I was talking with someone the other day, and he voiced his opinion that the Bible is just written by men, and thus not anymore significant than any other ‘holy books’. He brought up the issue of canonicity, and he questioned the validity of it as a process; he seemed to think that it was simply a fabrication of the Christian church—viz. the canonization of Scripture. I didn’t get a chance to give any kind of response, unfortunately. Of course I would have liked to have brought him back to Jesus; since, of course, what Jesus thinks and thought about Scripture is what ought to be determinative for anyone’s understanding. That way, we aren’t arguing over Scripture anymore, but we’re back to the point of Scripture; Jesus Christ. And if he is who he claimed to be, and what Scripture bears witness to; then his view of Scripture, and giving of authority to the Apostles (to leave the deposit of the now New Testament), will be definitive in how we approach this question. I came across a quote from Carl Henry, ironically, that I thought was very good at underscoring this very point:
Jesus altered the prevailing Jewish view of Scripture in several ways: (1) he subjected the authority of tradition to the superior and normative authority of the Old Testament; (2) he emphasized that he himself fulfills the messianic promise of the inspired writings; (3) he claimed for himself an authority not below that of the Old Testament and definitively expounded the inner significance of the Law; (4) he inaugurated the new covenant escalating the Holy Spirit’s moral power as an internal reality; (5) he committed his apostles to the enlargement and completion of the Old Testament canon through their proclamation of the Spirit-given interpretation of his life and work. At the same time he identified himself wholly with the revelational authority of Moses and the prophets—that is, with the Old Testament as an inspired literary canon—insisting that Scripture has sacred, authoritative and permanent validity, and that the revealed truth of God is conveyed in its teachings. – Carl F. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 3: God Who Speaks and Shows: Fifteen Theses, Part Two, p. 47.
There are other principles, like: 1) the unity of the message of Scripture (Jesus), 2) its prophetic character, 3) its historicity, 4) its Apostolic origin etc. But I would contend that the Scripture’s reality, and the canon we have was authenticated (and given) by Jesus himself; he as the regula fidei, or rule of faith of Scripture’s witness. I will share something from Thomas F. Torrance tomorrow on the same issue.
PS. There is some irony in me sharing something from Henry; since TF Torrance wasn’t a fan of Henry’s rather rationalist theologizing. I have a few issues with what Henry has stated as well, but there is also some good in what he writes; especially in regard to his emphasis that Scripture finds its authenticity in Jesus—best illustrated by how Jesus used and viewed and provided for (through the Apostle’s mantle) Scripture himself.