Why are some early Christian writings in the Bible and others aren’t?
That question came up when I was talking to a long-time friend who is truly searching for answers about God. While I was encouraged to hear that my friend is now attending a Bible-believing church, I was equally troubled when he said he started to study The Gospel of Thomas.
The Gospel of Thomas purports to be the “secret” teachings of Jesus, and it is rejected as inspired by the vast majority of Bible scholars throughout history. But what if archaeology unearthed a new epistle that could be authenticated as penned by one of the apostles? Should it be included in the Bible? That is exactly the question posed to Mike Horton and Adriel Sanchez on a recent Core Christianity.
Mike told the caller that there are two schools of thought. Some scholars would argue that if the texts can be proven beyond any doubt and the content meshes with Scripture, the missing book should be added to the Bible. However, he takes a more conservative approach, saying:
“Not everything that an apostle said was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Paul told Timothy, “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). But that doesn’t mean that Peter’s shopping list was inspired. The Holy Spirit inspired the texts that He considered essential for our salvation and life. Since the writings of the apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the church, if we found [Paul’s] first Corinthian epistle next week…it would be superfluous, because we have everything that the Holy Spirit decided that we needed.
The church has gotten along just fine without the first letter, wherever it is. The Holy Spirit didn’t consider it essential as a part of the Canon, that foundation on which the church has based its doctrine and practice for 2,000 years.”
It important for Christians to know what we believe and why, and the topics discussed on Core Christianity work to that end. We’re grateful for the network of facilities equipping their audiences already … and If you don’t yet air Core Christianity, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org—we’d love to have your station join the line-up!