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home » articles » "Which Bible is the Word of God?"

Which Bible is the Word of God?

Is the Bible the Word of God? But just which Bible would that be? Bibles consist of a collection of books written by different people who lived in different centuries; that collection is referred to as "Canon". The word, canon, derives from the Greek word, "kanon" which means a reed; a straight rod or bar; a measuring stick; something serving to determine, rule, or measure. So the books of any given Bible are those books that were deemed admissible into that canon, according to the rules of that canon.

But not all believers agree on which books are admissable into the "true" canon. According to the Religious Tolerance, "The Canon of Scripture in Christianity refers to the set of books selected from among the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, the dozens of gospels, and many dozens of epistles, to form the Bible. Some canons contain just the 39 books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and 27 books in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Other canons include the Apocrypha. Some liberal theologians have recommended that the canon be opened for additional writings." Wikipedia provides a very good description of the many different canons that are in use today, including the lists of books that comprise each canon.

So which Bible is the Word of God? Just ask a Jew or a Christian of any denomination. The answer will most likely be, "why, it's my Bible. Of course!" But a more thoughtful response might entail a discussion about the people who formed a particular canon. Were they inspired? If so, how do we know that they were? Were the people who formed other canons not inspired? If not, how do we know? History and the words of the Bible itself suggest that the various canons throughout the Bible's turbulent history were formed by either religious or political factions breaking from a common community, or separate communities joining together to create a common community. In either case, the canon changed as a result of strife and political compromise, not divine intervention.

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