Long, but really only one page of a word doc.
The Church was born with a canon in its hands already. It is called canon because it comes from the Sumerians and their word for reed. Reeds were used as measuring sticks. The word has come to have a variety of meanings related to measurement: rule, standard, law, boundary, list, index…
How did the books that are compiled into our OT (or the Hebrew Bible) come into being?
By the canon of Scripture, we mean the authoritative collection of writings, the teachings of which are binding on believers.
Formation of the OT Canon
Four closely related yet readily distinguishable steps were involved in the formation of the OT canon: authoritative utterances; documents; collections of writings; and a fixed canon.
Authoritative Utterances – For the people of
Authoritative Documents – In Deut. 31.24-26, Moses “finished writing the words of this law in a book” and commanded the Levites to “put it by the side of the Ark of the Covenant…that it may be there for a witness against you.’
Authoritative Collections of Writings – The traditional threefold division of the Hebrew scriptures into Law, Prophets, and Writings probably indicates stages in the formation of the canon as well as differences in subject matter.
Fixed Canon – evidence for the threefold catalog of sacred writings is found prior to 150 BC. In a preface to a work (Ecclesiasticus or Ben Sirach) which was translated into Greek in ca. 132, the author refers to “the Law and the Prophets” as well as “the other (books) that follow after them.” We find another Jewish reference to the canon in the Talmud where the threefold division is implied clearly, and authors are listed for most books, all of which are in the present Protestant canon. In the NT Jesus alludes to “the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms (Luke 24.44).
(The works found in the Apocrypha are never cited directly. No evidence suggests that either Philo or Josephus, both contemporary with the NT, included books not in the present OT.
We do not have a definitive narrative of how the books that are in the canon were selected. With the temple lost with the destruction of