written long after, in some cases hundreds of years after, the New Testament events. The writers were not eyewitnesses to the life of Christ or to the events of the early church. This is another reason to reject the testimony which they give. Gospel of Thomas One of the most prominent of all the forgeries is the Gospel of Thomas. Consisting of sayings of Jesus, it is the most extensive collection of non-biblical sayings of Jesus that still exist. The Gospel of Thomas begins as follows:.
These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote. And He said: Whosoever finds the explanation of these words shall not taste death. Incorrect Name The author is not Thomas.
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In the four Gospels, Thomas is referred to as either Didymus or Thomas, not both at once. Didymus is the word for "twin" in both Greek and Aramaic, so the author of the Gospel of Thomas must not have been aware of this linguistic connotation. Secret Approach The secret approach found in the Gospel of Thomas is typical of the writings of the gnostics. The four Gospels are open about the ways of salvation and the kingdom of God while the Gospel of Thomas views truth from a hidden vantage point.
There is no historical setting for the statements. The Gospel of Thomas is a compilation of sayings without the inclusion of important historical events as recorded in the Gospels. We are not told when or under what circumstances the statements were made. Contradicts Four Gospels Many of the sayings are contradictory to those we have in the Gospels. For example, saying says:. Jesus said, 'See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males.
For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Gospel of Thomas He is one who points the way by which an individual can attain the knowledge of God. These reasons demonstrate that the Gospel of Thomas is a forgery rather than a legitimate work written by one of Jesus' apostles. Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ One alternative explanation of the life and ministry of Jesus that has caused considerable interest is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.
This work was written by Levi Dowling The result is a contradictory mixture of Christian science and occultic thought. The name is derived from the astrological idea that a new Aquarian age has come upon us, bringing with it the need for a new spiritual gospel, the Aquarian gospel. Some of the material in the Aquarian Gospel is borrowed from the ancient Gospel of James, a well-known forgery in the early years of the church.
The most prominent part of the book deals with the education and travel of Jesus. According to the Aquarian Gospel, Jesus first studied under the Jewish teacher Hillel and then went to India to spend time with their holy men. His learning also supposedly took Him to Tibet, Persia. Assyria, Greece, and Egypt.
It was in Egypt that Jesus was said to have joined the sacred brotherhood. He passed through seven degrees and emerged as the Logos. In Alexandria a council of seven sages was held where they formulated seven great religious postulates and ordained Jesus for the work of the ministry. The Aquarian Gospel then rewrites the four gospels according to its own particular viewpoint. The end of the story has Jesus appearing in a materialized body to people in India, Persia, Greece, and other countries. Evaluation Like many previous attempts, the Aquarian Gospel attempts to give an explanation of the wisdom and character of Jesus apart from the biblical depiction.
Dowling's reconstruction shows obvious borrowing from the Ancient Gospel of James, as well as familiarity with a nineteenth century works, Notovitch's Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. The book begins with an historical inaccuracy: "Augustus Caesar reigned and Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem. A crucial problem with the Aquarian Gospel concerns its scenario of the source of Jesus' teachings. If Jesus obtained His wisdom from the masters of India, Greece, and other countries, then why doesn't His teaching reflect it? The teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, are in direct conflict with every central belief of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the other religions with which He supposedly came into contact!
The simple fact is that we have in the Gospels a firsthand account of the life and ministry of Jesus. The Aquarian Gospel is a false portrait of the life of Christ, not based upon historical records or eyewitness testimony but rather upon the recollections of an ancient forgery and the imagination of a twentieth-century writer. It has no value whatsoever in providing new or accurate information on the life of Christ. The work is also known as the "Report of Pilate" or "Archko Library. Its existence can be traced back to Rev. The success of the "Report of Pilate" led Mahan to make some more "discoveries" including: an interview with the shepherds who were given the announcement of Christ's birth, Gamaliel's interview with Joseph and Mary, Eli's story of the Magi, and other previously unknown interviews surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus.
Mahan claimed these "interviews" were translated from ancient manuscripts in Rome or Constantinople. The picture of Jesus in his interview with Pilate is romantic and theatrical, and the Pilate reflected in the "Report" is historically improbable. The whole work is a weak, crude fancy, a jumble of high-sounding but meaningless words, and hardly worth serious criticism.
It is difficult to see how it could have deceived anyone The supposed references to Josephus's Jewish Wars The statement that Josephus in his Antiquities refers to Jesus in more than fifty places is false That Tacitus wrote his history of Agricola in A.
As can be imagined, the "Report of Pilate" as well as the later interviews were immediately exposed as frauds. It was noticed, for instance, that entire pages of Eli's story of the Magi were copied verbatim from the novel Ben Hur. Unhappily, people continue to read and believe these fraudulent works although they have no basis in fact. Hone's book was copied from two earlier one's published in and Thus the materials found in the"Lost Books of the Bible" were written years ago.
