“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…”
Works Against the Roman Apologist Bellarmine (who treated of the authority & extent of the Canon)
Order of Contents
The Biblical Canon
. Articles 14
. Books 12+
. Latin 2
The Old Testament Canon
. Articles 3
. Books 3
. Latin 1
The New Testament Canon
. Articles 6+
. Books 1
. Latin 5+
The Biblical Canon
Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1
Ball, John – pp. 5-51 in A Short Treatise containing all the Principal Grounds of Christian Religion, by way of questions and answers… (1631)
Lyford, William – Ch. 1, sections 1 & 2 in The Instructed Christian, or the Plain Man’s Senses Exercised to Discern Both Good and Evil, being a discovery of the Errors, Heresies, and Blasphemies of these Times, and the Toleration of them… †1653
Leigh, Edward – pp. 28-29 of Bk. 1, ch. 3, ‘The Books of Scripture’ in A System or Body of Divinity (London, 1654)
Owen, John – Objection 3, pp. 635-638 of ‘The Testimony of the Church is not the Only, nor the Chief Reason of our Believing the Scripture to be the Word of God’ in Puritan Sermons, 5.606-648 & in Works, 8.495-543 See also the whole sermon in general.
In this section Owen answers well how it is conceptually possible that some of the early Church had not initially received some of the canonical books as canonical, such as Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John & Revelation; and how it sometimes received some of the books of the apocrypha as canonical.
Turretin, Francis – 2nd Topic, ‘The Holy Scriptures’, Questions 3-9 in Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 vols. Buy trans. James Dennison Jr. (1679–1685)
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
Ch. 6, ‘The Canon of Scripture’ in Outlines of Theology (New York: Robert Carter, 1860), pp. 90-100
Lecture 4, ‘The Holy Scriptures–The Canon & Inspiration’ in Popular Lectures (Philadelphia: 1887), pp. 68-93
A.A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and followed his father as a professor of systematic theology at Princeton.
Briggs, Charles A. – Ch. 4, ‘History of the Canon of Holy Scripture’ & Ch. 5, ‘Criticism of the Canon’ in General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture (New York: Scribner’s, 1899) Ch. 4 traces the canon from the earliest time in Scripture up to the Reformation. Ch. 5 traces the canon from the Reformation up to Briggs’s day.
Briggs (1841-1913) was an important liberal and scholar of his day. His work is included here for the useful information it contains; these sections are more conservative than might be expected from him. His survey of the OT is based on a form of the erroneous, liberal J.E.P.D. hypothesis.
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.
This is the rough draft of the author’s presentation at the Davenant Convivium in 2018.
Abstract: “This, then, is the protestant problem: How can we “infallibly” determine which doctrines are necessary for a person to be considered orthodox if the only authority for Protestant theology is the Bible, as interpreted by the individual reader? I will argue that natural knowledge of man, God, and the universe is necessary for biblical interpretation, and is a key element in a well-rounded solution to the protestant problem.”
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
Cosin, John – A Scholastical History of the Canon of the Holy Scripture, or the Certain and Indubitate books thereof as they are received in the Church of England (Oxford: London, 1657) Table of contents
Cosin (1595-1672) was an Arminian Anglican. Archibald Alexander, in his work above, was much indebted to this work.
Du Pin, Louis Ellies – A Complete History of the Canon and Writers of the Books of the Old and New Testament: By Way of Dissertation with Useful Remarks on that Subject (London : H. Rhodes, 1699) 2 vols. in 1
Du Pin (1657-1719) was a Romanist, French ecclesiastical historian, and professor of philosophy at Paris. Beware that Romanism has traditionally included the Apocrypha in the Canon.
Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary. See the remarks of T.H. Horne on this work: Manual, p. 154.
Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures 1906 326 pp. 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.
Wordsworth, Christopher – On the Canon of the Scriptures of the Old & New Testament, and on the Apocrypha: Eleven Discourses… being the Hulsean Lectures for the year 1847 (London, 1848) Table of contents Has valuable appendices, filled with original languages
Wordsworth (1807–1885) was an English bishop in the Anglican Church and a man of letters. He was the nephew of the poet William Wordsworth.
Cunningham, William – Theological Lectures: on Subjects Connected with Natural Theology, Evidences of Christianity, the Canon and Inspiration of Scripture Buy (1878) 625 pp. See especially lectures 33-35.
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.
