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Limiting God to a Limited Bible
“And there are also many things, whatever Jesus did, which, if they should be written singly, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25 MKJV).
Important questions that demand honest, soul-searching answers:
1) Who determined the Biblical Canon (books that comprise what is known to us as the Bible)? And who determined that it shouldn’t be added to? Was it God or men?
2) What is the Bible composition and established accumulation of its books all about?
3) Why has there been disagreement among nominal Christians as to what books should be included in the Canon, even among respected, famous Christian leaders? Take the Apocrypha – originally included in the KJV, now excluded from the KJV and other Protestant texts, but still included in Catholic Bibles.
Did you know that the famous and esteemed reformer Martin Luther rejected as not inspired of God no less than four books of the New Testament – the Epistle to the Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation? He set them to the back of his Bible as “Antilegomena” – books of the New Testament that, as Wikipedia puts it, “although sometimes publicly read in the churches, were not—for a considerable amount of time—considered to be genuine, or received into the canon of Scripture” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon).
4) What is God’s verdict on several portions of the New Testament found within accepted Canon, particularly in the Gospels, that are openly and justifiably questioned and debated by many (see How We View and Use the Scriptures)?
5) Are the so-called “church fathers” qualified to determine what books should and should not be included in the Canon (see Reference to the “church fathers”)? If so, and they chose to keep the Apocrypha, why is the Apocrypha not included in most Protestant translations? Augustine, a most prominent “church father,” pronounced the Apocrypha as inspired and worthy of inclusion.
The Catholic Church, where most mainline denominations originate, approved the New Testament, as it now exists, at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD. Most nominal Christian groups of East and West agreed on the New Testament up to that time and thereafter.
6) If the “church fathers” are wrong on this important point of the Apocrypha, what else could they be wrong about?
7) Would any true believer refuse addition to the New Testament of anything else Jesus may have said or done while in His flesh on earth, or that Jesus may have said since that time? If so, why? If not, why not?
8) Are there other inspired letters and writings that could or should have been included in the Canon, whether in the Old or New Testament?
In the Old Testament, we have references to books and inspired Words of God that are missing, yet could be legitimate inclusions:
- The Book of the Acts of Solomon (I Kings 11:41)
- The Book of the Wars of the LORD (Numbers 21:14)
- The Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)
- The Book of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29)
- The Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18)
- The Prophecy of Ahijah of Shiloh (2 Chronicles 9:29)
- The Visions of Iddo the Seer against Jeroboam the Son of Nebat (2 Chronicles 9:29)
- The Book of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer Concerning Genealogies (2 Chronicles 12:15)
- The Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia (Esther 10:2)
In the New Testament, we have a quote from Enoch, and we have seen copies of the alleged “Book of Enoch.” While it is possible it is the original, does that book really originate with Enoch? If not, is Jude’s quote all that Enoch had to say of inspirational value? Does Genesis not record that Enoch lived 365 years, walked with God, and was translated? Surely, much of what he had to say would be of great spiritual value, even of greater worth or spiritual uplifting than some of what we now have, such as:
“So he measured the house, an hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building, with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long; Also the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, an hundred cubits” (Ezekiel 41:13-14 KJV).
“And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering, a fire offering to the LORD. He shall take away its fat, all its fat next to the backbone, and all the fat that covers the inward parts, and all the fat that is on the inward parts, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe above the liver, beside the kidneys, he shall remove it” (Leviticus 3:9-10 MKJV).
“These are the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife” (Genesis 36:10-12 KJV).
How uplifting and spiritually enlightening are those particular passages? How many have memorized them, preached on them, or put them to music?
Or what about passages or verses that are duplicated word for word in the Old Testament? For examples: 2 Kings 18:13 – 20:11/Isaiah 36 – 38:8 – large portions; Proverbs 18:8/26:22; 14:12/16:25; 19:25/21:11; Isaiah 2:2-4/Micah 4:1-5; Joel 3:16/Amos 1:2; Psalms 14:1-7/Psalm 53:1-6; Psalms 40:13-17/70:1-5; Psalms 108:1-13/ 57:7-11. Are these duplications more important or helpful to the spiritual sojourner than, say, Bill Britton’s vision, Harness of the Lord (which I have found spiritually edifying, and which glorifies the Lord)? Or the vision, A Sword, an Axe, and an Olive Leaf, by Hollie Moody? There are many examples.