Since the time of the original wilting of the lost books, the field of manuscript studies has made tremendous advances but none of this has been taken into account by those who publish these works. These were so-called infancy gospels that were written to fill in the details of the early unrecorded years of the life of Christ. These works include stories of Jesus forming clay figures of animals and birds which He makes walk, fly, and eat. Another account has a child who runs into Jesus falling down dead.
These examples are representative of the fanciful nature of the accounts. Jesus' reply to the letter is also contained. These works were written in the third century. Other works found among the lost books include the Apostles' Creed and the spurious letter from Paul to the Laodiceans. These books have been called "outlaw" Scriptures by some. But this is not the case, for none of these works were ever thought of as part of the New Testament.
Anyone who claims these works were suppressed by the church is speaking out of ignorance or a desire to deceive. It is obvious from the date of composition of these works that they cannot be considered on the same plane as Holy Scripture, which was written by eyewitnesses or people who recorded eyewitness testimony of the life and ministry of Jesus. Farrar wrote the following that is still true today:. The Four Gospels superseded all others and won their way into universal acceptance by their intrinsic value and authority. After so many salutary losses we still possess a rich collection of Apocryphal Gospels, and, if they serve no other good purpose, they have this value, that they prove for us undoubtedly the unique and transcendent superiority of the sacred records.
These bear the stamp of absolute truthfulness, all the more decisively when placed in contrast with the writings which show signs of willful falsity. We escape their lying magic to find support and help from the genuine gospels. And here we take refuge with the greater confidence because the ruins which lie around the ancient archives of the Church look like a guarantee of the enduring strength and greatness of those archives themselves F. Farrar, The Messages of the Books , p. Roberts and J. Donaldson, the editors of the AnteNicene Library , said the other gospels offer We conclude that any other book apart from the New Testament that attempts to fill in the gaps of the life of Christ only reveals the superiority of the four Gospels.
There is evidence that the canon of Scripture was complete in the first century. Has God, since that time, revealed anything that is to be added to Holy Scripture? There has to be evidence to back up the claim. The question Is, "Does the evidence support the claim that God spoke through them?
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world 1 John When we test the claims of those who have brought forth a "new Scripture" we find them to be untrue. The downfall of all the books that have had inspiration claimed for them is that they present a different revelation from what has previously been recorded. They contradict the Bible.
For example, the Koran says that Jesus was not the Son of God and that He did not die upon the cross for the sins of the world. The sacred books of Mormonism teach that there exist many gods rather than the one God the Bible speaks of.
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In addition, Mormonism teaches that each male can someday become a god himself, Mormonism also denies the doctrine of the Trinity. No Book Qualifies Every book written since the completion of the Bible that claims to be further revelation from God fails on the same ground. These works also deny salvation by grace through faith. They preached a different gospel. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Galatia about such people. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed Galatians , 8.
No Evidence Furthermore, there is no substantiating evidence such as fulfilled prophecy to demonstrate the books are of divine inspiration. Thus, as we examine the various books that have been written since the completion of the New Testament that have claimed to be further revelation from God, we find them coming short of the mark. The Bible warns:. Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you and you be found a liar Proverbs , 6. We have seen that the canon was closed in the first century, and that since then God has not revealed anything on the level with Holy Scripture.
Westminster Confession "The Westminster Confession," a seventeenth-century statement of faith, says concerning the Bible,. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men "Westminster Confession," According to this statement, which sums up the Protestant view of Scripture, nothing is to be added or subtracted from the Bible.
The revelation from God to man has been completed. Some have appealed to the following verses in the Book of Revelation. For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life Revelation , This is only speaking of the Book of Revelation. It is not a commandment against adding any other book to Scripture. If taken literally, then you could not have any other book in Scripture but the Book of Revelation!
Yet there is a principle here that is clearly taught. No one is to add or to take away from the revealed Word of God. I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints Jude 3. This verse teaches that a body of truth from God has been delivered to man and that this faith has been wholly delivered. This seems to indicate that no further revelation from God is necessary.
God has told us in Scripture everything that we need to know about who He is, who we are, and what will happen to the earth in the future. For I am the Lord, I do not change Malachi The Bible says clearly that the faith has been completely revealed. Therefore, If any new revelation were to come from God, it would be consistent with past revelations.
Even if a work met all of the above criteria, it would not necessarily be the Word of God. While theoretically it is possible that God could add something to what He has previously revealed, it is highly unlikely that this would be the case. The faith has already been delivered to mankind.
Any further word from God to man is not necessary. The canon of Scripture is complete. After considering the subject of the canon of Scripture we can make the following conclusions:. Thank you for your interest in the Blue Letter Bible and we hope that God will grant you continual blessing in your studies. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.
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Scripture :: The Canon of Scripture. Introduction What Is the Canon of Scripture? What is the Apocrypha? Did Jude Quote from the Book of Enoch? What is the Canon of Scripture? Flavius Josephus, a Jewish writer of the first century, had this to say: We have but twenty-two [books] containing the history of all time, books that are justly believed in; and of these, five are the books of Moses, which comprise the law and earliest traditions from the creation of mankind down to his death.
