The canon of the Bible is what books are in it.  On the positive side it regards books as being the word of God.  On the negative it excludes any other contender.  The canon or yardstick of scripture means a list that cannot be changed.  If you change it you become your own religion.  The idea is that God wrote those books and so they are sacred.  Protestants have a shorter canon of books than the Catholics.  The Jews only recognise the Old Testament as the word of God.

The trouble is the canon is manmade.  There are works we don't know of that should be in it.  They are not.  And there are works in it that should be thrown out unceremoniously.

It would make more sense to reduce the canon of the Bible.
You could argue that the Law of Moses forbids anybody adding to its teaching so that you can deny that the rest of the Old Testament is the word of God. Then you could have John and the Johannine epistles as the only true gospel. This minimises contradictions. A Bible that needs too many solutions for its conflicts with history and philosophy and itself lacks credibility. It would need a divinely inspired interpretation to be sure that the solutions were valid otherwise you are saying the Bible must be God’s word for it never contradicts itself and it should while all the time you are just believing in what somebody thinks of the Bible.

The Law of Moses was once good enough before, though it was just five books, and it shows that a small canon can be good enough now.

Matthew is the gospel that most explicitly supports the Jewish Christian faith and the authenticity of the Law so you could say that it alone is the New Testament scripture. You could reduce the New Testament to one book.

If you want to cut the Old Testament off altogether you could just have the gospel of Mark and the First Letter of Peter as your canon. Both of these can be interpreted in such a way that the Old Testament can be seen as a mishmash of error and truth but not scripture but which just contains God’s word here and there. Second Peter would be dismissed, along with most modern scholars, as a forgery and because you cannot accept Paul’s full approval for the Old Testament and this epistle says that Paul’s writings were scripture.

Interpretation is very flexible and fluid. You could interpret Paul as opposing the Old Testament except for bits that contained true prophecy and canonise his epistles alone. Or you could just have the Old Testament and Paul’s letters. It is certain that since we know the doctrine in these letters is Paul’s his writings are supreme in the New Testament because it emerged from an authorised apostolic authority and Jesus made the apostles the foundation of the Church. We do not have the same assurance of apostolic authority and accuracy for any other book of the Bible therefore we can drop them. The Church said from the start that the books have to be from an apostle to be taken as scripture so Paul’s writings are what the attention should be paid to and should be the yardstick against which the rest of the New Testament is judged for its apostolic origin is less certain according to all faithful Christians and doubtful and impossible or indeterminate according to the rest.

Any book claiming a miraculous origin such as the nineteenth century, Gospel of Holy Twelve, would have more right to be included in the canon than any New Testament book for the gospels and acts and epistles were all written the ordinary way. This book claimed to have been dictated from Heaven. I see no reason why you could not consider Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon to be the only extant reliable scripture and scrap the New Testament entirely. The Book of Mormon claimed to have been translated from golden plates given to Smith by an angel of the Lord.

Encourage Christians to study these matters and create new canons for anything that cuts off books off the traditional list is a step towards improved rationality and confusion among the superstitious factions of the Church can only be a good thing.

The amount of disagreements among the Christians are infinite. If Jesus had been the Son of God and as concerned for God’s word as he said – the New Testament says he even died for this concern to make the scriptures come true or as he put it to fulfil them he would have left behind a theological manual to resolve all these problems. He was the one claiming a hotline to God so he should have done this. As Jesus has left nothing but division and schism and hateful argumentation behind him, it is clear that this implies we are not to add to the Old Testament at all for one of the key themes of that Testament’s God is keeping his chosen people together. Jesus was a false prophet and not what he claimed to be. You may say that you could say the same of any Old Testament prophet. But these never claimed like Jesus that they could know what they wanted. They were just men who occasionally got communications from God. Believing in Jesus creates more mysteries, one of which we met a few lines ago, than it solves so commonsense says it is better not to bother.
It is important that sceptics of the Bible get their facts right.
They like to say that the New Testament list of books, and the idea that there are only four gospels, was sorted out late in the history of the Church and that those who chose them were biased and innovators determined to impose their own version of Christianity on the Church. They want to hold that the Church arbitrarily rejected gospels it didn't like.
Irenaeus in 180 AD when he spoke of there being four gospels was not making an innovation but just reiterating a tradition that was well established by then (page 37, Who Chose the Gospels?). It is a lie that Irenaeus ordered the destruction of other gospels - he merely advised that believers should not read them (page 59). Clement of Alexandria is said to have quoted gospels besides the four as authoritative whereas in fact he cited the four gospels at a ratio of 120 to 1 concerning the other gospels (page 72). He did not quote the other gospels as authorities but as useful to make his points just as a preacher might quote a fairy story. Seraphion permitted the Church at Rhossus to read the gospel of Peter as there was dissension in the Church there over it. He admitted he hadn't read it and regretted this permission (page 91). He spoke of the gospel as being put forward by them as if it had only just appeared. It was new for he had read the four gospels and didn't read this one. He speaks of it as being put forward by "them". So it appeared among one of the groups in the Rhossus Church. So nobody can say this was a gospel accepted by the general Church.