What about certain inspired portions of “The Gospel of Thomas,” or portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls not included in the Canon, or several prophecies, visions, and dreams given to countless saints throughout history to the present day?
I am not saying that the above quoted portions from Ezekiel, Leviticus, and Genesis are without purpose or hold no spiritual value for us. And I am not saying there is no value in repetition. What I am questioning is the relative spiritual value. I am questioning why we revere the Bible as it stands, as though every portion of it has intrinsic spiritual value that no other writings have or will ever have, even if inspired by God.
Examples that show the spiritual worth of “The Gospel of Thomas”:
“37) His disciples said, ‘When will You appear to us, and when will we see You?’
Jesus said, ‘When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the Son of the Living One and you will not be afraid.’
38) Jesus said, ‘Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek Me and you will not find Me.’
39) Jesus said, ‘The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.
As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves.’”
9) Concerning writings since Biblical times, should we believe that God has ceased inspiring men to publish valuable writings, and if so, on what basis or by what authority do we draw such a conclusion? There is absolutely no support in the Authoritative Scriptural Canon for such a notion. On the contrary, the very nature and content of the Bible forcefully declares otherwise.
10) Many acknowledge that the Old Testament doesn’t have the revelation that the New Testament has. If that is so, isn’t it possible that God can bring forth more inspired writings and revelation after the New Testament?
11) Can anyone rightly say that all that God has chosen to speak and reveal to man is now complete in the present Bible? Many make such a claim – Dutch Reform, Mennonite, Baptist, and other evangelical churches. On what authority do they do so? According to Wikipedia:
“Many modern Protestants point to the following four ‘Criteria for Canonicity’ to justify the selection of the books that have been included in the New Testament:
1.Apostolic Origin — attributed to and based upon the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their close companions).
2.Universal Acceptance — acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the ancient world (by the end of the fourth century) as well as accepted canon by Jewish authorities (for the Old Testament).
3.Liturgical Use — read publicly when early Christian communities gathered for the Lord’s Supper (their weekly worship services).
4.Consistent Message — containing a theological outlook similar to or complementary to other accepted Christian writings.”
Regarding number one, it is only by the Spirit of God that we may know for certain whether or not doctrine agrees with the apostles’ doctrine. Why must the Canon be limited to first-generation apostles and their close companions?
Regarding number two, can we trust that the majority is right? So often have we found otherwise; indeed, the majority is usually wrong.
Regarding number three, if we were to examine the things taught commonly in the majority of nominal Christian church services today, we would do well to be very wary, there being much ungodly doctrine and literature – take for example, Rick Warren’s diabolical, man-pleasing, man-glorifying The Purpose Driven Life.
As for what “early Christian communities” red publicly at “the Lord’s Supper (their weekly worship services),” the authentic words of Christ and the teachings of His apostles have been misinterpreted and misapplied (read Diabolical Doctrine: The “Lord’s Supper”). According authenticity to their words on account of the false practices of the false religious has the cart in front of the horse and shows ignorance of the truth of those words.
And why should we be surprised? There were heresies in the days of the apostles (1 Corinthians 11:19), with much more to come after their departure, as warned (Acts 20:29-30) and manifest in “early Christian communities.”
Regarding number four, we need the Spirit to reveal to us the consistency and agreement with the apostles’ and prophets’ doctrine. If Luther, a noted scholar and intelligent, courageous man, was unable to discern God’s inspiration of James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation, how can anyone be confident of determining true Scripture without the mind of the Holy Spirit, which Spirit Luther never received?
