by Rob Lundberg
A few years ago, I was a guest speaker at an Apologetics Focus Sunday, promoted by a nearby local church here in Virginia. I must say that it was a long day for me, but a delightful and energetic time for all who participated.
What made it interesting is that I gave five presentations, one in the form of a Sunday School lesson, one in the form of a sermon, and three other talks that would later be followed up by a Question and Answer session.
During the Q and A time, a lady who was fancy to the History Channel and the Discovery Channel for their documentaries on religious matters asked two probing questions, one of which I will delve into in this posting. The question was, “Why are there just 66 books of the Bible and not others that they have found later in history?”
This question is a popular one in that it always takes some kind of form, whether someone was viewing the movie Zeitgeist, or listening to a lecture from a liberal professor saying that that the Church was prejudiced to the the other books that could be in the Bible so they left them out. There is nothing new under the Sun to say the least.
Let me dive in and state that the Bible is more than just a book. It is a compilation of 66 books with a common theme that points to a Messiah who would come and die for sinful man’s redemption, be buried and rise from the dead 3 days later in that same but glorified body.
To put is succinctly, the Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents composed over 1500 year, and those documents were written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses recording for us supernatural events that are in direct fulfillment to specific prophecies; and these writers claim that their writings are divine, rather than human in origin. Those 66 books were written from three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and from three different continents (Asia, Europe and Africa). But why just 66 books? The rest of this posting will answer this more clearly.
Some of us may have heard the word “canon”, but have not really an idea of what it means. The word “canon” means standard or list or index of standards. When we apply this to the Bible (a.k.a. “Scripture) it means an officially accepted list of books. The important thing that we need to keep in the forefront of our minds is that the church did not create the canon or the books included now as Scripture. The Early Christian Church RECOGNIZED that the books were INSPIRED from their INCEPTION. The Church did not make them inspired, they were inspired by God when written.
2. Prophetic – Was the book written by a man of God?
3. Authenticity – the Early Church used a principle that is common today, “if in doubt, throw it out.”
4. Dynamic – Did the work have a dynamic quality to it that was evidenced in the life transforming power of God? and
5. Was it received and collected and read and used – was it accepted by the people of God (2 Peter 3:15, 16)?
So we can see that there are tests for determining which books were considered authoritative and which ones are not. Before closing this posting up, let me address the other part of this issue, why not the other books like the Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphal works?
What About the Apocrypha and Other Emerging Books?
So now we have looked at the tests and the reasons for the need of a canon of Scripture, what about these books in between the Testaments? What about the Apocryphal books used by the Roman Catholic Church? Why aren’t they included? Josh McDowell sources Unger’s Bible Dictionary in his New Evidence that Demands a Verdict giving several reasons to consider the non canonical nature of the Apocryphal books.
2. They teach doctrines that are false and foster practices that are at variance with inspired Scripture;
3. They resort to literary types and display artificiality of subject matter and styling out of keeping with Scripture;
4. They lack distinctive elements that give genuine Scripture their divine character, such as prophetic power and poetic and religious feeling.
 This was a basic factor for determining the New Testament as being inspired by God and the chief test was apostolic authority. This authority did not mean that an apostle wrote the work but that it was approved by or directed by the apostles. The authority of the apostle was never detached from the authority of the LORD Himself (See Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; 1 Cor. 7:10)
 Ungers Bible Dictionary in New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999 : 29.
 Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968 in Josh McDowell. New Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999: 25,26.
 By this term “a stone in the shoe” it is a way of saying that you and I can give something to our questioner to think long and hard about, and most likely it is something that they have not thought about before.