April 6, 2010 Leave a comment
I have noted many times that the canon was a development, and that several factors were involved in the decisions made on the canon in various parts of the Church in the Roman Empire. Oral Tradition was involved, as was Liturgy. So, in effect, an early bishop could say, “I was passed on this or that text, from the Church and Bishop who ordained me, and we have always held it divine, as we have also used it in our lectionaries.” This is not to deny the illumination of the Spirit in that process, since the Spirit has guided the Church. Certainly the Holy Spirit testified to which texts were Apostolic and inspired, but the mistake of Protestants is to think that He does this directly to the individual without any means. Calvin spoke of the” inner voice,” but this does not work as a public criterion for the canon. Especially when there were competing texts, and even New Testament epistles such as Hebrews, Revelation, and others, were long doubted in key sees and Patriarchates.
The point of this post is to show more evidence from respected Protestant scholars, who are experts in this field. F.F. Bruce writes in his classic The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? As follows:
“Another very important class of witnesses to the text of the New Testament are the Ancient Versions in other languages, the oldest of which is the Old Syriac and the Old Latin, go back to the latter half of the second century. Valuable help can also be derived from early Church Lectionaries.” (pg. 19) Read more of this post