12) The Old Testament was considered complete a long time ago. So who was justified in adding the New Testament to the Bible? Are “Old and New Testament Only” advocates any different from the Jews in their apparently limited stance and attitude?
13) Should there be such a thing as a closed Canon – a complete Bible? Perhaps so, and I won’t argue against that. But should the saints limit themselves to a closed Canon, not reading or equally esteeming other inspired writings?
If the present day Bible is the final authority, as many claim, where does it say that no other writings should be accepted or considered equal to the Bible? (Mind you, I am not advocating authority of men’s traditions, as does the Catholic Church, and as do the Jews.)
14) What does it mean to add to, or subtract from, God’s Words? Is it the addition of words to the Holy Scriptures that is forbidden, or is it the addition of a nature and source of inspiration contrary to the Bible and its Author, and subtraction from God’s life-giving principles to accommodate sin, that is at issue?
There are four passages in the Bible that admonish men not to add to God’s Words, three of those being in the Old Testament:
“And now, Israel, listen to the statutes and to the judgments which I teach you, in order to do them, so that you may live and go in and possess the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers gives you. You shall not add to the Word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2 MKJV).
“All the things I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 MKJV).
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His Words, lest He reprove you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 MKJV).
And at the very end of the New Testament, we have the same warning:
Revelation 22:18-19 MKJV
(18) For I testify together to everyone who hears the Words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book.
(19) And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book.
Are these warnings against adding written words to the Bible, no matter what they may be, or are they aimed against mixing men’s words without God’s inspiration with words already in the Canon?
We know that men can contradict Holy Scripture by forming foolish and prejudiced religious or secular laws, thus perverting society. They do it all the time, and the Jews of Jesus’ day did it, too:
Mark 7:7-9 MKJV
(7) However, they worship Me in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
(8) For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the dippings of pots and cups. And many other such things you do.
(9) And He said to them, Do you do well to set aside the commandment of God, so that you may keep your own tradition?
Titus 1:10-14 MKJV
(10) For there are indeed many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
(11) whose mouth you must stop, who subvert whole houses, teaching things not right for the sake of ill gain.
(12) One of them, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.
(13) This witness is true; for which cause convict them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith,
(14) not giving heed to Jewish myths and commandments of men, turning away from the truth.
15) As to the warnings against adding to, or subtracting from, God’s Word, we know that post-Biblical period prophecies, teachings, and wise words from God through His servants can edify believers as well as can the Scriptures, in many cases more so. So why should any or all extraBiblical words be considered inferior to the inspired words recorded in the Holy Scriptures?
Are extraBiblical words forbidden additions/subtractions to God’s Words, or can they be a legitimate continuing manifestation of His Person?
Is not the issue one of whether extraBiblical words contradict or agree with, both in letter and spirit, God’s Words?
16) Consider that Peter was not speaking about adding or subtracting words from the Scriptures, but of what men did with the words already there:
“As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16 MKJV).
Didn’t Peter and Paul know of the passages in Deuteronomy and Proverbs warning against adding to the words of the Hebrew Bible? Did they see no problem in adding an entirely new section, or did they just have separate scriptures/writings/letters for spiritual edification, having no intention to add to the Bible?
If the former, should we not have the same willingness and perspective with other writings we judge to be inspired of God?
If the latter, why should we count as any less inspired and important newer writings, just as believers were willing to add Peter’s and Paul’s letters to the Bible?
17) Another point to consider is that Deuteronomy likely came into existence before the Book of Proverbs. Is the writer of Proverbs guilty of the very thing he warns his readers not to do (having written after Moses’ warning), or is the point rather about the source and substance of the words? How could it be the former? If it is, then all those who look beyond the five books of Moses for inspiration of God (the last being Deuteronomy) are in error.
18) And what about all the other books that came after the injunction by Moses in Deuteronomy and the writer of Proverbs? Are their writers guilty of adding to the Word of God? How could they not be, if those admonitions are speaking of written record added to written record?
