Last week we began our study of how we arrived at the books we have in our Bibles. We looked specifically at the forming of the Old Testament cannon. The conclusion we reached was that the 24 books of the Hebrew Scriptures were the same ones Jesus used and endorsed. These are the same books - though divided and ordered differently - as the 39 books of our Old Testament today. The Jews, of course, don't recognize any of the books we call the New Testament, so to them, their 24 books aren't the Old Testament. They're simply the Scriptures.
But, of course, our Bibles don't end with Malachi. We have 27 more books - books not included in the Jewish Scriptures. So the question we come to today is a crucial one - perhaps the most crucial one. Given that we have already limited the number of books in the Old Testament, excluding the Apocryphal writings and some others as well, what gives us the right to include other writings beyond the Hebrew canon?
That's todays question. By what process do we embrace a whole set of writings that are added to the Hebrew texts that have been cherished, protected and embraced for thousands of years? Every Christian owes an explanation of this process. Every Christians ought to be able to work through the creation of a Bible on which we claim to base our whole lives. This isn't an optional subject for the Christian. This isn't an elective you can study or ignore. These are the ABC's of Christian discipleship.