Stowe, Calvin E. – Origin & History of the Books of the Bible, both the Canonical and the Apocryphal, Designed to Show What the Bible is Not, What it is and How to Use It (Hartford, CT: Hartford Publishing, 1868) Table of contents
Stowe (1802–1886) was an American Bible Scholar and a professor at Andover Theological Seminary, and the husband of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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
Lightfoot, Neil – How We Got our Bible Buy 1963
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
Ridderbos, Herman – Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures Buy 1988
von Mastricht, Gerhard – The Ecclesiastical Canon of Sacred Scripture, Collected according to the series of ages after the birth of Christ, and illustrated by notes of the same… (Jena & Lobenstein, 1725)
von Mastricht (1639-1721) was reformed.
Schmid, Christian Frederick – The Old History, and a Vindication, of the Sacred Canon of the Old & New Testament (Leipzig, 1775) Table of contents
“An excellent treatise in which the canon of Scripture is most satisfactorily vindicated from the rash criticisms and assertions of Oeder, Semler, and other modern German theologians.” – T.H. Horne
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
O.T. Book-Length Works
Lewis, Thomas – Book 8 in Origines Hebraeae: The Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic, vol. 4 (London, 1725), pp. 185-338
Blair, John – Lectures on the Canons of the Old Testament, Comprehending a Dissertation on the Septuagint Version Ref (London, 1785) Available on ECCO
Blair (d. 1782) was a British clergyman, and chronologist.
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
Hornemann, Claus Frees – ‘A Dissertation Setting Forth Observations to Illustrate the Doctrine of the Canon of the Old Testament out of Philo’ in A Second Specimen of Critical Exercises in the Version of the 70 Interpreters out of Philo, with A Dissertation Setting Forth Observations… Premitted… (Hauniae, 1776) The prefixed dissertation cannot be found in this edition. Other editions of the Dissertation exist, but have not been found on the net. Ref
The New Testament Canon
Articles on the N.T.
Eusebius – Ch. 25, ‘The Divine Scriptures that are accepted and those that are not’ Book 3 of Ecclesiastical History
Eusebius (A.D. 260/265 – 339/340) was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and a Christian polemicist.
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
‘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
Article 2, ‘The Canonicity of Second Peter’ in Southern Presbyterian Review, vol. 33, No. 1 (Jan., 1881) 45-75.
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
Book on the N.T.
Jones, Jeremiah – A New and Full Method of Settling the Canonical Authority of the New Testament…, vol. 1, 2, 3 (Oxford, 1798) Jones argues for the orthodox canon.
On this work, see T.H. Horne, Manual, p. 152. Archibald Alexander, in his work above, was much indebted to Jones’s work.
Ens, Johannes – The Sacred Library, or on the Canon of the Books of the New Testament, in which is drawn out the history of the first collection of the Sacred Books of the New Testament… (Amsterdam, 1710)
Ens (1682-1732) was a reformed professor of theology at Utrecht, Netherlands.
Mosheim, Johann Lorenz – Ch. 2, ‘A Defense for the Canon of the New Testament’ in Old Vindications of the Instruction [Disciplinae] of Christians, contra the Celebrated Johann Toland… (Hamburg, 1722), pp. 342-371
Mosheim (1693-1755) was a Luthern ecclesiastical historian, and is often regarded as the father of modern, critical Church history.
A Theological Tract on the Epistles of the Apostles being their own, in that the apostles wrote their letters not by amanuensis, but by their own hand, lucidly demonstrated (Guelpherbyti, 1751) Table of contents
Stosch (1717-1780) was a German reformed theologian.
Apostolikon Olokleron Hoc Est Tractatvs Theologicvs De Epistolis Apostolorum Non Deperditis: Quo Nullam Ex Epistolis Ab Apostolis Jesu Christi Exaratis Periisse Luculenter Demonstratur… Ref (Groningen, 1753) [A Theological Tract, that the Epistles of the Apostles have not Perished, and that No Lost Epistles of the Apostles of Jesus Christ have been dug up, Lucidly Demonstrated]
Salthenius, Daniel – A Commentary on the History of the Sacred Text of the Canon of the New Covenant… (1752)
Salthenius (1701-1750) was a Swedish educator and Protestant theologian.
Stosch, Eberhard Heinrich Daniel – A Historical-Critical Commentary on the Canon of the Books of the New Testament, with a Dissertation on the Care of the Old Church about the books of the New Testament Prefaced (Frankfurt, 1755)
Stosch (1716-1781) was a reformed professor of theology at Duisburg & Frankfurt.
“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…”