19) And what about those who compiled the New Testament books? Where is their green light from the Old Testament to add to the Holy Scriptures? Indeed, those who revere the New Testament strongly condemn adding any written record to the Bible. So are they not in error and contradiction, seeing the New Testament was an addition?
20) Didn’t the Lord speak words that were not included in the original report of the Gospels, but related after the fact, in Acts?:
“I have shown you all things, that working in this way we ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 MKJV).
21) Of Peter at Pentecost, it is said, “And with many other words he earnestly testified and exhorted, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation’” (Acts 2:40 MKJV).
Peter was freshly immersed in the Spirit of Christ. Do you suppose that the rest of the words he spoke were any less Biblical or inspired by God?
Peter spoke God’s Word, especially in that notable day of Pentecost, wherein 3,000 souls were saved, and I for one would love to hear what he said. That applies to Philip, Stephen, and every other servant of God. So much was said by them all that could make the Bible a thousand times thicker with material every bit as inspired of God and valid as presently accepted Scripture.
22) Philip had four daughters who prophesied. We have no reason to doubt they prophesied by the Spirit of God, being daughters of a true evangelist of God. Their words would be equal to Scripture and could be included. Indeed, all words from God through His servants are worthy of our esteem, none to be counted as less than any other, lest we should be found judges of God.
Not that every inspired word can be included in Holy Writ, of course, but what would be wrong with giving those words the honor they deserve, seeing God is their Source?
23) Is Jesus Christ limited to the Bible? Not according to the one who ate the book (Revelation 10:9-10) and walked with Him:
“And there are also many things, whatever Jesus did, which, if they should be written singly, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25 MKJV).
We saints have obeyed Jesus Christ’s command to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:50-58), even as John was commanded to eat the book (Revelation 10:9-10) and Ezekiel the roll (Ezekiel 3:1-2)… which was sweet in the mouth and bitter in the belly. The essence found in the Roll/Scroll/Book/Writing is in God, not in the physical material. His Essence is within us when He dwells in us.
24) When Christ dwells in one, truly that one is a prophet:
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10 MKJV).
If prophetic words come from God through spiritual gifts and by His ministers at any time, whether oral or written, are they not of equal value to much, if not all, of what we have in the Canon, which Canon has been chosen and determined by men, many of whom have never even known the Lord?
25) In an inordinate reverence of the Bible as it stands, are Bibliolaters not guilty with Jeroboam in his sin of the worship of the two golden calves at Bethel (“House of God” – the “church”) and Dan (“Judge”)?
1 Kings 12:26-29
(26) And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
(27) If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
(28) Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
(29) And he set the one in Bethel [“House of God”], and the other put he in Dan [“Judge”].
“After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but turned and made priests of the high places from the lowest of the people. He who desired, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places” (1 Kings 13:33 MKJV).
Are denominational Christians not guilty with Jeroboam of ordaining their priests and ministers in their Bible schools and seminaries (schools of adding to, and taking from, God’s Word), taking them from “the lowest of the people,” who have no calling or anointing of God and who are in darkness, but who have presumed to be His representatives and spokespersons? Are not all these serving in the high places of the world? Read The High Places.
“Now they teach worshipping the Bible instead of doing what God says in it, and building earthly Jerusalems instead of going up to the heavenly Jerusalem.”
26) We have tens of thousands of earthly Jerusalems in the world today, each denomination disagreeing with the others on Biblical interpretation and doctrine. Are not all of these guilty of adding to, or taking away from, the Word of God, in substance, where it counts? How can it be otherwise if they disagree? Are they not the ones who rob themselves of their part of life by denying God’s truth, or adding to themselves the plagues mentioned in the Scriptures by saying things God either did not say or did not mean by what He said? Read The True Marks of a Cult and Diabolical Doctrines.
Are those who assume the present Bible to be the full revelation of God not guilty of gross idolatry and base spiritual ignorance, if not blasphemy, because they presume to contain God between two covers of a book?
While the Jewish scribes strictly adhered to the text of the Old Testament, maintaining every word, jot, and tittle from the beginning, the New Testament was corrupted in later years. I believe this took place as part of the process of sifting and leading men to know the Lord by His Spirit, rather than by the letter. (Knowing Him by the letter has never worked.)
