We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Psalm 119:17 which reads: “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from Jeffrey E. Ramey. He said: “Who decides what is right and wrong in the world? Who has the authority to define morality for all of creation? It is not the courts, congress, the media, public opinion, the “politically correct” police, the “tolerance” brigade, or even the church. The only answer has been, is, and always will be Jesus Christ. You can find His opinion on a great variety of subjects in His best seller, the Bible.”
Our topic for today is titled: “The Idea of Canon (Part 3)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin
Joshua followed in the footsteps of Moses and wrote the book of Joshua, which was included in the canon. Evidence suggests that these later canonical books were, from the time they were written, accepted by the community as inspired because they measured up to the original standards. We see this point illustrated in Daniel 9:2, where the author identifies the writings of Jeremiah, a contemporary of Daniel, as Scripture.
Today, we really don’t understand how the early Jews distinguished between the canonical and the noncanonical, although in many cases the qualitative differences are very clear. For example, the apocryphal book, Bel and the Dragon, reads more like a Hardy Boys mystery than a scriptural account of the life of Daniel. We do know that the canon involves the concept of inspiration. As such, however, it must include two roles of the Holy Spirit: first in inspiring the writer, and then in verifying this inspiration through the community as a whole. It appears that very soon after the Exile, the books we find in our Old Testament had been widely accepted within the Jewish community as canonical.
As the canon gradually took shape, it became the standard and authority for the community and for individuals. Thus, from the time Moses brought the Law down from the mountain, the nation of Israel, then Judaism, and finally Christianity had a written body of law and standards by which behavior was measured. It was also the standard by which future writings were measured.