Today it is accepted that some of the writings of Paul are by his disciples writing as if they were him. It is claimed that that was accepted in those days and was not forgery. But the Bible itself warns against letters not actually written by the apostles. The Epistle to the Laodiceans fits Paul's doctrine and seems to be a pointless forgery. As evidence of its double standards the Church says it is a forgery and rejects it from the Bible. Yet why is it okay to have Colossians in the Bible despite the thought that it does not fit Paul's theology and is not really from him? Why all these double standards in the name of tradition? When somebody would forge a letter to be true to Paul heaven knows what else was going on.

The early Church was definite that a letter had to belong to the author bearing its name to be the word of God.

Any attempt to rationalise forgery is disgraceful and ignorant.

The Books that have been put in the Bible have been put there for political reasons and not because they belong there. Under close examination, it can be seen that the choice of what was put in was arbitrary at times. A list is just a list and nobody should be compelled by the Church to accept its list. Many books accepted by tradition as being from Jesus' authorised teachers are in fact forged. The Bible having non-apostolic authors for not to mention liars means the canon must still be open and new books can be added.

A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
A Test of Time, David Rohl, Century, London, 1995
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, Undated
An Act of God, Graham Philips, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1998
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press Bucks, 1988
Attack on the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1965
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
But the Bible Does Not Say So, Rev Roberto Nisbet, Church Book Room Press, London, 1966
Catholicism and Christianity, Cecil John Cadoux, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1928
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, FrontLine, Florida, 2008
Creation and Evolution, Dr Alan Hayward, Triangle, London, 1994
Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
Essentials, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Free Inquiry, Fall 1998, Vol 18, No 4, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
God and the Human Condition, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1967
God Cannot Lie, David Alsobrook, Diasozo Trust, Kent, 1989
God, Science and Evolution, Prof E H Andrews, Evangelical Press, Herts, 1985
God’s Word, Final Infallible and Forever, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
Hard Sayings, Derek Kidner, InterVarsity Press, London, 1972
How and Why Catholic and Protestant Bibles Differ, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ and Donald Senior, CP, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1983
How to Interpret the Bible, Fergus Cleary SJ, Ligouri Publications, Missouri, 1981
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
Inspiration in the Bible, Fr Karl Rahner, Herder and Herder, New York, 1966
Jehovah of the Watch-tower, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
Let’s Weigh the Evidence, Which Bible is the Real Word of God? Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, California, 1983
Know What You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1973
Know Why You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1971
New Age Bible Versions, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
New Evangelicalism An Enemy of Fundamentalism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1984
None of These Diseases, SI McMillen MD, Lakeland, London 1966
Our Perfect Book the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1958
Proof the Bible is True, Rev JMA Willans BD, Dip.Theol. Vermont Press, Larne, 1982
Radio Replies Vol 3, Radio Replies Press, Minnesota, 1942
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Remarks on the New King James Version and Revised Authorised Version, DK Madden, 35 Regent Street, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005, 1991
Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Charles Pellegrino, The Softback Preview, New York, 1995
Science and the Bible, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
Science Held Hostage What’s Wrong With Creation Science and Evolutionism, Howard J Van Till/Davis A.Young/Clarence Menninga, IVP, Downer’s Grove, Illinois, 1988
Science Speaks, Peter W Stoner and Robert C Newman, Moody Press, Chicago, 1976
Set My Exiles Free, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
Testament, The Bible and History, John Romer, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1988
The Authority of the Bible, Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, 1980
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible is the Word of God, Jimmy Thomas, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky
The Bible or Evolution? William Jennings Bryan, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Bible, Questions People Ask, A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1980
The Bible, The Biography, Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
The Canon of Scripture, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
The Church of Rome and the Word of God, Rev Eric C Last, Protestant Truth Society, London, Undated
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts, 1982
The King James Version Defended, Edward F Hills, The Christian Research Press, Iowa, 1973
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E Brown, Joseph A Fitzmyer, Roland E Murphy, Geoffrey Chapman, New York 1990
The Theology of Inspiration, John Scullion SJ, Mercier, Cork, 1970
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1943
What is the Bible? Henri Daniel-Rops, Angelus Books, Guild Press, New York, 1958
Which Version Now? Bob Sheehan, Carey Publications, 5 Fairford Close, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 3EF
Who is a Fundamentalist? Dr Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1982
Why Does God..? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Pauls , Bucks, 1970
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997

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