Biblical scholar Gleason Archer comments on the impact of the statement made by Josephus: Note three important features of this statement: 1 Josephus includes the same three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures as does the MT [Massoretic text] although restricting the third group to 'hymns' and hokhmah , and he limits the number of canonical books in these three divisions to twenty-two.
Josephus also declared: And how firmly we have given credit to those books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them or take anything from them, or to make any change in them-, but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be, willing to die for them. He said to the religious rulers: You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life John When Paul wrote to Timothy he quoted a passage from Luke as Scripture.
For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while It treads the grain,' and, 'the laborer is worthy of his wages' 1 Timothy Many people wonder who decided which books should be placed in the Bible. Bruce writes: One thing must be emphatically stated. Though we do not know the exact criteria which were used, they may include the following: Prophetic Authorship For a book to be considered canonical, it must have been written by a prophet or apostle or by one who had a special relationship to such Mark to Peter, Luke to Paul.
Clark Pinnock writes: The Spirit did not reveal a list of inspired books, but left their recognition to a historical process in which He was active, God's people learned to distinguish wheat from chaff, and gold from gravel, as He worked in their hearts Clark Pinnock, Biblical Revelation , Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, , p. Thus, the books are identical. The only difference is in the way they are divided. Some of the most notable examples include: Letter of Clement In A. These include: Esther The problem with the Book of Esther is that the name of God is not found in the book.
Charles wrote concerning the Book of Revelation: Throughout the Christian church during the second century, there is hardly any other book in the New Testament so well received as Revelation R. The Protestant church rejects them for the following reasons: No Claim The primary reason for rejecting the Apocrypha as Scripture is that there is no claim within the books that they are inspired by God. These fanciful statements betray their non-biblical source.
For example, saying says: Jesus said, 'See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males. Edgar Goodspeed writes concerning the accuracy of the "interviews": The picture of Jesus in his interview with Pilate is romantic and theatrical, and the Pilate reflected in the "Report" is historically improbable. The contents of the "lost books" include the following: Four Infancy Gospels: They include: "The Birth of Mary," a work written in the middle of the second century; "The Protoevangelium of James," written about the same time; the first "Gospel of Infancy.
Farrar wrote the following that is still true today: The Four Gospels superseded all others and won their way into universal acceptance by their intrinsic value and authority. Westminster Confession "The Westminster Confession," a seventeenth-century statement of faith, says concerning the Bible, The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men "Westminster Confession," Jude makes a statement that Is pertinent to' our discussion.
Conclusion After considering the subject of the canon of Scripture we can make the following conclusions: The term canon refers to the authoritative books of Scripture. God is the One who decided which books should be placed in the Bible. We know the correct books are in the Bible because of the testimony of Jesus The Apocrypha, books considered inspired by the Roman Catholic church, do not give evidence of inspiration.
Recent books that have claimed Divine inspiration have proven themselves to be frauds. The Scripture is complete. Nothing should be added or subtracted from it. Donate Contact.
Scripture :: The Canon of Scripture
Blue Letter Bible is a c 3 nonprofit organization. Cite this page MLA format. APA format. Faith will be turned to sight, and we will behold him! Until then, we will have faith with questions, and that will be a normal experience of the Christian life. Doubt is not the absence of faith; doubt is the questioning of faith.
You can only doubt what you already believe.
Bible Q&A: What’s the Difference Between Doubt and Unbelief?
When a Christian doubts, he fears God may not exist. The Christian believes there is a God, and when he doubts, he questions what he believes. When an atheist doubts, he fears God may exist. The atheist believes there is no god and so, by definition, a doubting atheist would be someone who was questioning his unbelief! Doubt presupposes some kind of faith. That is what doubt is, and it is one of the most common struggles in the Christian life. Doubt is questioning what you believe. Unbelief is a determined refusal to believe. Doubt is a struggle faced by the believer. Unbelief is a condition of the unbeliever.
Unbelief involves spiritual blindness and a determined resistance to God. That was his condition, and the only cure for it was what happened on the Damascus Road when he was wonderfully converted. He discovered that Jesus is Lord, and the whole disposition of his soul was changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
He moved from a position of unbelief to a position of faith. There may be some people who feel their problem is doubt, when actually the real problem is their unbelief. The issue is not that they doubt their faith, but that they do not have a faith to doubt.
They need to believe the things that God has revealed, and act upon them:. God calls on you to repent from a self-centered life, and he offers you mercy, pardon, and forgiveness through his Son, Jesus. Paul moved from unbelief to faith as God worked a miracle in his life. God will give you that same gift if you will ask him. You can see the difference in the story of a married couple — Job and his wife — who experienced a great family tragedy. In one day, they lost their business, wealth, property, and every one of their seven children died, as a house where they were holding a party collapsed on them.
Their response to suffering was the most revealing thing about them, and it will be one of the most revealing things about us. We know that he had children later, and so it may be that God worked a miracle in her soul just like the miracle in the Apostle Paul. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible.
Follow him on Twitter. Expressing sorrow over both realities before the