The Word “Canon” in the Canonization of the Bible
Our English Word, "Canon," is derived from a Hebrew and Greek word denoting a reed or a cane. So we would call it a "ruler," like the old wooden ruler you had in your supplies for third grade. Canon, then, grew out of a word that means something straight, or something to keep straight, a standard of truth. In this way of thinking, the Canon of Scripture refers to measuring the God-breathed truths revealed to men.
A Defense for the Canon of Holy Scripture
So, the word "canon" is the accurate measurement of a thing against the model in the most general meaning. In the case of Holy Scripture, the written Word of God must equate to the Holy Spirit-inspired ("God-breathed") Word of God. This is the meaning of 2 Timothy 3:16:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (NKJV).
Thus, the Word of God is Inscripturated by God, as the Reverend Jonathan Witherspoon put it. The imminent Presbyterian minister, scholar, public theologian, Princeton president, and only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence gave us solid and valuable work. The eternal Word of God became flesh and became—for us, and our salvation—the Word made accessible. Israel was prohibited from seeking to know God by making images. Instead, we were to think thoughts after God. The People of Israel were to meditate upon God through his Word, which he gave them. Abundant life and eternal life came not from manufactured religious attempts for atonement but rather through the Word of God read, taught, preached, song, and shared with others, beginning with our own families. This is quite different from learning the Gospel by stained glass windows only. Instead, those sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are measured by an inerrant and infallible standard, the very Word of God. So, we may say, the Canon of Holy Scripture is the divinely authorized collection of writings—no more and no less—than are indeed God's Word revealed to humankind for God's gracious purposes, through the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit.
Now. How did Canon come to be?
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