Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Canon of Scripture by Ps Michael Podhaczky

You may have heard the Bible being called ‘The Canon of Scripture?’ What does this mean? A definition of the word ‘Canon’ is “the collection or list of books accepted as an authoritative rule and practice.”[1] The Hebrew of the word means a reed or a stalk; these could be used as a measure or rule. It came to mean the rule of truth, especially for sacred books.

There were three things involved in the Bible as the Canon of Scripture,
·         God inspired and controlled the writing of each part of the canon.
·         God sovereignly oversaw the preservation and collection of the canon.
·         God divinely guided the Jews, and then the Church, in recognising the canon.

The Church discerned the canon of Scripture but did not make it. It recognised its authenticity but did not give it authenticity.
“It is important to remember that the Christian church did not canonize any book. Canonization was determined by God. But the early church needed to know how to recognize canonicity.”[2]
The authority of the Scriptures is not established on the authority of the Church. In fact, it is the Church that is established on the authority of the inspired Scripture.[3] So, then
16 “All Scripture is breathed out (inspired) by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the person of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17 ESV).

There were five measures for a book or letter being included in the Canon.
  1. Is the book authoritative: Does it claim to be from God? That is, did it come with the authority of God?
  2. Is it prophetic: Was it written by a servant of God? Namely, was it written by a person chosen by God?
  3. Is it self-authentic: Does it tell the truth of God about God, and humanity etc.? Specifically, did it tell the truth with no discrepancy regarding what was written?  
  4. Is it dynamic: Does it possess the life-transforming power of God? That is, did it come with the holy power of God?
  5. Is it received or accepted by the people of God: Is it recognised as being from God? Namely, was it accepted by the community of God?

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Text to Translation: The Origin and Development of the Bible. (Grand Rapids: MI Baker, 2000), 101.
[2] Wegner, The Journey from Text to Translation, 147.
[3] Warfield, Benjamin B. “The Authority and Inspiration of the Scriptures.” http://www.westminsterconfession.org/the-doctrines-of-grace/the-authority-and-inspiration-of-the-scriptures.php (16th May 2018).

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

How to Read the Bible - Part 2 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

Here is a simple technique for reading the Bible. Do not begin reading from the beginning of the Bible, i.e. from Genesis or even from Matthew. Instead, first read the gospel of Mark twice, since, it commences more with the public life of Jesus Christ.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1 ESV)
Once you have read Mark’s gospel twice, read the gospel of John twice. John actually explains some of the private life of Jesus Christ. Next read the first letter of John, i.e. 1 John. This letter underlines the truth of the assurance of faith that we can have in Jesus Christ to live a life of faith in practice.

Then and only then, go to the start of the New Testament and read it right through twice. Then once you have done this, go to the beginning of the Bible and starting with Genesis and read all the way through the whole Bible. Read it as God’s story, as a story made up of its various parts. These parts of God’s story deal with Him as He encourages a relationship with Him by broken people. His aim is to restore them and for them to come to Him as their Heavenly Father.

As you read and study each book, chapter and section of the Bible, it is important to learn to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you. When you read the Bible, it can be helpful to learn to read with a pen, pencil, iPhone or iPad to take notes. This skill of note-making will help you in your reading and praying through the books, chapters or sections of the Bible. It can be these notes from what you have read and studied that may help you to remember what God has said to you. This could be a valuable thing for you into the future.
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over…