The cross is the dividing line in history. If the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, then the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. So, how did we get the 27 books that fill the ‘canon’ or ‘rule of faith’?
I. 2 Peter 3:15-16. God inspired and preserved the New Testament. The new covenant was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and spoken about by Jesus in Luke 22:20, but what a confusing time the 1st Century must have been for Christians wondering who and what to believe as God’s Word came first orally through various gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 2:13) to its written form (1 Corinthians 14:37). Peter calls Paul’s letters ‘Scripture’ along with other books at that time.
II. Matthew 13:24-25. The enemy has always operated by sowing weeds, and so the time of confusion during the 1st Century was no different. While Christians wondered what was from God and what was not, the enemy sowed perversions (gnosticism), false teachings (Acts 15:1), and heretics like Marcion who declared just the writings of Paul and Luke’s gospel as authoritative. This, though, caused the church to re-evaluate what books they already considered authoritative and used in their worship services. The declaration of later church councils on the 27 books we have in the New Testament today did not “give us the Bible” but rather confirmed what Christians had already been using for centuries.
III. 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We have all we need from that which we know to be ‘Scripture’ as it thoroughly equips us. God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness “through our knowledge ….”
This means we can study and obey the New Testament. Let us not be ignorant or unstable, twisting them to our destruction. Rather, let us let God speak to us about His Son on the cross who rose from the dead.