This work of God isn’t about getting all of one’s information from the Bible, but of personally coming to know the Author, Jesus Christ, the living God of all godly inspired communications, wherever and by whomever they may be found!
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My Laws into their mind and write them in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not each man teach his neighbor, and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest” (Hebrews 8:10-11 MKJV).
Why should, and how can, God be contained in anything at any time? How dare we limit Him!
(What a hot topic this is! In the opinion of carnal and Bibliolatrous men, what a potential ticket to the stake for us! There is much more to consider about the nature and purpose of the Bible. Haven’t we all been Bibliolaters to varying degrees, many intensely so?)
27) Are these matters not for Spirit-filled servants of God to determine?
I can recognize the possibility of the need for a closed Canon. After all, is it normal to add to any book that has been written or compiled at any time by anyone? How much more abnormal to add to the Bible, the holiest of all collections of writings that we know of, even the Book from which the Lord Himself quoted. If God has determined a closed Canon, so be it. The Bible as it stands does serve as an identifiable foundation for sound, godly doctrine.
The Problem – Bibliolatry: Making God in Man’s Image
Why do men limit God to the Bible, and why do they limit the Bible to its present form as the sole written source of spiritual inspiration of Jesus Christ? Here is why:
Romans 1:17-32 MKJV
(17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
(19) because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them.
(20) For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.
(21) Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(22) Professing to be wise, they became fools
(23) and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.
(24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.
(25) For they changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen.
(26) For this cause, God gave them up to dishonorable affections. For even their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature.
(27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; males with males working out shamefulness, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error.
(28) And even as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do the things not right,
(29) being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; being full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, evil habits, becoming whisperers,
(30) backbiters, haters of God, insolent, proud, braggarts, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
(31) undiscerning, perfidious, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful;
(32) who, knowing the righteous order of God, that those practicing such things are worthy of death, not only do them, but have pleasure in those practicing them.
Men will worship anything available to their senses or imaginations. That is the explanation for why men would limit the Bible and its Author. They prefer to keep themselves where they think it is safe from The Unseen One.
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains” (Revelation 6:15 MKJV).
How little do they know, and how little do they expect, that He will break out all over them, so much so that they will cry out in pain and desperation:
“And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath has come, and who will be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17 MKJV)
And there were idolaters, worshippers of Baal and of Easter, falling on their faces, crying, “The Book! The Book!” And God was very angry with them.
“You study the Scriptures, because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very Scriptures speak about Me! Yet you are not willing to come to Me in order to have life” (John 5:39-40 GNB).
Having said these things, there are many writings presumed by men to be inspired of God when they are far from it, the Koran and the Book of Mormon being two outstanding examples. Both those books were inspired by devils.
I could not say much better for some translations, or paraphrases, of the Bible, the Living Bible being the first in my mind. What trash it is, so devious and wicked a book, persistently and perniciously perverting the sound doctrines of God by carnal interpretation, putting forth “another gospel” of “another Jesus.”
May the saints be granted to understand that there is no need or basis for anyone to automatically disallow other holy writings or collections of them. I say it is foolish, idolatrous, and even blasphemous to think the Bible is the only written source of inspiration from God, as special as it undoubtedly is. Let God be God and let those who love Him find Him wherever He is to be found. Let it be known that He is found in His servants and in the Words He gives them to speak.
I declare that this very writing you have before you now is revelation from God – words and thoughts inspired by His Spirit – He granting me the faith and wisdom to bring these things forth for the edification of His congregation. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
A site reader shares his thoughts with us about Ray Prinzing, written to Ray’s writings website “caretaker,” Lenella Maxwell. Our reader has bought into the great Christian lie that Jesus no longer personally speaks to His people. According to this lie, spiritual revelation and life ceased and went into immediate petrification after the last apostle wrote his last letter. Thank God that’s not true, or no one could ever be saved!