“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples…. To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city… to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy…”
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David… for sin and for uncleanness… and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord… But he shall say, I am no prophet…”
Order of Contents
The Biblical Canon
. Articles 3
. Beginner 2
. Intermediate 8
. Advanced 1
The Old Testament Canon 4
The New Testament Canon 4
The Apocrypha & Pseudepigraphia 2
The Biblical Canon: Articles
Hodge, Charles – Ground of Faith in the Scriptures 28 paragraphs being a review of an essay by James H. Thornwell entitled, “Review of the Arguments of Romanists from the Infallibility of the Church and Testimony of the Fathers in behalf of the Apocrypha, discussed and refuted.” It was first published in the Princeton Review, 1845, and subsequently in Essays & Reviews, 1857, p. 185-200
Bahnsen, Greg – The Concept and Importance of Canonicity 33 paragraphs
Kayser, Phillip – The Canon of Scripture: Biblical Presuppositions 2010 54 pp.
An excellent, detailed summary and analysis of what the Bible itself testifies to as to its own formation, transmission, authority, cessation of special revelation and its sufficiency. The author is a partial-preterist in his interpretation of numerous prophecies.
The Biblical Canon: Beginner Books
McRae, William J. – The Birth of the Bible Buy 1984
“The beginning reader should consult William J. McRae, ‘The Birth of the Bible’… or Neil Lightfoot, ‘How We Got our Bible’… for a simple treatment of the establishment of the sacred canon of Scripture.” – Joel Beeke
Lightfoot, Neil – How We Got our Bible Buy 1963
The Biblical Canon: Intermediate Books
Whitaker, William – Question the First of the First Controvery: Of the Number of the Canonical Books of Scripture †1595 84 pp. being the first part of A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, especially Bellarmine and Stapleton
Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary.
Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures 1906 326 pages. This is a later expanded edition that includes A Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 1825, and parts of The Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained, 1833.
Cunningham, William – Theological Lectures: on Subjects Connected with Natural Theology, Evidences of Christianity, the Canon and Inspiration of Scripture Buy 1878 625 pp.
Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland. This collection of lectures in its subject matter forms an extended exposition of the first chapter of the Westminster Confession. Cunningham “had bestowed much care and labor upon their composition and revision, and that he had attached a special value to them as the first-fruits of his professional labors.”
Gaussen was a Swiss-Reformed pastor.
The Canon of the Holy Scriptures from the Double Point of View of Science and of Faith Buy 1863 712 pp. Part I of this book (the first 410 pages) is nearly identical to his other work on the topic of the Canon above. Part II (the last 300 pages) is new though.
Harris, Robert Laird – Inspiration & Canonicity of the Bible Buy 1957
Harris was an Old Testament scholar and minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church and the P.C.A.
“On a somewhat higher level, R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible… is a basic, reliable work on canonization that covers most of the major issues. Harris lucidly argues that inspiration is the core principle of canonicity.” – Joel Beeke
“A masterly approach to the subject of bibliology.” – Cyril J. Barber
Ridderbos, Herman – Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures Buy 1988
The Biblical Canon: Advanced Books
Green, William – General Introduction to the Old Testament: vol. 1: the Canon 1911 210 pp.
Green (1825–1900) was an imminent, old Princeton, Hebrew scholar. ‘General’ in the title means that Green stays at the level of background issues that involve the whole O.T., as opposed to ‘special introduction’, which dives into the issues related to particular books.
“For a more scholarly approach to canonization, a diligent reading of… William Henry Green, General Introduction to the Old Testament, the Canon… will reap rewards, notwithstaning their datedness.” – Joel Beeke
The Old Testament Canon
Harrison, Roland K. – ‘The Canon of the Old Testament’ in modern editions of Young’s Analytical Concordance Buy
“…clear, concise, and sound.” – Joel Beeke
Beckwith, Roger – “Introduction”, “The Fact of the Canon”, (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of “The Identity of the Canonical Books: The Books Excluded As Uncanonical” In The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church and its Background in Early Judaism Buy 1986 pp. 1-15, 63-104, 366-408, 419-33 See the Buy link for the Table of Contents
“Beckwith’s book is the most significant contribution on canon in a century. His purpose is to describe the canon as it existed in the first century A.D., particularly the canon of Jesus’ day. He marshals strong evidence that Jesus’ canon was the same as that in contemporary Protestantism.” – Tremper Longman III, 5 out of 5 stars
Young, E.J. – “The Canon of the Old Testament,” 1958 13 pp. in Carl F.H. Henry, ed., Revelation and the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought, pp. 155-168
The New Testament Canon
Cunningham, William – ‘Canon of the New Testament’ 1878 22 pp. being chs. 34-35 of Theological Lectures, pp. 424-446
Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland.
“For a more scholarly approach to canonization, a diligent reading of William Cunningham’s essay on canonicity in his Theological Lectures… will reap rewards, notwithstanding their datedness.” – Joel Beeke
Warfield, B.B. –
‘The Canon of the New Testament: How and When Formed’ 8 pp. in The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, Appendix 1, pp. 411-419 Buy
Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures. Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states: “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”). Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influenctial in this regard towards those who have come after him. For a correction of this, see The Majority Text.
Syllabus on the Canon of the New Testament in the Second Century 1881-2 in Five Papers
Harrison, Everett F. – ‘The Canon of the New Testament’ in modern editions of Young’s Analytical Concordance Buy
“…clear, concise, and sound.” – Joel Beeke
Ridderbos, Herman – The Canon of the New Testament 1959 13 pp. in Revelation and the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought, ed. Carl Henry
The Apocrypha & the Pseudepigraphia
On the Apocrypha
Cunningham, William – The Apocrypha and the Canon of the New Testament 1878 34 pp. from his Theological Lectures, p. 412 ff.
Bahnsen, Greg – ‘Application of Canonicity’ being the last subsection in The Concept and Importance of Canonicity 12 paragraphs
Young, G. Douglas – The Apocrypha 1959 13 pp. in Revelation and the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought, ed. Carl Henry, pp. 171-185
Read the Apocrypha & Pseudepigraphia:
ed. Charles, R.H. – The Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphia of the Old Testament in English, with Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes, vol. 1 (Apocrypha), 2 (Pseudepigraphia)
The Jewish Apocrypha, while not being inspired or part of the canon, does give some very helpful light upon the history and thought of the Inter-testamental period, as most of its books were written during the first few centuries B.C.
For instance, the books of Maccabees are our main primary source for much of the Jewish history during the 2 century B.C. Scripture says in the prophecies of Daniel that during the Maccabean time, “the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Dan. 12:32
‘Pseudepigraphia’ means writings written under a false name. These religious writings, written during the first few centuries B.C. to the first fw centuries A.D., none of which made it into the Jewish canon, do give some light on the genres of literature current to the writing of the New Testament. Read them and you will see why they were not recognized as inspired, though forgeries and false prophets have abounded in every age.
The New Testament Pseudepigraphia is generally not useful to understanding the background of the New Testament, as it is post-dated, by definition, to the New Testament, though it may have some use in understanding post-Biblical early Church history in its erroneous strands (as Paul warns against in Galatians, Colossians, etc.).
ed. Charlesworth, James – The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. Buy 1983 1,000 pp. each Doubleday/Anchor
The is the most exhaustive, scholarly and standard edition of the O.T. Pseudepigraphia, including 65 works, many more than what is in R.H. Charles’ older edition above.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”
“…all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms…”