As I take a seminary class on the New Testament canon this week, I’ve reflected on my own journey of receiving and trusting in the Bible as God’s Word.
While I enjoy, to an extent, all the apologetical ways and means of arriving to the conclusion that the Bible is God’s Word, my own personal experience has had me embrace the Bible through a different route.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (which I subscribe to as a Presbyterian minister) states in I.5,
“We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”
The heavenliness, efficacy, majesty, coherence, excellencies, perfection, etc. of Scripture seem to persuade those who have come to know Jesus. Our hearts “burn” (Luke 24:32) and we want someone to connect the canonical dots for us (Acts 8:30-35).
More than ‘fulfilled prophecies’ or a ‘neutral’ historical investigation, my heart has been made receptive to the one Story that the Bible tells in which Jesus is the Hero.
This passage from Michael Kruger’s Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books summarizes what I mean,
“Genesis begins with the creation of the ‘heaven and earth’ (1:1ff.); Revelation ends with re-creation of the new ‘heaven and earth’ (21:1). Genesis begins with the theme of paradise in the garden (2:8ff); Revelation ends with the paradise of heaven (21:4). Genesis begins with the theme of marriage (2:8); Revelation ends with the great wedding of the Lamb (21:9). Genesis begins with a focus on the serpent’s deception (3:1ff); Revelation ends with the serpent’s destruction (20:10). Genesis begins with the curse being put on the world (3:14ff); Revelation ends with the curse being lifted (22:3). Genesis begins by describing the creation of day, night, and the oceans (1:3, 10, 14); Revelation ends with no more need for day (sun), or night, or oceans (21:1; 22:5). Genesis begins with the ‘tree of life’ among the people of God (2:9); Revelation ends with the ‘tree of life’ among the people of God (22:2). Genesis begins with God dwelling with his people (2:8; 3:8); Revelation ends with God finally dwelling with his people again (21:3).” (p. 157)